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Weekly Metropolitan Division Snapshot: 3/5 - 3/11

In the twenty-first weekly Metropolitan Division snapshot of the season, the NHL Trade Deadline passed. The Carolina Hurricanes are just ahead of the New Jersey Devils, the Pittsburgh Penguins got hot, and the wildcard remains a race. Read on to find out what happened and what is next for all eight teams in the division.

Carolina Hurricanes v Vegas Golden Knights
It’s not easy but they’re still in first for now.
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The 2023 NHL Trade Deadline was on Friday. The active roster limit is now gone. The salary cap remains. There are about 20-22 games left. We are now in the Stretch Run to the playoffs. Most of the Metropolitan Division has something to play for in this season. The Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils, and New York Rangers all added by the deadline, secure in the knowledge that they are playoff teams. Moneypuck’s odds may factor in performance stats but they’re safely above 90%. The New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins made changes while the Washington Capitals did quite a bit of selling. They are still in the mix with a recently hot Ottawa team, a recently cold Detroit team, and competition from Buffalo and Florida. The wildcard race will be one to watch in the final weeks. The Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets will do nothing but spoil teams and prepare for the following season. Here is how the standings look after Saturday night’s games:

Metropolitan Division & Wild Card Standings as of the morning of March 5, 2023 
Metropolitan Division & Wild Card Standings as of the morning of March 5, 2023
Standings from; Playoff Odds from Moneypuck; Lottery Odds from Last Year’s Lottery

Outside of Wednesday, March 8 and Friday, March 10, the Metropolitan Division and the wild card race will be quite active. Thursday and Saturday coming up will be loaded with games, especially with five out of six games within the division. Those games are highlighted and in bold. Here it is for your awareness:

Metropolitan Division & Wild Card team schedules for 03/05/2023 to 03/11/2023
Metropolitan Division & Wild Card team schedules for 03/05/2023 to 03/11/2023
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 began their short week in Nevada. After a scoreless first period, Jack Eichel emerged. He would score early in the second period and late in the second period. Martin Necas scored in between, to have the Knights up 2-1 going into the third period. Carolina did tie it up thanks to Jordan Staal. Only for Reilly Smith to spoil the result with a late third period goal. The Hurricanes lost 3-2. Not a bad loss but they surely had some frustrations. This bled into their Friday night game against Arizona. They lowered the boom on the Coyotes over and over. Paul Stastny and Sebastian Aho scored in the first period to establish the game. Jaccob Slavin, newest Cane Shayne Gostisbehere (PPG), and Aho (PPG) ensured the blowout in the second period with only a Lawson Crouse goal denying a shutout. No matter. Carolina added another power play goal from Necas just because they could. Carolina won 6-1 over a very bad Arizona team. The Canes remain in control of their destiny in the division. A 1-1-0 week is not ideal but they remain two points ahead of New Jersey and have a game in hand on them. They are in control - for now.

What’s Coming Up This Week: Carolina will get busy with four games coming up. This afternoon, they will take on a difficult Tampa Bay team at home. The Canes beat them all the way back on November 3 through a shootout. I would expect a difficult matchup all the same. The schedule gets softer in the middle. Carolina will visit Montreal on Tuesday and then host Philadelphia on Thursday. After trying to avoid those trap games, the Hurricanes will have a nasty weekend back-to-back. The first of two is a home game against Las Vegas on Saturday night. The second, well, it is within the division but that is for next week’s snapshot. The Hurricanes are in control of their destiny but they need to remain in control.

Deadline Summary: Carolina added by the deadline with two deals. Their team was strong before hand. These two could help them go over the top.

In: Shayne Gostisbehere, Jesse Puljujarvi

Out: Carolina’s 2026 third round pick (to Arizona), Patrik Puistola (to Edmonton)

New Jersey Devils

What Happened Last Week: The Devils had two games to play, both on the road and both against playoff-caliber opponents. Timo Meier would not play in either game. On Wednesday, the Devils went to Denver to play Colorado. New Jersey absolutely thrashed the Avalanche for the first 19 minutes. Ondrej Palat scored early, Nathan Bastian put a puck in close, and Tomas Tatar made it 3-0. All was great until Nathan MacKinnon beat Vitek Vanecek on the blindside to make it 3-1 going into the second period. The Devils seemed fine. Dougie Hamilton blasted in a goal and Miles Wood scored a power play goal with a second left in the advantage to make it 5-1. Normally, this means a team cruises to a win. The Avalanche are not normal. Mikko Rantanen, MacKinnon, and J.T. Compher all scored within three minutes to make it 5-4. Dawson Mercer continued his torrid goal streak to make it 6-4 late in the period. Which would be important as Valeri Nichushkin made it a one-goal game off a controversial goal early in the third period. But with Akira Schmid in net, the Devils locked it down, Nico Hischier finished it with an empty netter, and the Devils left Denver with a 7-5 win.

On Friday night, the Devils went to Las Vegas to close out their short week. The Devils took full advantage of the Golden Knights’ optional approach to defending. The problem was named Adin Hill. He was on a tear as the Devils threw a lot of chances his way. Jonathan Marchessault struck first off an unfavorable bounce off the endboards. But the Devils cracked Hill when Jack Hughes set up Jesper Bratt for a massive one-timer to convert a power play. Mercer forced a turnover into a banger of a shot for an eighth straight game with a goal and a 2-1 lead. Alas, this lead would not hold up. Hill was too good. Marchessault was spung for an open shot in the slot and he made it 2-2 in the second. The goal scorer would set up Jack Eichel for a go-ahead goal early in the third. But the Devils would find some fortune as Miles Wood slid in a close shot past Hill to make it 3-3. The Devils brought it to Las Vegas but could not solve it in regulation. In overtime, Hill faced nine shots and stopped all nine. A shootout was needed. Hill was perfect. Shea Theodore scored in the fourth round to make it a 4-3 shootout loss for New Jersey. Still, a 1-0-1 week is a good start to the month. It also pulled them a point closer with Carolina. Alas, they got goalie’d as they scored 3 goals with an expected goals of 6.43.

What’s Coming Up This Week: New Jersey will also get busy with four games coming up this week. The Devils will end their three-game road trip in Arizona tonight. The week will get harder afterwards. The Devils will host Toronto on Tuesday. Please do not throw things onto the ice in this one. Seriously, the Maple Leafs are a really good regular season team and so this will be a challenge. On Thursday, the Devils will visit Washington. The Caps may be weaker on paper but they still boast the main players to ruin anyone. The Devils’ week ends in Montreal on Saturday night. The Canadiens beat the Devils last Tuesday so that is far from a gimmie. They may need it because A) the following week is remarkably challenging and B) they are still chasing Carolina.

Deadline Summary: The Devils got Timo Meier! And, um, Curtis Lazar. But the Devils got one of the best players available by the deadline, if not the best player.

In: Timo Meier, Scott Harrington (waived and claimed by Anaheim), Santeri Hatakka, Timur Ibragimov, Zachary Emond, Colorado’s 2024 fifth round pick, Curtis Lazar

Out: Andreas Johnsson, Shakir Mukhamadullin, Fabian Zetterlund, Nikita Okhotiuk, Devils’ 2023 first round pick (top two protected), Devils’ conditional 2024 second round pick, Devils’ 2024 seventh round pick (to San Jose); 2024 fourth round pick (to Vancouver)

New York Rangers

What Happened Last Week: The Rangers lost the previous week. They needed a win to avoid a losing streak. They would find it on Sunday night against Los Angeles in Manhattan. Alexis Lafreniere scored early. Vincent Trocheck scored twice within 95 seconds to put New York up 3-0. Los Angeles would make it close thanks to a Viktor Arvidsson PPG late in the second period and a Matt Roy goal early in the third period. But Artemi Panarin scored shortly after Roy’s goal to restore the lead and Mika Zibanejad’s PPG a few minutes after that would put the game out of reach. The Rangers won 5-2. However, they did it with a shortened blueline. K’Andre Miller was thrown out of the game for spitting at Drew Doughty. This earned the defenseman a three-game suspension. And with the Rangers using what little cap room they had to get Patrick Kane, the Rangers would end up playing with a reduced roster for the rest of the week.

This made the Rangers more “exposed” to their opponents. On Wednesday night, the Rangers were in a competitive game against Philly. While Zibanejad scored a PPG early, an Owen Tippett PPG and a Scott Laughton second period goal had the Rangers down 2-1 going into the third. Chris Kreider salvaged the game and Vladimir Tarasenko won it in overtime. They were close to dropping points to the Flyers, but they prevailed. On Thursday night, an emboldened and hot Ottawa team took more of an advantage. Chris Kreider would open the scoring with a shorthanded goal. But Ottawa erased that early lead with a quick set of goals from Shane Pinto and Derick Brassard. Jacob Trouba put the Rangers back on even footing later in the second period, but the Sens owned the third period to take the game. Brassard and Claude Giroux scored early and Tim Stutzle ended the game with an ENG for a 5-3 loss at MSG. On Saturday night, the Rangers visited Boston - the place where very few win. The Rangers were no exception. Charlie Coyle scored late in the first period, Tomas Nosek scored a shorthanded goal 30 seconds into the second period, and while Lafreniere scored a later PPG to make it a one-goal game, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak pulled the game away. A second Lafreniere goal was a consolation in a 4-2 loss to Boston. The good news: The wild card race is messy enough that the Rangers going 2-2-0 is not a big deal. The bad news: New Jersey and Carolina have pulled away over the last two weeks.

What’s Coming Up This Week: A slight break! And K’Andre Miller back from suspension! Four days without a game before hitting the road. The Rangers will go to Montreal on Thursday, which is a game they really should get a result from given that Montreal has nothing to play for. On Saturday, the Rangers begin a weekend back-to-back in Buffalo. Buffalo is in a position to compete for a playoff spot, something no one has been able to say about the Sabres for a decade. The Rangers should expect a very hungry opponent in upstate New York. At least the Rangers will have time and a full roster to prepare for both.

Deadline Summary: The Rangers did their deadline dealings ahead of the deadline itself. They made headlines. They spent a lot of quantity in assets. Will it work out? It remains to be seen.

In: Vladimir Tarasenko, Niko Mikkola, Tyler Motte, William Lockwood, Vancouver’s 2026 seventh round pick, Patrick Kane, Cooper Zech, Anton Blidh, and future considerations from Nashville.

Out: Sammy Blais, Hunter Skinner, Rangers’ conditional 2023 first round pick (later of New York’s and Dallas’), Rangers’ conditional 2024 fourth round pick (to St. Louis); Julien Gauthier, Rangers’ 2023 seventh round pick (to Ottawa); Vitali Kravtsov (to Vancouver); Austin Rueschhoff (to Nashville); Andy Welinski, Rangers’ conditional 2023 second rounder pick, Rangers’ 2025 fourth round pick (to Chicago); Rangers’ conditional 2025 third round pick (to Arizona); Gustav Rydahl (to Colorado)

New York Islanders

What Happened Last Week: With so many games played, it is imperative that the Islanders win as much as they can to protect their spot. They largely did so by taking five out of six points this week. They made a statement by going to Winnipeg on Sunday night and stomping on their necks. Seymon Varlamov shut them out and the Isles conceded just 23 shots on net. Bo Horvat’s shorthanded goal was enough for the win. But the Isles added goals from Alexander Romanov, Brock Nelson, and Adam Pelech for a 4-0 victory in Manitoba. On Tuesday, the Isles played a closer game in Minnesota. The goals were sparse and early: a first period goal from Josh Bailey and a first period equalizer by Ryan Reaves. Filip Gustavsson and Ilya Sorokin were not having it through the rest of regulation or overtime. A shootout was needed. Frederick Gaudreau was the lone scorer and so the Isles dropped a point in a 2-1 shootout loss. Still, a big point given their position in the wild card race. They had a huge game within that race as they hosted Detroit on Saturday. Detroit did not have a good week and the Isles made it worse. While the Isles conceded a late second period PPG to Dylan Larkin, they absolutely rebounded for a brilliant third period. An equalizer from Zach Parise. A go-ahead goal from Anders Lee. A PPG from Kyle Palmieri. A second goal from Lee as an exclamation point. The Islanders won 4-1 to end the week at 2-0-1 and remain in the first wild card spot in the East. They have to keep it up but they did the job this week.

What’s Coming Up This Week: The Islanders will continue to make an impact on their wildcard race in this week as well as other team’s playoff fates. They will host Buffalo on Tuesday, which will be a big game to try to keep the Sabres at bay. On Thursday, the Isles will go back to Pittsburgh. Those two wins over the Pens were big. A third on that day would be huge to keep the Pens back in the standings. Saturday night sees the Isles host Washington. The Caps may be conceding the season but the Isles need to ensure they do not drop points to them to keep Washington around. It is a big week for the Isles. They are going into it in good form.

Deadline Summary: As with Lou, the Isles moved in silence like the ‘g’ in lasagna. No one saw them making the Horvat deal until it happened. Or in taking a Maple Leaf. The forwards are better. Now, is it enough to keep the Isles ahead of everyone else in the wild card race? So far, so good, perhaps.

In: Bo Horvat, Pierre Engvall

Out: Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Raty, Islanders’ top-12 protected 2023 first round pick (to Vancouver); Islanders’ 2024 third round pick (to Toronto)

Pittsburgh Penguins

What Happened Last Week: The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a losing streak prior to last week’s snapshot. This past week went much better for a Penguins team that needs it. On Sunday, they hosted Tampa Bay and struck them down with a massive six-goal second period. The first period seemed expected with Drew O’Connor’s first period goal being answered by two goals from the Lightning by Anthony Cirelli and Nikita Kucherov. The Penguins went off like dynamite in the following period, with six total goals and five within the final five minutes of the second period. Evgeni Malkin tied it up. Then the storm came to the Lightning: Sidney Crosby with a PPG, Teddy Blueger, Jeff Carter, Jason Zucker, and Brian Dumoulin. The Pens were up 7-2 by the second intermission. A Brayden Point goal was just extra; the Penguins won 7-3. The Penguins would follow that up with a win in Nashville that took until the third period for any scoring to happen. Mark Jankowski opened the scoring in the third period for Nashville. Then Crosby tied it up four minutes later. Overtime seemed inevitable until Jason Zucker provided the breakthrough with 99 seconds left in regulation. A Bryan Rust ENG secured a 3-1 win.

The Penguins continued on from Tennessee further south to the Sunshine state. They faced Tampa Bay again on Thursday. The Lightning absolutely wanted revenge. The Penguins were not so willing. Ross Colton opened the scoring but the Pens would respond with back-to-back goals by Jeff Petry to make it 2-1 in the second period. Point would tie it up in the second with a PPG, only for Zucker to make it 3-2 going into the third period. Steven Stamkos tied up the game just 38 seconds into the third period with a PPG. O’Connor put the Pens up 4-3 only for Victor Hedman to tie it up. Overtime was needed and, once again, Zucker was the hero with the overtime winner. A 5-4 win and four-straight wins for Pittsburgh. Alas, that would end when they would visit the Panthers on Saturday. Florida handled Pittsburgh well. Sam Bennett scored late in the first period for a lead. Aaron Ekblad scored a PPG early in the second period. Kris Letang would make it a 2-1 game with a PPG, but Eetu Luostarinen restored the two-goal lead with ten seconds left in the period. Carter Verhaeghe made it 4-1 and that is where it stood. The Penguins lost. A 3-1-0 week is quite good. But they remain behind the Islanders and they are not so far ahead of the other wild card teams to relax anytime soon. But it was a good week otherwise.

What’s Coming Up This Week: Pittsburgh will get to enjoy being at home for their next five games. They will also get to stay within the division for this week. On Tuesday, the Penguins will host Columbus. On Thursday, they will host the Islanders. On Saturday afternoon, they will host their hated rivals in Philadelphia. On paper, that is a reverse sandwich cookie with cream on the outside surrounding a tougher cookie. On the ice, it will not be so simple. Thursday’s game will have a real impact on the wild card race in the East. The other two games are important for the Pens to not drop points. They are going into this week with good form.

Deadline Summary: The Penguins were active. Are they any better for it? My magic 8-Ball says to ask again later.

In: Peter Diliberatore, Las Vegas’ 2024 third round pick, Mikael Granlund, Nick Bonino, Dmitry Kulikov

Out: Teddy Blueger (to Las Vegas); Pittsburgh’s 2023 second round pick (to Nashville); Pittsburgh’s 2023 seventh round pick, Pittsburgh’s 2024 fifth round pick (to San Jose); Brock McGinn, Pittsburgh’s 2024 third round pick (to Anaheim)

Washington Capitals

What Happened Last Week: Washington followed up a big win in Manhattan by going up to Buffalo last Sunday and getting lambasted. This game was all about the goals. The first period saw Dylan Cozens, Dylan Strome, Tage Thompson, and T.J. Oshie all score to end it at 2-2. The second period saw four straight goals by Buffalo - Jeff Skinner, Zemgus Girgensons, Vinnie Hinostroza, and Cozens - before Washington tried to make a game of it with goals from Alex Ovechkin and a PPG from Sonny Milano. But there would be no comeback. The third period had just one goal. It was by Cozens. Hats rained down. The Capitals lost a big one to a wildcard opponent, 7-4. Then it was off to California, for the Caps.

Wednesday night saw the Capitals in Anaheim. Despite the Ducks’ disappointing season, this was far from simple for the Caps. Martin Fehervary’s first period goal was answered minutes later by Troy Terry. A third period goal from Tom Wilson was answered by Trevor Zegras. Fortunately for Washington, Wilson would make it a brace in overtime for the 3-2 win. The Caps did not lose to hapless Anaheim. After much selling off by the deadline, a leaner Capitals team went into San Jose. Washington suplexed the Sharks to oblivion. At first, it seemed like a big loss was going to emerge as Tomas Hertl scored a PPG and Alexander Barabanov scored in the first period. Then the Capitals made it rain rubber at the SAP Center. Second period: Craig Smith scored his first and second as a Capital, Nicolas Aube-Kubel scored, and Matt Irwin scored his first goal since last season. Third period: Oshie with a PPG, two from Ovechkin, and one from Strome. A Nico Sturm goal snuck in there but it did not matter. The Capitals smashed San Jose, 8-3. The California trip is a success so far as was the week at 2-1-0. They are not out of anything yet.

What’s Coming Up This Week: After their actions up to and on deadline day, I figure the Caps may be conceding the season. They are not out of the wild card picture by any means. They could also still do some real damage to two playoff-bound teams and a playoff hopeful this week. The Capitals will end their California road trip on Monday night when they visit Los Angeles. On Thursday, the Caps will return home to host New Jersey. Both games will be challenges but the Caps still have the main fire power to hang with both. The big game will be on Saturday when they visit Long Island. The Isles are ahead of them in the wild card race. For Washington to still be in the wild card picture, they need to win and especially those games against teams in that race. The Isles will want that game too. It should make for the fun, tense action that hockey is best known for. Good luck, Washington.

Deadline Thoughts: I did not expect the Capitals to be sellers by the deadline. Here we are. This may be filed under “retool” as their core remains intact outside of Orlov being moved.

In: Craig Smith, Andrei Svetlakov, Boston’s 2024 third round pick, Boston’s 2025 second round pick; Boston’s 2024 third round pick; Rasmus Sandin; Colorado’s 2025 second round pick

Out: Dmitry Orlov, Garnet Hathaway (to Boston); Marcus Johansson (to Minnesota); Erik Gustafsson, Boston’s 2023 first round pick (to Toronto); Lars Eller (to Colorado)

Philadelphia Flyers

What Happened Last Week: The Flyers had one game to play. They hosted the rival New York Rangers. The Flyers did not win it. It was close. Mika Zibeanejad opened the scoring with a PPG early in the first period, but Owen Tippett responded with a PPG of his own late in the first. Philly took the lead in the second period thanks to Scott Laughton finishing a pass from Kevin Hayes. However, Chris Kreider tied it up in the third period. The Flyers could not break the tie. In overtime, Vladimir Tarasenko did so to hand the Flyers a 3-2 overtime loss. The point means little and the point of pride is dulled with the Flyers with one win in their last nine games. It is what it is.

What’s Coming Up This Week: Philadelphia will get to be a lot more active than last week. They can also spoil a lot of team’s plans with some results in any of these four games coming up. First, the Flyers will host Detroit tonight. That has real wild card implications. Philly will hit the road after that game. They will visit Tampa Bay, Carolina, and Pittsburgh on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday afternoon, respectively. The Flyers can spoil each of their plans if they are able to get something out of those games. Which will not be easy. That said, expect the Flyers to get up for the Penguins game. It is a rivalry game and with not much to play for, I would think a lot of Philly fans would love to see their team put a dent in Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes.

Deadline Summary: I am surprised that the Flyers did not do more to sell their assets. GM Chuck Fletcher called for an “aggressive retool” after last season, and this is not really it, man. James van Reimsdyk was about to become a Red Wing but the deal was called off right before the deadline.

In: Brendan Lemieux, Los Angeles’ 2024 fifth round pick, Ottawa’s 2023 sixth round pick, future considerations from Nashville

Out: Isaac Ratcliffe (to Nashville); Zach MacEwen (to Los Angeles); Patrick Brown (to Ottawa)

Columbus Blue Jackets

What Happened Last Week: Columbus ended the prior week by stunning Edmonton. They would go on to do a little more stunning. Last Sunday, the Blue Jackets visited Minnesota. Mathieu Olivier and Liam Foudy put the Jackets up 2-0 going into the third period. Then Kirill Kaprizov styled and profiled with a natural hat trick. That third goal was in overtime, though, so the Jackets at least took it beyond 60 minutes in a 3-2 loss. Last Tuesday, the Blue Jackets visited Buffalo. Unlike Washington, Columbus better stemmed Buffalo’s attack. Kent Johnson opened the scoring with an early PPG. While Tage Thompson responded on the next shift, Eric Robinson scored in the first and second periods to make it 3-1. Boone Jenner made it 4-1 within the final 20 seconds of the second period. Buffalo attempted a comeback thanks to Jack Quinn and a PPG from John-Jason Peterka. But Robinson would secure the regulation win at 5-3 with an empty netter for his hat trick. Buffalo was certainly stunned by that one after crushing Washington.

Columbus completed the week with a back-to-back that saw them host Seattle on Friday and visit Ottawa on Saturday. Both went poorly. In the Seattle game, each goal by Columbus was answered by two of Seattle’s. Patrik Laine’s PPG in the second period was answered by Jared McCann’s PPG and Jordan Eberle’s goal right after McCann’s goal. Adam Boqvist’s third period goal was answered by Alex Wennberg’s PPG and an ENG from Brandon Tanev. The Jackets lost 4-2. Last night, in Ottawa, the Sens established the game and ran away with it. The first period was close as Jack Rosolovic scored on the shift after Travis Hamonic’s goal. But the Sens scored the next three: Tim Stutzle in the first period, Hamonic early in the second, and Jakob Chychrun less than a minute after Hamonic’s goal. Laine scored a PPG to make it a two-goal game but there would be no comeback. Instead, the only other goal scored was a shorthanded goal from Stutzle in the third period. The Blue Jackets lost 5-2 to drop both games. Their season is done anyway but at least they spoiled Buffalo for a bit.

What’s Coming Up This Week: Columbus will have two games to play and they are both spaced out so they will be well rested for it. The Blue Jackets will get a shot at spoiling Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes a bit when they visit the Penguins on Tuesday night. On Saturday, the Blue Jackets will host St. Louis in a battle of the non-playoff teams. That game is notable also because it is the last home game for Columbus until March 24. They will be on the road for five games after. Count the games, Blue Jackets fans. It is almost over.

Deadline Summary: Injuries have not only undercut the Blue Jackets’ season but also their deadline plans. However, they were able to sell off a bit by the deadline. They did not get much but they got space. They also got to do right by Jonathan Quick, who absolutely was not done right by Los Angeles.

In: Boston’s 2023 fifth round pick, Los Angeles’ conditional 2023 first round pick, Los Angeles’ 2024 third round pick, Jon Gillies, Michael Hutchinson, Las Vegas’ 2025 seventh round pick.

Out: Gustav Nyquist (to Minnesota); Joonas Korpisalo, Vladislav Gavrikov (to Los Angeles); Jakub Voracek, Columbus’ 2023 sixth round pick (to Arizona), Jonathan Quick (to Las Vegas)

That was the twenty-first Weekly Metropolitan Division Snapshot of the 2022-23 season. Who helped themselves the most after March 3’s deadline? Can the New Jersey Devils catch the Carolina Hurricanes? Will the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins hold off their direct competition? Who will prevail as the stretch run to the postseason begins in full? 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.