After the first full week of the NHL regular season, the Metropolitan Division did well for itself in this past week. Last week, five teams earned half of their potential points. This week, all but one team did. Two teams swept their schedules, two more teams came a point away from doing so, and even the New York Islanders won a game (two, in fact). This makes for a tight snapshot of the division standings. One where one of those hot teams is now at the top: the New York Rangers.
The Carolina Hurricanes remain perfect for the season. The Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals have yet to lose in regulation. They are all right behind the Rangers, who enter this day with four wins in a row. The other half of the division certainly is not doing too shabby either and a little heat from either can easily move up. There is a lot of hockey left to play but no one is really in early trouble like, say, Arizona, Seattle, Montreal, or Chicago.
Here is the schedule for all eight teams in the division for this coming week. Just two games within the division coming up; they are highlighted and in bold for your convenience.
Now, the team-by-team breakdown for this week’s snapshot.
New York Rangers
What Happened Last Week: The Rangers hit the road and kept on winning away from Manhattan. The streak almost never happened in Ontario as the Rangers and Maple Leafs needed to go beyond regulation in a tight-affair. Artemi Panarin scored his first to end a dramatic overtime for the 2-1 win. Next, the Rangers went to Nashville on Thursday night. This one was knotted up at one for quite sometime. But Alexis Lafreniere provided the tiebreaker a bit past halfway through the third. An ENG secured a third straight win. Yesterday afternoon, it seemed that Ottawa would end the streak. Josh Norris scored within the game’s first minute and put the Sens up 2-0 early in the third period. However, an accident (and it was an accident) that led to Chris Kreider’s knee taking out goaltender Matt Murray forced Murray to leave the game with an injury. In came Anton Forsberg. Shortly after he entered the game, Kreider scored. Less than a minute later, Jacob Trouba tripped up Tim Stutzle. The referees made a dubious decision to give Stutzle an embellishment call; instead of a Senators power play, it was 4-on-4. About thirty in-game seconds after that, Ryan Lindgren tied up the game at 2-2. A bit after the penalties ended, Barclay Goodrow beat Forsberg with a deflection to put the Rangers up 3-2 and they held onto win. Senators fans may have the right to be salty. Rangers fans may feel their team was a bit lucky. The standings and therefore, the Division Snapshot does not care about how it happens - just whether it did happen. And the Rangers won three straight to take the top spot for this week’s post.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The Rangers are streaking. They will get to wait a bit to continue it. On Monday, they will host a Calgary team that could be a tricky matchup. Then they will wait until Friday to host a Columbus team that is trying to show that they may end up last in the Metropolitan but by no means are they weak. With just two games coming up, the Rangers may slip a bit in the standings. Of course, their job is straight forward: win games and it’ll take care of itself. Don’t be stupid in the interim, Rangers.
SBN Blog: Blueshirt Banter
What Happened Last Week: Carolina only played twice but they made their presence felt in both games. On Thursday, the Canes played in Montreal. Given the offseason drama surrounding Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s offersheet, this one had some juice. The Canes drank it all as they just decisively put down the Canadiens in a 4-1 win. A 4-1 win where the eventual game winning goal was scored by Kotkaniemi. Sometimes, real life provides the best scripts. Last night, the Canes headed to Ohio to play Columbus. This one did not have any spicy offer-sheet related drama or post-game internet silliness. No. Carolina just beat down the Blue Jackets with three power play goals amid their 5-1 result. The Hurricanes remain perfect in 2021-22 and a matter of New York having a post-regulation loss is why they are not in first. Yet.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The Carolina machine will get to enjoy home cooking for this coming week. All three of their games will be in Raleigh. They will host a reeling Toronto team that has had a surprisingly rough start to this season on Monday. It is a good opportunity to pour more misery on a Canadian team in October. Later in the week is a back-to-back set with a challenging Boston team on Thursday and a not-as-challenging Chicago team on Friday. The Canes need to be careful that the game against the B’s does not expose them against the BH’s on the next night. Don’t be casual, Canes.
SBN Blog: Canes Country
What Happened Last Week: The Penguins were a point away from perfection in a short week. On Tuesday, they hosted Dallas in what turned out to be a showcase for Tristan Jarry and Braden Holtby. The two were only beaten once in regulation. Overtime solved nothing and so a shootout was needed. Alexander Radulov provided the difference on the third shot to give Dallas the 2-1 shootout result and the 2-1 result for the game. Pittsburgh had time to wait and had some potential concerns of missing Jarry and Jeff Carter for Saturday due to the COVID-19 protocol. Jarry was fine. Carter had to stay out. And Kris Letang joined them. The Crosby, Malkin, Rust, and Letang-less Penguins hosted Toronto and just smacked them around for 60 minutes. The Pens dominated the all-star-led, big money Leafs in a 7-1 victory. Goals came from Drew O’Connor (2), Mike Matheson, Jeff Zucker, Marcus Pettersson, Brian Boyle, and Evan Rodrigues. The Penguins took care of business big time and continue to show that, yes, a team can still perform well even without their best players. Taking 3 out of 4 points in the week furthers that message.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The Penguins’ run at home will continue throughout this week. They are not be at 100% health-wise but they have proven they can succeed regardless. On Tuesday, the Pens will host Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay may be itching for revenge for spoiling their opening night two weeks ago. The Penguins may not be as concerned given their recent success. On Thursday, Pittsburgh will host a Calgary team traveling through the area. On Saturday, they will host the Devils in their first inter-division game of the season. They could still do well results-wise this week. And if the Penguins get healthier, watch out. Don’t be over-confident until then, Penguins.
SBN Blog: PensBurgh
What Happened Last Week: Like Pittsburgh, the Capitals were a point away from a perfect week of results. It was still impressive to take 5 out of 6 potential points, though. On Tuesday, the Capitals hosted a potential Cup contender in Colorado. A Colorado team that would have Nathan MacKinnon make his season debut. Washington did their job and pulled away in the second period to turn a 2-2 tie a few minutes into that period into a 4-2 lead by the second intermission. The Caps quickly made it 5-2 and secured a 6-3 win at home. On Thursday, the Capitals visited New Jersey. They quickly went up 2-0 and never looked back. Washington thoroughly outplayed the Devils in a comfortable 4-1 win. Yesterday afternoon, the Capitals hosted Calgary and that game was anything but comfortable. The visiting Flames struck first, second, and third in the first period with Elias Lindholm potting two goals - the second, a shorthanded goal. After what was likely a “refocusing” in the first intermission, the Capitals mounted a comeback effort. Evgeny Kuznetsov scored a shorty of his own to start it. Martin Fehervary scored his first as a Capital to pull Washington within one. Alex Ovechkin made it 3-3 by the end of the second period. The third period was scoreless and overtime was needed. There, Elias Lindholm would complete his hat trick to make it a 4-3 OTL for the Caps. Still, a very good week of results and very much in the mix for where they want to be: competing for first.
What’s Coming Up This Week: On paper, the Capitals have a fairly easy week. It is true opponent should be taken lightly in the NHL. However, Washington really should be able to get points in their next three games. They will visit Ottawa on Monday and then return home for games against Detroit and Arizona, whom are both going to be major players in the Blight for Wright Sweepstakes next year. I do not think it is unfair to expect a potential division contender to beat on the weak teams in the league. Don’t get snared, Caps.
SBN Blog: Japers’ Rink
What Happened Last Week: Bad news struck the Devils in their game against Seattle last Tuesday. In that game, Jeremy Lauzon undercut Jack Hughes’ legs and The Big Deal landed on his shoulder. He is out with a separated shoulder. The Devils did win that game, filled with lots of stoppages and nastiness, in regulation 4-2. But the concern was over Hughes. How would the Devils do without him? Against the Capitals, the answer was quickly realized: poorly. The Devils were outplayed, outcoached, and outmatched by the Capitals in a 4-1 defeat. OK, the Capitals are a really good team. And head coach made his issues with the forwards in that game public and clear. He wanted more from them. Did that happen against an in-form Buffalo team on Saturday night? Not really. Two frustrating periods of mostly bad shots, bad reads, and a little bad luck made it seem like the Devils would fail to score at all. But a favorable bounce of Nico Hischier on a power play that was otherwise a travesty to man advantages everywhere got in. And the Devils tried to get a second goal. They would in OT, where the Devils played their best hockey. A smart move by Damon Severson found Pavel Zacha all alone on the right wing. Zacha fired a laser past Dustin Tokarski to get the 2-1 win. The process was less than ideal and definitely missed Hughes. But in the Division Snapshot, it is all about results and the Devils did get results. Even moved up a spot in the standings too.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The five-game run at the Rock to start the season ends on Tuesday when the Devils play Calgary. That same Calgary team would be coming off a game in Manhattan the night before, so the Devils have an advantage on paper. We shall see if they take it. The Devils will then get some time off before heading into a back-to-back set for Halloween weekend. The first half of it will be on Saturday against Pittsburgh for their first road game of the season. The Pens have been quite good even without their aces. If the Devils can perform to their strengths, keep their game plan simple, and not play like they are lost without Hughes, though, I think they can be competitive in both games. Don’t overthink things, Devils.
SBN Blog: All About the Jersey - you’re still here. Thank you for that.
What Happened Last Week: Columbus began the season with two wins. They visited Detroit for their first road game of the season on Tuesday night. It did not go well. The Red Wings put the Blue Jackets to the sword throughout the night. A Boone Jenner PPG kept the Blue Jackets from being shut out in a 4-1 loss. On Thursday night, the Blue Jackets returned to Ohio to host the slow-starting Islanders. This one was more competitive. Columbus went up 2-1 by the end of the second with another power play goal by Jenner, rookie Cole Sillinger’s first goal, and both were assisted by Oliver Bjorkstrand in someway. However, the Isles threatened to spoil the night when Mat Barzal scored in the third period to tie it up. Fortunately for the home team, Bjorkstrand and Zach Werenski helped set up Patrik Laine for an overtime winner to provide a 3-2 victory. Unfortunately, the home of the Cannon would not remain undefeated for long. Last night, the Hurricanes came in and, well, blew them away in a 5-1 loss. It was close for part of the second period when Boone Jenner (yes! again!) scored another power play goal (yes! again!) to make it 2-1 before halfway through the second. But the Canes pulled ahead later in the period and never looked back. The Blue Jackets unfortunately ended up being the one team in the division that did not win the week. Even so, they still picked up a win and remain above last place for another week.
What’s Coming Up This Week: Columbus has a fairly light week coming up with just two games. They will host Dallas on Monday night. Then they will head to Manhattan to play the Rangers on Friday. Their first two weeks should have quelled the doubters about how the Blue Jackets’ season would go. It is not impossible that they could win this short week and keep fighting to stay out of the basement. Don’t give into doubt, Blue Jackets.
SBN Blog: The Cannon
What Happened Last Week: The Flyers continued their stay at home for the week. It went quite well. They hosted Seattle for the first time on Monday. The Kraken tried to bring the violence. The Flyers won the battle and the game in a decidedly clear fashion. A 6-1 victory with plenty of players getting on the scoresheet. Against a better-than-Seattle team in Boston, the Flyers’ offense struck again for a touchdown. They beat the B’s 6-3 with a big third period to pull away from a 3-3 tie for a nice-looking result. However, their toughest challenge would be against Florida. The Panthers are looking legit as championship contenders. Adding to that legitimacy, they prevailed last night. The Flyers went up 2-1 on the Cats in the second but the visitors tied it up right before intermission and got the deciding and insurance goals in the third. The Flyers won the week by going 2-1-0. Their homestand was a less-good 2-2-0. Still, they got some wins on the board and at the least shown the league that Philadelphia’s offense is as dangerous as ever with 18 goals in 4 games (just as many as Carolina; only St. Louis has scored more in 4 games).
What’s Coming Up This Week: Philadelphia is the first team in the Metropolitan Division to head to Western Canada this season. They will “enjoy” the three-game-in-four-night schedule of games in British Columbia and Alberta. On Wednesday night, they will be in Edmonton to face the Fighting McDavids. On Thursday night, they will be in Vancouver to take on a Canucks team that has not played much at home yet this season. On Saturday, the trip will end in Calgary against a Flames team that may be happy to be home after traveling through the Metropolitan area earlier in the week. These are never easy games. Getting points on this trip would make a statement. Don’t get thrown off the by the travel, Flyers.
SBN Blog: Broad Street Hockey
New York Islanders
What Happened Last Week: The Islanders went into this week winless with two regulation losses on their record. They ended this week with just two regulation losses on their record. This was crucial as to avoid a real bad record to fall further behind the rest of the division. On Tuesday night, the Isles obtained their first win by decisively beating Chicago, 4-1. The Isles scored four straight and Ilya Sorokin was just denied the shutout with less than 30 seconds left to play. On Thursday night, the Isles visited Columbus. While Scott Mayfield’s first goal was answered with two Blue Jackets goals, Mat Barzal tied things up in the third and forced overtime. Alas, Laine scored to give the Isles the defeat - still a point in the standings. Last night, the Isles went to Arizona to play a hapless Coyotes team. Here, Sorokin would get that shutout. He was perfect. An Islander scored in each period for a 3-0 win to end the week. The Isles are still in last, but at 2-2-1, they are definitely heading in the right direction.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The road trip to start the season continues on. Tonight, the Islanders will be in Las Vegas to play the difficult Golden Knights. Their season has not started so well, but games in Las Vegas tend to be tough. This is right off of playing in Arizona the night before; the potential fatigue factor adds to the challenge. The Isles will get the benefit of having the work week off after tonight’s game. They will return to play in Tennessee on Saturday night when they visit the Predators. That may be a win-able game after the time off. The Isles’ road will continue for about three more weeks. It will pay off with longer homestands in their future - provided they do not crater their entire trip. This past week was needed. But it is far from over yet. Don’t fall behind after making those gains last week, Isles.
SBN Blog: Lighthouse Hockey
That was the second Weekly Metropolitan Division Snapshot of the 2021-22 season. What do you expect to happen in this week coming up? Who will usurp first place from the Rangers, if anyone does? How long will Carolina stay perfect? Can Columbus bounce back from being the only team in the division that did not win this past week? How will the Devils do among the other teams? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about the eight teams in the week that was and the week ahead in the comments. Thank you for reading.