Happy Halloween. This is not a trick or a treat. It is what is done here every Sunday: a snapshot of the division that the New Jersey Devils play in. The division is the Metropolitan Division. The competition remains fierce. And one team is above it all for this snapshot. New for this snapshot, it is the Carolina Hurricanes. They have been perfect. Now they are at the top of the mountain for now.
Here is the schedule for all eight teams in the division for this coming week. There are three games within the division coming up, including one this evening; they are highlighted and in bold for your convenience.
What follows is the team-by-team breakdown for this week’s snapshot.
What Happened Last Week: Carolina went into this week undefeated. They continue to be undefeated. they were in Raleigh all week and picked up the maximum amount of points in their three games. Against Toronto on Monday; a 4-1 win. Against Boston on Thursday; an impressive 3-0 shutout win. Against Chicago on Friday; another win with another 3+ goal margin. 6-3 to be exact. Carolina is a machine right now. They are the hottest team in hockey. They are also in first place.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The Carolina Hurricanes machine will keep on rolling through a three-game week with two days off in between games. That is good for maintenance. On paper, the games should go well for the Canes. They will host a hapless Arizona team this afternoon that is in the midst of its own road trip of pain (first three games: Florida, Tampa Bay, Washington). On Wednesday, they will travel to play a real bad Chicago team. A rematch from Friday that may go well for the Canes. The toughest test will be on Saturday in Sunrise, Florida. They will visit the Panthers, who may have the quality to match the Canes’ run. But until further notice, doubting Carolina remains to be a bad idea.
SBN Blog: Canes Country
What Happened Last Week: The Capitals nearly swept last week, but ultimately fell in overtime to Calgary. The Capitals went right back to work, although not as well as they would have liked. In Ottawa, the Capitals won a 7-5 goal fest where the Senators would just not give up in the game. They still won. On Wednesday, the Capitals hosted Detroit. Get this, they lost to them. In overtime. Still a loss to Detroit where the visitors tied it up and Dylan Larkin took the ‘W’ from the Caps. On Friday, the Capitals hosted Arizona. They tried to set things right. It was more of a challenge than anticipated. But they got the breakthrough with a John Carlson power play goal just over 12 minutes into the third period. Alex Ovechkin added an ENG for the 2-0 win. Despite some issues, it is another week of earning five out of six. Always a good thing in the eyes of the Division Snapshot. And do note that the Caps are starting to break away from the rest of the division. Assuming they can keep it up for this coming week.
What’s Coming Up This Week: Washington will begin November in the state of Florida for two road games. They will visit Tampa Bay on Monday night. Their last meeting was close and required overtime. We shall see if there is a repeat of that. On Thursday, the Caps will visit the Panthers. In years past, this was a relished matchup for the Capitals. Not so much this season. These Cats appear to be able to claw points from anyone. On Saturday night, the Capitals will return home. It will not be any easier as they will host a Philadelphia squad following the tradition of dangerous offense and not-as-dangerous not-offense. These are three tough games. Three teams better than Ottawa, Detroit, and Arizona. A winning week out of these three games would further show that the Capitals can still contend in this day and age. It would also help keep them from dropping back instead of breaking further ahead of the pack.
SBN Blog: Japers’ Rink
What Happened Last Week: The Rangers won four straight games heading into this week. They were in first place in last week’s snapshot. Would they keep it going? No. The Calgary Flames visited Madison Square Garden on Monday night. They left with a big 5-1 win. The Rangers’ streak ended. With a light week, the only other game for the Rangers to play was against Columbus on Friday. Would they bounce back with a win? Yes. The Rangers went ahead of Columbus and never looked back. Two goals in the first, two power play goals in the third, and a shutout for Igor Shesterkin. The 4-0 win means a split week for the Rangers and still breaking the ten-point threshold. Not bad in a short week that saw a winning streak ended with authority.
What’s Coming Up This Week: Following Philadelphia’s example last week, the schedule has the Rangers traveling out West this week. Specifically, Washington state, British Columbia and Alberta. Today, they will visit Seattle for the first time. It will be the Rangers’ easiest game from a talent perspective. The remainder, well, it gets harder as it goes on. On Tuesday, they will visit Vancouver. On Friday and Saturday, the Rangers will take care of their duties in Alberta with a back-to-back with Edmonton and Calgary. Calgary dispatched the Rangers easily last week in MSG; that knowledge makes Saturday’s game even harder given that it is a road game and the Rangers would have had to deal with McDavid the night prior. Of course, the games are played on the ice and not on paper. With the streak now dead, this coming week could give more insight into how good the Rangers may actually be this season.
SBN Blog: Blueshirt Banter
What Happened Last Week: Trips out to Western Canada are never easy. However, the Flyers did what they could to make it successful. On Wednesday night in Edmonton, the Flyers broke through in the third period and an ENG sealed up a 5-3 win. It was the Oilers’ first loss of the season. After surviving the wrath of McDavid, the Flyers visited Vancouver on Thursday night. This game was closer and all of the goals came in the first period. The Flyers had more of them with a quick one by Sean Couturier and a James van Reimsdyk goal set up by Couturier. The Flyers won 2-1 to at least secure a winning trip. Last night, the Flyers visited Calgary - who had a successful romp through Manhattan, Newark, and Pittsburgh earlier in the week. Calgary kept on rolling through Metropolitan Division teams as the Flyers ate a 4-0 shutout. A disappointing end to an otherwise successful trip (2-1-0) through Western Canada.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The Flyers return home from their road trip for a home game on Tuesday. It is against Arizona. Provided the Flyers show up for the game, they should be able to get a result. After that game, they are back on the road. They will be more local away from home. The Flyers will head across the state to visit their hated rivals in Pittsburgh on Thursday night. Rivalry games are always of interest and this one could help shape the early state of the division. Philadelphia will then travel to Washington D.C. to play the Capitals on Saturday in what could be another heated game that will have implications for the rest of the division. At least for next week’s snapshot. They are heading into this week with a winning record on the trip out West, so we shall see if they build upon it.
SBN Blog: Broad Street Hockey
New Jersey Devils
What Happened Last Week: It was a short week for the Devils. It was a challenging week game-wise. They hosted Calgary on Tuesday night. Despite the Flames having played and crushed the Rangers on Monday, the Devils looked out-of-step and conceded four goals in the first period. They would not recover as they lost 5-3 to an impressive Flames team that ripped through the division this week. Last night, the Devils played their first road game of the season against Pittsburgh. The start was much better from a performance point of view. Even though they gave up the first goal of the game for their fourth-straight game, Andreas Johnsson tied it up on a deflection off a defender’s leg to make it 1-1. Jimmy Vesey broke ahead on a shorthanded breakaway to make it 2-1 in the second. While the Pens tied it up in the third and pounded the Devils, their penalty kill was strong and late in the game, Sidney Crosby did wrong. He fouled Jesper Bratt from behind in a one-on-one with Tristan Jarry. The refs awarded Bratt a penalty shot and he finished it to make it 3-2 with three minutes left. Johnsson put the Devils up with an empty net goal thanks to Jarry and the Penguins failing to start a 6-on-5 breakout. The Devils held on to win 4-2 for their first road win of the season. They split the week. Due to having played fewer games than their other 8-point brethren, they are in fifth for this snapshot.
What’s Coming Up This Week: First, the Devils are hosting Columbus in an early Halloween evening game. The Blue Jackets have given the Devils nightmares and losses for several seasons in recent history. If the Devils want to show this season will be different, then a win will do them nicely. Especially for the home fans as they will not see the Devils for the rest of this week. While the Rangers are heading out Northwest, the Devils will then go off to California. They will visit Anaheim on Tuesday, and then deal with a back-to-back set with Los Angeles and San Jose (who is a lot better than expected) on Friday and Saturday. These trips are not easy ones. Should the Devils return with points, then that should be welcomed.
SBN Blog: All About the Jersey - you’re here and thank you for being here.
What Happened Last Week: The Islanders had a sandwich-style schedule. Last Sunday and last night had games. Nothing was in between. They were both on the road as the Isles wait for UBS Arena to be ready. The Isles made the best of it. On Sunday, the Isles blanked Las Vegas in a 2-0 win. Recall that the Isles shut out Arizona the day before. It was a perfect week for the Isles’ netminders. Yesterday afternoon, the Isles were in Nashville. The goaltending was not perfect. Tanner Jeannot scored in the second period to break that team streak. He also scored again in the third period to tie the game up at 2-2. That score stood through regulation and overtime. In the shootout, the Isles did not score and Filip Forsberg and Roman Josi did. As a result, the Isles lost 3-2 through a shootout. While it was not a win, it was a third point out of four potential points to earn this week. Not a bad result amid their epic of a road trip.
What’s Coming Up This Week: That epic road trip to start the season will continue on into November. First, the Isles will be off for four days. A generous break as they had five days off between their two games last week. But, again, they have no home games until November 20 so it is understandable. When the Isles return to the ice, they will be in Montreal to play a Canadiens team that is in some kind of disarray. On Saturday, they will have a tougher test on paper against Winnipeg. If the Isles can stay in the mix of the division amid all of these road games and take care of their eventual business at home, then they will be fine in the standings. Do not trip up in Canada, Isles.
SBN Blog: Lighthouse Hockey
What Happened Last Week: Columbus started off this past week with a home game against Dallas. It went quite well. The Blue Jackets went up early, never looked back, and won with a comfortable 4-1 final score. On Friday night, the Blue Jackets visited the Rangers. If they were the hammer against Dallas, then they were the nail in New York. Columbus conceded two goals in the first, two power play goals in the third, and put nothing past Igor Shesterkin. The 0-4 result was a decisive loss. Columbus split their week, but since they did not have a hot streak prior to it, they are here instead of being higher in the standings.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The Blue Jackets will spend their Halloween in Newark with an early evening game against the Devils. Columbus has done very well against the Devils in recent years; we shall see whether they treat themselves to two points by tricking the Devils into a loss. The remainder of the week could be scarier, though. Columbus will travel to Denver for a Wednesday night game against the Avalanche. After that, they will return home to Ohio to play the Avalanche again. I guess they can get those games out of the way and there is a break for them after Saturday. Still, two games against Colorado is not an easy schedule. Perhaps the Blue Jackets will continue to make statements about how much they are not doormats by getting results in either game? We shall see.
SBN Blog: The Cannon
What Happened Last Week: The Penguins remained at home all week for three games. This did not seem to help their cause in two of them. On Tuesday, the Penguins hosted Tampa Bay. The Pens won big in Tampa Bay on the opening night of the season. The Lightning obtained revenge by beating the Penguins 5-1. On Thursday, it was the Penguins’ turn to play a traveling Calgary squad. Calgary crushed the Pens in a 4-0 loss. The last chance for the Penguins to get points in this week was in an inter-division game against the Devils on Saturday. On paper, this was their easiest game. And Sidney Crosby returned from injury for this one. On the ice, it was not at all easy. Despite Danton Heinen scoring first, the Devils hung with the home team for the first two periods. New Jersey tied it up late in the first period. Pittsburgh had plenty of power plays and ended up a -1 on them as Vesey scored shorthanded. The Pens tied it up thanks to Brock McGinn exposing the Devils’ tendency to overload on defense. They had chances but they could not solve Jonathan Bernier, the defense, and lady luck. The aforementioned Crosby fouled Jesper Bratt from behind late in the third period and conceded a penalty shot. The Devils scored on that. Then Tristan Jarry and a terrible breakout by the Penguins led to a silly looking ENG scored against them. The Penguins lost 4-2 to “reverse-sweep” the week by earning three straight losses. They are now in last place for at least a hot minute. Ouch.
What’s Coming Up This Week: This week is somewhat favorable for the Penguins, who could now use a win. Not only will they be at home for the whole week - their homestand ends on Saturday - but they will be off for four days before their first game. Despite their record, the Penguins have been beset by injuries and COVID-19. That time to recover and practice will be welcomed by the organization. Again, Crosby and Jeff Carter are now back. Others may follow. The favorability ends on Thursday as the first of Pittsburgh’s two games this week is against their hated rivals in Philadelphia. These games can get real heated and the Pens will need to make sure they do not lose the game amid their passion. On Saturday night, the Penguins will host Minnesota. The Penguins are coming off a winless week and this two-game week could keep them back in the standings. But a turnaround can begin here as more players may return to the team.
SBN Blog: PensBurgh
That was the third Weekly Metropolitan Division Snapshot of the 2021-22 season. What do you expect to happen in this week coming up? Will first place continue to be a hot potato, or can Carolina claim it for more than one week? How long will Carolina stay perfect? How will the Devils do among the other teams? Outside of games against Calgary, how competitive is this division? 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.