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Weekly Metropolitan Division Snapshot: 1/29 - 2/4

In the sixteenth weekly Metropolitan Division snapshot of the season, the three top teams won their weeks and the wild card teams have more to worry about from the Atlantic Division, and most of the division is off next week. Read on for the week that was and week that will be for all eight teams in the division.

San Jose Sharks v Carolina Hurricanes
Carolina continues to lead and even pulls off dramatic comeback overtime wins over the likes of, uh, San Jose.
Photo by Josh Lavallee/NHLI via Getty Images

Welcome to what could be the second shortest weekly Metropolitan Division snapshot of this season. The 2022-23 NHL All-Star Game is taking place on February 4 and so the league is effectively off from February 2 to February 5. Some teams will have their CBA-mandated bye period around this event. In this division, five teams are not playing at all the New Jersey Devils, the New York Rangers, the New York Islanders, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Philadelphia Flyers. However, this short week can be fruitful for two of the three teams that will have games to play in the next four days. The Carolina Hurricanes can build up a huge lead on everyone else in the division and the Washington Capitals can make a move upwards. The Columbus Blue Jackets, well, the season will be one game closer to the end by the All-Star Game Weekend. Here are the standings as of this morning.

Metropolitan Division & Wild Card Standings as of the morning of January 29, 2023
Metropolitan Division & Wild Card Standings as of the morning of January 29, 2023; Playoff Odds from Moneypuck; Lottery Odds from Last Year’s Lottery

Since the All-Star Game is right around the corner and most of the division is off this week, allow me to introduce the playoff odds and lottery odds/playoff slots. The odds for the playoffs comes from Moneypuck. The lottery odds come from the NHL’s odds last season. Keep in mind that a lottery win moves a team up 10 spots in the draft order at most. Only teams finishing 23rd or worse in the NHL can get Connor Bedard if they win the first draft lottery. For now, that is Columbus and Philadelphia out of this division. By the way, Montreal owns Florida’s first rounder.

Florida? I have also added the Atlantic Division teams in the wild card race to the snapshot. With the season winding down and the trade deadline just over a month away, it is important to pay attention to the other division for the wild card spots. There is an actual fight for one this season. To keep it sensible, I am including the other division’s standings, weekly records, and schedules if the team is A) within 10 points of the final wild card spot and B) has a point percentage of at least 50%. This means Ottawa, Detroit, Florida, and Buffalo are in this inaugural version. Carolina, New Jersey, and the Rangers can ignore this addition for the time being. As can Philadelphia and Columbus. Washington, Penguins, and Islanders? You three need to watch them. They can be additional direct competition. Start with Buffalo. They’re right there.

Anyway, here is the really light schedule of games for this week. It does have one game within the Metropolitan Division, which is highlighted and in bold.

Metropolitan Division & Wild Card team schedules for 01/29/2023 to 02/04/2023
Metropolitan Division & Wild Card team schedules for 01/29/2023 to 02/04/2023
Team schedules via

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

Carolina Hurricanes

What Happened Last Week: Carolina had two games to play in this past week. They took them both, but both came with the dramatics of extra time. Last Wednesday, the Hurricanes went to Dallas. The Canes took a deficit in the first period. While Sebastian Aho began the scoring with a shorthanded goal, Wyatt Johnston and Jason Robertson scored in the first period to put the Canes down 2-1. Worse, Frederik Andersen left the game in the first period with an apparent upper-body injury. Fortunately, Antti Raanta was perfect for the Canes and Brent Burns tied up the game in the second period. A low-shooting game carried out from then on and overtime was needed. It took 90 seconds for a shot to be put on net but Martin Necas curled around the Stars’ defense and put one across his body for the 3-2 win. Friday night was even more dramatic. You would think a home game against San Jose would favor Carolina. The Sharks made it a challenge. Oskar Lindblom scored first, which was answered by Calvin de Haan about two minutes later. The scoring held there at 1-1 in the first period and through the second period. The third period seemingly was going to go Carolina’s way when Aho converted a power play just 17 seconds into the final frame. The Sharks had other ideas. Nick Bonino tied up the game at 6:50 and Michael Eyssimont put the Sharks up 3-2. James Reimer was in form. Time ticked down and Mario Ferraro put the Sharks up 4-2 with an empty netter with just under two minutes left. Game over? Not quite. On the next shift, Aho scored with just over 90 seconds left in regulation to make it 4-3. With Raanta pulled, the Canes kept attacking - and hit gold. Necas was the hero again when he slammed in a rebounded puck from the right circle with 12 seconds left. 4-4. The Canes came back in less than two minutes to force overtime. Once more, Necas was the hero as he finished a feed from Andrei Svechnikov in a 2-on-1 for the 5-4 comeback win over San Jose. Do top teams sometimes need to pull off surprising comebacks against lesser teams? Yep. Does Carolina still lag in regulation wins? Yep. Did Carolina win both of their games to sweep their week and further secure first place? Yep. That last one matters the most.

What’s Coming Up This Week: Carolina will be the busiest team in the Metropolitan Division this week with three games in four nights. That is not an easy stretch on its own. Neither are the opponents. Carolina gets to “enjoy” the Boston Bruins on an early Sunday evening. The Canes are at home and the B’s are not so perfect on the road. But it will still be a battle of division leaders worth watching. On Tuesday, the Canes will host Los Angeles. The Kings are very much in the mix for the Pacific Division lead and their playoff position is not so safe. Los Angeles could very hungry to leave Raleigh with points to help them out. Right after hosting the Kings, the Hurricanes will head up to Buffalo on Wednesday night. Buffalo will have a rest advantage (3 days of no games!) whereas Carolina played the night before. Add in Buffalo needing results to continue chasing a wild card spot in the East and the fact that they score a lot of goals, and the Hurricanes will not necessarily have an easy time in Western New York. It is a tough set of games. But Carolina has more than proved they can hang with anyone and continue to get points from games. If they are successful, they can enter the All-Star Game Weekend with a comfortable lead in the Metropolitan Division. Oh, and they will have about three fanbases within the division cheering them on Wednesday night.

New Jersey Devils

What Happened Last Week: The Devils had a lot to play before their bye week. They continued the trend of close games going late from the end of their road trip in this past week. On Sunday afternoon, the Devils hosted Pittsburgh. It would be a close game. Jack Hughes scored 56 seconds into the game on Tristan Jarry, Sidney Crosby scored later in the first period on Vitek Vanecek, and then nothing else was scored in regulation. The Devils struggled to get going forward and the Penguins did not really punish the Devils enough. Overtime was more dramatic. After a missed shot, the Penguins tried to counter-attack quickly and it appeared they won when Marcus Pettersson hopped off the bench to score on a 2-on-1. Except the ref waved it off immediately, signaling too many men on the ice. Pettersson jumped on the ice too quickly and so the Penguins had four on the ice. The Devils received a power play and punished Pittsburgh properly. Hughes passed it across to Dougie Hamilton, atop the right circle, and the defenseman hammered a one-timer for the PPG to win the game, 2-1. On Tuesday night, the Devils hosted Las Vegas. The Devils went up early when a blooper by Ondrej Palat dropped in past Logan Thompson. However, the G-Knights hit back with a quick pair of scores in the second period by Ben Hutton and William Karlsson finishing a rush play. Vanecek steeled himself (he was good throughout) and let nothing else in. The Devils tried to get back in the game but could not - until Vanecek was pulled. With six on the ice, Hamilton rifled a shot that hit off Brayden McNabb to tie it up at 2-2 with just over a minute left. In the resulting overtime, Hutton tripped up Yegor Sharangovich. On the power play, Jack Hughes gained the zone, drew two Knights, and took a boarding-style hit from McNabb as he slid the puck across to the middle. Right to Hamilton for another one-timer blast for a PPG OTG. The Devils won 3-2. That ended their home schedule for the month so the Devils hit the road for a back-to-back. On Thursday night, the Devils were in Nashville. The Predators preyed on the Devils’ “defensive effort” with something like 10 breakaways and plenty of odd man rushes. Despite the shredding, Jesper Bratt opened the scoring past Juuse Saros in the first period. However, a PPG by Cody Glass tied it up. Yegor Sharangovich finished a feed from Hughes to put the Devils up 2-1. Only for sloppiness to ensue on the next shift, leading to Juuso Parssinen to fire a shot that Cole Smith tipped in for a 2-2 score. Hughes put home a rebound early in the second period. However, the Preds broke down a leaky Devils defensive effort and Mikael Granlund knocked a puck away from Damon Severson to tuck it into the net past Mackenzie Blackwood to make it 3-3. In the third period, the one-on-ones and breakaways got to the Devils. Matt Duchene and Filip Forsberg finished one of each to put Nashville up 5-3. Dawson Mercer roofed a loose puck late to make it 5-4. But there would be no late dramatics and Tanner Jeannot put in an empty netter for a 6-4 loss, the Devils’ first regulation home loss since a trip to Carolina on December 20. The Devils had to rebound in Dallas on Friday night. They put themselves in a deep hole instead. While they did not bleed breakaways, they bled shots to an offensively-charged Dallas squad. Ty Dellandrea threw a puck from the corner that went into the net off Erik Haula’s skates for a 1-0 deficit. After Miles Wood’s dumb penalty was killed, Erik Haula took a dumb penalty, and then Ryan Graves took a dumb penalty during that kill. Roope Hintz finished a one-timer shortly after a contested faceoff on the two-man advantage to make it 2-0. The Devils would come back in the second period. Hughes got a breakaway from Hamilton and beat Jake Oettinger five-hole to make it 2-1. Miles Wood scored his first goal since Decmber 13 - the last Devils game against Dallas - when he beat Oettinger inside the frame from the slot. Vanecek was coming up big with saves, but the game was a game. The Devils played a much better third period but nothing was decided. For the third time in a week and a fifth time in the last two weeks, the Devils went to overtime. It did not last long. Bratt sprung Hughes at the Dallas blueline with a lateral pass. Hughes shot it, Tyler Seguin got a piece of it, and the changed-up puck fooled Oettinger. Jack Hughes scored, the Devils won again in OT for a 3-2 win. The Devils did not make it easy on themselves at times, but they pulled out results to go 3-1-0 in the week. Giving overtime points away to Las Vegas and Dallas does not matter much and Pittsburgh is not their concern. The Devils remain two points behind Carolina going into their bye. They could be further behind. They can appreciate being six points ahead of their hated rivals.

What’s Coming Up This Week: New Jersey is off all week. They will try to get their performances in order ahead of a stretch-run. They may also cheer against Carolina’s opponents all week too. They will return to action on February 6 at home against Vancouver.

New York Rangers

What Happened Last Week: The New York Rangers continue to put themselves ahead to look up instead of worrying about what is going on behind them. Getting results will do that and they did that in this past week. Last Monday, they hosted Florida. The Rangers did a solid for the wild card picture by dispatching the Panthers. It was close in the first period when a Carter Verhaegae PPG was sandwiched by goals from Adam Fox and a Mika Zibanejad PPG. Then the Rangers pulled away. Jimmy Vesey scored in the second period. Alexis Lafreniere and Zibanejad scored on back-to-back shifts to put the Rangers up 5-1. An Aleksander Barkov goal was just consolation and Filip Chytil answered that anyway for the 6-2 final score and win. On Wednesday, the Rangers were up in Toronto. This one was closer. Toronto went up in the first period with a goal by Pontus Holmberg. The Rangers responded with a brace by Chytil in the second period to give New York the 2-1 lead. This held up until less than five minutes remained in the third period. Timothy Liljegren roofed a rebound past Igor Shesterkin to tie it up. Early in OT, Mitch Marner put up a highlight-reel worthy score for the win - which means the Rangers lost 3-2 in overtime. The Rangers more than rebounded on Friday night when they returned home to host Las Vegas. This one was a decisive win for the Rangers. Jaroslav Halak was near-perfect as a Phil Kessel goal in the second period was the only mark on his record. It did not matter, though. Chris Kreider and Vincent Trocheck scored within just over three minutes of each other in the first period. Chytil put the Rangers up 3-1 in the third period and Vesey added an ENG for the 4-1 final score. The Rangers kept attacking and they were rewarded with a win. They went 2-0-1 to win the week and keep hold on third place ahead of Washington. Even if Washington wins their two games, the Rangers will come back from their bye in third place.

What’s Coming Up This Week: The Rangers are off all week. They will hope Washington falters in the meantime. They will return to action on February 6 at home against Calgary.

Washington Capitals

What Happened Last Week: Washington had a pair of games in this past week and ultimately split the points. On Tuesday night, the Capitals visited Colorado - a team that is now healthier and looking to take a playoff spot in a competitive Western Conference. The Avs went up early thanks to Artturi Lehkonen scoring in the first period and Andrew Cogliano scoring early in the second period. Conor Sheary answered back with a goal, but the Avs restored a two-goal lead when Alex Newhook beat Darcy Kuemper in stride late in the second period. Alex Ovechkin did finish a one-timer in the third period to make it close. The Caps out-shot the Avs, 15-3, in an attempt to tie up the game. But Alexandar Georgiev said no beyond the Ovechkin goal and so the Capitals lost 3-2. On Thursday night, they hosted Pittsburgh in a big game for the first wild card spot and fourth in the division. Pittsburgh had it for a moment going into the game. They would not leave with it. Ovechkin scored from his usual spot on his usual shot on a power play in the first period. Notable in that Ovechkin literally stood at the dot for a while (a while in hockey) and just unloaded the shot when the puck came to him. Danton Heinen tied it up in the second period. Marcus Johansson put a puck past Casey DeSmith to make it 2-1 in the third period. Only for Bryan Rust to score later for a 2-2 score. Both goalies had a lot of work to do and were perfect in overtime. A shootout was needed. Rickard Rakell scored for Pittsburgh, but Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom took the shootout for Washington. That yielded a 3-2 shootout win and a huge second point to stay ahead of Pittsburgh for a moment.

What’s Coming Up This Week: The Capitals already have the disadvantage of having more games played than everyone else in the division. They will get to play two more to add to that disadvantage. Still, wins would at least give them some breathing room over Pittsburgh and that is a positive. The first game will be tough; it is in Toronto on a Sunday evening. The second game will not be as tough; it is in Columbus on a Tuesday night. Two wins are possible. Washington has beaten Columbus twice earlier this month and did beat Toronto in December. They just have to do it and hope the games in hand do not haunt them later in the season.

Pittsburgh Penguins

What Happened Last Week: The Penguins continued their chase for fourth place and the first wild card spot in the East in this past week. It could have been stronger, but they have picked up some points along the way. On Sunday afternoon, the Penguins visited the Devils. The Devils scored within the first minute thanks to Jack Hughes. The Penguins tied it up later in the first period thanks to Sidney Crosby. Then no goals happened. Pittsburgh seemingly won it in overtime thanks to Marcus Pettersson. Except he jumped over the boards too early - hence why he was open in a 2-on-1 - and the Penguins had four on the ice. His goal was wiped off, the Penguins went down a man, and the Devils punished their bench minor when Dougie Hamilton slammed in a one-timer. The Penguins lost 2-1, but got a point. On Tuesday, they hosted Florida in a game of goals. Lots of goals. 13 total goals. It was also emotional as Kris Letang returned. He had a massive night. The first period went: Sam Reinhart, Matthew Tkachuk (PPG), Rickard Rakell, Danton Heinen, Kris Letang, and Carter Verhaeghe. All scored within 13 minutes of each other for a first period ending at 3-3. An Aaron Ekblad shorthanded goal put the Panthers up 4-3 in the second period. In the final minute of the second period, Crosby scored a PPG to tie it up once more. Colin White put the Panthers up in the third period, but Drew O’Connor responded. Evgeni Malkin put Pittsburgh back up 6-5 with a third period PPG. Only for Verhaeghe to poach a turnover and tuck in a goal around the goalie to make it 6-6. In overtime, it was even until Brandon Montour high-sticked Jeff Petry. On the power play, Pittsburgh made it count. Letang recorded his fourth point of the night and his second goal of the night (and Pittsburgh’s third PPG) to secure a 7-6 win for Pittsburgh. Whew. The result put the Penguins briefly ahead of the Capitals for fourth place. Thursday’s game was in Washington D.C. It was massive. In the first period, the Penguins decided to not cover Alex Ovechkin on a power play. Lulled into it as he stood still at the right dot. This went badly and the Caps went up 1-0 thanks to Ovechkin. Danton Heinen provided an equalizer in the second period. Marcus Johansson put the Caps back up 2-1, only for Bryan Rust to make it a tied game once more. Both goalies were in form and faced a ton of shots. Nothing past Rust’s goal went in, not even in overtime. In the shootout, Rickard Rakell scored - but Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom did. The Penguins lost the shootout 2-1 and the game 3-2. The Caps re-took fourth but the Penguins got a big point. On Saturday night, they hosted San Jose. A win would see them back ahead of the Capitals. Surely, the Penguins would not lose San Jose? Well, they did. The first period saw the Sharks go up first thanks to Michael Eyssimont; go down to a pair of PPGs from Malkin and Crosby; and then Erik Karlsson tied it up with seven seconds left in the period. In the second period, Noah Gregor put the Sharks up again, Ryan Poehling tied it up with a shorthanded game, and once again, a late period Sharks goal put the Pens down - this one from Alexander Barabanov. Malkin did tie it up with about 10 minutes left in regulation. Then Logan Couture emerged again. He assisted on three of the four Sharks goals. He broke the tie with less than five minutes left. For his fifth point of the night, he put in the empty netter with 10 seconds left to give San Jose a two-goal lead. Unlike their game in Carolina, the Sharks would not blow a two-goal lead after an ENG. The Penguins lost in regulation to San Jose, 6-4. They enter their bye week a point behind the Capitals for the first wild card spot. Also, just a point ahead of Buffalo - who can overtake them for the second wild card spot by the time the Pens return to the rink. It is a tough spot to be in. Dropping points and losing to teams like San Jose do not inspire confidence. It is what it is, Pittsburgh.

What’s Coming Up This Week: Pittsburgh is off all week. They will hope Washington falters in the meantime. And they will cheer hard for Carolina on Wednesday night. They will return to action on February 7 at home against Colorado.

New York Islanders

What Happened Last Week: The Islanders have been reeling and the Islanders fans were becoming upset. And why would they not be upset? Their team was fading away from the wild card race. In the prior week, they took two out of eight potential points and lost all four games. This past week started off with more losses. On Monday night, they visited Toronto. This game was close until it was not. Anders Lee scored late in the first period to make it 1-0. William Nylander tied it up in the second period. Lee put the Isles ahead 2-1 shortly thereafter. Then it all fell apart. John Tavares was set up by Nylander for a game-tying PPG. Then Calle Jarnkrock scored thanks to Nylander. Then Nylander scored late in the second period all by himself. The man had a four-point night in one period. Oh, and the Isles were then losing 4-2. Auston Matthews tacked on more misery to make it a 5-2 loss for the Isles. The pain would continue in Ontario when the Isles visited Ottawa. Cam Talbot for Ottawa was hurt in the game, but Anton Forsberg came in and stopped all but one shot. Shane Pinto scored in the first period and Claude Giroux scored a PPG in the second period. Brock Nelson had the one shot that beat Forsberg. Simply, that’s a 2-1 difference and the Isles indeed lost 2-1 to Ottawa for what was then a sixth-straight winless game. On Friday night, though, the Isles would end that run of futility. Ilya Sorokin was perfect in net, Detroit did not muster up much at UBS Arena, and Lee scored early in the second to put the Isles up a score. Nelson scored early in the third period for insurance. The Isles snapped the streak with a 2-0 win. The bleeding was stemmed. But would they have something left in the tank for Saturday night? They hosted a Las Vegas team coming off a 4-1 loss to the Rangers. Seymon Varlamov was up to the task. In what would be a low-scoring game where defense was seemingly optional, Varlamov stopped 44 out of 45 shots. Lee got the Isles up early in the second period. William Carrier tied it up later in the second period. Logan Thompson and Varlamov forced overtime. Drama took place as Las Vegas not only owned most of the period, but Carrier was fouled on a breakaway. Yes, an overtime penalty shot for the one man to beat Varlamov earlier that night. Varlamov made the stop. The Isles survived the next four minutes or so and then struck gold with their one shot in OT. Mat Barzal ended a long shift by cutting to above the left circle and roofing the wrister. The Isles won 2-1; a big win to end the week at 2-2-0. They are now back in the wild card hunt, although they have to pay attention to Buffalo, Florida, Pittsburgh, and Washington - and hope the Flyers stay cool, Ottawa cools off, and Detroit muddles. There is more work to do on Long Island.

What’s Coming Up This Week: The Islanders are off all week. They need time to think about what they can do to right this season gone wrong in January. Among other things that they need to do. They will return to action on February 6 on the road in Philadelphia - who is a lot closer to them in the standings than they may think.

Philadelphia Flyers

What Happened Last Week: The Flyers have turned some heads with winning ways in January and surprising some by being closer to the Islanders than some expected. However, this past week poured some cold water on the Flyers’ push to justify their “aggressive retooling.” Last Sunday, they hosted Winnipeg. The Jets went up 3-0 within the first 8:31 of the game with goals by Axel Johnsson-Fjallby, Kyle Connor, and Mark Scheifele. However, Ivan Provorov put the Flyers on the board and a comeback would mount. Kevin Hayes scored a late second period PPG and an early third period PPG to tie it up at 3-3 for Philly. Would the Flyers complete the comeback? No. Karson Kuhlman drove to the net, lost control of the puck, but the puck went past Felix Sandstrom for the go-ahead goal. Kevin Stenlund ended the game with an ENG and so the Flyers lost 5-3. Last Tuesday, the Flyers hosted Los Angeles. The Kings had an answer for every time the Flyers scored - until the end. James van Riemsdyk’s game opening goal? Anze Kopitar tied it up minutes later with a PPG. Wade Allison scoring a minute after Kopitar’s PPG? Kopitar scored at even strength to tie it up. A rare goal from Rasmus Ristolainen in the second period? A rare Samuel Fagemo goal late in the second period tied it up. After a scoreless third period, overtime ensued and the Kings finally got ahead themselves. Kevin Fiala led a 2-on-1 rush and finished it himself. A point earned in a 4-3 loss for Philly. Last Thursday, the Flyers went up to Minnesota. It seemed that the Wild would take this one. Noah Cates scored for Philly early in the game. But Matt Boldy tied it up in the second and put the Wild up 2-1 with a PPG in the third period. The Wild were holding on, but Philly decided to have a flair for the dramatic. With the goalie pulled, Anthony DeAngelo finished a feed from Kevin Hayes from the left circle to tie it up with 1:28 left. In overtime, though, Mats Zuccarello emerged. He went coast to coast, nutmegged Travis Konecny, and beat Carter Hart for the win - and the Flyers lost 3-2. Last night, they were in Winnipeg. This night went totally different from the game played six days earlier. The Jets brought the shots and forced Carter Hart to attempt 40 saves. Hart made all 40 saves. Meanwhile, Noah Cates and Kieffer Bellows put the the Flyers up 2-0 going into the third period. In that period, Owen Tippett and DeAngelo scored to make it a 4-0 game and send Connor Hellebuyck to the bench for David Rittich as the goalie allowed two goals on three shots. Hart denied all 17 in the third period to end it at 4-0. The Flyers won a game to close out the week. They remain on the peripheral of the wild card race. Another heater though, and they could be an interesting spoiler.

What’s Coming Up This Week: Philadelphia is off all week. A week off is a gift in an 82-game week and perhaps they can find a better form in February. They will return to action on February 6 at home against the Islanders. A big game for the wild-card battlers.

Columbus Blue Jackets

What Happened Last Week: Columbus went on a road trip to Western Canada this week. The team that has been hurt and struggling all season in Western Canada (and Seattle) for four games in six nights? It could be real bad. It was a bit better than one would think. Last Monday, the Blue Jackets visited Calgary. Johnny Gaudreau’s return to Alberta. The Flames went up early with goals from Walker Duehr and Nazem Kadri. But a 5-on-3 PPG from Kirill Marchenko and a 5-on-4 PPG from Patrik Laine, back-to-back tied it up. Gaudreau helped set both up. (He also did not convert a penalty shot in the first period.) Andrew Mangiapane put the Flames back up 3-2, but Columbus would not lay down. Boone Jenner made it a 3-3 game in the third period and Columbus did enough to force overtime. Alas, Calgary took it when Dillon Dube finished a 2-on-1 to hand Columbus a 4-3 loss and a point. Last Wednesday, Columbus would provide an upset in Edmonton. Jenner opened the scoring in the game. Edmonton seemingly took the game over in the second period when Derek Ryan and Zach Hyman converted a power play. But Joonas Korpisalo was in form in the third period. Marchenko would tie it up in a netmouth scramble in the third period to make it 2-2. Columbus held on for overtime. On this night, they would take overtime when Kent Johnson roofed a wrist shot from the high slot past Stuart Skinner. The Blue Jackets beat Edmonton 3-2 in OT. A win on the trip! Would this lead to another result in Vanco uver? Not at all! The first period alone has Columbus on a power play just 1:16 into the game (a J.T. Miller slash on Jenner), Elias Pettersson scoring a shorthanded goal, Marchenko converting that power play, and then Columbus got beat later in the first period by Quinn Hughes on a power play and Ilya Mikheyev - before being shut down after the game with an apparent ACL injury he played with all season (what) - within the final minute. A 3-1 deficit after one period is not a good thing after going 1-0-1 in Alberta, especially to the weakest of the three Western Canadian teams. It would get worse in the third period. Dakota Joshua made it a 4-1 deficit and an Erik Gudbranson penalty led to Pettersson’s second of the night on the resulting power play (his first PPG of the season) for a 5-1 deficit. Marchenko scored another PPG but it was just consolation. Korpisalo was lit up and the Blue Jackets were beaten on in a 5-2 loss. The trip ended last night in Seattle. The Kraken did not make it interesting. Morgan Geekie put the Kraken up early, Alex Wennberg doubled the lead, and while Kent Johnson made it a one-goal game late in the second period, Eeli Tolvanen restored the two-goal lead in a decisive 3-1 win for Seattle. Which meant another loss for the Blue Jackets. A 1-2-1 road trip through Western Canada is not bad considering Columbus’ trainwreck of a season. But it is still very much a count-down to the end in Ohio. So it goes.

What’s Coming Up This Week: Columbus has one game to play in this week. They will host Washington on Tuesday. The idle Rangers, Penguins, and Islanders (and maybe even the Devils) will be hoping the Blue Jackets will spoil the Capitals. I do not think they should keep their hopes up, but hey, anything can happen. It’s hockey.

That was the sixteenth Weekly Metropolitan Division Snapshot of the 2022-23 season. What do you expect to happen in this light week of games coming up? Can Carolina help themselves out and pull away from New Jersey and everyone else in the division? Can the Capitals get fourth place back and get closer to New York? Who among the Atlantic Division teams is the one to fear for the Metropolitan Division teams? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about the eight teams in the week that was and the week ahead in the comments. Thank you for reading.