With the return of the NHL regular season, welcome back to the weekly Metropolitan Division snapshot. Every Sunday, I'll be highlighting what the division standings looks like, a general summary of how all eight teams did, and the upcoming week of games for the division. While the Devils are a re-building team, it is important to note how the division is structured. They may have to compete within the division for the lottery and these posts will help document how it all came about. Plus, it's a good way as any to get started for the week.
The NHL was active for half of last week, though it didn't stop the New York Rangers from taking a commanding lead to start the season. Of course, it helped that most of the division fell flat on their face at the starting line.
|Team||GP||W||L||OT||ROW||Pts.||Last Week||Ptl. Pts.||Weeks Won|
Source: NHL.com - Links go to SBN Blogs
For the unaware, these are the NHL division standings combined with their record from the previous week (W-L-OT format); how many potential points they can earn in the upcoming week; and how many weeks they won. If a team ended a week - defined as every Sunday I do this post - with a winning record, then they won the week. If they earned half or less, then they didn't. It's an easy metric to show whether teams are getting the job done often or whether they're hanging around.
Anyway, the Rangers and the Washington Capitals were the only teams in the Metropolitan to win at all in the shortened week to start this season. The Rangers disappointed Chicago's banner raising ceremony on national television and then handed Columbus their two losses. Whoever leads the division when I make this post gets the headline photo. I don't like it any more than you do, but the Rangers won three in a row so they get it. The Caps took care of the Devils last night in their only game so far.
Beyond the winners are two teams who took at least one of their losses beyond regulation. The New York Islanders kicked off 2015-16 with a nasty back-to-back, home-and-away set with Chicago. Their home opener at least went to overtime before losing; they were soundly beaten in Chicago last night. The Philadelphia Flyers started their season on the road in the state of Florida. They forced Tampa Bay to play beyond sixty minutes, which isn't a bad start. Then they got crushed by the Panthers, 1-7, on Saturday night. That massive goal differential is why the Flyers are technically below the Isles for the moment.
Goal differential is why the bottom half of the division looks the way it does among the winless. Definitely poor starts to the season for all four. The Carolina Hurricanes at least kept their losses close. They couldn't complete a comeback in a 1-2 defeat to Nashville and a three-goal third period by Detroit made it a 3-4 loss. The Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils are tied in goal differential; I'm not sure why Pittsburgh is necessarily over New Jersey, though it really doesn't mean much. The Devils lost to Winnipeg and Washington. As much as I don't like typing it, those results may not have been surprising. The Penguins' two losses certainly were. They got shut out by Dallas, 0-3, and then got dropped by Arizona - yes, Arizona - 1-2. Enjoy this Devils fans, this may be one of the few times where they can legitimately say they scored more goals than Pittsburgh in a week this season. Down at the very bottom are Columbus, who got smacked down by the Rangers twice in consecutive nights.
This upcoming week will be the first full week of the season. At least, it's the first full calendar week. There are no games involving the Metropolitan Division today. Everyone will get a chance to use Sunday to prepare for these match-ups:
|NYR||vs. WPG||@ MTL|
|WSH||vs. SJS||vs. CHI||vs. CAR|
|NYI||vs. WPG||vs. NSH||vs. SJS|
|PHI||vs. FLA||vs. CHI|
|CAR||vs. FLA||@ DET||@ WSH|
|PIT||vs. MTL||vs. OTT||vs. TOR|
|NJD||vs. NSH||vs. SJS|
|CBJ||@ BUF||vs. OTT||vs. TOR||@ CHI|
Source: Schedules from team websits - Links go to SBN Blogs
A lot of home games are coming up for the division. The Flyers and Penguins will get to have their home openers. Only three teams have to travel and they'll have home games as well this week. It's not just away games that are lacking on this schedule. There is only one game within the division, an old Southeast Division rivalry game on Saturday night between the Caps and Canes.
The Rangers, Flyers, and Devils will get the benefit of having a short week. The Rangers will get the Jets before going up to Montreal. I don't think they'll still be undefeated by next Sunday, but it's possible. The Flyers will have a shot of revenge on Monday before enjoying the pleasure of playing the Blackhawks. As for the Devils, they'll get the Preds and Sharks. None of these short weeks are easy. The Flyers and Devils may still be searching for their first win by next week.
On the flipside, the Blue Jackets will be very busy. They'll be going up to Buffalo before hosting Ottawa and Toronto. That last game is followed by a trip to Chicago. By then, they should have their first win? Ottawa won't be easy but Toronto and Buffalo have yet to show they're much better than last season. Elsewhere in the division, the Capitals, Islanders, and Penguins all have three home games this week. They aren't easy ones, but they should be able to pick up some points if only because good teams find ways to do that and they're expected to be good teams in 2015-16.
Now that the first Metropolitan Division snapshot is under wraps, what do you think of it? Surprised to see the Rangers start off the season so well with most of the division not? How many of the currently six winless teams will get their first win in this coming week? What do you make of the schedule coming up? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about the week that was and the week that will be in the division. Thank you for reading.