As the second week of November concluded, the Metropolitan Division remained mostly positive. All eight teams won at least one game in this past week. Four teams won their weeks and an additional two split the potential points they could have earned. One team even swept their week’s games. As a result, while the top looks the same, it’s not much of a lead for those at the top.
The New York Rangers prevailed in Calgary - the first of a four-game road trip - to hold onto first place in the division by way of having more regulation and overtime wins (ROW). The Rangers may have slipped and lost a home game to a hapless Vancouver squad, but their win over the Flames meant they sandwiched that ‘L’ to keep pace with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Speaking of, the Penguins also went 2-1 last week. Their loss was to Minnesota at home and that was sandwiched by beating two teams with two starlets (Edmonton, Toronto). While this does not change who is at the top, the results combined mean they have a three point lead. It is not much given the number of games played, but it is something to watch for. The Washington Capitals could have given chase. However, they stumbled this week with losses to San Jose and a big one to Carolina. It was not a good week and now they’re joined by a new team in terms of points.
Yes, the New Jersey Devils. They had four games last week and they won them all. They beat Carolina in a home-and-home on the strength of a hat trick and a shootout, respectively. They just beat Buffalo in another home-and-home. The Devils had the best week in the division in this past week. Now, they are riding a four-game winning streak into a difficult road trip. It’ll be interesting to see where they fall next week. For now, it just feels so good.
The Caps and Devils currently have a three point lead on the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Philadelphia Flyers. But don’t sleep on Columbus. Last week, they made a big statement by dropping Montreal 10-0. They made another one last night by routing St. Louis (who beat them in the prior week in overtime to deny them a perfect week of wins) 8-4. The Blue Jackets remain very much in the mix with another successful week. Their upcoming opponents should keep an eye on them. So should the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers split the week’s potential points, thanks to home win over Minnesota last night. That game was the beginning of a four-game home-stand. The Flyers would do well to make those games count to start charging back up the standings.
Speaking of needing to charge back up the standings, I give you the New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes. The Isles, like Flyers, split the week’s points. Unfortunately, that did little to move up from where they were. They only took one point out of their trip to the Sunshine State last week. They’ll get a short week coming up; they need to make those games count. It will not be easy. As for the Canes, well, they did pull off a big win over Washington. That was a pleasant end to a rough week that saw them lose outright twice and drop a shootout to New Jersey. Not only did they fail to pull themselves up by making the Devils suffer, they remain in last place. It is still early in the season, but if the Isles and Canes are not careful, they could find themselves even further on the outside, looking in.
Let’s see what is coming up for this week in the Metropolitan Division. All games in bold are within the division.
Starting at the top, the New York Rangers will continue their four game road trip that started in Calgary last night. They’ll visit McDavid, get a chance at revenge in Vancouver, and then go to Ohio. Their road trip got off to a good start, let’s see how it ends. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Penguins are off until Wednesday where they will play the Washington Capitals on national television. They’re on the road, but in their favor, the Caps won’t be rested going into that matchup. The Penguins will visit the Islanders and then go to Buffalo the next night. It’s a road trip for them, albiet not a long one like the Rangers are on.
The Capitals just lost big to Carolina. They have to rebound and hope Columbus doesn’t just pile on the misery on Tuesday. Especially right before they get to face a strong Pittsburgh team on national television. The Caps will host Detroit on Friday to end their week. Their back-to-back set will likely be important as to where the Caps end up next week. They may not be so far behind Pittsburgh, but they are not so far ahead of Columbus. While the Caps get to play at home twice, the Devils won’t get to do that until next week. The Devils will begin a difficult four-game road trip, where they’ll go to Dallas before hitting up all three California teams (two of those three are in this week). While road games have been an issue for the Devils - they won two and both were in this past week - a good result this week will really show a turnaround for the squad.
The bottom half of the division appears to have a lot of rest lined up. The Blue Jackets will attempt to be giant killers again when they play Washington and the Rangers in this coming week. For those who want to see more movement in the standings, you’ll want to cheer on Columbus. The Flyers are the only bottom-half team in this week to play three games. It continues and finishes a four-game home-stand that began on Saturday; they’ll host Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Tampa Bay. Sweeping the week would be huge, although they’ll have to succeed and Tampa Bay, at a minimum, will not be an easy game. They can pay attention to the Islanders as they’ll host Tampa Bay on Monday and sort themselves out for three days before hosting Pittsburgh. Lastly, the Hurricanes will get two days off before playing both San Jose and Montreal. They’ll need that time to prepare. They did just decisively beat the Caps, so it is not unreasonable to think that they’ll be competitive. Whether or not they win - which they really need to do per the standings - is another question.
That was the week that was in the Metropolitan Division and now we know what lies ahead in this coming week. What are your thoughts on what happened in the division last week? Will the Rangers make it three straight weeks at the top? Will the Washington Capitals rebound? How far can the Devils extend their winning streak? Will Columbus make another statement win? Will the Islanders and/or Hurricanes pull themselves up in this coming week? Please let me know your answers and other thoughts about what the eight teams did in the division last week and what they may do this week in the comments. Thank you for reading.