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Weekly Metropolitan Division Snapshot: 4/3 - 4/10

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It's the last weekly Metropolitan Division snapshot of the season. In the coming eight days, four teams in the division will decide their playoff position with busy weeks ahead. Learn about what's coming up for all eight teams in the division in this post.

The best in the division. The best in the 2015-16 regular season.  Playoffs? We'll see, but they'll be the first seed.
The best in the division. The best in the 2015-16 regular season. Playoffs? We'll see, but they'll be the first seed.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

After six months, we're finally at the end. The 2015-16 regular season will conclude after this week. That means this is the final weekly Metropolitan Division snapshot of the season.  Yes, this is covering eight days as there are two games next Sunday.  After that, it's the postseason.  No need to have a snapshot at the end; it'll be the final result.

We know that Washington Capitals have punched their ticket to the playoffs.  They have secured the President's Trophy for the best regular season record.  They will take on the second wild card owners, who are currently the Philadelphia Flyers.  As it stands, the division will send five teams to the playoffs and only one team may finish in the bottom five in the league.  All told, it appears that the division was quite strong in 2015-16.

Team GP W L OT ROW Pts. Last Week Ptl. Pts. Weeks Won Playoff % AM
P -WSH 78 55 17 6 51 116 2-1-1 8 21 M1 No
X - PIT 78 45 25 8 41 98 4-0-0 8 17 M2 No
NYR 78 43 26 9 40 95 0-2-1 8 14 M3 No
NYI 77 42 26 9 37 93 2-1-0 10 14 W1 No
PHI 77 39 25 13 36 91 3-0-0 10 16 W2 No
CAR 79 34 29 16 33 84 2-1-1 6 11 No 2.0%
NJD 79 37 34 8 35 82 1-3-0 6 12 No 3.0%
CBJ 78 31 39 8 22 70 1-2-0 8 7 No 11.5%

Source: NHL.com - Playoff Spots & Auston Matthews Lottery Chances as of 4/3 Before Games Played

Getting hot before the playoffs is desirable and few have been hotter than the Pittsburgh Penguins.  The Pens have won five in a row and their surge has moved them up to second in the division and clinched a playoff spot before the New York Rangers.  The Pens are doing all this without their all-world forward, Evgeni Malkin.  I don't know if anyone really wants to face them in the first round. The Rangers probably do not.  They fell on their face last week by going winless.  That has not only moved them down to third in the division; but they're back to being vulnerable to their cross-city rivals, the New York Islanders.  As the Pens will want to keep the good times rolling, the Rangers need to bring the good times back and soon.  The Islanders will finally use up their game in hand this week and depending on how this coming week plays out, they could catch the Rangers.   There's plenty at stake for the teams behind the Capitals.

The team with the most at stake are the Philadelphia Flyers.  While the Islanders aren't exactly safe at 93 points, the Flyers have surged last week to hold onto that second wild card spot.  They and their fans will be paying close attention to Detroit (91 points, third in the Atlantic) and Boston (90 points, just outside of the wild card spot) in this coming week.  It's crucial that the Flyers keep it up as even one slip up could cost them the playoffs. With five games coming up in the next eight days, it's a week of destiny.

Behind the Flyers are the teams not going to the playoffs.  The New Jersey Devils were mathematically eliminated yesterday.  Winning one out of four in the previous week did not help their faint cause.  The Carolina Hurricanes are on the verge of mathematical elimination, though for all intents and purposes they are.  Their positive week of results keeps them ahead of New Jersey so they have that point of pride.  The Columbus Blue Jackets continued their struggles.  It moved them down into the bottom five spots in the league, increasing their odds to win the Auston Matthews lottery.  Getting as low as Toronto and Edmonton may be too much, but they're only three points ahead of them.  It's at least possible.

Here's the schedule for the final eight days of the season.  For Philadelphia's purpose, it also includes the schedules for Detroit and Boston.  There are some big games within the division, those will be in bold.

Team 4/3 4/4 4/5 4/6 4/7 4/8 4/9 4/10
WSH vs. NYI vs. PIT @ STL vs. ANA
PIT vs. PHI @ OTT @ WSH @ PHI
NYR @ CBJ vs. TBL vs. NYI vs. DET
NYI vs. TBL @ WSH @ NYR vs. BUF vs. PHI
PHI @ PIT @ DET vs. TOR vs. PIT @ NYI
CAR @ BOS vs. MTL @ FLA
NJD vs. BUF vs. TBL vs. TOR
CBJ vs. NYR @ TOR @ BUF vs. CHI
DET vs. PHI @ BOS @ NYR
BOS @ CHI vs. CAR vs. DET vs. OTT

Sunday has one game within the division but it's a doozy: Pittsburgh-Philadelphia.  The former would love to further secure their position in the standings and the latter needs the points to stay where they are. Check it out if you can. Monday has the Islanders taking on Tampa Bay while the Rangers look to get back to winning when they visit Columbus.   Tuesday is a far busier night. The Isles will travel to D.C. to play the Capitals; Carolina will go to Boston for a game Philly fans hope the Canes win; the Penguins will go up to Ottawa in the search for more points; the Rangers will get Tampa Bay as both teams are coming off a game on the night before; and the Devils will host Buffalo.  Wednesday has one of the biggest games of the upcoming week.  No, not Columbus at Toronto unless you regard the lottery as being that important.  It's Philadelphia at Detroit.  The winner could very well decide who's making tee times on April 11.

Thursday is the second busiest night in the week for the division. The top four teams will be facing off with one another: Capitals hosting Pittsburgh; Rangers hosting the Islanders. The latter has more tantalizing playoff possibilities depending on how the games earlier in this week go. Should the Rangers falter and the Isles take advantage, we could see the Rangers fall to a wildcard spot.  Outside of those games, the Flyers get to host Toronto, the Canes will host Montreal, and the Devils will face Tampa Bay one more time this season.  Friday has only one game in the entire league and it's Columbus at Buffalo. Again, big if you're into the implications for the draft lottery.

For most teams, the final day of the season is next Saturday, April 9.  The Penguins end their season by playing the Flyers one more time; another important rivalry game for both sides.  The Rangers will host Detroit in a game where the Flyers fans may want to hold their respective noses and hope the Rangers succeed.  Carolina goes to Florida to end their season in a game where Lightning fans would want the Canes to do some spoiling.  The Devils will host Toronto to cap 2015-16 as will the Blue Jackets when they host Chicago.  One of those teams may have an easier time than the other.   For the Capitals, Islanders, and Flyers, this day is their penultimate day of the season.  After the Caps play St. Louis, they will host Anaheim on April 10.  The Islanders will host Buffalo before hosting the Flyers on the tenth as well, which could be a critical game depending how the rest of the week went for them.

I thank you all for following along on Sunday ever since October.  I appreciate the continued support for the weekly Metropolitan Division snapshot.  For the last time until next October: What did you think of what happened within the division last week?  What do you think will happen in this coming week?  What do you think will be the playoff match-ups in the East?  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.  Again, thank you for reading.