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Weekly Metropolitan Division Snapshot: 3/12 - 3/18

Spring forward with the twenty-second weekly Metropolitan Division Snapshot of the season. The playoff teams in the division all had winning weeks, but every game’s results changes their outlook. Especially last night’s. Read on to see how each team did last week and what is next for them.

NHL: MAR 11 Golden Knights at Hurricanes
“Awwwwww.” “Stop whining, you’re still in first place for now. Also, your jersey looks like a dishrag.”
Photo by Katherine Gawlik/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With fewer than 20 games to go for each team in the Metropolitan Division, clarity within the standings is taking hold. The Carolina Hurricanes have just one team to worry about taking first from them: the New Jersey Devils. While the Canes have a game in hand on them, tonight’s game could really make it a battle down to the end of the season. The New York Rangers would need the Devils to collapse to catch them. But with their closest opponents behind them in points along with a big games-in-hand in advantage on their hated rivals, they can feel more secure in third place. The wild card race is solidifying with the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins holding an advantage over the rest of the Atlantic Division battlers. But it is a slight one for the Islanders, who will have a lot of scoreboard watching to do. The Washington Capitals are not out of the bubble but remain on the far side of it. The Philadelphia Flyers left that bubble a while ago. And the Columbus Blue Jackets did not even get close to the bubble. There is still plenty of intrigue as the final few weeks of the season begin. Here are the standings after last night’s games:

Metropolitan Division & Wild Card Standings as of the morning of March 12, 2023
Metropolitan Division & Wild Card Standings as of the morning of March 12, 2023
Standings from; Playoff Odds from Moneypuck; Lottery Odds from Last Year’s Lottery

Quick Aside: Oh, Ottawa, how did you get blanked by Chicago and get beaten by Vancouver surrounding a win in Seattle? Don’t you want the playoffs? Buffalo, you picked a bad week to go 0-3-1. And Detroit is nearly outside of the 10-point gap I am keeping for this snapshot. A gap I may reduce in the future. We’ll see.

Other than Monday, the action will be fierce throughout this week. With six games within the division as well as a handful of Atlantic-Division-Wild Card-Battles (I need a better name for those), these games could still cause some swings. Something to set up some late season drama. We may be getting closer to the end of the season, but a lot could happen even if the picture looks set. The games within the division are highlighted and in bold.

Metropolitan Division & Wild Card team schedules for 03/12/2023 to 03/18/2023
Metropolitan Division & Wild Card team schedules for 03/12/2023 to 03/18/2023
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 has heated up once again. Coming off a big win at Arizona last week, the Hurricanes returned to Raleigh to host Tampa Bay. Somehow, this blowout was even worse than the one the Coyotes suffered. Not only did the Hurricanes shut out Tampa Bay, 6-0. Not only did they consistently rack up two goals in each period. Not only did they go 4-for-5 on power plays. Not only did Teuvo Teravainen get a hat trick, Jesperi Kotkaniemi had a goal and four assists, Shayne Gostisbehere had his first goal as a Hurricane, and Andrei Svechnikov scored. The Hurricanes held the Lightning shotless for a whole period. Seriously, they out-shot them 11-0 in the second period. That is hard to do in a videogame, much less real life and much less by a playoff-bound Tampa Bay team.

Carolina’s next few games would be closer, though. In Montreal on Tuesday, the Canes were chasing the game. Alex Belzile and Mike Hoffman put the Canes down two in the first period. While Jaccob Slavin (first period) and Brady Skjei (second period) tied it up, Michael Pezzetta made it a 3-2 game. Carolina needed a late hero to tie it up - and they had him in Jesper Fast. He scored an equalizer with 3:38 to go. The game went all the way to a shootout that went six rounds. Kotkaniemi provided the finish for the 4-3 shootout win over the last place team in the Atlantic. On Thursday, Carolina returned home to host Philadelphia. Would Carolina shut down the Flyers? They kept them to 19 shots on net. But only took 29. Pytor Kochetkov fortunately got the shutout and Svechnikov’s PPG in the first period was enough for a 1-0 win. That said, one would have liked the Canes to win more decisively than that. Last night, they hosted Las Vegas - the last team who beat them. They faced Jonathan Quick in net. Surely, the hot Hurricanes would make it a game. They would not. Quick was perfect. Jonathan Marchessault made it a 1-0 game early in the first period. Reilly Smith made it 2-0 late in the second. A comeback was still possible until Paul Cotter scored with less than seven minutes left to make it a more commanding 3-0 lead. The Canes pulled the goalie and Brett Howden just put in an empty netter for the 4-0 final score. The Canes lost 4-0 to Las Vegas at home. A poor end to a great 3-1-0 week. However, they are now just up by two over the New Jersey Devils (and have a game in hand on them) and they play them tonight. Despite their great weeks of result, they are not so safe in first.

What’s Coming Up This Week: No rest right away, that’s for sure. The Hurricanes will visit the New Jersey Devils tonight. This is now a huge game for first place in the division after New Jersey’s win in Montreal and Carolina’s loss at home to Las Vegas. Should the Canes prevail in regulation, then that makes holding onto first that much easier for them. A loss, especially in regulation, will be a cause for some concern. Concern as the Canes will still have a game in hand on the Devils, but concern nonetheless. Also, it would make them fans of the Lightning for the next week. Not that Carolina can take it easy after Sunday for themselves. On Tuesday, they will host a Winnipeg team that has some quality and their own playoff hopes. The Canes will end this week with a back-to-back on the road in Toronto on Friday night and Philadelphia on Saturday evening. The Hurricanes in Toronto will be a tough one as the Maple Leafs are very, very good at home and the Flyers could spoil a tired Canes team on Saturday. Carolina is in control of its destiny and they have more than proven themselves to be able to remain in control. No one ever said that it would be easy and this week will not be easy.

New Jersey Devils

What Happened Last Week: The Devils wrapped up their road trip that started the month in Tempe, Arizona on Sunday. It was the debut of Timo Meier. He scored the game’s opening goal, which was great. Then Matias Maccelli hit back for a score a minute later. Then Jesper Boqvist put one home late for a 2-1 lead. The Devils added to the score with a PPG from Damon Severson in the second period. But they left Zach Kassian wide open and he made it a 3-2 game. Fortunately, Boqvist finished a one-timer from Ondrej Palat to make it 4-2 within the final minute of the second period. Up 4-2, it should be a win, right? Not quite. Clayton Keller found Nick Schmaltz open on the weakside early in the third and Jack McBain tied it up with two minutes left. The Devils were on the verge of choking to Arizona. Fortunately, Dougie Hamilton sprung Nico Hischier on a 2-on-1 in overtime and the captain finished the rush early for the 5-4 win. The choking would actually take place on Tuesday night to Toronto in New Jersey. After a solid first period, the Leafs roared back to tilt the ice and get on the board thanks to an uncovered Calle Jarnkrok. But the Devils got their mojo back and tied it up late in the second period thanks to Erik Haula of all players. During a Devils power play, a turnover led to Mitch Marner scoring on a shorthanded breakaway. Just before that same power play ended, Ondrej Palat piled in a rebound to tie up the game. Later, a shot by Palat from the halfwall was influenced into the net by Haula to give the Devils a 3-2 lead with about 11 minutes left in regulation. This would not last. A neutral zone turnover led to no one covering Michael Bunting on the weakside. He got the puck and tied up the game. Late in the third, Timo Meier high-stuck a Leaf. The penalty was given and Auston Matthews converted it to make it 4-3. The score stood and so the Devils lost in regulation. A bummer of a defeat.

The Devils sought to rebound on the road in Washington D.C. on Thursday night. Just before fine first period ended for New Jersey, a poor clearing attempt led to a bunch of shot attempts. The last one was Trevor van Reimsdyk firing a shot that hit off a Devils skate and beat Akira Schmid for the early deficit. The Devils hit back with a quick pair of goals in the second period. Haula put home a sharp-angled shot to convert a power play. Dawson Mercer put home a rebound after a Hischier shot to make it 2-1. Alas, Dylan Strome was left uncovered in front of the net; T.J. Oshie found him; and it was 2-2 by the halfway mark. Then the score stood thanks to Schmid, Darcy Kuemper, and Lady Luck. A shootout was needed and, amazingly, the Devils prevailed thanks to Meier scoring the only goal in it. The 3-2 win pushed the Devils up to 90 points. Last night, they were in Montreal. They took it early to the Canadiens. Nathan Bastian broke through the Montreal defenders, followed a Miles Wood forecheck, went around the net, and scored to open the scoring. Later in the first period, Damon Severson found Nico Hischier at the top of the crease and put the puck off Hischier’s skates for the goal. The Devils were in control up until late in the second period when a Damon Severson turnover yielded a free puck for Rem Pitlick. He set up Denis Gurianov for a one-timer goal to make it 2-1. The Devils would hold onto that score. Montreal’s closest chance was hitting the crossbar with the extra skater - only for the Devils to clear it out and Tomas Tatar to put home an empty netter. The Devils won 3-1 to make it a 3-1-0 week. Combined with Carolina losing last night, they are now two points back of the Canes for first. Carolina has a game in hand but with Sunday’s matchup, a race for first place is very real for the Devils.

What’s Coming Up This Week: New Jersey has a huge game tonight against Carolina. If they want first place, then they really need to win this one and in regulation. Both teams played last night and Carolina is a fantastic team; it will be a difficult game. The challenge will continue on as the Devils will get familiar with Tampa Bay. They will play the Lightning three times in their next four games, and two of them are this week on Tuesday and Thursday. Both are in New Jersey, so there is that. The week will end with a back-to-back set in Florida and the Devils will first visit the Panthers on Saturday. They may still have wild card dreams; expect a desperate opponent on March 18. The Devils need to avoid falling apart to keep ahead of their hated rivals. But if first is the goal, then they need to win tonight, keep on winning, and hope Carolina actually stays cooled off for a change.

New York Rangers

What Happened Last Week: The Rangers had just two games to play in this week. They even had four days to prepare for their first one. A trip to Montreal, a playoff-less squad, would be their first game. It was far from simple. 35 seconds into the game, Kaiden Guhle scored to put Montreal up. While Alexis Lafreniere tied it up a little later on a power play, Alex Belzile put the Canadiens up 2-1 going into the second period. Jacob Trouba would tie up the game 48 seconds into the second period. But Josh Anderson added to the pressure with a shorthanded goal. Patrick Kane responded to a power play goal on that situation to make it 3-3. Then the shots dropped to 12 between both teams and no goalie was beaten. Ditto in overtime with just six between them - even with Montreal having a power play for 87 seconds. A shootout was needed. Mika Zibanejad was the only one to score for the Rangers to pull away with the 4-3 win. It was a win, but hardly Rangers fans wanted to see against a non-playoff team after a break.

The Rangers went to Buffalo on Saturday night. The Sabres needed a result. Not just for their wild card hopes but just to get past an epic 10-4 loss to Dallas on Thursday night. It would be a tough affair. After a scoreless first period, Jeff Skinner put the Sabres up in the second period. This would be matched later by a Patrick Kane pass going off Owen Power’s skates to beat the goalie and tie up the game. The goalies, Igor Shesterkin and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, proceeded to stop everything else until overtime. In the 3-on-3 situation, Rasmus Dahlin was caught hooking Mika Zibanejad. In the 4-on-3 power play, the Rangers converted it thanks to Artemi Panarin finishing a rebound after an attempt from Adam Fox. Rangers win 2-1. Two games, two wins, and further distance from the wild card group. Job done for New York.

What’s Coming Up This Week: Four games in seven days to start a fortnight of eight games. All four are within the division too. The Rangers will visit Pittsburgh on a late Sunday afternoon and then host them on Thursday night and Saturday night. The only break from the Penguins is on Tuesday night when they will host Washington. While Washington may be losing ground in the wild card race, they are still competitive. The Penguins really could use the points, especially after what they just suffered from the other NYC-based team. Those games could be huge for the Penguins. And if the Rangers are not careful this week and next week, their spot in third place may quickly become up for grabs. Given that they are going into this week with two wins, they are far more likely to cement their position further than to loosen it up.

Pittsburgh Penguins

What Happened Last Week: The Pittsburgh Penguins began a five-game homestand with three games in this past week. It would be far from welcoming. On Tuesday night, the Penguins hosted Columbus. Surprising to everyone Columbus just dropped a hammer on the Penguins, dumped their books, and ate their lunch. Emil Bemstrom, Lane Pederson, Patrik Laine, and Liam Foudy all scored within the first 23 minutes of the game to make it 4-0 for Columbus. Seriously, Penguins, a 4-0 deficit to Columbus? How do you respond? Chipping away at the lead, actually. Zucker scored past halfway through the second period to make it 4-1. Then within the first four minutes of the third period, Jake Guentzel, Zucker, and Danton Heinen all scored to erase the deficit. The Penguins tied it up 4-4. Woah. Overtime would be needed as the Penguins could not get a go-ahead goal in the third period. They would get it in overtime thanks to Sidney Crosby on a power play. A stunning comeback win, but again, why was one needed to a basement team like the Blue Jackets? The Penguins would end up being on the receiving end of a comeback on Thursday night against the Islanders. A far more important game as the Pens are chasing the Isles in the standings. Despite Anders Lee scoring a PPG early in the game, the Penguins took over to make it 3-1. Goals from Guentzel, Zucker, and Josh Archibald deflecting a shot in with his glove gave the Penguins a two-goal cushion. They held it down in the third period - until they cracked. Hudson Fasching beat Tristan Jarry inside the left post to make it 3-2. With 75 seconds to go and the goalie pulled, Lee re-directed a Noah Dobson shot to make it 3-3. In overtime, Ilya Sorokin knocked a puck away and Brock Nelson broke away. Pittsburgh needed Jarry to make a save and he did not. The Penguins lost 4-3. Sure, they got a point, but why blow a lead at home to a team you are directly competing with?

After two frustrating games and despite three out of four points earned, perhaps the Penguins would take it out on their hated rivals in Philadelphia. On a Saturday afternoon they would at least take care of business against the Flyers. It took some time for the breakout to happen but it did. In the first period, Rickard Rakell opened the scoring. Philly hit back with a goal by Kieffer Bellows. Pittsburgh would re-take the lead after Tyson Foerster took a double-minor for high-sticking. Crosby converted first minor to make it 2-1. Casey DeSmith held it down from then on. Especially with two penalty kills in the third period. Zucker added an insurance goal, Guentzel added an ENG, and within the final minute, Mikael Granlund scored his first as a Penguin to make it a 5-1 victory. A big win after two contentious and close games. From a snapshot standpoint, it is still five points out of six and that is positive. The Pens went up past the Islanders prior to the Isles game thanks to the Penguins playing fewer games than the Isles. They are now in the first wild card spot.

What’s Coming Up This Week: Pittsburgh will have two more home games before they hit the road. They will get very familiar with the New York Rangers. Pittsburgh hosts them this afternoon and then will go to Manhattan for a Thursday and Saturday night game. The break for them will be against Montreal on Tuesday night. A home game against a bottom-dwelling team should be a result, but Montreal has been known to be a lot more competitive than their position suggests. The Rangers will absolutely be a tough opponent. Pittsburgh should be hungry all the same and try to take it to them. A winning week will help bring the Rangers down a bit. It can help them further secure a wild card spot, including the first wild card spot over the Islanders and the rest. Which can be crucial as the Penguins will use up one of their games in hand on them this week. Of course, the Penguins have to actually get the results to make all that happen. Good luck.

New York Islanders

What Happened Last Week: The Islanders have a big games played disadvantage. All they can do is win the games they do have to play. With three games to play, they came up with two big wins over opponents in the wild card race. On Tuesday, they hosted Buffalo. After Dylan Cozens broke through the ‘D’ for the game’s first goal in the second period, Casey Cizikas provided an equalizer. The Isles went up early in the third period thanks to Josh Bailey. Ex-Isle Kyle Okposo tied up the game, but the Sabres forgot about Hudson Fasching for long enough to re-take the lead. A very fortunate bounce off his leg from a Scott Mayfield shot, but a big one. The Isles held on to win on that for a 3-2 victory. A blow to the Sabres. On Thursday, the Isles took on Pittsburgh. Anders Lee opened the scoring with a PPG in the first period. Then it seemed to be all about the Penguins. Jake Guentzel tied it up and Jason Zucker made it 2-1 before the end of the first period. Josh Archibald gave the Isles a glove of no-love with a goal in the second period to make it 3-1. How that goal stood up, I don’t know. Still, down 3-1 in Pittsburgh going into the third period was a bad spot. Especially after 14 scoreless minutes. Then Fasching scored - off his stick - to make it 3-2. With 75 seconds left in regulation, Lee provided an equalizing deflection of a Noah Dobson shot to force overtime. And the Isles would take it thanks to Brock Nelson breaking away after an Ilya Sorokin clearance for the score. A huge 4-3 comeback win in Pittsburgh to remain ahead of the Pens. The three-point game was especially bad news for Ottawa, Florida, Detroit, Washington, and Buffalo.

Speaking of Washington, the Isles hosted the Caps last night. An important game as it was another wild card battler. The Isles got off to a good start with a goal by Pierre Engvall. But the game slipped away. Dylan Strom tied it up in the first less than two minutes after Engvall’s goal. With a minute to go in the period, T.J. Oshie finished a feed from Rasmus Sandin to make it 2-1 for the visitors. After a scoreless second, the Isles needed a big third period. Instead, they generated six shots on net, allowed six shots on net - and allowed three goals. Anthony Mantha at 4:15, Nic Dowd at 12:18, and Nicklas Backstrom at 13:19. A terrible third period and a bad 5-1 loss to Washington. The Isles may have won the week but they put themselves in a more vulnerable position in the wild card race. They are now just ahead of Florida; and, like Florida, Ottawa can also catch them with games in hand.

What’s Coming Up This Week: The Islanders are off to California. While two of those three teams are weaker than what they were before the trade deadline, this trip is never an easy one. It starts with a back-to-back in Los Angeles and then Anaheim on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. The week and the trip ends on Saturday night in San Jose. Two of those games are pitfalls for the Isles to avoid. Los Angeles, on paper, is the most challenging. The goal remains: The Isles need to keep getting results in what games they do have left. This past week helped them get some space from some of the teams chasing them. They cannot afford to relax given their games played disadvantage with Ottawa and how Florida is performing.

Washington Capitals

What Happened Last Week: Washington wrapped up their California trip on Monday night in Los Angeles. While they won the trip, the one playoff-bound team in California humbled the now-weaker-on-paper Capitals. After a scoreless first period - which was an excellent one for Darcy Kuemper as he made 19 saves - Rasmus Sandin would put the Caps up in the second period. Only for that to be answered by the Kings’ own newish defenseman, Vladislav Gavrikov, minutes later. Phillip Danault delivered a stomach punch by scoring with 33 seconds left in the period to make it 2-1 for Los Angeles. Washington would tie it up on a power play by Alexander Ovechkin. But the Kings were not fazed. Mikey Anderson broke the deadlock minutes later. Adrian Kempe put home an empty netter to seal up a 4-2 loss for the Caps.

Washington returned home on Thursday to take on the New Jersey Devils in what will be a run of more local games. Despite being outplayed for much of the first period, the Capitals went up 1-0 thanks to a Trevor van Reimsdyk shot going off a Devils skate with 10 seconds left in the period. New Jersey would hit back. Erik Haula would convert a power play and the Caps forgot about Dawson Mercer in front - who put home a rebound like a dog to a bone to make it 2-1. Despite that, the Devils would lose Dylan Strome among coverage. He got open, T.J. Oshie found him, and he made it 2-2 in the second period. Then the game became all about the goalies and shots missing their target. Kuemper was strong. As was Akira Schmid, although with much less work to do. A shootout was needed. It would be the Devils to prevail thanks to Timo Meier in the fourth round. The Caps lost 3-2. On Saturday night, the Capitals had a chance to salvage some wild card hopes when they visited Long Island. The Caps went down initially to a Pierre Engvall goal, but Strome would tie it up not long after. The breakthrough came late in the first period when Sandin found Oshie for a score to put Washington up 2-1. After a scoreless second period, the Caps pulled away despite just putting seven shots on net in the third period. It helps when three of them go in the net. Anthony Mantha, Nic Dowd, and Nicklas Backstrom all scored to put the Caps up 5-1. The Isles had no answer in that third period. Washington put a dent in their hopes while keeping their own hopes alive. It also salvaged the week at 1-1-1. They are up on Buffalo and Detroit, but still at a disadvantage to the Isles, Florida, and Ottawa. They have work to do.

What’s Coming Up This Week: The Capitals will play three games in four nights in this coming week . They will visit the New York Rangers on Tuesday and then host Buffalo on Wednesday. The former could help spoil the Rangers; the latter could have real implications for a shrinking playoff bubble in the East. The third game is on Friday night at home against a playoff-less St. Louis team. Even though Washington also sold by the deadline, they may want to opt to win that one just for their own pride’s sake. And possibly to stay in the wild card mix depending on what other teams do.

Philadelphia Flyers

What Happened Last Week: The Flyers had a lot more to do this week. They began the week by hosting Detroit. The Red Wings were sliding and the Flyers were more than happy to add to their woes. While David Perron scored first, the Flyers hit back in the second period with a shorthanded goal from Nicolas Deslauriers (really) and an even strength goal by Noah Cates. Philly held onto the 2-1 lead through a penalty and shot-filled third period. Scott Laughton sealed Detroit’s fate with an empty netter for a 3-1 win. On Tuesday, the Flyers visited Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay was coming off a 6-0 loss wherein they were held shotless for a period. Philly bore the brunt of a bounce-back effort from the Bolts. An early Morgan Frost was answered by an Alex Killorn PPG. Then the Lightning pulled away in the second period with a Nikita Kucherov PPG, a Ross Colton goal, and Killorn’s second of the game. Brendan Lemieux kept faint hopes alive with his first goal as a Flyer, but at 4-2, it was an uphill battle. Kucherov secured the win with a PPG late in the third period; a 5-2 loss for Philly. The Flyers went to Carolina on Thursday night and surprisingly held it close. Felix Sandstrom was only beaten once; an early PPG from Andrei Svechnikov. Unfortunately, the Flyers mustered up just 19 shots on Pytor Kochetkov. All 19 were stopped. The Flyers lost 1-0.

That would also end up being the last game for GM Chuck Fletcher. He was let go and replaced by interim GM Daniel Briere. I am unsure why this move was made now and not, say, before the trade deadline. No matter. The season continued on. The Flyers ended their week yesterday with a game at their hated rivals in Western Pennsylvania: the Pittsburgh Penguins. They would not spoil them. They tried to. Rickard Rakell opened the scoring against the Flyers, but Philly put up 14 shots in the first period and Kieffer Bellows beat Casey DeSmith for an equalizer. A double-minor by Tyson Foerster after a penalty kill was punished by Sidney Crosby. In a 2-1 game, the Flyers would eventually battle in the third period. Especially with two power plays in the third period. But they could not beat him. Jason Zucker added a goal against Carter Hart to make it 3-1. Jake Guentzel sealed the win with an ENG and Mikael Granlund scored against Hart after then as an exclamation point for the 5-1 loss. Philly at least won one game and did some damage to Detroit’s playoff hopes. Still, a 1-3-0 week is bad no matter how you look at it.

What’s Coming Up This Week: Philadelphia will start a seven-game homestand in this coming week. One that would have been very interesting had the Flyers stayed in the playoff bubble at least. Instead, the home fans will just have to see some attempts at spoiling other opponents. Five (maybe six of those seven) have something to play for, unlike the Flyers. In this coming week, those opponents are Las Vegas, Buffalo, and Carolina. The G-Knights visit on Tuesday; and the Buffalo and Carolina games are back-to-back on Friday and Saturday. Good luck playing out the string, Philly. With their GM fired and replaced by an interim, we shall see whether the team performs with more or less spirit down the stretch of this season. Jobs for next season could very much be on the line.

Columbus Blue Jackets

What Happened Last Week: Columbus had two games to play and found a way to endure some pain in just one of them. On Tuesday night, the Blue Jackets visited Pittsburgh. A game where plenty of other Eastern teams were hoping for Columbus to shock the Pens. A game where they were thrilled when Columbus went up 4-0 on Pittsburgh. Yes, 4-0. Goals from Emil Bemstrom, Lane Pederson, Patrik Laine, and Liam Foudy. All within the first 23 minutes of the game. Surely, the Blue Jackets buried the Penguins. They did not. Jason Zucker began the comeback in the second period. Then Columbus absolutely filled their pants by giving up three goals within the first four minutes of the third period to blow the lead. Specifically to Jake Guentzel, Zucker, and Danton Heinen. Columbus had time to re-take the lead but they faltered in doing so. In overtime, Boone Jenner took a penalty and Pittsburgh made them pay for it. Evgeni Malkin found Sidney Crosby for the 5-4 loss handed to Columbus. Crushing.

Last night, Columbus hosted St. Louis. In a game between two teams with no real playoff hopes, this one would be for pride. And St. Louis won that. In the first period, Brandon Saad opened the scoring. Laine would tie it up on a power play close to two minutes later. But Jordan Kyrou and Sammy Blais scored later in the first period to put the Blues up 3-1 going into the first intermission. After a scoreless second period and 12 minutes into the third period, Kyrou put the Blues up further at 4-1. Jenner would get a consolation goal on the board close to four minutes later. Columbus pulled Michael Hutchinson for a late attempt at a comeback. St. Louis answered back with Kyrou getting his hat trick with the empty net goal. Columbus lost 5-2 and continued to hold onto 32nd in the NHL.

What’s Coming Up This Week: Columbus will join the Islanders in going to California this week. Their travel plan is different. The Blue Jackets are off to the Bay first. They will visit San Jose on Tuesday night. Then the Blue Jackets will visit Los Angeles and Anaheim, back-to-back, on Thursday and Friday night. Should the Blue Jackets want to even win those games given their spot in 32nd place? Your mileage may very. P.S. There are just 17 more games of this, Blue Jackets fans.

That was the twenty-second Weekly Metropolitan Division Snapshot of the 2022-23 season. Will we see a different team in first place by next Sunday? Will the wild card spots still be owned by the Metropolitan Division teams? Do you see Washington hanging around in the wild card battle for another week? Can Columbus and Philadelphia spoil some more 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.