Eight days from today is the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline. Rumors are percolating. The proverbial stove is heating up. The “haves” are looking to add while the “have nots” are looking to subtract possibly to add to their future. If you want a playoff race, then go to the Pacific Division. The Metropolitan Division is currently on lock with the Carolina Hurricanes owning first with a lead, the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers jockeying for position, and the Washington Capitals suddenly looking up in the standings at those two teams. The other four teams are just there. Here are the standings as of this morning:
Pay attention to who is or is not playing this week. It may be a sign that someone may be moved if they are out for “precautionary reasons.” It is a busy week all the same. No one in this division is playing on Monday. There are plenty of road games too. Games within the division are highlighted and in bold:
Let us go over what happened last week and what is coming up for each team in the Metropolitan Division.
What Happened Last Week: Another week, another winning set of results. Sunday was a bit closer than expected when they hosted Seattle on Sunday. Alex Wennberg scored first, Nino Neiderreiter converted a power play, Calle Jarnkrok put the visitors up one again, and Teuvo Teravainen with another PPG in the second period. A bit past halfway through the third, Martin Necas scored the tie-breaking goal that would give the Canes a 3-2 win. On Thursday, they hosted Colorado - the team with the best record in the NHL. Not only did Carolina prevail, but goaltender Antti Raanta shut out the Avalanche. 36 shots, 36 saves. There was no scoring at all until Ethan Bear broke through in the third period. Sebastian Aho tacked on an ENG for the 2-0 final result. A sweep of the week was in the cards when Carolina hosted Philadelphia yesterday. After a scoreless first period, Steven Lorentz broke through with a goal. Derick Brassard tied it up to make it anyone’s game. Withing the final five minutes, Jordan Martinook broke the tie to give Carolina the 2-1 lead. Another ENG from Aho ended the game at 3-1 and ended Carolina’s week at 3-0-0. Thanks to the battle for second, they are now in first place by eight points and with a game in hand. They reign.
What’s Coming Up This Week: Carolina will have another big game within the division today. In just a few hours, they will drop the puck between the Canes and the Pittsburgh Penguins. With the lead the Canes have built up in the division, a regulation win over the Pens will make it extremely difficult for the Pens to catch back up to first. Three days later, the Hurricanes will have a tough back-to-back set. They will be in Toronto on Thursday night, trying to quell their high-powered offense. They have done it before. Even with a 42-year old zamboni driver that worked for the Maple Leafs. But it will not be easy. Carolina will have to save some energy for Friday night when they go back to Raleigh to host the Washington Capitals. The Canes can help stem a Caps comeback to form. And perhaps force them to be a little more desperate ahead of the deadline. It is a tough week but the Canes have proven to be the big boss of the Metropolitan Division. They can handle it.
SBN Blog: Canes Country
New York Rangers
What Happened Last Week: Rangers hit the road for four games away from Manhattan this week. The first stop in Winnipeg went well. Igor Shesterkin remained in Vezina mode with 45 out of 46 saves. All the while, Barclay Goodrow, Jacob Trouba, and Chris Kreider (twice) scored for the Blueshirts. The Rangers beat the Jets 4-1. The following two games did not go so well. On Tuesday in Minneapolis, Alexandar Georgiev got the start. The Wild put five past him with two in the first period. While Dryden Hunt and a shorty by Mika Zibanejad tied up the game, Kevin Fiala converted the power play Zibanejad scored on, Marcus Foligno followed that with a goal, and Fiala scored a second goal in the second period. The score stood for a 5-2 loss. The third stop in St. Louis featured revenge. By the Blues, whom the Rangers beat back on March 2. Robert Thomas scored twice and Ivan Barbashev scored to make it 3-0 in the first period. Ryan Strome put the Rangers on the board late in the first, but the Blues had the game. Ryan O’Reilly scored 15 seconds into the second period and the Rangers replaced Shesterkin (!) with Georgiev. Jake Walman and David Perron beat Georgiev twice in the second period to extend the lead to 6-1. K’Andre Miller scored a power play goal after that but it was just consolation in a 6-2 loss. A loss that caused head coach Gerard Gallant to utter the word: “soft” in response. Would they stiffen up in the Big D on Saturday night? Yes, although it was a wild start. Dallas went up 2-0 early with goals by Esa Lindell and Tyler Seguin within the first five minutes. The response from New York was fierce. A deluge of goals, even. Greg McKegg got the team on the board. From 12:59 to 14:50 in the first, Zibanejad converted a power play, Adam Fox scored, and Artemi Panarin made it 4-2 New York. In the second period, Jason Robertson pulled the Stars within one. But late in the second, Patrik Nemeth restored the two goal lead. Joe Pavelski brought the home team one goal closer in the third; only for Barclay Goodrow to push it back. A Ryan Strome ENG ended the game at 7-4. A big response after two losses to ultimately split the week in terms of points. With four points earned, they are now tied with Pittsburgh in points and hold second place due to tiebreakers.
What’s Coming Up This Week: New York has a mixture of opponents in their three games coming up. I would argue they increase in difficulty with each one. First up is Anaheim on Tuesday. The Ducks are no jobbers but they do not have the quality or meaning of the other two games. On Thursday, they will host their hated rivals in the New York Islanders. By record, the Rangers should walk over the Isles. On the ice, the affair could get heated up enough as the Isles could play for a lot of pride that night. On Saturday, the Rangers will visit one of the best teams in the East: the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning. They have done well to hang with Pittsburgh and have a shot at keeping second place for home ice in the first round. But they need to maintain this pace. Good luck given this schedule.
SBN Blog: Blueshirt Banter
What Happened Last Week: Just two home games for the Penguins last week and they split them. Tuesday featured Florida coming to the Paintcan. While the Panthers jumped out to a two goal lead in the first, Bryan Rust and Jake Guentzel tied it up in the second with two quick goals. That lasted until Anthony Duclair converted a power play minutes later. Carter Verhaeghe put the visitors up two. Sidney Crosby pulled the Pens back within one, but that would be it. The Penguins lost 4-3. Friday night had the Penguins host the Golden Knights. Las Vegas has been struggling and the Pens poured on more misery. Mike Matheson scored in the first period, Jeff Carter scored in the second period, and while the visitors tied it up later in the second period, Mark Friedman’s first goal of the season broke the deadlock in the third period. A PPG by Bryan Rust expanded the lead. An ENG by Evan Rodrigues made it a 5-2 victory for the Penguins. While going 1-1 is not bad, it was enough to slip to third.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The Penguins will start this week in a few hours when they host Carolina. This is a massive game if the Penguins have any designs on clawing their way back up to first place. To be fair, all games are important for the goal of getting ahead and away of New York. But this one has big implications for that stretch goal. After today, the Penguins will go on the road. They will go to Nashville on Tuesday, St. Louis on Thursday, and Arizona on Saturday. They will have to be careful to not look past that last game. The other two, featuring potential playoff teams, should hold their attention. If they need further incentive, then they can look at the standings with New York around them and now Washington gaining ground.
SBN Blog: PensBurgh
What Happened Last Week: Western Canada was where one could see the Washington Capitals this past week. They visited Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver within four nights. These trips are always tough but the Caps came out of it quite well from a results perspective. On Tuesday night, the Capitals edged the Flames 5-4 with Alex Ovechkin scoring within the final few minutes to make it 5-3 and Elias Lindholm made it dramatic late. But the Caps held on for the win. The next night was in Edmonton. Nicklas Backstrom struck first in the second period only for the Oilers to respond with two goals of their own. T.J. Oshie was a hero in the third period with a PPG to make it 2-2 in the third and then scored with 2 seconds left to force overtime, nearly 10 minutes after Brad Malone put the home team up. Alas, the Caps had to leave Edmonton with just a point as Connor McDavid took it in OT, yielding a 4-3 OT loss. On Friday night, the trip ended in Vancouver. Regulation featured a hat trick by Evgeny Kuznetsov. He scored twice in the first period. After the Canucks shocked the Caps for three straight goals within the first five minutes in the third period, Kuznetsov provided the equalizer in the third to force overtime. Would he get four? No. But Lars Eller did score in overtime to make it a 4-3 win for the Caps. Washington went 2-0-1 and are now right behind Boston for the first wild card spot. And not super far away from New York and Pittsburgh.
What’s Coming Up This Week: Washington will play three games in four nights within the division this week. It kicks off on Tuesday when they host the Islanders. Then they are on the road for consecutive games in Columbus and Carolina on Thursday and Friday, respectively. Columbus won in D.C. back on February 8, 5-4, in their previous meeting. While the Caps blanked the Canes 4-0 on March 3, look for the Hurricanes to want some revenge. It is not an easy week yet it is important should they want to move out of the final playoff spot in the East. Plus, I think there are some people in Pittsburgh and Manhattan that would love a regulation win by the Caps on Friday.
SBN Blog: Japers’ Rink
Columbus Blue Jackets
What Happened Last Week: Columbus had a bit of a tough week. On Monday, the Blue Jackets hosted Toronto. The start of the game was a gut-punch with the visitors taking a 3-0 lead in the first period. But Sean Kuraly and Oliver Bjorkstrand both made it 3-2 going into the third. Jack Roslovic converted a power play to tie up the game early in the third. Unfortunately, Alexander Kerfoot and Michael Bunting restored a two-goal lead for the Jackets. Patrik Laine made it 5-4 within the final minute but that would be it. The Blue Jackets lost. That game was a lot better than the next one; a trip to Long Island on Thursday night. The Blue Jackets were wrecked. Pounded. Demolished. They conceded a hat trick to Anders Lee, put just 25 shots on net, and lost 6-0 to the Isles. Ouch. Columbus returned back to Ohio to host Minnesota the next night. It looked like the Blue Jackets were going to go winless this week. While Yegor Chinakhov converted a power play in the first period, Kirill Kaprizov did the same within the final minute of the first period. A second period strike by Mats Zuccarello held up through the period and almost to the end of regulation. With 32 seconds left, Zach Werenski found the back of the net. He ensured there would be one point earned for Columbus. Overtime solved nothing and a shootout was needed. Zuccarello, Kevin Fiala, and Kaprizov did not score. But Chinakhov did and so the Blue Jackets won 3-2 in the shootout. While that does not help their tie breaker situation, the win keeps them ahead of the Isles for fifth in the division. However, the Isles’ games in hand are now mathematically in range of jumping the Jackets. The lead is not that large as it was.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The Blue Jackets will be very active in this week with four games coming up including a back-to-back in the middle of it. Tonight, they will host Las Vegas. They have been reeling as of late. This may be a favorable night for the Jackets to take down another team; they will have a lot of fans in Edmonton, Vancouver, and Los Angeles hoping for that. The back-to-back set is a duality: one of the weakest teams in the East at Ottawa on Wednesday and one of the stronger ones in Washington on Thursday. Ottawa is not a doormat and Washington is not as fearsome as once thought. Columbus could get results in both. Columbus’ week will end at home when they host a playoff-bound St. Louis team. It will be active and much will have to be decided ahead of Monday’s deadline. Based on what they have done so far, Columbus is still on pace to be the best of the rest in the Eastern Conference and the Metropolitan Division. The Isles may be inching closer, but they control their destiny in this perspective. Onward.
SBN Blog: The Cannon
New York Islanders
What Happened Last Week: The Islanders were at home all week, hosting Colorado, Columbus, and Winnipeg. The Islanders-Avalanche game on Monday was wild. The first period featured PPGs by Anders Lee and Cale Makar. After a scoreless second period, the goal scoring blew up in the third. The Avalanche scored four goals within a four-and-a-half-minute stretch! Down 5-1, would the Isles respond? Amazingly: yes. Lee converted a PPG, Casey Cizikas put the Isles within two, and a last-minute goal from Brock Nelson closed the gap to one. But there would not be a second last-minute goal to tie; the Isles lost 5-4. The Islanders took their apparent frustrations on Columbus on Thursday night. Their defense shut down Columbus to allow just 25 shots. Ilya Sorokin stopped them all. Their offense incrementally pulled the game away: a Nelson PPG, a Josh Bailey goal, a shorty by Justin-Gabriel Pageau, and a Lee hat trick. A 6-0 win must have felt good. The scoring continued into Friday night’s game against Winnipeg. Nelson converted another power play to open the scoring. Kyle Connor tied it up in the first period. But the second period saw the Isles pull away with goals by Bailey and Lee. Blake Wheeler scored 20 seconds into the third period to make the game close again. However, Bailey restored the two-goal lead in the third period and Cal Clutterbuck tacked on an insurance goal. The Isles won 5-2. They won the week and made a step closer to Columbus. Their four games in hand would be worth enough to surpass the Jackets now. That would require winning all four, so I would not get confident about that just yet, Isles fans.
What’s Coming Up This Week: Like Columbus, the Islanders will be busy with four games this week. Nothing on consecutive nights, but games on every other night is still a heavy workload. Tonight, they will host Anaheim - who did play in Newark the night before. That is an advantage that the Isles may take advantage of. It is also the last of a long home stretch for the Isles. The next two games are tougher: at Washington on Tuesday and at New York on Thursday. Tuesday’s game is just against a superior opponent who will try not to struggle. Thursday’s game is another chapter in a long hated rivalry. I would like to think that with nothing much other than pride to play for, the Islanders will want to leave MSG proud that night. The week ends with a home game against Dallas - a team with a great home record and a poor road record. Islanders fans will hope they do not become an exception to that.
SBN Blog: Lighthouse Hockey
New Jersey Devils
What Happened Last Week: Four games at the Rock were on the schedule for the Devils. They ended up doing much better than expected against the two playoff-bound teams in the first two games. On Sunday, they hosted St. Louis. The Devils were able to get out to a two-goal lead thanks to Ty Smith’s first goal in months and Dawson Mercer finishing a feed from Jack Hughes. However, a familiar failing occurred in the third period: a lost lead as Torey Krug and Jordan Kyrou tied up the game early in the third. However, overtime was on the call. In their first overtime since January 2, the Devils previaled when Pavel Zacha won a puck, found Dougie Hamilton breaking past Robert Thomas, and Dougie beat Ville Husso for the 3-2 win. On Tuesday night, the Devils hosted Colorado - who just survived a lead in Long Island the night before. New Jersey jumped on the Avs in the run of play, but the visitors went up three goals with a pair of PPGs by Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen and a second period goal from Makar. Then the Devils broke through and the attacks kept coming. A shot off the post by Jonas Siegenthaler hit Tomas Tatar and went into the net at 3-1. Smith beat the defense and beat Darcy Kuemper at a sharp angle at 3-2. A long shot by Damon Severson got through traffic to make it 3-3 and convert a power play. In the third period, a Jack Hughes shot hit Nathan Bastian in the crease, who then stashed in the goal for a PPG to make it 4-3. Yegor Sharangovich sealed the win at 5-3 with a shorthanded empty net goal. A stunning comeback by the Devils. Unfortunately, fortune would not be on the Devils side Thursday night against Winnipeg. Eric Comrie was on fire and only Jack Hughes could beat him on a power play. Brenden Dillon and Kyle Connor scored and so despite their efforts, the Devils lost 2-1 to the Jets. Closing out their four-game stay at home, the Devils hosted Anaheim on Saturday night. This one featured Anthony Stolarz and Nico Daws are their best. A snapshot by Troy Terry beat Daws in the first period. A great feed by Jesper Boqvist set up Tomas Tatar for a great deke to tie it up in the second period. That would be it for scoring in regulation as both goalies tracked pucks and made stops. This even continued in overtime. In the dreaded shootout, Tatar beat Stolarz, Daws stopped Trevor Zegras, Jesper Bratt went wide and pulled a sick move to beat Stolarz, and Daws denied Terry. The Devils actually won a shootout! They won three out of four games! They are ahead of Philadelphia by three points instead of just one! This is what a Devils fan has resorted to in this lost season. It is what it is.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The Devils will be in Western Canada this week. This was on the original schedule. It being the week before the deadline will be interesting to see who is and is not on the trip. In any case, it will be a tough one as they usually are. Tuesday night will have New Jersey in Vancouver. Something tells me the Canucks are not happy about the Devils beating them 7-2. So much so that the Devils may not get Jaroslav Halak in net. On the next night, they will be in Calgary. The Flames have eaten Metropolitan Division teams for breakfast, lunch, and dinner this season. I doubt that will change on Wednesday night. The week ends with an afternoon game in Edmonton. The Oilers are rejuvenated under a new head coach and have a playoff spot to play for. I do not think it will go as well as the 6-5 OT win on December 31 back at the Rock. After then, we shall see what Tom Fitzgerald does or does not do.
SBN Blog: All About the Jersey - Where the People Who Matter are wondering who will be sold off at the deadline.
What Happened Last Week: Philadelphia has been through a lot in this past week. Not just because their GM handed Risto Ristolainen a contract extension worth $25.5 million for some reason. On Tuesday, they hosted Las Vegas. Justin Braun and Oskar Lindblom scored in the first period. The real star of the game was Carter Hart. He faced 48 shots from the G-Knights. He was beaten just once; a PPG by Evgenii Dadonov in the second period. The Flyers held on to win 2-1 thanks to Hart’s 47-save performance. A trip to Sunrise on Thursday was not as fortunate. The Panthers just slammed the Flyers down in the first period with four goals; a pair each from Verhaeghe and Sam Reinhart. Philly did make a spirited comeback effort in the second period with goals by James van Riemsdyk, Cam Atkinson, and Travis Konecny. However, a PPG from Duclair put the game further out of reach and Reinhart completed his hat trick in the third period. Philly lost 6-3. Against Carolina yesterday, the Flyers tried to make it tough. They did but it was not enough. While Lorentz scored first in the second period, Derick Brassard tied it up late in the second period. The game was held at 1-1. Then the points were lost when Jordan Martinook broke the tie late in the game and Sebastian Aho sealed the loss at 3-1. The loss to Carolina ensured a last-place finish for this snapshot. The 1-2-0 week combined with New Jersey going 3-1-0 means they are three points behind the Devils. While they have a game in hand on New Jersey, a hole can begin to form if the Flyers do not flip things around and turn some of these close-score situations into leads.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The Flyers will begin their pre-deadline week tonight when they hosted Montreal. On the one hand, Montreal is dead last in the NHL. On the other hand, they have won a bunch of games recently under their interim head coach. Who knows how that will go. On Thursday and Friday, the Flyers will play back to back. First at home against Nashville and then on the road in Ottawa. The first game is against a potential playoff team and the other is against a heavy Ottawa team just ahead of Philly in the standings. Could they get anything out of this week? Of course. Will the Flyers get anything out of this week and climb their way up from last? Who knows. This is the same team that handed Risto Ristolainen $25.5 million for five more seasons of bad coverage, being out of position, and adding little going forward.
SBN Blog: Broad Street Hockey
That was the twenty-second Weekly Metropolitan Division Snapshot of the 2021-22 season. What do you expect to happen in this week coming up? Can Carolina keep a tight grip on first place ? Who will take second place by next week’s snapshot: New York or Pittsburgh? Will Washington crash that duo? Can the Islanders inch closer to Columbus? Can the Devils at least stay ahead of the Flyers? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about the eight Metropolitan Division teams in the week that was and the week ahead in the comments. Thank you for reading.