Less than two weeks ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline and the Carolina Hurricanes continue to rule the Metropolitan Division. The New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers are all but locks to make the postseason. The New York Islanders, while in a wild card spot today, are facing an uphill battle in a crowded wild card battle that saw the Washington Capitals take a hit with a reverse-swept week and the Pittsburgh Penguins see their position get weaker. The Isles and Rangers made notable trades to add to their rosters. Will the other teams add as well? What about those in the Atlantic with wild card aspirations? Does this mean teams like the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets will be sellers as March 3 gets closer and both are far away from the postseason? We shall see and it makes the upcoming two weeks of games even more interesting as to what they will do to address their rosters.
The Penguins and Capitals lost their last weeks. The Islanders split their last week’s points and that was enough to barely hold onto the second wild card spot. Florida won their week but remain both just behind in points with a big games played disadvantage. Detroit is surging to stay somewhat relevant and Buffalo had a winning week to also remain in the mix. The wild card mess is good for Carolina, New Jersey, and the Rangers as it solidifies their playoff spots further. There is an 12-point gap between the Rangers and Penguins. It is the most interesting part of the playoff race as those teams will have to make some tough decisions ahead of the deadline. Except for maybe the Isles as they already got Bo Horvat.
There are plenty of home games and action on most days coming up in this week. New Jersey, Washington, and Carolina will be at home all week. Philadelphia will return from their West Coast Trip by mid-week as the New York Rangers will be back by Monday before a shorter trip. Wednesday is the only light day coming up. Here is who each team is playing, with the three inter-division games for this coming week highlighted and in bold:
Here is the week that was and week that will be for all eight teams in the division.
What Happened Last Week: Carolina faced a big week wherein they would play Washington twice, with the second game taking place at Carter-Finley Stadium for the Stadium Series. They entered the week in control of their own destiny. They pushed forward in favor of it. On Valentine’s Day, they faced off with a hungry and Ovechkin-less Capitals team in D.C. Goals were traded off. Brent Burns opened the scoring in the first period, only for T.J. Oshie to tie it up in the final minute of the second period. Paul Stastny restored the lead only for Joe Snively to tie it up with his first of the season. Stefan Noesen provided the go-ahead power play goal for a 3-2 lead. Then Frederik Andersen took over and denied everything. The Hurricanes held on for the 3-2 win. Ahead of their Stadium Series game, Carolina hosted Montreal on Thursday night. This game was close for two periods and then Carolina just blew away the Canadiens. Michael Pezzetta opened the scoring for Montreal, but a quick two goals by Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Seth Jarvis made it a 2-1 game for Carolina. The Canadiens held back Carolina and even tied up the game in the second period when Rafael Harvey-Pinard scored a PPG to make it 2-2. Then Carolina stomped out Montreal with a four-goal third period. Sebastian Aho, Jarvis’ second goal, and Jordan Staal all scored within the first five minutes of the third frame. Jarvis completed his hat trick with 20 seconds left with a shorthanded goal and 6-2 win. Carolina was in prime position going into the Stadium Series game.
Under the big lights and a very large and loud Carolina crowd, the Canes sought to crown the Capitals one more time. In front of nearly 60,000 people, Carolina served Washington another fat loss. It took 2:11 for Jesperi Kotkaniemi to put the Canes up in the game. The second period was a magisterial one for the Hurricanes. Paul Stastny extended the lead, Martin Necas converted a power play, and Teuvo Teravainen scored with an assist from goaltender Frederik Andersen. The Caps were frustrated and essentially out of the game. Tom Wilson broke the shutout but it was clear one team was superior to the other. That team was Carolina in a 4-1 win on a big stage. The victory meant another swept week for Carolina and a further hold on first in the division.
What’s Coming Up This Week: Carolina will be at home all week to play three games within five nights. On paper, the schedule is favorable for the Hurricanes. They will host a St. Louis team that has had some good results as of late but could be selling off by the deadline. The Canes will host Ottawa and Anaheim in a back-to-back set. Again, the Canes have been crushing it this season so the expectation will be two more wins. Keeping it up now means the possibility to relax more down the stretch. Expecting them to slip up seems silly at this moment. But if they do, there is one, maybe two, teams who would appreciate it.
New Jersey Devils
What Happened Last Week: The Devils continued a road trip that began in Minnesota last Saturday. Coming off a shootout loss, the Devils sought to win in Columbus. A tough task as the Devils have not won in Ohio since 2017. It was not an easy night against the 32nd place Blue Jackets. Yegor Sharangovich opened the scoring in the first period but a late penalty by Erik Haula and a PPG conceded to Johnny Gaudreau with 2 seconds left in the period tied it up. Jesper Bratt scored just seven seconds into the second period to restore the lead. However, Adam Boqvist put a shot that Vitek Vanecek would have wanted back to tie it up about four minutes later. The Devils tried to get going but struggled to put their many attempts on target. However, they never let up even with time winding down. Michael McLeod, of all players, deked Andrew Peeke out of his skates, and set up a crashing Ryan Graves for a goal with just 1.4 seconds left on the clock. The Devils won 3-2 in dramatic fashion. The drama would not continue into St. Louis on Thursday night. In a shot-filled first period, Pavel Buchnevich and Dawson Mercer each scored with the goalies in prone positions for a 1-1 period. In the second period, Alexey Toropchenko tapped in a puck off the post after a defensive disaster by the Devils. Ninety-five seconds later, all five Devils were below the dots and saw Jordan Kyrou hammer a high shot next to the the slot past MacKenzie Blackwood for a 3-1 score. Erik Haula, of all players, finished a great feed from Fabian Zetterlund to make it a one-score game. But the Devils could not crack Jordan Binnington. Their defensive woes would lead to the Devils being pinned back and Miles Wood put his mark on the game by head-shotting Sammy Blais. He went to the box for Rule 48 and Brayden Schenn slammed in a rebound for the resulting PPG to put the game at 4-2. The Devils lost 4-2 in a sloppy affair.
The trip ended in Pittsburgh - and with Jack Hughes returning to the lineup. He was sorely missed in the previous four games. Would he help the efforts in Pittsburgh? Absolutely. The Penguins were surprisingly up-tempo early on given that they played and lost in Long Island on Friday. Evgeni Malkin opened the scoring with a PPG tap-in from a Rickard Rakell feed. But Dawson Mercer had a huge shooting night and put home a rebound from a Nico Hischier shot past Dustin Tokarski for the equalizer. The second period saw special teams for New Jersey pull ahead on the scoreboard. A power play one-timer from Dougie Hamilton from Hischier and Hughes put the Devils up 2-1. Later, during a penalty kill, Yegor Sharangovich and Hischier had a give and go that ended with a Hischier shorthanded goal to make it a 3-1 game. The Devils were controlling the game more and more and poured it on in the third period. Hughes set up Jesper Bratt for a hammer of a one-timer in the third period to make it 4-1. Pittsburgh threatened late when Jeff Petry sprung Malkin down the middle late in the third to make it a 4-2 game. But a huge clearance by Mercer led Hischier to put in an easy empty net goal. A four point night for the captain, a 5-2 win, another successful week (2-1-0) and road trip (2-1-1), and securing second place for another week. The Rangers are right behind them but they have had to been hot to stay right behind them. The Devils control their destiny for home ice in the first round. By the way, four teams thank the Devils for beating Pittsburgh 5-2.
What’s Coming Up This Week: New Jersey is home all week with plenty of games to play. They will begin tonight at the Rock with a home game against Winnipeg. Winnipeg is a solid playoff-quality team from the Central Division and this is the first time the Devils are seeing them. It will be an intriguing matchup. On Tuesday night, the Devils will host a Montreal team that is last in their division. Similar to Columbus, they cannot be seen as pushovers. Just ask some of their recent opponents. On Thursday night, the Devils will host Los Angeles. The Kings are in a dogfight for a playoff spot in the West. The Devils do have a win over them; it will be valuable for them to not blow it. On Saturday night, the Devils close out their February schedule with a game against Philadelphia. The Flyers have given the Devils fits earlier in this season and even beat them twice. The Devils would do well to not just end the month on a high note but not gift points to teams not making the playoffs. The Devils have their own playoff positioning to worry about and another good run at home will only strengthen it. It would help if this next team would lose some games, too.
New York Rangers
What Happened Last Week: The Rangers went to Western Canada this week to play Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary. Of course, all three games were within four nights with the two Alberta games being back-to-back. Not an easy trip for any team. But the Rangers have been hot and they kept the fire burning in British Columbia. The first period was a goal-party between the Rangers and Canucks. Curtis Lazar opened the scoring. Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin made it a 2-1 game minutes later. J.T. Miller scored a PPG only for Panarin to score another goal to make it 3-2 by the end of the first. In the second period, Chris Kreider extended the lead just 50 seconds into the period. While Conor Garland made it a one-goal game for Vancouver, K’Andre Miller restored the two-goal lead later on. Vancouver battled in the third period and made it a one-goal game once more thanks to Andrei Kuzmenko. But the Rangers held on, Zibanejad put in an empty netter, and New York won their sixth game in a row with a 6-4 final score. A good start for a tough trip.
On Friday night, the Rangers went to Edmonton. It appeared that the Oilers had this game locked up in the first period. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored a PPG, Tyson Barrie, and Derek Ryan all scored within the first 13 minutes. While Chris Kreider converted a power play, Leon Draisaitl added one of his own to make it a 4-1 first period. How would New York climb back into this one? One goal at a time. Kreider scored a shorthanded goal in the second period. They shut down the Oilers to just two shots in the third period whilst they battled. Alexis Lafreniere made it a one-goal game early in the third and Zibanejad converted a power play of his own to tie it up. Overtime solved nothing, even with an Edmonton power play in the final minute. In a six-round shootout, Lafreniere ended it to give the Rangers the 5-4 win for a seventh-straight win. Last night, the Rangers went into Calgary. It looked like the streak would be over as the Flames scored two goals within the first two minutes. Andrew Mangiapane and Nazem Kadri put the Rangers down. Yet, they could not get any more and it would cost the Flaming C’s. Tarasenko got New York on the board late in the second period and it became a one-shot game. Alexis Lafreniere found that shot in the third period during a power play to tie it up at two each. Overtime was needed. However, the winning run of the Rangers would end. Adam Fox took a high-sticking call in OT and Mikael Backlund punished him for it for the 3-2 overtime loss. Still, five out of six points in Western Canada is very good for the week. The Rangers have a massive gap between themselves and the wild card squads. They remain behind the Devils, though.
What’s Coming Up This Week: New York returns from their trip from Canada for a game in Manhattan against Winnipeg on Monday night. This is interesting just because teams usually going out West get a continual break. Not so in this case. They will get a fatigue advantage as Winnipeg plays in New Jersey the night prior. After that game, the Rangers are back on the road. They will not go nearly as far as Alberta or British Columbia. They will visit Detroit on Thursday and visit Washington on Saturday afternoon. The Rangers can do a lot of damage to Detroit’s faint playoff hopes and Washington’s playoff positioning. They may need to in order to get past New Jersey. They had a long hot streak and remain behind - which speaks to how hard it is to catch up in this league.
What Happened Last Week: The Pittsburgh Penguins went into this week with a games advantage in the wild card race and ended it with a games advantage. Seriously, they have plenty of games in hand on Washington, the Islanders, and Florida. They did want to take the lead by points. They got off to a good start with that when they finished up their California trip in San Jose on Valentine’s Day. Casey DeSmith put in a steriling performance with 38 saves out of 39 shots. Rickard Rakell and Jake Guentzel made it 2-0 going into the third period. While Timo Meier finally cracked DeSmith with a goal with over four minutes left in regulation, the Pens held on. Guentzel put in an empty netter and so Pittsburgh prevailed 3-1 over San Jose. They went 2-1-0 on the trip; beating the two teams they really should have beaten. The week got tougher when they returned to the area. Their final game of the trip was in Long Island against a should-be-desperate Islanders team.
The Penguins could not fend off the Islanders on Friday night. Sidney Crosby scored 12 minutes into the game and Anders Lee tied it up fewer than two minutes later. The Penguins tried to pull away in the second period with goals from Rakell and Jason Zucker. Only for Brock Nelson to make it a one-goal game. Rakell scored with just over a minute left - which Lee answered within the final minute to make it a 4-3 game going into the third period. Nelson tied up the game with a PPG with just under 15 minutes left in regulation. Both teams tried to break through - and one did. Zach Parise put the Isles up with 2:43 left - and the Penguins could not find a response. They lost 5-4 in regulation to a wild card-battling opponent. Ouch. The Penguins put up 44 shots and fell short late. Against New Jersey last night, they did have plenty of energy in the first period. Evgeni Malkin converted a power play off a killer feed from Rakell and drew two more calls, too. But the Devils first answered the Malkin goal with a Mercer rebound goal. In the second period, the Devils would eventually take the game over in both performance and the score. A Marcus Pettersson interference penalty was quickly punished by a Dougie Hamilton one-timer. While Ryan Graves was sent off for interfering with Guentzel, a give-and-go with Sharangovich and Hischier ended with a Hischier shorthanded goal and a 3-1 deficit for the home team. The Devils never really let up and Hughes set up Bratt for a one-timer goal in the third period. Pittsburgh sprung some late hope when Jeff Petry caught the Devils unaware that Malkin was open down the middle. Malkin scored and the Pens had five minutes to score two goals. Not only did they not score, they conceded an ENG to Hischier for a 5-2 loss. The Penguins went 1-2-0 in the week and lost both games against divisional opponents. Not good, even with a heap of games in hand over their threats to a wild card spot.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The Pittsburgh Penguins will get a rematch on Monday night with the Islanders. Another important game within the division between two teams fighting for a playoff spot. While the Penguins have a big advantage in games played, winning Monday’s game would be a big help too. Revenge would be sweet given how they lost on Friday to the Isles. The Penguins will remain at home for Thursday night’s game against Edmonton. Edmonton has been pushing into the playoff spots in the Pacific Division and will want to keep up their pace of results. It will not be a simple time for the Black and Gold in Western PA. On Saturday afternoon, the Penguins will go to St. Louis. The Blues may be Tarasenko-less but they have been winning as of late. It will not be a simple contest either. Especially with the Penguins having a home game the very next day - but that is something for next week’s snapshot. The Penguins cannot simply rely on the games in hand. They need wins; ideally, regulation wins for potential tiebreakers.
New York Islanders
What Happened Last Week: The Islanders are in a similar position to Washington only with fewer points than them. The Isles needed results. In this past week, they ultimately split the points. On Tuesday night, they hosted Ottawa. Kevin Mandolese made his NHL debut for the Sens and the Isles struggled to beat him. They tried real hard with 46 shots on net. Ryan Pulock did score in the second period - only for Tim Stutzle to tie it up later in the second period. Brady Tkachuk put the Sens up 2-1 in the third period with a PPG; but Nelson answered back with a PPG of his own. The Isles tried ever so hard to get that third goal. They would not get it. Not even in a shootout. Stutzle and Drake Batherson did so the Isles dropped a big point in a 3-2 shootout loss. On Friday night, the Islanders hosted Pittsburgh. A huge game as the Isles are chasing the Penguins for a playoff spot. This game was all about the Isles answering the Penguins’ prolific offense. Crosby scored first, but Anders Lee responded less than two minutes later in the first period. In the second period, the Isles went down as much as 3-1 to goals from Rakell and Zucker. After Nelson scored to make it a one-goal game, Rakell scored late to make it a 4-2 game. But Lee made it a 4-3 game within the final 30 seconds of the period. Early in the third period, Nelson converted a power play to tie it all up. Would this be an unhelpful three-point game? No. Zach Parise emerged as the hero with a goal with 2:43 left. The Isles could and did hold on for a huge 5-4 regulation win over Pittsburgh. It ended the Isles’ own three-game slide and picked up ground on the Pens. Unfortunately, the Islanders had to play in Boston on Saturday. Boston trounced them, helped by the return of Jake DeBrusk. He scored a PPG to open the scoring. Nick Foligno and Trent Frederic made it a 3-0 game by the first intermission. Kyle Palmieri got the Isles on the board in the second period and the B’s answer was to score three more goals, which were provided by Patrice Bergeron, Frederic, and Pavel Zacha. Matt Martin scored a consolation goal in the third for the 6-2 loss. The Isles went 1-1-1 and are still very much in the wild card picture. They are in the second wild card spot now thanks to Washington stinking it up this week. But dropping that point to Ottawa, their recent slides, and other struggles will haunt them. Especially with 59 games played. They could lose that spot as they wait for games in the future.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The Islanders will play three games in this week. Given their position in the playoff picture, these games are important and they need help. Winning these kinds of games will reduce the amount of help they would need. It will not be easy to get results as all three opponents are playoff quality opponents. On Monday night, they will play in Pittsburgh. A rematch of Friday night’s game and it will be away from Long Island. Always a tough ask. The Islanders will return home on Wednesday night to host Winnipeg and then host Los Angeles on Friday night. In the Islanders’ favor is rest. The Jets will be playing their third game in four nights on Wednesday. The Kings would be coming off a game in New Jersey on Friday night. The Isles would do well to take advantage. Of course, if they could, then they would possibly be higher up in the standings. Do your best, Isles, and hope a lot when checking the out-of-town scoreboard.
What Happened Last Week: Washington entered this week as one of the rare teams with a road regulation win over Boston. It was a big week with three home games and a big matchup in a stadium against Carolina on Saturday. With so many games played, the pressure is on the Capitals to keep getting points so more of the games in hand of others (Pittsburgh) have to be wins. They did not quite play up to that. On Sunday, the Capitals hosted San Jose. The Sharks got the jump on the Caps and never let go of their collective bite. Evgeny Svechnikov scored in the first period, which included an assist from Erik Karlsson. Alexander Barbanov made it 2-0 with a PPG in the second period, which also included an assist from Karlsson. Evgeny Kuznetsov did get the Caps on the board late in the second period to make it a one-shot game. Then at 12:55, Karlsson decided to just score a goal instead of setting one up for a 3-1 Sharks lead. (A three point night for Karlsson!) Tomas Hertl ended it with an ENG to hand Washington a disappointing 4-1 loss. The disappointment would continue when the Capitals hosted Carolina on Valentine’s Day. While they put in a better effort, it was not their night. T.J. Oshie answered a first period goal by Brent Burns. Joe Snively answered an early second period goal by Paul Stastny. There was no answer for a Stefan Noesen PPG as Frederik Andersen denied the Capitals. Washington was without Alexander Ovechkin - his dad passed away earlier this week - and one could wonder if his presence could have made a difference. All the same, it was a 3-2 loss to Carolina. It would get worse on Thursday night. The Florida Panthers visited Washington and the Panthers are battling for the same wild card spot the Capitals owned. Like San Jose, the Panthers got out in front early and never let go. Gustav Forsling scored in the first period, Marc Staal got his first of the second early in the second period, and forward Colin White made it 3-0 Florida by 7:20 of the second period. Dylan Strome would get the Caps on the board later in that period, only for Aleksander Barkov to restore the three-goal lead late in the second period. There would be a comeback attempt in the third period. Nicklas Backstrom scored a power play goal with less than 7 minutes left and Kuznetsov scored a PPG of his own with less than 3 minutes left. Pull the goalie and hope for the best. The Capitals got the worst when Anton Lundell scored an ENG and Sam Reinhart scored a second one later. The Capitals lost 6-3 for their third loss in a row.
Needless to say, Washington did not go to Carter-Finley Stadium in great form. Carolina would make it rain more misery on the Caps. Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored early in the game. Carolina pulled the game further away with a three-goal second period. Goals from Stastny, Martin Necas, and Teuvo Teravainen made it a 4-0 deficit for the Capitals. They were lost without Ovechkin and a game plan that Carolina could not rip up. At least Tom Wilson broke the shutout in front of nearly 60,000 in North Carolina. The Capitals lost 4-1 to end their week with a reverse sweep. An 0-4-0 week. They are now just outside of the wild card spots and with 58 games played, they are at a disadvantage to Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Detroit whose games in hand could catch or go well past the Caps.
What’s Coming Up This Week: Washington will be at home all week with chances to earn some much needed points in competitive race in the Eastern Conference. First, they will host Detroit on Tuesday. Detroit is close enough to cause some concern but far enough back for a loss to them to be a concern. Winning would make both go away. Second, they will host Anaheim on Thursday. The Ducks have nothing to play for and so the Caps just need to avoid the spoiler. Third, they will host the Rangers on Saturday afternoon. That one will be a much more meaningful game as the Caps can cool off the Rangers and hold them back a bit. Or the Rangers could make the Capitals suffer more in the standings. The Capitals will eventually have to do some scoreboard watching with their number of games played. Getting points in weeks like this is a must to best improve their playoff odds. Especially after the losing week they just had.
What Happened Last Week: The Flyers had a home game with Seattle before traveling out to the Northwest, where they would play Seattle again and then play the three Western Canadian teams. Two of which will happen next week. The home game against Seattle was close but ended up as a loss. Owen Tippett scored an early PPG but Seattle took the lead with a Jordan Eberle goal and a Eeli Tolvanen goal in the first period. James van Reimsdyk tied it up early in the second period, only for Jaden Schwartz to make it a 3-2 game with about a minute left in the second period. Schwartz would make it a brace and a 4-2 game early in the third. Philly mounted a comeback and came within a goal thanks to a shorthanded goal from Patrick Brown. But it would stand at 4-3 for a loss. On Thursday, the rematch was held in Seattle. Seattle put this game out of doubt quickly. Jared McCann scored a shorty, Yanni Gourde scored at even strength, Justin Schultz scored a power play goal, Oliver Bjorkstrand scored at even strength, and Gourde scored again all within the first two periods. Travis Konecny’s two third period goals were consolation goals and Matty Beniers scored in between both just to add to the blowout. The Flyers lost big, 6-2. Philadelphia’s week ended in Vancouver. This one was close until it was not. Anthony Beauvillier scored for Vancouver and Scott Laughton tied it up shortly thereafter. The Canucks went ahead due to an early second period goal by Andrei Kuzmenko and a PPG from Beauvillier. Yet, a Morgan Frost PPG would keep the Flyers within a goal going into the third period. Then the Canucks just went ahead. Phillip Di Giuseppe scored around the halfway mark of the period to put the Canucks up by two. Elias Pettersson boosted the score with a rare shorthanded empty-net goal brace to end it at 6-2. The Flyers lost all three games, which should serve as a message that, no, this team is not much more than a spoiler this season.
What’s Coming Up This Week: Philadelphia will continue and end their trip in Alberta this week. They will visit Calgary for a Monday afternoon game and then visit Edmonton for a Tuesday night game. Those games are rough in general. Calgary is a tricky team to figure out. Are they are over or underachieving, or are they who they are? But they could be a problem all the same. Edmonton has been more successful and perhaps would want to get a jump a potentially tired Flyers team to improve their playoff push. Of course, this could mean Philly can spoil both of them. The Flyers will return home to start another back-to-back for the end of this week. They will host Montreal on Friday night and then visit New Jersey on Saturday night. The Flyers lost to Montreal earlier in the season whereas they have had the Devils’ number this season. But that was then, this is now, and now could be very different in both games. The Flyers may not have much to actually play for, but they could do a little damage to three of the four opponents who have something to play for right now. They could try to win a game to avoid a long slide; that would be good for them. That I have to write that speaks to the 2023 portion of Philly’s season.
Columbus Blue Jackets
What Happened Last Week: Columbus may have nothing to play for but they showed a lot of pride in a 4-3 win in Toronto in the previous Saturday. They demonstrated this in their three games last week. On Valentine’s Day, the Blue Jackets hosted New Jersey. A team they have continued to beat in Ohio since late 2017. While Yegor Sharangovich opened the scoring, Johnny Gaudreau converted a power play with two seconds left in the first period to tie it up. While they gave up a goal to Jesper Bratt just seven seconds into the second period, Adam Boqvist fired a shot that somehow beat Vitek Vanecek for his first of the season - and an equalizer. The Blue Jackets hung with the Devils. Elvis Merzlikins looked solid. All looked good to drag the game to at least overtime. Then Michael McLeod deked out Andrew Peeke and fired a pass to a crashing Ryan Graves - who scored with 1.4 seconds left. Ouch. A 3-2 heartbreaker of a loss.
The week would get better for Columbus. They were beaten but unbowed. They hosted Winnipeg on Thursday. They conceded a lot of rubber to the Jets. Kyle Connor scored a power play goal with two seconds left in the first period. But Joonas Korpisalo stood tall outside of that goal. The Blue Jackets fought back. Patrik Laine scored a PPG at the halfway mark of the second period to tie it up. Kent Johnson scored on a low shot from the circle after a power play ended in the third period to give Columbus a 2-1 lead. The Jackets held on, Boone Jenner put in an empty netter, and the Jackets won 3-1. Yes, against a playoff-bound Jets team. Would the Blue Jackets do it again in Dallas? Yes - with some additional help. First, Liam Foudy scored his first regular season NHL goal late in the first period. Dallas tied it up in the second period thanks to Ty Dellandrea. But the Stars had two goals scored taken off the board after review. Columbus did not waste the gifts with a three-goal third period. Boqvist scored early to make it a 2-1 game. Mathieu Olivier put the Jackets up 3-1 with less than five minutes left. Eric Robinson ended it with an empty-netter for a 4-1 win. Yes, the Blue Jackets beat a playoff-bound Stars team. Yes, the Blue Jackets won two games in a row. Yes, the Blue Jackets won a week for the first time in a while at 2-1-0. The season may be lost but the last four games are an oasis amid the losses.
What’s Coming Up This Week: Columbus’ week begins tonight with a game at Arizona State University to take on fellow standings-bottom-dwellers in the Coyotes. Feel the pull of two struggling franchises face off that night. But Columbus is in form; they could have a winning streak after that one. The Blue Jackets will then resume their games on Thursday with a home game against Minnesota. They can spoil the Wild’s chances at holding a playoff spot in the West. The Blue Jackets will end their week with an afternoon game against Edmonton - another playoff hopeful in the West. The Jackets can try to throw a wrench in their gears but it is doubtful given Columbus’ performances this season. Just count the games; the season will be ending sooner rather than later. Enjoy every result in the meantime.
That was the nineteenth Weekly Metropolitan Division Snapshot of the 2022-23 season. What do you expect to happen in this week of games coming up? Will Carolina get that all important ‘X’ just after the trade deadline? Can the Devils hold onto second place ahead of a hot Rangers team? What will the wild card race look like after a lost week for Washington and Pittsburgh, a split week for the Islanders, and positive weeks from Florida, Buffalo, and Detroit? What does one do with the Flyers, who are now sliding? Can Columbus keep getting some wins? 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.