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Weekly Metropolitan Division Snapshot: 1/22 - 1/28

In this week’s snapshot of the Metropolitan Division, the Washington Capitals dethroned the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Philadelphia Flyers are falling through failure, and a short schedule in this coming week.

Chicago Blackhawks v Washington Capitals
The Caps are atop of the Metropolitan Division and they may be having a laugh.
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. The Washington Capitals have taken the Metropolitan Division throne in this past week. After falling as far as fourth earlier in this season, the Caps have just put in the work, they had a strong run, and unlike another Metropolitan Division team, they didn’t fall apart when that winning streak ended. Now that the dust of last week has settled, here are the standings to start this All-Star Weekend shortened week.

1-22-2017 Metropolitan Division Standings
1-22-2017 Metropolitan Division Standings
Standings from

Incidentally, the Caps did this with a very high-scoring week of hockey. They opened the week dominating Philly 5-0, losing in OT in a massive goalfest to Pittsburgh 8-7 (!!), crushing St. Louis 7-3, and wrapping up the week with a 4-3 OT win over Dallas. That’s a whole lot of lamps being lit. Their 7-out-of-8 week was enough to get past Columbus for the top spot - for now. The Columbus Blue Jackets are not far behind, though. They beat Carolina twice to A) keep their own pace and B) ruin Carolina’s. Alas, a 0-2 shutout loss to Ottawa prevented a sweep of the week. Still, the top is by no means set so we could see the Caps and Jackets swap spots by next Sunday.

What of the Pittsburgh Penguins? That 1-3-0 record two weeks ago put them behind such that a perfect week in this past week would still keep them solidly in third place. Three points does not seem like much of a deficit but it can be given that Columbus and Washington just have not lost a lot of games. The Pens can only control themselves, though. Beating Washington 8-7 was big and could be in time. They also made it miserable for Montreal by beating them 4-1 and creamed Carolina 7-1 to complete the sweep of this week. At least it gave them some more breathing room over the New York Rangers. The Rangers had two games last week and won one of them. They beat Toronto to prevent a losing streak from reaching four games long. The win also keeps them only four points behind Pittsburgh for that guaranteed playoff spot. We’ll see if they can right the ship more after the break.

The lower half of the division is now up for grabs. It feels like forever ago that the Philadelphia Flyers won ten games in a row and built up so many points that they seemed destined for a playoff spot. Well, the Flyers have fallen apart bit by bit. In this past week, they lost to Washington, had their five-day break in the schedule, and then lost to the New Jersey Devils. Now, the Flyers are not in the second wild card spot in the East. Toronto has it with one more point than the Flyers. And unfortunately for the Orange and Black, the last-place in the division and conference New York Islanders are only behind them by four points. Everyone else in the East is within or close to striking distance of the Flyers. If they don’t win some games this week, they could fall much further and fall quickly. This also means that the three teams below Philadelphia can move on up if they help themselves. The Carolina Hurricanes could have done so, except they lost all three of their games last week. That’s a lost opportunity and one they may rue amid a very competitive bottom half of the Eastern Conference. The New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders did help themselves and have put themselves in contention for at least this moment. The Devils actually were successful on their recent road trip (3-0-1) and they beat Vancouver in OT and Minnesota (!) in this past week. Despite a bad performance in a loss to Montreal, they made Philly pay the price for their errors in a 4-1 win. That last win not only helped New Jersey but most of the East as it kept Philly steady in the standings. As for the New York Islanders, they swept their week amid a big change in this week. The team beat Boston 4-0, fired their head coach, beat Dallas 3-0, and then beat LA 4-2. I would have expected Jack Capuano to have been fired earlier in this season when the Isles really fell flat on their faces. But thanks to the Isles not staying completely flat, they could get hot and actually make a run. Forced parity may have its issues but it makes for some excitement in the lower half of the division in the second half of the season.

This weekend is the NHL All Star Weekend. Therefore, this week is effectively shortened to five days. There’s plenty of action to pay attention to, though. Here’s what is coming up for all eight Metropolitan Division teams. Games within the division are in bold:

1-22-2017 Metropolitan Division Schedule
1-22-2017 Metropolitan Division Schedule
Schedules from

Up at the top, the Washington Capitals will try to stay in first and can make a difference in the lower half of the conference in the process. The Caps will host Carolina, who is on a losing streak; visit Ottawa on Tuesday; and then go to New Jersey on Thursday. The Columbus Blue Jackets will be hoping the Caps slip up whilst winning their own games. The Blue Jackets will go to Ottawa today, go to Brooklyn to play the New York Islanders on Tuesday, and then go to Nashville. This is a broken-up road trip for Columbus; they’ll have their next home game on February 4. Should they keep winning, more and more people will realize that, yes, the Blue Jackets are for real. They really ought to know by now, though.

As for the other team in the guaranteed playoff spot, the Pittsburgh Penguins will seek to extend their winning streak this week. They’ll get familiar with Boston with a home game against them today and a road game against them on Thursday. They’ll host St. Louis in the middle of all of that. They are the only team in the division who does not have a game within the Metropolitan. So feel free to get and/or give those post-regulation points, Penguins! The New York Rangers will try to get back to their own ways with an interesting back-to-back set that takes them to Detroit today and then returns them home for Los Angeles tomorrow. They’ll have Philadelphia in a nationally televised game on Wednesday, which could be nasty depending on how both teams enter this game in the standings.

Down in the lower half, the Flyers will get to play the Islanders. It would be a huge feather in the Isles’ cap to pull themselves closer into the currently-large playoff picture of hopefuls with a win tonight. Philly will have to work hard to stop dropping points. The Flyers will play the Rangers and then take on current wild-card holders Toronto. For Philly, the losing has to stop; otherwise, they’re just going to be just another face in the crowd. Speaking of losing, Carolina will only have two chances to end their losing streak in this week. They’ll face a very good Capitals team on Monday and then a not-so-strong Los Angeles team on Thursday. We’ll see if they do it. The New Jersey Devils will have two chances to keep on winning. They’ll host Los Angeles on Tuesday, so they’ll hope the Rangers wear them out a little. They’ll host the Capitals on Thursday, so they’ll hope the Caps are not so hot by that point. Lastly, the Islanders will host Columbus and Montreal after playing Philly tonight. Something tells me they’ll be humming this classic tune if they are successful in this coming week.

That was the week that was in the Metropolitan Division and now we know what is coming up next. With a short week, how do you think the Metropolitan Division will look by Friday. Will a Metropolitan Division team take the wild card spot previously held by Philadelphia? Can the Penguins make up ground on the Capitals and Blue Jackets? Can the Devils and/or the Islanders move themselves up? 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.