Tomorrow is the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline. Tomorrow is the last day for teams to make moves to bolster their roster or sell parts of it off for a hopefully-brighter future. The Metropolitan Division remains a division of haves and have-nots. The haves are led by the Carolina Hurricanes, the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers battling it out for second place, and a rising Washington Capitals team. The have-nots feature the best of the non-playoff teams in the East in the Columbus Blue Jackets, the New York Islanders, and the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils battling for last. One half will look to add. One half will look to subtract. Let us reflect on the standings as they are this morning:
Coincidentally, no Metropolitan Division team is playing on the day of the deadline. There are four NHL games. None of them involve these eight teams. That said, everyone is active on Tuesday; Sunday, Friday, and Saturday are busy, and there are some games on Wednesday and Thursday. Plan your week accordingly. As ever, 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 and, wait, no wins? No wins. The Canes dropped all three games in this past week. All against formidable opponents. None were particularly heinous. But there was just one point earned out of a possible six. Last Sunday, they went to Pittsburgh. The Pens went up early. While the Canes tried to mount a comeback in the third period, the home kept ahead throughout in a 4-2 loss with two empty netters denying Brett Pesce and Sebastian Aho from the come-from-behind result. On Thursday, the Hurricanes traveled up to Toronto. Similar to their game in Pittsburgh, the Leafs went up early, the Hurricanes tried to make a comeback in the third period, and fell short. This time it was 3-2 and to a rookie goalie in his second ever NHL start. Would they avoid the same fate on Friday night against Washington? Yes, with a but. Seth Jarvis struck first. But Evgeny Kuznetsov and John Carlson made it 2-1 after the first. Vincent Trocheck and Jarvis put the Canes up 3-2 at the end of the second period. However, an interference call on Trocheck proved costly. Alex Ovechkin converted the power play to tie it up. The game held at three each until a shootout. Ovechkin was the lone scorer, handing Carolina a 4-3 shootout loss. Not a good week to be sure. Still in first, though.
What’s Coming Up This Week: Carolina will have four games coming up and all four are against four more formidable opponents. First up are the New York Rangers. The Canes beat them 6-3 in Raleigh back on January 21. This game is in Raleigh. But expecting a repeat may be expecting too much On Tuesday, the Canes will host Tampa Bay. The defending champions are looking to contend again for a rare-in-these-modern-times three-peat. The Canes beat them in Tampa Bay 2-1 in overtime way back on November 9. I do not think that will have much bearing on this game. On Thursday, the Hurricanes will host Dallas. Dallas is the only non-playoff team on this week’s schedule for Carolina. However, the Stars could still make it in if they get results. They are not that far out of the playoff picture in the West. Dallas may need that game more than Carolina does and that could make a difference. Carolina’s week ends in St. Louis, the home of a Blues team that has done quite well to protect their home rink and win a lot there. It will be a difficult week for the Hurricanes. But they are in first for a reason; they can get something out of these four games. Right?
SBN Blog: Canes Country
What Happened Last Week: In a busier week, the Pittsburgh Penguins prevailed and re-took second place from the New York Rangers. Last Sunday, they hosted the division leaders: Carolina. Pittsburgh took a lead first and never looked back. Tristan Jarry stopped 41 out of 43. Brian Boyle scored late in the first period and Danton Heinen scored in the second period to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead. Brett Pesce pulled the Canes within one. Then the final few minutes were dramatic: an empty netter by Sidney Crosby, a goal by Sebastian Aho, and an empty netter by Zach Aston-Reese within the final two minutes. The Penguins won 4-2 all the same. On Tuesday night, the Penguins went to Nashville. This one was not a positive result. While Jake Guentzel tied it up in the second period after Mattias Ekholm scored the game’s first goal with two seconds left in the first period, Nashville’s response was too much. Tanner Jeannot and Eeli Tolvanen both scored to end the second period at 3-1. Yakov Trenin ultimately ended it with an empty net goal for a 4-1 loss handed to Pittsburgh. Thursday night saw the week on an edge. Would a game in St. Louis lead to a successful week or not? It looked like it would at first with Chad Ruhwedel and Mike Matheson scoring the game’s first two goals. Then David Perron clawed one back for the Blues. Ivan Barbashev tied it up early in the third period. The score held through the third period and overtime. In a shootout, four rounds were needed before someone scored. And it would be the final shooter, Bryan Rust, to win it for a 3-2 final score. Yesterday, the Penguins wrapped up a three-game road trip in Arizona. This one was close for about 50 minutes. The first period was scoreless. A Kasperi Kapanen goal in the second period was answered by Clayton Keller. After twelve-and-a-half minutes into the third period, Evgeni Malkin broke the tie. Almost four minutes later, Sidney Crosby made it 3-1. Crosby sealed the win with an empty net goal for a 4-1 final score. The Penguins went 3-1-0, jumped past the Rangers to second place, and likely enjoyed Carolina slipping a bit after beating them last Sunday.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The Penguins will play three games in four nights this week and the last one is a big one. The first two will be important to make sure they go into that third game with an advantage in the standings. The Penguins will host Columbus on Tuesday and then visit Buffalo on Wednesday. The Pens can beat both. Whether they will is another question. The big game is on Friday night. The Penguins will head to Manhattan to play the Rangers. This can be a preview of the playoffs for both. Second place in the division could very well be on the line. Both teams should aim for a home-ice advantage. We shall see who prevails - and whether it decides who is in second for another snapshot. At the moment, the Penguins have the advantage. They just have to not blow it before Friday’s game.
SBN Blog: PensBurgh
New York Rangers
What Happened Last Week: The Rangers returned home after a split road trip in the prior week. They hosted Anaheim last Tuesday. Anaheim was struggling but they put up an effort in this close game. Jonny Brodzinski scored his first goal of the season to put the Rangers up 1-0, only for Max Comtois to answer it. Mika Zibanejad scored early in the second period. Only for Cam Fowler to convert a power play caused by Jacob Trouba to make it 2-2. In the third period, Derek Grant put the visitors up one. Chris Kreider scored a PPG on a Comtois penalty to tie it up 3-3. In overtime, Adam Fox finished it 55 seconds into it to give the Rangers a 4-3 win. On Thursday night, they hosted their hated rivals in the Islanders. This one was one for the goaltenders with Ilya Sorokin and Igor Shesterkin stopping a whole lot of pucks. Each were beaten just once in the second period. Anders Lee did so 49 seconds into the period. Kreider scored a PPG to tie it up at 13:38. The score stood at 1-1. Would there be a breakthrough? Yes. Kyle Palmieri did it for the Islanders with less than three minutes left with a re-direction right in front. The Rangers lost 2-1. Their game in Tampa Bay would be huge for the week - and whether they would be behind the by Penguins by two or four points. At this point of the season, that is not nothing. Brayden Point started off the scoring with a PPG late in the first period. But the Rangers answered that with a Trouba goal near the midway mark of the second period. The third period would be critical. It was another goaltender’s duel between Shesterkin and Andrei Vasilevskiy. Nothing was going through. Late in the third, Eric Cernak took a high-sticking penalty. With 1 second left on that power play and 16 seconds left in regulation, Zibanejad wired one past Vasilevskiy. The Rangers stunned the Lightning with a late winner, 2-1. The result was huge as it meant another winning week for the Rangers and being just behind Pittsburgh by two points with a game in hand. It also gives them a three point lead on Washington, also with a game in hand on the Caps. A regulation loss would be concerning, but Zibanejad’s heroics allayed the concerns.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The New York Rangers are playing three big games within their division this week. They will be in Carolina in the early evening tonight; the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday in Newark; and a home game Carolina crushed the Rangers 6-3 back in Raleigh on January 21. We shall see if there is a repeat performance. While the Rangers beat the Devils 3-1 on March 4, that was largely on the back of Igor Shesterkin. Will they need him to be excellent to win again in that rivalry? The last game against Pittsburgh could be massive for second place in the division - and be a preview of what the playoffs may be for each side. The Rangers did well to get this far. Another successful week will further secure their spot. And it could mean second place if they get some help with their potential wins. Falling short, well, will be much appreciated by Pittsburgh.
SBN Blog: Blueshirt Banter
What Happened Last Week: Washington swept their week. It took two shootouts, but they still won them all. On Tuesday night, the Capitals hosted the Islanders. It started off well with a goal by Anthony Mantha. However, the home team fell down 2-1 after goals by Brock Nelson and Kyle Palmieri. The Capitals responded with the first goal by Axel Jonsson-Fjallby this season and Alex Ovechkin’s 767th career goal. But the Isles were not fully deterred. Anders Lee scored with just under two minutes left to force extra time. A shootout was needed and it went eight rounds. Mantha provided the difference maker to give Washington the 4-3 win. Thursday night in Columbus was more definitive for Washington. The Caps straight up beat down on the Blue Jackets. Mantha got a brace in the first period. Martin Fehervary, Ovechkin, Connor McMichael, Conor Sheary, and Kuznetsov all scored in the 7-2 rout of the Blue Jackets. Solid. The next night saw the Caps travel to Raleigh. Despite giving up the first goal, the Caps led after the first period thanks to goals by Kuznetsov and John Carlson. That lead faded when Trocheck and Jarvis scored in the second period. But Trocheck took a call that Ovechkin made the Canes pay with a power play equalizer. A shootout was needed and Ovechkin did it again for the 4-3 win. The Capitals are now 7-0-1 in March. They are still just behind Boston for the first wild card spot. More interestingly, they are with a few points of New York and Pittsburgh. It is tough to climb up in the standings, but the Capitals are absolutely making it possible with their run of form.
What’s Coming Up This Week: Washington will be busy this week with four games coming up. The Caps will host Dallas this evening, be off for the deadline, and then host St. Louis. Dallas has a lot to do to climb back into playoff contention and the Blues will want to keep second place in the Central Division. Both the Capitals and their opponents will have incentives to win in those games. That cannot be said for the end of their week. The Capitals will visit Buffalo on Friday and then host New Jersey on Saturday. Washington will likely need the points in that back-to-back set to keep climbing their way closer to third place. However, both the Sabres and Devils will seek to spoil that - something that Rangers and Penguins fans would probably appreciate. Washington’s malaise has ended. They are surging now. Will it continue? We shall see.
SBN Blog: Japers’ Rink
Columbus Blue Jackets
What Happened Last Week: Columbus followed up a not-so-good week of results with a really good one. Last Sunday, they poured on more misery on Las Vegas. While the G-Knights responded to Patrik Laine’s early PPG with two goals, Cole Sillinger and Oliver Bjorkstrand scored in consecutive shifts to give Columbus a 3-2 lead after one period. Then Sillinger scored again and again in the second period. Yes, a hat trick within the game’s first 30 minutes and it put Columbus up 5-2. Vegas tried to climb back into the game with goals by Evgenii Dadonov and Jack Eichel; but an Eric Robinson ENG made it a 6-4 win. On Wednesday night, the Blue Jackets went up to Ottawa. They left with a decisive 4-1 win thanks Jack Roslovic scoring twice, Eric Robinson scoring, and Sean Kuraly potting an empty netter. The next night, the Jackets returned to Ohio to host Washington. This one was painful as the Capitals made it rain goals from the first period onward. They lost 7-2 in a game they were never really close in after Mantha’s second of the night. Yesterday evening, the Columbus Blue Jackets hosted St. Louis in another game where nine goals were scored. This one was closer - and more favorable. Emil Bemstrom started it off. David Perron tied it up with a PPG, but Gustav Nyquist answered back with one of his own. Laine made it 3-1 in the second period, only to be answered by Alexei Toropchenko’s first NHL goal. Kuraly restored the two-goal lead in the third period. Only for Perron to score another PPG to pull St. Louis within one. A rare goal by Jakub Voracek put the Jackets up 5-3. Perron scored late to finish his hat trick. But the Blue Jackets held on for the 5-4 win. The result: a 3-1-0 week. While the Isles are gaining on them, weeks like this will help ward them off in time.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The Blue Jackets will be on the road all week for a three-game trip. The trip begins somewhat close to home. On Tuesday night, they will visit the Penguins. The Jackets lost 3-2 to them on February 27, we shall see if they can flip the script that night. Columbus will then go up North and West a bit for a back-to-back with Winnipeg and Minnesota on Friday and Saturday night. While the Jets are not playoff-bound and the Wild are, it is not an easy pair of games. Columbus are capable enough (and hot enough) of getting something out of this trip and maintain being the best of the rest. For whatever that is worth.
SBN Blog: The Cannon
New York Islanders
What Happened Last Week: The Islanders went into this week with two straight wins. They decided to keep it up. Last Sunday, they hosted Anaheim. The Isles took a 3-1 lead in the first period with goals by Zach Parise, Kyle Palmieri, and Anders Lee. The now-Avalanche defenseman Josh Manson scored the Ducks’ lone goal of the period. Isac Lundestrom pulled the Ducks within one, but Palmieri scored again to restore the two-goal lead. Adam Henrique scored late to make it interesting, but the Isles held on for the 4-3 win. On Tuesday night, the Isles visited Washington. Things started well as Brock Nelson and Palmieri responded with goals to Mantha’s game-opening goal. They saw the lead get flipped with third period goals by Axel Johnsson-Fjallby and Alex Ovechkin. But Anders Lee emerged with a late equalizer. The game was stretched to a shootout and a long one, at that. But the Isles could not get the goals and fell 4-3 through a shootout. The response to that? More wins. Against their hated rivals in Manhattan, Ilya Sorokin showed Igor Shesterkin he is not the only Russian goaltender that can baffle oppositions. After a scoreless first period, Lee converted a PPG to put the Isles up 1-0. Chris Kreider scored his 40th of the season on a power play to tie it up. In the goaltending duel, only one more puck would go past either goalie. It would be a shot by Palmieri; the Islanders beat their rivals, 2-1. Yesterday, the Islanders returned to the UBS Arena to host Dallas. Seymon Varlamov made plenty of saves. Ryan Pulock and Denis Gurianov scored each to make it 1-1 going into the third period. Then it became the Brock Nelson show. Nelson converted a PPG at 4:17, scored at even strength at 5:55, and capped off the hat trick with an empty netter at 19:40. Jacob Peterson made it close in between the second and third Nelson goals, but the final result was the same: a 4-2 win. The Islanders went 3-0-1 and made a massive move towards catching Columbus, who is now just six points ahead of them - with four games in hand on the Jackets.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The Isles will use up one of their four games in hand on Columbus in this week. They will travel down to Philadelphia today. The Isles have done really well against the Flyers earlier this season with three wins out of three against them. But that was then and this is now. The Isles will then go home to host Ottawa and Detroit, two non-playoff teams that are certainly not doormats to be looked past. The Islanders’ week will end in Boston, a playoff-bound team that is looking to try to inch their way back into the top three spots in the Atlantic. The Isles do not have much to play for but at least getting to Columbus’ level would be a step up from fading away this season. That is more possible now given their 3-0-1 result in this last week.
SBN Blog: Lighthouse Hockey
What Happened Last Week: Philadelphia ran through a gamut of emotions and results. At home last Sunday to Montreal, the Flyers provided another heartbreak. Kevin Hayes scored first, Claude Giroux scored second, and Cam Atkinson put the Flyers up 3-2 early in the third. It looked like the Flyers could hold on to win. They even had a late power play. Then Rem Pitlick scored shorthanded with 43 seconds left in regulation to tie up the game. And 2:10 into overtime, Cole Caufield scored to hand the Flyers another disappointment through a 4-3 overtime loss. Thursday night was a more special night. It was Giroux’s 1,000th game as a Flyer and all rumors were pointing to him being traded by tomorrow’s deadline. It was felt by many to be his last in the orange and black. Would the Flyers be able to beat Nashville and send him off win a win? It was close. Travis Sanheim scored first. While the Flyers were up 3-1 fairly early in the second thanks to goals by Cam York and James van Reimsdyk, they blew that lead by the end of the second period with goals allowed to Philippe Myers and Ryan Johansen. Filip Forsberg put the Predators up early in the third. The Flyers needed goals late. They got them from Kevin Hayes and Joel Farabee, whom provided the winner with 1:19 left in regulation. The Flyers won on Giroux Night, 5-4. Giroux was held out of the next game, which was Friday night in Ottawa. The sting of losing returned. While Cam Atkinson made it 1-1 in the second period, Josh Norris converted a power play to break the tie and Alex Formenton sealed the game with a shorthanded empty-netter for a 3-1 loss. It is Philadelphia’s 12th straight road loss and it ended the week at 1-1-1. Better than recent weeks all things considered, but still very much an array of feelings. Something further confused after the Giroux trade to Florida on Saturday afternoon.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The Flyers will play one more game at home before the deadline and then hit the road for their next five games. Three of them will be played this week. The one home game is within the division; the Flyers will host the Islanders. The Isles have beaten the Flyers three times back in December. A series sweep is in the cards. The games will get harder on the road, though. Tuesday night will see the Flyers go out to Detroit and then a back-to-back with St. Louis and Colorado. Both St. Louis and Colorado are playoff teams and Detroit is on the same level as the Isles. The selling will be done by the trip and the stretch run will just be a means to prepare for next season. It is what it is, Philadelphia.
SBN Blog: Broad Street Hockey
New Jersey Devils
What Happened Last Week: Do you like the scoreline of 6-3? All three games on the Devils’ road trip through Western Canada ended at 6-3. As in 6-3 losses. Tuesday night in Vancouver? The Devils went down two, clawed back to a 2-2 tie early in the second period thanks to a first period goal by Ryan Graves and a second period strike by Jack Hughes, and then gave up two quick goals in successive shifts to Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson. Nathan Bastian jammed in a puck to pull the Devils within one. But the third period featured a shorthanded goal by Horvat - the only goal scored during a 4 minute power play for New Jersey - and Juho Lammikko made it 6-3. Wednesday night in Calgary? A similar flow. Calgary’s Brett Ritchie struck first, Dawson Mercer sniped in one in the first period, Andrew Mangiapane made it 2-1 by the end of the first period. P.K. Subban tied it up early in the second, only for that tied score to balloon to a 5-2 deficit by intermission thanks to Dillon Dube, Matthew Tkachuk, and Milan Lucic. Yegor Sharangovich making it 5-3 was almost a consolation at that point and Johnny Gaudreau sailed in Calgary’s 16th shot of the period into an empty net for a 6-3 loss. Yesterday in Edmonton? The script was a bit different. In those two previous games, Nico Daws was beaten four times and then was replaced by Jon Gillies. The Devils coaches went with Gillies in Edmonton. Leon Draisaitl made him look like a snail within two minutes to put the Oilers up 1-0. Jesper Bratt finished a one-on-one to tie it up. Late in the second period, Evander Kane went for a wraparound, beat Gillies to the post, and Graves inadvertently put it home to make it 2-1. Bratt scored within the first minute to tie it up and Bratt set up Nico Hischier to make it 3-2 New Jersey early in the third period. Then Gillies’ poor goaltending emerged again. Tyson Barrie found Gillies not covering his left post and beat him to make it 3-3. Kane took advantage of an unlucky carom off Michael McLeod’s skate to beat a completely clueless Gillies in the crease to make it 4-3 Edmonton. Within the same minute of game time, Zach Hyman finished a sequence created by Gillies not handling a long shot by Barrie, leading to Jesse Puljujarvi to set up Hyman in front to make it 5-3. Connor McDavid put home an ENG for a third straight 6-3 loss by New Jersey. Due to games played, they are now in last place in the division. Pain.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The Devils will play three difficult games in this week. Just what they do not need since going 0-3-0 on a road trip where they lost by three in each game. They are idle until Tuesday night when they host their hated rivals in the New York Rangers. The Devils got goalie’d in their previous meeting earlier this month. The hope is that they do not on this night. After this, the Devils will head up North to visit Toronto. The Maple Leafs embarrassed them with a third-period comeback win on January 31 and then pasted them in all 60 minutes in a six-goal loss on February 1. I do not know how this will go any better. The week ends with a game in Washington D.C. The Devils did win there back on January 2. And the Caps will come into this after a game played in Buffalo. However, the Capitals’ malaise seems to have passed by and the quality may be enough to go past a Devils team with literally nothing to play for this season. Alas.
SBN Blog: All About the Jersey - Alas may as well be the word of this season.
That was the twenty-third Weekly Metropolitan Division Snapshot of the 2021-22 season. What do you expect to happen in this week coming up? Will Carolina win a game soon or enter a prolonged losing streak? Who will take Friday’s big match up for second place between Pittsburgh and New York? Can the Washington Capitals claw their way back into the top three in the division? How about the Isles gaining ground on Columbus? Will the Devils win a game this week? Or at least not lose 6-3 for a fourth straight game? How much will the bottom four teams sell by tomorrow? 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.