The previous week was largely a successful one for the Metropolitan Division. Only two teams did not earn more than half of the available points. Not coincidentally, one of those teams fell out of the playoff picture. Probably just for now, but it's certainly enough to be a rude awakening.
|Team||GP||W||L||OT||ROW||Pts.||Last Week||Ptl. Pts.||Weeks Won||Playoff||% AM|
The New York Islanders, who have been at the heels of the New York Rangers for most of this season, have really slipped. The Rangers not only got away from them, but the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New Jersey Devils have jumped them in the standings. They were the only team in the division to have a losing record in this past week. Now, they need to get it together. In their favor is the fact that they have three games in hand on the Devils and one on the Penguins. That will become two and none after this week; we'll see whether they make the most of that game.
With the Isles dropping games, the Devils' shootout loss to the Washington Capitals - was ruling the division, is ruling the division, will be ruling the division in the foreseeable future - and the Penguins' win in Florida means they both moved up. With the Devils having played more games than most in the division, they remain vulnerable to getting jumped. For now, they have a wild card spot. The Rangers have built up a four point lead to hold onto second in the division. However, there's way too much season left to assume they'll stay there.
The Hurricanes had two games and split them. They were the only other team in the division that did not win their week. They do remain just ahead of the Flyers, who very nearly swept their week. The Flyers continue to have some amazing weeks in between a lot of lame flops this season. While they do have games in hand, they eventually have to be more consistently victorious instead of hoping it all breaks even for them. In last place, the Columbus Blue Jackets had a good week. They remain the "favorites" of winning the draft lottery all the same.
For this week's upcoming schedule, I did not include Ottawa or Montreal. They each have 54 points and have played as many games as New Jersey. They're not threatening anyone for a wild card spot anytime soon. Instead, it's just the Metropolitan Division and the current holders of the first wild card spot: Detroit. As before, all games within the Metropolitan Division are in bold.
|WSH||vs. PHI||@ NSH||@ MIN||@ DAL|
|NYR||vs. NJD||@ PIT||vs. LAK|
|PIT||vs. ANA||vs. NYR||@ CAR|
|NJD||@ NYR||vs. EDM||@ PHI|
|NYI||vs. EDM||@ CBJ||vs. LAK||@ CAR|
|CAR||@ MTL||vs. PIT||vs. NYI|
|PHI||@ WSH||vs. ANA||vs. BUF||vs. NJD|
|CBJ||vs. NYI||vs. ANA||vs. OTT|
|W1 - DET||vs. FLA||vs. OTT||vs. COL|
There are a lot of games within the division this week. Only Thursday doesn't have any.
The Capitals start a busy week by hosting Philly at noon. That's followed by a three game road trip through Nashville, Minnesota, and Dallas. The Rangers and Devils faceoff again on Monday. The Rangers then get a national TV date with the Penguins on Wednesday and then the Kings on Friday. The Penguins have a slightly easier slate. They get Anaheim on Monday and go to Carolina on Friday surrounding that big Wednesday night game. The Devils follow that rivalry game on Monday by celebrating Martin Brodeur on Tuesday. They will retire his number and for many, it'll be the first time they'll see the statue made in Brodeur's honor. They will also play Edmonton that night. The team will then be off until Saturday when they play a matinee in Philly.
The Islanders have four games to pull themselves out of the lower half of the Metropolitan. It begins with hosting Edmonton, then visiting Columbus, returning home to play Los Angeles, and then visiting Carolina. Maybe they'll do it? The Hurricanes will play Montreal today and then be idle until they play Pittsburgh and the Isles on consecutive nights to close the week. The Flyers will take on the Caps this afternoon before hosting Anaheim, Buffalo, and then the Devils. Lastly, Columbus gets to stay at home with games against the Isles, Anaheim, and Ottawa.
That was the week that was and the week that will be in the Metropolitan Division. What do you think will happen now? Can the Islanders get back into the playoff picture? Will the Canes or Flyers make move up the standings soon? How safe are the Rangers in second? Is the second wild card spot something to strive for, if you're the Devils? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about this week's division snapshot in the comments. Thank you for reading.