In this past week, the majority of the Metropolitan Division were successful. Only two teams won less than two games and five of the eight earned at least half of their points. While the great divide still exists, it's good to know that the bottom four can get some results along with the top four. And there is a change at the very top for the first time in quite some time.
|Team||GP||W||L||OT||ROW||Pts.||Last Week||Ptl. Pts.||Weeks Won||Playoff||% McD|
Source: NHL.com - Links go to SBN Blogs
The Pittsburgh Penguins had a very odd week. Their two losses were significant shutout losses. Their two wins were shutout wins. It was still enough to jump past the New York Islanders, who only won one of three games last week. Therefore, they are at the top. They shouldn't get too comfortable, though. The Islanders will use up that game in hand on them in this coming week and will play one more. It's entirely possible the Isles jump past them and even have a lead. This drama between first and second place will continue.
Furthermore, there are the other two teams behind them. The Washington Capitals had an excellent week, winning three out of four. They're just two points from first, so if the Isles and Pens falter, the Caps could make a move up the standings in this week. Then there's the continued threat of the Rangers. They have two to three games in hand on the three teams in front of them. They'll use up one on the Pens and Caps in this week; it could be their time to make a serious move upwards. Mathematically, it's possible. Without Henrik Lundqvist, it'll be challenging. But that's the fun of standings-watching. From a playoffs perspective, the Rangers have the first wild card spot now and would play the Penguins. Don't be surprised if they jump up to one of the guaranteed three spots in this week, though.
Speaking of playoffs, I changed the "No"s for the bottom four teams to how many points they are currently behind the last wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. That would be Boston, with 63 points in 52 games. I hope these values show how far apart those four really are from the postseason. In short, a playoff push ain't happening for any of them.
Let's run through their weeks anyway because they mostly did well. Not so much the Philadelphia Flyers. They had one game and they lost it after regulation. The point was enough to hold onto fifth for another week. The New Jersey Devils completed a successful homestand in spite of playing some hideous hockey and came close to taking Philly's spot. Then they got smashed back to reality by Montreal. The relatively high number of games played will continue to be a standings albatross. The Columbus Blue Jackets are within a game of the Devils and have two games in hand on them. They won't use any up, but two points can be made up rather quickly. They had a successful week too, so if they can continue it, then it may happen for them this week. Lastly, the Carolina Hurricanes remain entrenched in the bottom five of the league (fourth, to be precise). They did very they well going out West, though, and they could pull themselves up a bit if it continues. Wouldn't that be something? A battle for first and a battle for last in the Metropolitan. At least there's something that requires some attention.
This coming week of games kicks off today, with three games: one within the division and two outside of it. Valentine's Day may be a day of importance to some and it will be for six teams as they all have games that night. Here's the upcoming schedule, games within the Metropolitan are in bold.
|PIT||vs. DET||@ OTT|
|NYI||@ BUF||vs. EDM||vs. TOR||vs. CBJ|
|WSH||vs. PHI||@ SJS||@ LAK|
|NYR||vs. DAL||@ TOR||@ COL||@ ARI|
|PHI||@ WSH||@ MTL||@ CBJ|
|NJD||vs. EDM||@ CHI||@ NSH|
|CBJ||vs. LAK||vs. PHI||@ NYI|
|CAR||vs. ANA||@ MIN|
Today, Rangers, Islanders, and Penguins fans should show a little love to the Philadelphia faithful. A Flyers win can help take some of the pressure the Capitals have applied to them in the standings. The Penguins can do plenty of scoreboard watching as they're off until Wednesday to kick off a back-to-back set with Detroit and Ottawa. That's followed by two more days off. The Islanders, not so much. They have a week of potential trap games ahead of them with Buffalo, Edmonton, Toronto, and Columbus coming up. They should be successful on paper. We'll see if they actually are.
As for the Capitals and Rangers, they'll get to do some traveling. After Washington hosts the Flyers, they'll head out to California for a road trip. They do get break time before their games against San Jose and Los Angeles. Not to jump ahead, but they got Anaheim on Sunday so it's not an entirely well spaced out trip. The Rangers will host Dallas today before just traveling up and then West. They'll go to Toronto, Colorado, and Arizona. On paper, these are teams they should beat. We'll see if they actually do so.
Philadelphia will certainly be more active in this week. As mentioned, they got the Caps today. They'll head up to Montreal on Tuesday and then return home for the Blue Jackets on Friday. The Blue Jackets will stay relatively close to home with a home game before Los Angeles before that Flyers game. They will travel to Long Island on Saturday. The Devils won't get the benefit of staying home for too long. They'll host the woeful Oilers on Monday before heading out for an extremely difficult back-to-back with Chicago and Nashville. Lastly, Carolina gets a long break for this time of the season before their next game against Anaheim. Then they'll travel up to Minnesota.
What do you make of the week that was in the Metropolitan Division? Who do you think will end up in first by next Sunday? Among the bottom four teams, who do you think will have the best week? What do you make of the upcoming week of games in general? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about the week that was and the week that will be in the Metropolitan Division in the comments. Thank you for reading.