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Weekly Metropolitan Division Snapshot: 12/18 - 12/24

In the tenth weekly Metropolitan Division snapshot of the 2022-23 season, the New Jersey Devils are in first place and slumping. The Carolina Hurricanes, Pittsburgh Penguins, and New York Rangers are all hot right now and pursuing said Devils. Read on to find out about the week that was and will be for all 8 teams.

Philadelphia Flyers v New Jersey Devils
“We’re still in first?” “For now. ...for now.”
Photo by Rich Graessle/NHLI via Getty Images

There is one more Metropolitan Division snapshot until the end of the 2022 portion of the season. Who would have guessed that the New Jersey Devils are in first place by then? Or for this many posts? Unfortunately, the Devils have hit a slump. The remainder of the Metropolitan Division has kept on winning. The Carolina Hurricanes have a game in hand on New Jersey (which will be used this week) and are two points back. The Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers are riding winning streaks and they are behind by just four and five points, respectively. This means this snapshot could be the last time the Devils are in first place. For at least next week’s snapshot. They could get back there, of course. There is a lot of hockey left to be played.

Metropolitan Division Standings as of the morning of December 18, 2022
Metropolitan Division Standings as of the morning of December 18, 2022

If you love games within the division, then this week is for you. Those games, which are highlighted in yellow and in bold, are throughout the division. Only the Washington Capitals are not involved in seven inter-division games in this week. Carolina’s whole week is within the Metropolitan. Much can change by Christmas Day’s snapshot.

Metropolitan Division team schedules for 12/18/2022 to 12/24/2022
Metropolitan Division team schedules for 12/18/2022 to 12/24/2022
Team schedules via

Here is the week that was and week that will be for all eight teams in the division.

New Jersey Devils

What Happened Last Week: The New Jersey Devils lost a game going into this week of four games in six nights. It turned out to be the start of a slump. On Monday, the Devils visited Manhattan. Unlike their first meeting, the Devils went off to a fast start with goals by Nico Hischier’s jersey (a Jonas Siegenthaler shot hit off Hischier and in) and Dawson Mercer. But the Rangers clawed back a goal when Chris Kreider finished a 2-on-1. In the second period, the Devils went up 3-1 when Jack Hughes served Igor Shesterkin the sauce. Yet, a power play re-direction by Vincent Trocheck and a goal by Kaapo Kakko on the very next shift tied up the game at 3-3. After a tense and scoreless third period, overtime ensued. The Devils held the puck, eventually took a shot, recovered the puck for another shot, and then Artemi Panarin got it in deep and set up Filip Chytil for a perfect far-post shot to take the game for the Rangers. The Devils lost 4-3. On the next night, the Devils hosted Dallas. After a dreary first period, business picked up from both offensive wagons. Shortly after an amazing stop by Akira Schmid, a seemingly harmless long shot by Ryan Suter was tipped in by Ty Dellandrea to open the scoring. Miles Wood tipped in a Kevin Bahl shot to tie it up shortly thereafter. With seconds left in the second period, Jason Robertson found Miro Heiskanen open at the center point. Heiskanen went bar down on the long shot - and the puck stayed out. Roope Hintz beat the Devils to the loose puck to put it in with three seconds left in the period. The Devils tried, tried, and tried, but there would be no equalizer. Esa Lindell iced the game with an empty net goal and Mason Marchment boosted it to a 4-1 loss with another empty net goal. On Thursday night, the Devils sought to right things against Philadelphia. They were goalie’d by Scott Wedgewood on Tuesday. Unfortunately, they were goalie’d by Carter Hart on Thursday. Jack Hughes torched the defense on a zone entry and scored a power play goal to open the scoring. Yet, the Flyers tied it up with a PPG from Scott Laughton. The Devils did everything but score again on Hart. A Damon Severson turnover yielded a Travis Konecny breakaway - and a goal for Philadelphia. Hart continued to be a wall and despite 49 shots on net, the Devils could not score a second goal for a second straight game. The Devils lost 2-1. On Saturday, the Devils ended their week against Florida. It did not go well. An accident by Nico Hischier after a faceoff yielded Aleksander Barkov leaving with injury and the Panthers taking shots at the captain throughout the game. A slash by Brendan Smith in the first period yielded a power play goal for Sam Reinhart. Early in the second period, Gustav Forsling doubled the lead for Florida. John Marino scored from distance to make it 2-1. Florida challenged the goal as Sergei Bobrovsky was bumped down, but that was because Eric Staal pushed Dawson Mercer into it so the goal stood. All was good until Aaron Ekblad sent a long shot that was tipped by Reinhart all the way to beat Akira Schmid shortside to make it 3-1 with 40 seconds left in the second period. The Devils tried to get back into this one and got a bit of life when Michael McLeod set up Erik Haula in front to make it 3-2 with about 3:30 left in regulation. Alas, there would be no comeback. Carter Verhaegae ended the game with an empty net goal. The Devils lost 4-2 and are now winless in their last five. They are in a slump. With others winning, their time in first place is running out. This coming week will not make it any easier.

What’s Coming Up This Week: The Devils have a particularly brutal run of three games in four nights this week. First, they are on the road on Tuesday night against Carolina. Carolina is one of the few teams that can claim to be as good, if not better, than the Devils in 5-on-5 play this season. They are also battling to knock off the Devils from first place. That will be a difficult game. Second, the Devils will play the very next night in Sunrise, Florida. They will play a Panthers team that is talented if underachieving this season (as well as mostly good at home). I do not suggest disrespecting them. Matthew Tkachuk and Aleksander Barkov alone are enough to be threats. Third, the Devils will host Boston on Friday night. Yes, Boston. Yes, the best team in the NHL, Boston. That Boston. They are not invincible on the road. They are still #1 for a reason. It is three tough games for the Devils before the Christmas holiday. Results out of this week would be huge for keeping their position going into the final week of the year. Due to their slump, they need points and they are going to be even more difficult to come by. Good luck.

Carolina Hurricanes

What Happened Last Week: Carolina went into this week coming off a win against the Isles. A shutout win, no less. On Tuesday night, the Hurricanes continued their shutout ways in Detroit. Pyotr Kochetkov was unbeatable on all 27 shots by Detroit. Carolina did not score too many themselves, but they only needed one. They got one on a power play goal from Brady Skjei in the first period. The Canes left Detroit with a 1-0 win. On Thursday night, the Hurricanes hosted Seattle. Carolina went up 3-0 on Seattle within the first 23 minutes of the game. Andrei Svechnikov, Derek Stepan, and Stefan Noesen all put the Canes up by a comfortable margin. At 11:26 of the second period, Kochetkov was beaten; Ryan Donato scored to put the Kraken on the board. At 9:14 of the third period, Daniel Sprong scored to put Seattle within one. Alas, they could not tie up the game. Carolina held on for a 3-2 win, their third straight victory and ninth straight game with a point earned. Carolina ended their week at home against Dallas on Saturday night. The Hurricanes got off to a fine start. Stefan Noesen put home a power play goal to open the scoring and Svechnikov scored late in the period to make it 2-0. However, a late PPG by Joe Pavelski made it 2-1 going into the second period. Jamie Benn tied up the game with a PPG in the second period. Then something surprising happened: Tuevo Teravainen scored a goal. He finally got his first of the season at 13:54 of the second period on a power play to put the Canes up 3-2. An early third period goal by Seth Jarvis made it 4-2. Surely, Carolina would be cruising, right? Nope. Tyler Seguin and Jani Hakanpaa each scored within two minutes around midway through the third to make it 4-4. Dallas forced overtime. Would they take it? No. Martin Necas, in particular, said no with an overtime winner. The 5-4 result gave Carolina a swept week, points earned in their last 10 games, and a real chance to take first place in the division next week. Of course, anything taken in this coming week will be earned.

What’s Coming Up This Week: Carolina will play four games in six nights and all four are against teams within the division. Four point swings for everyone playing Carolina! This evening, the Hurricanes will host Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh has been hot and they have risen up to where the Canes are in the standings. On Tuesday, the Hurricanes will host the Devils. The Devils may have cooled off but they remain a difficult opponent. Carolina has been chasing New Jersey whether they know it or not. It will be another important game. On Thursday, they will have another when Carolina visits Pittsburgh. Yes, it is a non-back-to-back home-and-home. For both teams, in fact. Carolina’s week will end on Friday night back in Raleigh to host Philadelphia. That may be the game they should win on paper. Perhaps they will on the ice. At the end of three more substantial games and coming off a road game in Pittsburgh, it remains to be seen how much the Canes will have left for that one. At least, for Carolina’s sake, Philly will not be fresh either.

Pittsburgh Penguins

What Happened Last Week: The Penguins had a short week of two games. Not exactly ideal when you are chasing up the division and on a hot streak. Nevertheless, the schedule is the schedule. On Monday, the Penguins hosted Dallas. It ended up being a low-scoring game a with a total heartbreaker. Roope Hintz scored 19 seconds into the game for Dallas. Pierre-Olivier Joseph responded with a PPG about 13 minutes after that. Then nothing. Well, not nothing, but no goals for the rest of the first period. Or the second period. And almost the third period. With 35 seconds on the clock, Evgeni Malkin put back a loose puck created by Bryan Rust to put Pittsburgh up 2-1. The Penguins took the game, and a point, away from Dallas that late. On Thursday, the Penguins took on a talented, yet confusing Florida team in Sunrise. Florida struck first when Ryan Lomberg scored fairly early in the first period. The Penguins would get on the scoreboard with Kris Letang tying the up game with a shorthanded goal (!!). Later in the period, Jake Guentzel converted a power play to put the Pens up 2-1. About eight minutes into the third, a Sidney Crosby shot hit off Malkin’s shin and went in to covert a power play and make it 3-1. Malkin would leave the game later with a different injury. Florida made it interesting when Sam Reinhart made it 3-2 just past the ten-minute mark of the third period. However, Guentzel secured the team’s seventh straight win with an empty netter. Pittsburgh is on fire right now. Second and even first place in the division are in sight - and they are in the perfect form to make another charge up the standings.

What’s Coming Up This Week: The Penguins will play three games and all three are within the Metropolitan Division. They will visit Carolina this evening. That game alone is huge for second place in the division. They can create some space between themselves and the others in the upper-half in the division with a winning result. Easier said than done as the Hurricanes are a very capable team. On Tuesday, the Penguins will host the Rangers of New York. As the Rangers remain in the playoff mix in the division, the Pens can do themselves and other teams some favors by taking them down. On Thursday, the Penguins will play Carolina again. Only this time, the game is in Pittsburgh and the Penguins do not have a game on Friday like Carolina does. The Penguins can afford to “empty the tank” in that one. We shall see if they will and if it will carry them to victory to enter Christmas in a greater position. Their ongoing seven game winning streak has made it possible.

New York Rangers

What Happened Last Week: The Rangers went into this week with three straight wins. On Monday night, they hosted New Jersey. The Devils got off to a strong start. A Jonas Siegenthaler shot hit off Nico Hischier to open the scoring. A steal by Jack Hughes ended with a Dawson Mercer goal. A 2-on-1 by Vincent Trocheck to Chris Kreider made it a 2-1 game in the first period. Jack Hughes served Igor Shesterkin the sauce to make it 3-1. But an Adam Fox shot re-directed in by Trocheck made it 3-2 on a power play. On the very next shift, seven seconds after that goal, K’Andre Miller found Kaapo Kakko for an equalizer. The Rangers held on through the second and third periods to force overtime. As much as the Devils owned the fourth period in terms of possession, the Rangers just needed one chance. Artemi Panarin found it when he fed Filip Chytil. Chytil put the puck just inside the far post to make it a 4-3 overtime win for the Rangers. A fourth straight win. On Thursday, the Rangers hosted Toronto, a team featuring a 23-game point streak by Mitch Marner. The Rangers did not care. Chytil opened the scoring with an early power play goal. Michael Bunting provided an equalizer about 12 minutes later for Toronto. No point for Marner on the goal. That goal would be it as Shesterkin denied Toronto for the rest of the game. Jimmy Vesey emerged in the second period to break the 1-1 tie within the final five minutes of the period. That goal ended up being the game winner. Vesey put in an ENG to complete a brace and hand Toronto a loss and snap Marner’s streak. The 3-1 victory is New York’s fifth straight. On Saturday, the Rangers went to Philadelphia. The Orange and Black were not going to break the Rangers’ stride even with James van Riemsdyk opening the scoring. Panarin provided an answer to that goal. K’Andre Miller provided a go-ahead goal and New York never looked back. Barclay Goodrow added to the lead. Scott Laughton kept it close with a shorthanded goal late in the second period. Jimmy Vesey restored the lead in the third period. Morgan Frost put the Flyers within one. They even got a late power play - only for Jacob Trouba to add to New York’s lead with a shorthanded empty net goal. Another ENG from Kakko made it a 6-3 win for the Rangers. They won six straight and are basically right behind the Penguins and Hurricanes in fourth place.

What’s Coming Up This Week: The New York Rangers will play three games this week. Tonight, they will be in Chicago. The Rangers are coming off a game in Philadelphia and the Rangers lost to Chicago earlier this month. They could be ensnared by this matchup. Once that is over, the Rangers will head to Pittsburgh on Tuesday night. The Pens have been quite successful as of late. Should the Rangers want to move up, taking points would help them - but that will be a tall order. The Rangers will certainly be up for their return to MSG on Thursday night. They will host the Islanders, their hated rivals. As it is the final game of the week for the Rangers and not for the Islanders, the Blueshirts can leave it all out on the ice. Which is something they may be willing to do anyway given the rivalry factor. Whether this will help the Rangers keep moving up remains to be seen. They are chasing two hot teams and the Devils, after all.

New York Islanders

What Happened Last Week: The Islanders began a five-game road trip this week. Their first stop was at a place where very few have won: Boston, Massachusetts. The Islanders did their very best. Jake DeBrusk scored a brace on back-to-back shifts in the first period, but the Isles got on the board with a Josh Bailey score. Noah Dobson tied up the game in the second period. Boston re-took the lead when Derek Forbort scored a shorthanded goal late in the second period. Casey Cizikas provided another equalizer in the third period and the Isles held on to force overtime. Overtime was dominated by Boston but Semyon Varlamov stopped all six shots. A shootout was needed. Mat Barzal scored, then Jake DeBrusk, and then David Pastrnak. Boston took the shootout 2-1 to take the game 4-3. The Isles left the most difficult place to play with a point. On Friday night, they went to Arizona State University to play the Coyotes. The Isles went off on a good start with goals by Sebastian Aho and Barzal for an early lead. One that Shayne Gostisbehere interrupted within the final minute of the first period. Arizona took the lead with a pair of goals on back-to-back shifts from Clayton Keller and Nick Bjugstad. Noah Dobson provided a late second period equalizer. Travis Boyd scored early in the third to put Arizona back up. Keller added to the lead at the cost of Alexander Romanov’s groin as his shot went off his “undercarriage” and into the net. Literal and emotional pain. That goal would be important as Anthony Beauvillier provided a late goal in an attempt to get back in the game. But no. The Isles lost to Arizona, 5-4. On Saturday night, the Islanders went to Nevada to play the Golden Knights. This one was more definitive in favor of the Isles. Anders Lee scored late in the first period for an early lead. Reilly Smith answered back with an early second period PPG, but that tie would not last. Hudson Fasching and Simon Holmstrom each scored in the second period to put the Isles up 3-1. Smith scored another PPG to make it close. And disaster was feared when Isles goaltender Seymon Varlamov left the game with fewer than 7 minutes left in the third period. Brock Nelson and Zach Parise iced the game with ENGs for a 5-2 win. A split week for the Isles is not bad on its own. In the context of a division where three teams are riding winning streaks and the Devils had a huge advantage, it is not good. Also, Islanders, the Capitals are right behind you.

What’s Coming Up This Week: The Islanders will wrap up their road trip this week. They will be in Denver on Monday night to play Colorado. Never an easy game, especially as the Avs are starting to get a bit healthier. The Isles will end their trip at the home of their most hated rivals on Thursday. They will be in Manhattan to play the New York Rangers. These games are usually spicy and given they are both so close to each other in the standings, it could be an important one. The Isles cannot afford to expend everything in that one. They will return to Belmont on Friday night to host a Florida team that commands respect despite their record. The Isles are in a position where they need to keep getting results to stay in this picture. They could do it. Whether they will, I do not know.

Washington Capitals

What Happened Last Week: Washington went into this week also with three straight wins. Would they keep it up? On the road even? On Sunday, the Capitals went to Winnipeg. After a scoreless first period, the Capitals absolutely exploded for goals in the second period. Trevor van Riemsdyk opened the scoring, Evgeny Kuznetsov scored a power play goal, Marcus Johansson scored a shorthanded penalty shot, and Lars Eller capped off the period with a fourth goal. Adam Lowry scored early in the third period and Pierre-Luc DuBois scored a little later, but the hole was too deep for the home team. Alex Ovechkin sailed in another ENG to make it a 5-2 win. On Tuesday night, the Caps went to Chicago. Ovechkin scored 24 seconds into the game to show that, yes, he can still score on goalies too. Ovechkin scored a PPG later in the first to make it 2-0. Tyler Johnson got a goal back for Chicago late in the period. Van Riemsdyk responded to that to make it 3-1 early on. Jonathan Toews scored a power play goal past midway through the second period to make it a close game again. Nic Dowd pulled the game away from the Caps to 4-2 late in the second. In the third period, Ovechkin completed his hat-trick, scored his 800th goal, and put the Caps up 5-2. Anthony Mantha scored a little later to make it 6-2. A late goal by Max Domi made it a consolation 6-3 score - only for Dmitry Orlov to deny even that with a goal with 36 seconds left. Washington won 7-3 for their fifth straight win. On Thursday night, the Capitals returned home to host Dallas. A goal-fest did not ensue. No. After a goalless first period, Conor Sheary opened the scoring just before halfway through the second period. Dallas would come back for the win in the third period. Jamie Benn scored an early PPG at 48 seconds into the period to tie it up. Colin Miller had a shot go off Lars Eller’s backside at 2:07 into the period to make it 2-1. Jake Oettinger goalie’d the Caps the rest of the way (and before hand) and so the streak ended at five. The Capitals lost 2-1. Last night, the Capitals hosted Toronto. While all eyes have been on Ovechkin, the Maple Leafs should have watched Erik Gustafsson. He opened the scoring with his first of the season. William Nylander responded to tie it up, which did not last for even two minutes. Trevor van Riemsdyk made it 2-1 for Washington shortly thereafter. Gustaffson scored his second of the season early in the second period to add to the lead. Auston Matthews made it 3-2 in the second period but there would be no comeback. Garnet Hathaway stretched the lead to 4-2 just 10 seconds into the period. And at 3:47 of the third period on December 17, 2022, Gustafsson scored again to make it 5-2. That’s right. He scored a hat trick in the first game he scored in this season. Washington put away Toronto 5-2 on the strength of Gustafsson’s mighty hat trick. It also made it a 3-1-0 week for the Capitals. They are still on the outside looking in of the playoff spots in the Metropolitan. But they can apply some serious pressure to the Islanders. Should one of Carolina, Pittsburgh, and the Rangers start to slump, Washington may be able to take over.

What’s Coming Up This Week: Washington is the only team in the division to not play another team within the division this week. Perhaps that is fine. They can go to overtime or shootouts and not be so concerned. Their goal should be getting points, not necessarily setting themselves up for winning tiebreakers. On Monday, they will host Detroit. A team similar to them in terms of where they stand overall. Perhaps not on the ice. We will know then. Washington will have an interesting back-to-back set prior to the Christmas break. They will go to Ottawa on Thursday night and then return back to D.C. to host Winnipeg. That is a combination of some sort. Washington has seemingly figured out winning the on the road, such as winning in Winnipeg. And they can get some revenge for losing in Ottawa way back in October. Will those be motivation enough? How about needing to keep on winning to avoid being stuck in sixth for another week?

Philadelphia Flyers

What Happened Last Week: The Flyers would finish up their four-game road trip this week. On Sunday night, they were in Arizona. At the college rink, two bottom-dwelling teams faced off in a tense affair. Clayton Keller opened the scoring with a PPG in the first period. Morgan Frost tied it up early in the second period. James van Riemsdyk put the Flyers up 2-1 about two minutes after Frost’s goal. Keller got his second of the night shortly thereafter and Jack McBain took the lead for Arizona minutes after that. That would not last to intermission; Owen Tippett scored late in the period to make it 3-3. Nick Ritchie put the Coyotes back up 4-3. Travis Konecny scored late in the third period to make it 4-4 and force overtime. After much back and forth, the hero of night emerged: Clayton Keller. Keller completed his hat trick to hand Philly a 5-4 loss. Philadelphia traveled to Denver for a game on Tuesday night. Cam York opened the scoring for Philadelphia in the first period. Colorado’s response came in the second period. Devon Toews tied up the game and Artturi Lehkonen scored a shorthanded goal to put the Avs up 2-1. J.T. Compher would make it 3-1 over eleven minutes into the third period. James van Riemsdyk pulled the Flyers within one late but Pavel Francouz would not be beaten again. The Flyers lost 3-2 in Colorado. On Thursday night, the Flyers ended their trip in Newark. Carter Hart had to be amazing as he faced 49 shots. A lot of them were up close. A lot of them came off pressure from the Devils. Jack Hughes beat him early for a PPG. But Hart got everything else - even multiple stops with his helmet. Meanwhile, Scott Laughton converted a power play in the second period to tie up the game. In the third period, a costly offensive zone turnover by Damon Severson gave Travis Konency a free breakaway to Vitek Vanecek. He scored. Thanks to that and mostly to Hart’s brilliance, the Flyers won their first game since December 5, 2-1. The Flyers returned home to host the Rangers on Sunday. This did not go well. Carter Hart was not a wall in this one. While James van Riemsdyk scored first, Panarin provided an equalizer late in the first period. In the second period, the Flyers went down to goals by K’Andre Miller and Barclay Goodrow. Laughton provided some life with a shorthanded goal to make it a one-goal game. Jimmy Vesey restored the two goal lead, but Morgan Frost made it a one-goal game shortly thereafter. The Flyers tried to keep it close. They even got a great chance when Vincent Trocheck went off for slashing late in the third period. Hart was pulled to make it a 6-on-4 situation. Only for Jacob Trouba to put home an empty net goal (shorthanded) to secure the game. Another ENG for Kaapo Kakko made it a 6-3 loss. The Flyers went 1-2-1 and continue to wallow in seventh. At least they spoiled the Devils in large thanks to Hart goalie-ing them up.

What’s Coming Up This Week: The Flyers will get three games in four nights this week. Their first game is on Tuesday and it is a battle among the bottom teams in the division: Philadelphia will host Columbus. Philly can at least stave off a fall to last with a result in that game. It will not get easier in their next two games. On Thursday, the Flyers will visit Toronto. Toronto has emerged to be a real contender and winning in Toronto has been a fairly uncommon occurrence. I doubt the Maple Leafs will be surprised by Philadelphia. What is a surprise if that the Thursday game is a 2 PM ET start time. I wish I could tell you why, but I do not know why. It is strange. The Flyers will return home on Friday to play at a more normal time against another top-tier opponent in Carolina. The Hurricanes may need and want the points; the Flyers may try to spoil them but it may be unlikely short of another world-class night from Carter Hart. Such is the story of the 2022-23 Flyers.

Columbus Blue Jackets

What Happened Last Week: Columbus went into this week with a win after three rough losses. Would it lead to more? On Sunday night, the Blue Jackets hosted Los Angeles. This was a game full of swings. Columbus got off to a strong start with a goal by Kirill Marchenko and Boone Jenner to make it 2-0 after the first period. In the second period, the game went back and forth. Anze Kopitar and Blake Lizotte tie up the game before the halfway mark. Only for Patrik Laine to restore the lead at the halfway mark of the period. Jaret Anderson-Dolan tied it back up again about five minutes after Laine’s goal. Jack Roslovic scored a shorthanded goal and a power play goal within the final two minutes of the period to make it 5-3 going into the third period. Surely, Columbus could close this out? Nope. Kopitar scored at 4:52 and Adrian Kempe tied it up at 5-5 at 5:31. Columbus escaped going into OT. Johnny Gaudreau then emerged as the hero in Ohio. He scored 40 seconds into overtime to take the game the home team. A 6-5 win. A feel good moment. Something that would not matter on the road as the Blue Jackets went to the Sunshine State on Tuesday. Against the Panthers, Columbus could not solve Sergei Bobrovsky. 22 shots on net, 22 saves. Meanwhile, Brandon Montour put Florida up 1-0 in the first period, Matthew Tkachuk and Aleksander Barkov made it 3-0 in the second period, and Sam Reinhart put in an empty netter to complete a 4-0 shutout loss for Columbus. In a word: Oof. It did not get much better in Tampa Bay on Thursday night. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare put the Bolts up 1-0 in the first period. Marchenko would score Columbus’ first goal since Sunday’s overtime winner by Gaudreau and tie up the game early in the second period. That score even held up going into the third period. Alas for the Jackets, Brayden Point made it 2-1 at 9:02, Brandon Hagel made it 3-1 at 13:36, and a Hagel ENG at 17:19 secured another 4-1 final score. Another loss for Columbus. Last night, the Blue Jackets ended their three-game trip in Boston. Boston, believe it or not, lost a second home game this season on Thursday to Los Angeles through a shootout. Could Columbus surprise them in the afternoon? No. They kept it close for two periods. David Pastrnak scored a PPG in the first period. That held until Jenner tied it up with six minutes left in the second period with a PPG of his own. Only for David Krejci to put up a PPG with 2:10 left in the second to make it 2-1. A pair of quick goals, first by Taylor Hall and second by Tomas Nosek, put the B’s up 4-1. Patrik Laine converted a power play later in the third period but it was just a consolation goal. Boston won 4-2. The Blue Jackets have lost all three games on their three-game trip and remain at the bottom after a 1-3-0 week. So it goes.

What’s Coming Up This Week: Columbus will begin their week by hosting Dallas on Monday night. Dallas has the ability to score a whole lot of goals and Columbus has the ability to allow a whole lot of goals. This could go poorly. It will not get any easier on Tuesday night. The Blue Jackets will visit Philadelphia. It is a battle among the two basement dwellers of the Metropolitan Division. Should Columbus want to rise past Philadelphia anytime soon, then a regulation win would help them a lot in closing the gap with the Flyers. Again, easier said than done given how Columbus’ season has went. Columbus will visit Chicago on Friday night. Another battle between two teams playing for lottery balls already. Perhaps Columbus’ second of the week if you believe that Philly is pretty much out of the picture already. Again: So it goes.

That was the tenth Weekly Metropolitan Division Snapshot of the 2022-23 season. What do you expect to happen in this week coming up? Will the Devils end their slump this week? Who will prevail among the hottest teams in the division: Carolina, Pittsburgh, and the Rangers? Will the Capitals move on up soon? What do you even do if you are Columbus or Philadelphia? 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.