This is the final weekly Metropolitan Division snapshot of the 2022-23 season. Some seasons have just a handful of days in their final week. This one has six days of action, so this is the last post for the series this season. A couple of points I want to raise before getting into the meat and potatoes of this final snapshot.
First, I want to thank everyone who has checked this out all season long.
Second, if there is any takeaway from this post, then make it this: all of a team’s games matter. The reason why the Columbus Blue Jackets effectively missed the playoffs months ago was because their absolutely awful starts to the season. The reason why there is a playoff positioning race at the top between the Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils, and New York Rangers is because those teams have consistently picked up points and won many weeks by earning at least half of the potential points. Why the Washington Capitals were knocked out last week and why the Pittsburgh Penguins are in a more dire situation than the New York Islanders was due to struggles earlier in this season. The mistakes made in October, November, and December can make a team suffer in March and April. Hence, a week-to-week look at how things are going shows how everyone gets to where they end up by the end of the season. Which is what this week is for the NHL.
To that end, here are the standings ahead of the final six days of the season.
Florida is seriously in the wild card race. They are in the first spot and represent a real threat to whomever wins the Metropolitan Division. Which is still up for grabs even with Carolina in the driver’s seat. I (and math) cannot rule out Buffalo, but they need a miracle run and help at this point. Ottawa and Detroit were ruled out last week, so they are no longer here.
The final schedule for the week (OK, six days) ahead for the division. It is light today and on Wednesday. Games in hand will be made up finally. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday will decide the remaining decisions in the standings with respect to the playoffs and the draft lottery. There are multiple games within the division, which are highlighted and in bold.
For the last time this season: Here is the week that was and week that will be for all eight teams in the division.
What Happened Last Week: Carolina went into this week in the driver’s seat for first in the division. In the first half of this week, it looked like they were going to lock it out. Fresh off a 3-0 win in Montreal, they hosted a playoff-hopeful Islanders team last Sunday. While Carolina conceded a late third period goal to Jean-Gabriel Pageau, the Canes would make the comeback. After a plethora of shots, Jesperi Kotkaniemi tied it up about halfway through the second. Jordan Martinook put the Canes up 2-1 early in the third and the two teams were locked down - which secured the win for Carolina. On Tuesday night, the Hurricanes hosted Ottawa, whose hopes were all but gone by that point. It seemed like it would be a fun night for Carolina with Kotkaniemi scoring just under two minutes into the game and Brady Skjei putting home a PPG later in the first. But the Canes could not extend the lead and Ottawa fought back. Claude Giroux got the Sens on the board in the second period. Brady Tkachuk tied it up on a power play early in the third. Leevi Merilainen was not beaten in the second or third periods. However, Carolina would prevail with a late OT winner from Martin Necas to earn two more points.
Surprisingly, that would be the final points earned for the week. On Thursday night, the Canes went into Nashville. They could not solve Juuse Saros. 33 shots, 33 saves. All the made more frustrating by Nashville putting the Hurricanes down a pair with a shorthanded goal (!) by Mark Jankowski and a goal by Michael McCarron three minutes later. Dante Fabbro iced the game and shutout loss, 3-0, with an empty netter. Carolina looked to right things when they visited Buffalo, a team playing for their playoff lives. The good news is that they would score a goal. Problem is: The Sabres can absolutely score some goals. Casey Mittelstadt put the Sabres up a score early. Then Seth Jarvis and Jesper Fast scored on back to back shifts to flip the script. In the second period, Rasmus Dahlin put home a power play goal to tie it up. Sebastian Aho would put the Canes ahead a bit past halfway - only for Mittelstadt to once again score late in the period to make it 3-3. The next goal would be huge and it would come from Buffalo’s top scorer: Tage Thompson. His 46th of the season put Buffalo on top. And Devon Levi, the college sensation turned pro, held it down with 12 out of 12 third period saves. The Hurricanes lost 4-3. They end this week just a point ahead of New Jersey, three ahead of the Rangers, and that game in hand is about to be used. Not exactly what I expected after opening this week with two wins.
The Canes also have a disadvantage to New Jersey when it comes to RW and ROW tiebreakers; Carolina really should avoid that fate just by earning more points. Which they are still in a position to do on their own.
What’s Coming Up This Week: Carolina will use their game in hand that they have on the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers in this week. This will be done by the Hurricanes closing out this season with three games in four nights. About six weeks ago, it would have been a dangerous week what with all three opponents then having a possible playoff future. Now, not so much. The Hurricanes will go to Ottawa on Monday night and host Detroit on Tuesday night. Both teams were mathematically eliminated last Thursday. With the Devils and Rangers playing just one game between Monday and Tuesday, that back-to-back will impact that game in hand’s influence.
The last game of the season for Carolina will be meaningful for others: The Hurricanes will visit Florida. The Panthers have charged up the standings to claim a wild card spot going into this final week. It is far from safe. Penguins and Islanders fans will be huge fans of whoever Florida plays this week and so they will be Hurricanes fans on April 13. As for Carolina, once again, destiny remains in their hands. If they do not slip up, the Metropolitan Division is theirs. As is the Wild Card #1 team in the first round, which could very well be Florida. That adds a little more juice to that matchup.
New Jersey Devils
What Happened Last Week: The Devils followed up a win Chicago with a game in Winnipeg. Despite doing quite well in the second game of back to backs, playing in Canada, and playing on the road this season, the Devils were just off all night long. The Jets took full advantage. Nikolaj Ehlers and Nino Niederreiter scored in the first period. Morgan Barron converted a penalty shot due to Damon Severson fouling him and Kyle Connor made it 4-0 going into the final period. Pierre-Luc DuBois and Ehlers on a power play made it 6-0. Nico Hischier jammed in a puck with 13 seconds left to deny the shutout loss but still lost huge, 6-1. Write that off, as the Devils returned home on Tuesday to play a Penguins team still playing for their wildcard hopes. The Devils bounced back and bounced Pittsburgh out of the rink. Dougie Hamilton opened the scoring, Timo Meier converted a 5-on-3 in the second period, and Dawson Mercer was the star with three goals - all at the net. First was in finishing a Nico Hischier cross-ice feed, second was jamming in a rebound past Tristan Jarry, and third was finishing another on-ice rush that was almost a 5-on-1 after a sweet turnaround feed by Hischier. Bryan Rust re-directed in a Pierre-Olivier Joseph goal to deny Vitek Vanecek a shutout. No matter, the Devils blew out Pittsburgh 5-1.
It was then made clear that the Devils’ final few games of the season meant little. This did not keep the Devils from obliterating Columbus on Thursday night. The October 30 game was a rout. This was worse. Despite a goal disallowed from an offside challenge, two posts, and three wide-open nets missed, the Devils ran up eight goals on the Blue Jackets. Jack Hughes opened the scoring, Tomas Tatar added an early second period goal, Hughes scored a PPG, Timo Meier scored a PPG, Erik Haula ripped a wrister, and after Jon Gillies entered the game for Michael Hutchinson, Meier, Severson (shorthanded), and Ryan Graves all scored within the first four shots Gillies faced. The Devils won 8-1. The Saturday night game in Boston would be far different. The exact opposite of Columbus. Whatever the Devils could do, the Bruins seemingly did better. All three zones, special teams, and even goaltending. Mackenzie Blackwood had an auspicious start with Pavel Zacha beating him with a deflection on a Hampus Lindholm shot (not bad) and Zacha putting home a rebound off the endboards (real bad, Blackwood put himself out of position initially). But Blackwood would make a lot of saves - 20 in the first period alone and 38 in total. Jack Hughes tied Patrik Elias’ points record in a single season when he set up Jesper Bratt for a beauty of a goal past Linus Ullmark. But Ullmark denied all other shots, the Bruins’ defense read a lot of what the Devils would do, and the B’s played as fast, if not faster, than the Devils. The Devils lost 2-1 in what would have been a game to jump past Carolina. Then again, asking for a win in Boston this season is asking a lot this season. The Rangers are right behind them but the Devils still lead them - and can still catch Carolina if their two recent losses leads to more.
What’s Coming Up This Week: By any objective measure, the 2022-23 regular season is a massive success for the Devils. They earned 50 wins for the second time ever in franchise history. They secured a playoff spot for the first time since 2018. They have improved by over 40 points to get where they are compared with last season. They are on the cusp of securing home ice for the first round of the playoffs in this week. The Devils will take on a Buffalo team that could very well be out of it by the time they visit the Rock on April 11. Partially because Buffalo will be in MSG on April 10 and partially because Buffalo needs all the help and no more slip-ups to stay mathematically alive for the postseason. The Devils will end their season in Washington D.C. on April 13. The Capitals have been eliminated and, well, have sagged their way to the end of this season. The Devils may already have second locked up by then, so it may be a meaningless game - for a good reason for a change. If the Canes “help” by losing, then the Devils could snipe the first place spot by Game #82. That would be just one more accomplishment in a season full of them. (P.S. As far as the Ranger threat from third place; the Devils have the tie breaker advantages. )
New York Rangers
What Happened Last Week: The Rangers went into this week coming off a back-to-back set with one point earned out of four. Making up ground on the Devils and Hurricanes would be tough. But the Rangers did make up some with a seven point week out of a potential eight. Last Sunday, they visited Washington. This was a decisive win. K’Andre Miller and Alexis Lafreniere scored within 2:02 of each other in the first period and New York never looked back. Kaapo Kakko added a score. Dylan Strome got the Caps on the board, but any hope of a comeback was further denied when Vladimir Tarasenko made it 4-1 in the third. Aliaksei Protas claws a goal back only for Mika Zibanejad to convert a power play to end it at 5-2 for the Rangers. The Rangers returned home to face Tampa Bay. Andrei Vasilevskiy had a bad night. Chris Kreider (PP), Kakko, and Tyler Motte made it 3-0 for the Rangers at 10:21 into the game. 19 seconds later, Alex Killorn converted a penalty to make it 3-1. Darren Raddysh scored his first NHL goal in the second period to make it a close game - only for Motte to score on the next shift to make it 4-2. Brandon Hegel made it close once more at 4-3 going into the third period. The Rangers pulled away with another pair of goals just over two minutes apart: Kreider and Panarin (PP) turned 4-3 into 6-3 and that held up for a win.
The Rangers followed up their home game with Tampa Bay with a trip to St. Louis on Thursday. Despite having little to play for, the Blues showed they would be no doormats for the visitors. The first period was scoreless. Alexey Toropchenko opened the scoring eight minutes into the second period - and remained through intermission. Tarasenko, the ex-Blue, tied up the game at 1-1 with a PPG. Yet, Tyler Pitlick would restore the 2-1 lead for the Blues. It took a late PPG from Vincent Trocheck to tie it up and force overtime. There, Kasperi Kapanen buried a pass from Brayden Schenn to hand the Rangers a 3-2 overtime loss. One point earned but the Rangers really needed two if they wanted to move on up. They would get two on Saturday night when they visited Columbus. The Blue Jackets did not give up eight goals. They also did not score at all. Igor Shesterkin had a 20-save shutout. Jimmy Vesey, Kreider, Niko Mikkola, and Trocheck all scored for a 4-0 victory. As one would expect given the caliber of Columbus. The Rangers did very well to go 3-0-1. They remain behind the Devils by two and the Hurricanes by three. Which would be encouraging if it was not for the fact that the Rangers and Devils have two games left and the Hurricanes have three.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The Rangers seem real close to the Devils and Hurricanes. Yet, they are likely to finish in third and face their hated rivals in the Devils in the first round because the Rangers need help from both of their opponents. If they want to flip the site of the first two games and four out of a potential seven, then they need to win their two games and hope the Devils and Hurricanes drop their games. The good news: Those games are at home. The not-so-good news: they will host what could be a very inspired Buffalo team on Monday night and their final game is against Toronto. While Toronto has nothing to play for, they are still a quality team and may want to go into another high-pressure first round with a victory. Still, a guaranteed playoff spot and over 100 points earned in a season is still a very positive season by any measure.
New York Islanders
What Happened Last Week: The Islanders went into this week on the heels of a crushing 5-0 defeat in what has become a very tight race in the wild card. The Islanders’ position did not get better with their Sunday game against Carolina. They went to Raleigh. While Jean-Gabriel Pageau opened the scoring in the first period, they did not beat Frederik Andersen again. Ilya Sorokin faced a lot of rubber and he would be beaten twice. First by Jesperi Kotkaniemi in the second period. Second by Jordan Martinook early in the third period. A 2-1 loss to the division leaders is not bad on its own but the Islanders need points. They had three days off to prepare for two home games for this week.
Thursday was a rematch with Tampa Bay. The Islanders prepared to succeed and so they did. The Isles skated the Bolts off the ice at the UBS Arena. It took a period for any goals to be scored. When it did, it was a goal-splosion for the Isles. Adam Pelech, Brock Nelson, and Kyle Palmieri all scored to put the Isles up 3-0. While Nikita Kucherov added a late goal to give Tampa Bay some life, Ryan Pulock scored with 20 seconds left in the period to make it a 4-1 game. Simon Holmstrom and Bo Horvat added to the beating to make it a 6-1 win. A huge response after a winless weekend that included a 5-0 blanking by Tampa Bay. The Isles did not rest on their laurels on Saturday against Philadelphia. Ilya Sorokin stopped all 27 shots the visitors provided. The Isles kept adding goals. Scott Mayfield opened it in the first period. Nelson made it 2-0 and Samuel Bolduc made it 3-0 later on in the second period. Hudson Fasching tacked on an exclamation point in front of the Long Island crowd for the 4-0 win. The Isles went 2-1-0. Thanks to other results, they remain in fourth place in the division and occupy a wild card spot over Pittsburgh.
The regulation win tiebreaker means Florida is in the first spot. Both teams are just a point ahead of the Pens, so the goal for each remains: stay ahead of the Pens in terms of points.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The New York Islanders have defied the critics from earlier in the season to be where they are now. A playoff spot is there for the taking. Two spots for three teams and the Islanders have a big advantage over Pittsburgh in regulation wins. Not so much over Florida, but finishing ahead of them is very possible. The Islanders have the fortune of playing two teams with nothing to play for. They will visit Washington on Monday and then host Montreal on Wednesday. Neither will be easy games. Both can be quite competitive and look to spoil the Isles. Further, the Isles and their fans will have to watch on Thursday night as the only team in the division to not play on April 13. They will be supporting the opponents of Pittsburgh and Florida hard. But if they take care of these two games, they are in. It all comes down to this, Islanders fans.
What Happened Last Week: The Pittsburgh Penguins had a bad previous week. They needed a lot more results to get back to a wild card spot. The problem is that they became the chaser instead of the chased. What did the Penguins do? Last Sunday, they hosted Philadelphia. They took it to their rivals. Rickard Rakell had a brace in the first period and Bryan Rust made it a 3-0 game in the second period. Philly put on the pressure when Nicolas Deslauriers and Travis Konecny (late in the game!) cut the lead to one in the third period. But Casey DeSmith would not be beaten, Ryan Poehling sealed the win with an empty netter, and the Pens got two big points. Unfortunately, the Penguins went to New Jersey and got bodied. Somedays you are the hammer and on April 4, the Penguins were the nail. They had no answer for how the Devils played. Tristan Jarry was beaten by Dougie Hamilton, Timo Meier in a 5-on-3, and a hat trick from Dawson Mercer. The Devils dominated the Penguins to a 5-1 loss. Rust tipping in a long shot from Pierre-Olivier Joseph was their lone goal and it came after it was already 5-0. The Penguins were back in trouble.
The Penguins tried to make it right on Thursday night when they hosted Minnesota. They did so. Pittsburgh out-classed the Wild in a game that the Penguins never looked back in. Kris Letang opened the scoring, Rakell converted a power play in the second period, Jason Zucker extended it to 3-0 early in the third. While Marcus Johansson got a power play goal in the third period, it was a consolation goal. Especially after Jeff Carter scored about five and a half minutes later. It was a 4-1 win and the Penguins did not slide back. On Saturday afternoon, the Penguins visited Detroit. Sidney Crosby put on a show on national television Alex Nylander opened the scoring with his first of the season. Crosby scored with three seconds left in the first period to further put the Red Wings down. Then he helped Danton Heinen with an assist to make it 3-0. Pius Suter scored shortly after to make it 3-1 but there would be no comeback. Especially after Crosby’s PPG early in the third. Evgeni Malkin scored another to emphasize the Penguins were the superior team. A 5-1 win and for a few hours, they were in the wild card spots again.
Except they would not be by night’s end. Remember that they would need help to move on up. They would not get that help even by going 3-1-0 in this past week. They remain just on the outside looking in as of this morning.
What’s Coming Up This Week: Pittsburgh is not done and dusted just yet; but the pressure is really on. They have two games to play and can earn four more points. Something that is quite likely given who they will play. The Penguins will host Chicago on Tuesday and Columbus on Thursday. Both Chicago and Columbus are in the race for last place in the league standings. Both Chicago and Columbus stink on the ice and will likely want to just end this season as soon as possible. Pittsburgh should beat both of these teams. Pittsburgh needs to beat both of those teams. Pittsburgh needs help from Toronto, Carolina, Washington, and/or Montreal. It all comes down to this - and the other games the Penguins cannot control, Penguins fans.
What Happened Last Week: Washington entered this week knowing they had nothing to play for. It showed in all three games as the Rangers lost all three decisively. First, they hosted the Rangers last Sunday. The Rangers went up 3-0 on them before the Capitals got on the board. K’Andre Miller, Alexis Lafrenier, and Kaapo Kakko put the Caps in a hole. Dylan Strome’s goal might as well be considered consolation. It was after Vladimir Tarasenko’s third period goal. Aliaksei Protas added one more consolation goal and then Mika Zibanejad restored the three-goal deficit with a PPG. The Caps lost 5-2. On Thursday, the Capitals visited Montreal, another team with nothing to play for. Montreal gave the Capitals the business. It began well enough when Dylan Strome scored 5:30 into the game. The Caps led 1-0. Then the Caps scored four between 3:42 and 11:15 of the second period. A shorthanded goal by Nick Suzuki, then a shorthanded goal a little over four minutes later by Joel Armia, then a Brendan Gallagher goal, and then a second from Armia. Seriously, two shorties, Washington? Nicklas Backstrom made it 4-2 with a PPG with over five minutes left. Washington pulled their goalie, which led to Armia completing his hat trick. Then Mike Hoffman scored on Darcy Kuemper with 18 seconds left to make it a 6-2 loss. Ouch.
Washington then went back home to host Florida last night. The Capitals had a lot of Penguins and Islanders fans. After a scoreless first period, Strome opened the scoring. Only for Carter Verhaeghe to tie it up minutes later and Aaron Ekblad to put the Panthers up 2-1 with a PPG. Then Tom Wilson appeared to do something positive. He scored to tie it up late in the second period. A tense 2-2 game went to the second intermission. It lasted throughout the third period. Until the final minute. Matthew Tkachuk took a puck played by Charlie Lindgren behind the net that missed his teammate and fired it at the net. It beat him. 3-2 Florida. Sam Reinhart added an ENG twenty seconds later. The Caps let down their home fans, Pittsburgh, and the Islanders by the final minute in a 4-2 loss. Washington has not won since March 23 over Chicago. Really. That sucks, Caps.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The Capitals end their season with a set of three games in four nights. Not an easy set of three games either. The Capitals will host an Islanders team with a ton to play for still on Monday, April 10. On the next night, the Capitals will go up to Boston. While Boston absolutely has nothing to play for with all of their success, greatness just does not take a night off whenever they want. Few have left Boston with points. The Capitals may be just another victim on Tuesday, April 11. The Capitals will close out their season by hosting the Devils on Thursday, April 13. Maybe that has implications for the top of the standings. Maybe not. For the Capitals, it does not matter. Their season is done. They have fallen from an eight-season run of making the playoffs in a row (4 first round exits, 3 second round exits, 1 Stanley Cup). They could use a win just to avoid saying they ended the season with a nine-game winless streak. But, again, it does not matter.
What Happened Last Week: Speaking of winlessness, the Philadelphia Flyers got the reverse sweep in this past week. They were on the road for four games and lost them all in regulation by at least two scores. Last Sunday, they went to Pittsburgh. The Flyers went down three by the second intermission with Rickard Rakell scoring a brace in the first period and Bryan Rust adding a second period goal. The Flyers provided some late hope. Nicolas Deslauriers scored early in the third period and Travis Konecny scored late to make it a one goal game. However, Ryan Poehling iced the game with an empty netter to hand Philly a 4-2 loss. This would be the same score they lost in St. Louis on Tuesday night. Even the way the goals came were similar. Jordan Kyrou put the Flyers down in the first period. Tyler Pitlick and Justin Faulk made it 3-0 going into the third period. James van Reimsdyk provided an early third period goal and Morgan Frost made it a one-goal game with about eight minutes left. Again, there would be no late equalizer and Alexey Toropchenko iced the game with an empty netter for another 4-2 loss.
The story was a bit different in Dallas on Thursday night. Jason Robertson converted a power play with two seconds left in the first period, Joe Pavelski converted a power play just over a minute into the second period, and then Colin Miller and Robertson added even strength goals to put the Flyers down four. Kevin Hayes got one back but that would be all for the visiting Flyers. The third period was scoreless and the Flyers lost 4-1 in a more decisive fashion. At least they got one. On Saturday, the Flyers got nothing in Long Island. 27 shots on Ilya Sorokin yielded 27 saves. 18 shots on Carter Hart yielded three goals against: Scott Mayfield in the first period, Brock Nelson and Samuel Bolduc in the second period. Felix Sandstrom came in for Hart in the third period and faced just three shots. With the last one by Hudson Fasching beating him. A 4-0 loss to extend Philly’s winless run to six games going into this final week.
What’s Coming Up This Week: Philadelphia’s great spoiling of 2023 hit a huge snag. Dropping all four games last week would do that. The spoiling is also over for this week unless that includes ruining some lottery odds. The Flyers will host the Bruins today. Boston did just host the Devils last night in a tight game so the Flyers could surprise them on Sunday. Not that it matters as the B’s have locked up the President’s Trophy weeks ago. Either way, watch your heads Flyers as Brad Marchand is playing. On Tuesday, the Flyers will host Columbus. It is a chance for the Flyers to ruin the Blue Jackets’ run for 32nd by losing. Likewise, the Flyers will end their season in Chicago on Thursday. There, too, the Flyers can hurt the Blackhawks by losing. The issue is that the Flyers, despite their issues, are not nearly as bad as either team. The games could be hard to watch, but they will be played all the same. Where the Flyers go next with this “aggressive retool,” remains to be seen.
Columbus Blue Jackets
What Happened Last Week: Columbus won a game! Last Sunday, fresh off a 7-0 embarrassment to Florida at home, they hosted Ottawa and won! The first periods was a goal fest. Kent Johnson’s PPG was answered by Dylan Gambrell which led to Eric Robinson scoring five seconds in-game afterwards that was equalized by Mark Kastelic over five minutes later and then made a 3-2 game due to Alex DeBrincat. The game was scoreless but the Blue Jackets fought for a tying goal. Which they would get within the final six minutes from Boone Jenner. The Blue Jackets forced overtime. Ottawa won the faceoff, Johnny Gaudreau stole the puck from Tim Stutzle, and Gaudreau set up Kirill Marchenko for the win! The Blue Jackets won 4-3! You have to be excited for it because the Blue Jackets followed that up by scoring just three goals over their next three games. And lost them all. At least decisively.
On Tuesday, the Blue Jackets visited Toronto. Zach Aston-Reese was the main player as he put up a brace with a second period goal supplement by Alexander Kerfoot. The Blue Jackets kept it close. Jack Roslovic scored after Aston-Reese’s first to make it 1-1 and Eric Robinson scored to make it 3-2 after Aston-Reese’s second. No matter. Auston Matthews sealed the win with an ENG for a 4-2 loss. It would get so, so much worse for Columbus on Thursday. The Blue Jackets visited the Devils. Gaudreau was not feeling well and did not finish the game. Those that played the game got wrecked. Jack Hughes scored in the first period and then the second period was an array of goals from Tomas Tatar (whose first period goal was taken away due to an offside challenge), Hughes (PPG), and Timo Meier (PPG). Erik Haual ripped in an early goal that sent Michael Hutchinson packing for Jon Gillies. Gillies would give up goals to Meier, Damon Severson shorthanded, and Ryan Graves amid the first four shots he faced in the game. The lone goal by Columbus was a Joona Luoto jam that held up upon review and a challenge. The Blue Jackets lost 8-1. At least they got one. Against the Rangers yesterday, they got nothing. Igor Shesterkin just stopped 20 shots. The Rangers put down the Jackets down a donation chute with a 4-0 loss thanks to goals by Jimmy Vesey, Chris Kreider, Niko Mikkola, and Vincent Trocheck. The Blue Jackets at least went 1-3-0. Which may hurt the race for 32nd but no one will dispute this season has been a nightmare for the Blue Jacket faithful.
What’s Coming Up This Week: It is almost over! Celebrate, Jackets fans! The end is a three game in four night spectacular with the last game being a make-up game from a postponed meeting. Which makes their last two games a back-to-back set. One with some possible stakes. On Tuesday, the Blue Jackets will visit Philadelphia. That game does not matter short of Columbus wanting to avoid some standings points. On Thursday, the Blue Jackets will host Pittsburgh. The Pens could very well need to win that one to stay in the playoff picture and snag a wild card spot. Columbus has no need for a win. But this is hockey and needs sometimes get ignored. On Friday, the Blue Jackets will close out their season with a home game with Buffalo. Should the unlikely happen and Buffalo is hot this week while getting help, then the Sabres may need that game as well. I do not think it will. And, again, it does not matter to the Blue Jackets if they lose. They’re in a mix with Chicago and Anaheim for dead last in the NHL. Dropping all three games is not only possible but maybe the best case scenario to at least lock up third overall (the lowest the 32nd place team can pick) in the 2023 NHL Draft. Still: It is going to be over real soon, Blue Jackets fans.
That was the twenty-sixth and final Weekly Metropolitan Division Snapshot of the 2022-23 season. What will happen? Who will finish in first? Who between Florida, the Islanders, and Pittsburgh will make the playoffs? Will Washington, Philadelphia, or Columbus win another game this season? 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 this week’s snapshot and thank you for reading them throughout the season.