Every season begins the same. A few teams win their first few games, a few teams both, and so extremes are felt. By the following week, some of those undefeated wins suffer some losses and some of those winless get wins. A few weeks in, it'll be clearer who's really good and who's really not. That's what happened in the Metropolitan Division in this past week, and so the landscape has changed dramatically. As always, the lesson is: don't panic.
|Team||GP||W||L||OT||ROW||Pts.||Last Week||Ptl. Pts.||Weeks Won|
Source: NHL.com - Links go to SBN Blogs
The other team in New York not only got a win but won three out of three. Therefore, the New York Islanders jump to the top of the division. Their fans can then turn (return?) their complaints back to the arena or other things not on the ice. The Washington Capitals actually got to play some games this week and they won more of those than they didn't. The Sharks wrecked them, but they took their frustrations out on the Blackhawks (!) and the Canes. They'll be ones to watch throughout the season.
The New York Rangers began at the top for the first Weekly Metropolitan Division Snapshot last week. They won all of their games. Well, they dropped their only two games in this past week. Therefore, they added no points. With the surge by the Isles and Caps, they lost their lead. A few wins and a busy week coming up - starting today, actually - may see them back in first soon. Though, if they're not careful, the Philadelphia Flyers may sneak past them. They had a short week like the Rangers but only they won those games. A few more points and they may be able to stay in the mix. That may be their plan for the season if they really think about the postseason. It's way early to think about it, but keeping close early makes it possible later.
Speaking of teams that will be thinking about the playoffs in 2015-16, the Pittsburgh Penguins won some games. I figured it would happen at some point. They'll be fine in time. Unlike the Flyers, they should have the quality to meet that expectations. Joining them in the land of winning games last week was the Carolina Hurricanes. Granted, they dropped the other two games. They don't have the expectations of the postseason but getting that win should make them feel a little better. Will they keep doing it? Here and there. The Pens will probably pick up more - and sooner.
Who doesn't feel so good? The winless. The New Jersey Devils only had the two games and won neither. The #RELENTLESS hasn't yielded a winning result. They got close against San Jose and got a point at least. At least the fans and the organization realizes it's a re-building situation. There's more leeway there. It's much more dire in Ohio. The Columbus Blue Jackets dropped all three games and dropped them in decisive fashion. Their lowest margin of defeat was two goals to Buffalo; it got worse as the week went on. Jeff Little at The Cannon calls it a "crisis of confidence." I can't say he's wrong. No one can.
Maybe this upcoming week will be the one where the Devils and Jackets add a number to that 'W' column. Here's the upcoming set of games (games within the division are in bold):
|NYI||@ CBJ||vs. BOS||@ STL|
|WSH||@ CGY||@ VAN||@ EDM|
|NYR||vs. NJD||vs. SJS||vs. ARI||@ PHI|
|PHI||vs. DAL||@ BOS||vs. NYR|
|PIT||vs. FLA||vs. DAL||@ NSH|
|CAR||@ COL||@ LAK||@ SJS|
|NJD||@ NYR||vs. ARI||@ OTT||@ BUF|
|CBJ||vs. NYI||@ MIN||@ COL|
The Devils and Rangers renew their hated rivalry this afternoon. The game kicks off busy weeks for both of them. The Rangers will continue at home with Arizona and San Jose followed by a trip to Philly on Saturday. The Devils will go back home to play the Coyotes prior to trips to Ottawa and Buffalo. They'll be playing the most this week. Everyone else has three games coming up.
The Capitals and Hurricanes will add to their mileage with road trips this week. The Caps will head up to Western Canada, while the Canes hit Colorado and then California. The other squads with three-game weeks at least get to be at home for part of it. The two Pennsylvania teams will have two home games each. Columbus gets to host the Islanders prior to travelling to Minnesota and Colorado. The Islanders will visit Ohio, go back to Brooklyn, and then hit up St. Louis.
After two weeks in, the Isles are atop the Metropolitan. Will that last after this week? Can the Capitals take the throne? Could the Rangers re-take it with the benefit of playing one more game than them? Maybe someone else will get hot and surprise them? More importantly, will the Devils win a game this week? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about the week that was and the week that will be in the Metropolitan Division. Thank you for reading.