This upcoming week will end with a showcase of the Metropolitan Division. The New Jersey Devils and the Philadelphia Flyers will play at MetLife this coming Saturday. The New York Rangers and the New York Islanders will play there next Sunday. These games have meaning in the standings as well as being a big gate and stage for the NHL.
To get there, though, the division will play on. The top three teams and the wild card teams are trying to pull away from the pack. But they will need to be aware of the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins among others. There is much more to do as the non-Columbus teams in the lower half try to keep hope alive and the top teams try not to slip up. Here is how everything looks in the division - and surrounding the wild card - as of this morning:
There is only one game within the division and one game within the wild card watch teams. That one game within the division is the massive one at MetLife Stadium (which is a neutral site game). I assure you that more games within the division are coming. That one game is highlighted and in bold and the wild card watch matchups are in italics.
Now for the week that was and the week that will be for each team in the Metropolitan Division.
New York Rangers
What Happened Last Week: The Rangers came back from the break and got right back to winning games. Which is what they need to do to remain in control of first place. Which they have for this week by sweeping the week, going 3-0-0. That they went to overtime twice does not matter much given their regulation win.
February 5, vs. Colorado, 2-1 Overtime (OT) Win: A game between the high-scoring Avalanche team and a potent Ranger team ended up being a goalie duel between Alexandar Georgiev and Jonathan Quick. No penalties were punished. Shots were saved. Nathan MacKinnon did open the scoring late in the first period to put the Avs up 1-0. But the Rangers got an equalizer from Artemi Panarin past halfway through the third. Overtime was needed and it ended on a play started by Quick coming way, way out of his net to play an errant pass. Alexis Lafreniere recovered it and led a rush with Mika Zibanejad. Lafreniere would get the puck back, get around a backchecking Mikko Rantanen, and roofed a shot as he cut toward the slot. A lovely play to give the Rangers two big points.
February 7, vs. Tampa Bay, 3-1 Win: In what would be a low-shooting game - shots were 24-18 in favor of New York - the Rangers went ahead and never looked back. Jimmy Vesey scored early in the first and Jonny Brodzinski scored late in the first period to give New York a 2-0 lead. A collision between Lafreniere and Mikhail Sergachev went horribly wrong for the Lightning defender, who was stretchered off from the hit. He broke his tibia and his fibula in his left leg. In the third period, Brandon Hagel beat Quick - yes, Quick started this game too - from the slot to make it a one-shot game with 14 and a half minute left. But Quick stopped all else and Vesey sealed up the win with an empty net goal. Another solid result at home for the Rangers.
February 9, at Chicago, 4-3 OT Win: Igor Shesterkin returned to the net as the Rangers took on Chicago. All seemed good early on. Sure, Alex Vlasic scored early. But the Rangers went up 2-1 after a quick two goals, one each from Lafreniere and Chris Kreider. Shesterkin did try to pummel Nick Foligno late; both got penalties for it. Nothing came of it on the scoreboard. In the second period, the Rangers went up 3-1 thanks to Brodzinski scoring before the halfway mark. Surely, all would be good, right? Well, no. Foligno would beat Shesterkin - with a puck going by him into the net - to make it a one-shot game. With the goalie pulled, Chicago got a late equalizer when Jason Dickinson tipped a Seth Jones past Shesterkin to tie it up. Yes, the Rangers blew a 3-1 lead in Chicago within the final 10 minutes of regulation. Way to close it out. The Rangers would not blow it entirely. In overtime, Kreider set up Zibanejad in a 3-on-2 rush caused by Adam Fox hitting (taking down) a Blackhawk. Zibanejad finished it to give the Rangers all six points this week.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The New York Rangers will remain at home all week with two games to play ahead of their Stadium Series game next Sunday. They will host Calgary, who has been traveling through the area, on Monday night. They will then host Montreal on Thursday. Both winnable games against mediocre opponents for the Rangers. Do not slip up or have something bad happen prior to the 18th. Oh, and might I suggest cheering on Carolina’s opponents? Just to be safe?
What Happened Last Week: The Hurricanes were close to the Rangers going into the break. Due to results by both teams, they took a step back. Carolina did win the week at 2-1-0 but when the first place team sweeps the week, the loss looms larger.
February 6, vs. Vancouver, 3-2 Loss: Vancouver arrived in Raleigh with an 11-game point streak. They would make it 12 on this night. They came out hard in terms of shots, 12-4. But Carolina struck first with a shorthanded goal by Jordan Martinook in the first period. Carolina’s second penalty of the game would cost them as former Cane and recent Canuck arrival Elias Lindholm punished a Jack Drury hooking minor to tie up the game at 1-1. Late in the second period, Teuvo Teravainen was called for holding. Less than 30 seconds after that call, Lindholm tipped home a Quinn Hughes shot to make it 2-1. But Vancouver took a too many men call after that goal. That allowed Sebastian Aho to score a PPG of his own to tie up the game. The difference maker would come in the third period just four minutes in. A dump-in by Tyler Myers hit a stanchion behind the net and came out in front of the net. Brock Boeser tried to feed Pius Suter for a tap in. Instead, the puck caromed off Boeser’s back foot and right to J.T. Miller, who buried the puck into the mostly empty net for the 3-2 lead. And it stood up even as the Canes tried to flood Thatcher Demko with shots. A not so good return from the break for Carolina.
February 8, vs. Colorado, 5-2 Win: Martin Necas was an early hero in this one for Carolina. He scored 1:52 into the game. He scored 6:25 into the game. He scored 16:21 into the game. Yes, he opened the game with a natural hat trick. Surely, the Avs were cooked right? Well, no. In a 4-on-4 situation, Zach Parise scored his first goal as an Avalanche player within the final minute of the period. Then a disaster struck. Just off the center ice faceoff, Samuel Girard took the puck from Andrew Cogliano’s faceoff win, skated up to the red line, and fired a shot toward the net. I think Carolina expected a dump-in. Instead, the puck went off the glove hand of Pytor Kochetkov and dumped into the net. Yes, he gave up a goal from center ice that ended the first period at 3-2. He would be pulled for Antti Raanta at intermission. Carolina would pull away in the second period. An interference call by Jonathan Drouin was punished by Michael Bunting to make it 4-2 for some needed relief. However, Raanta got hurt in the second period - back came Kochetkov. Which was helpful as the third period was filled with penalties and an Avs team known to go off at a given moment. But Kotchetkov did not give up any more horrid goals - or any goals - in his return. Seth Jarvis put in an ENG, Brendan Lemieux and Anthony DeAngelo received misconducts right before the game ended, and the Canes won 5-2.
February 10, vs. New Jersey, 1-0 OT Win: Carolina and New Jersey boast some of the worst team save percentages in the NHL this season. So it was surprise that Vitek Vanecek and Pytor Kochetkov put on a show to force the game to go beyond 60 minutes. Carolina could not convert their chances, did not get punished on their penalties, and played a lot of back-and-forth hockey. They would take it in OT. After Tyler Toffoli was denied on a rush play, the Hurricanes hustled back. Martin Necas took a rising shot that Vanecek stopped. Sebastian Aho, crashing the net, batted the puck in mid-air past the goalie while keeping his stick below the cross bar. It was a perfect play and it gave the Canes the one extra point to win their week. Also, it hurt the Devils. It was not easy by any means but the snapshot only cares about the results and they got them.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The Carolina Hurricanes will be on a road trip all week. They will travel to Texas first. They will visit Dallas on Tuesday night. Then the Hurricanes will get a rough back-to-back set. Arizona on Friday night and Las Vegas on Saturday night. Arizona has been a good home team and Las Vegas has been an incredible team at home this season. Carolina slipped a bit from chasing New York, so they will need points on this trip to avoid falling backwards even further.
What Happened Last Week: The Philadelphia Flyers entered their break with a five-game losing streak. They came back and swept their week by going 3-0-0. Now the Flyers enter this week with a three-game winning streak. Which is bad news for the four teams chasing them for third place in the division.
February 6, vs. Florida, 2-1 Win: It was a tight game between Samuel Ersson and Anthony Stolarz. A Nick Seeler penalty led to Carter Verhaeghe intercepting an exit attempt, curling, and then stepping into the right circle to rifle a shot in for the power play goal and 1-0 lead about halfway through the first period. It took over a period later for the Flyers to respond. Travis Konecny received a saucer pass from Joel Farabee and then gave Stolarz the sauce with a slick equalizer. The breakthrough came after a missed defensive zone pass by Florida. The puck went off the boards and Noah Cates took it. He got past Aaron Ekblad and then beat Stolarz inside the right post to make it 2-1. The Flyers held on for the streak-busting win.
February 8, vs. Winnipeg, 4-1 Win: The Jets were slumping into this game and the Flyers added to it. Tyson Foerster tipped in a Ryan Poehling shot early on for an early lead. Travis Konecny added a second goal and Morgan Frost scored late in the first period for a 3-0 lead. Winnipeg seemingly had a chance when Konecny was sitting for a hooking penalty. Only for two Jets to negate each other at the blueline off the faceoff, Poehling rushed up to take the puck up and skate ahead, and he ripped a shot from outside the left dot that beat Laurent Brossoit. 4-0 with a shorthanded goal. The Flyers only took 7 shots for the rest of the game - and they did not need any of them. Kyle Connor beat Ersson with over five minutes left in regulation to deny Philly a shutout win. But the Flyers won a second straight game and decisively.
February 10, vs. Seattle, 3-2 Win: Another big win for Philly. It opened with Scott Laughton converting a power play from an early penalty on Vince Dunn. Tomas Tatar would tie it up late in the first period. Philly challenged the goal - and failed. During the resulting penalty, Ryan Poehling caught a long lob out of the zone, skated to the left circle, and beat Joey Daccord to make it 2-1. The score held until Jared McCann tied it up 36 seconds into the third period. Sean Couturier was guilty in part for that one. He would make up for it in a big way about five minutes later when he tipped home a Travis Sanheim shot for a 3-2 lead. The Flyers proceeded to lock it down by keeping the Kraken to just two shots in the third period. It helped that Seattle took two penalties. The Flyers secured the win and a streak going into a big week for them.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The Philadelphia Flyers will get two games before heading to East Rutherford on Saturday night to play the New Jersey Devils. They are at home on Monday night to play Arizona, who has not been a good road team this season. On Thursday, the Flyers will play a Toronto Maple Leaf team that really wants to get ahead of the wild card race. It will be a tough matchup ahead of a massive crowd on Saturday - although the Flyers can feel confident since they A) beat New Jersey before this season and B) this whole season has had them defy expectations so why not go for one more act of defiance.
New York Islanders
What Happened Last Week: The New York Islanders came back from the break and got right to what they needed to do: winning. They won the week by going 2-1-0. That one loss, though, was painful. They remain in fourth and well behind the Flyers and the other wild card teams.
February 5, at Toronto, 3-2 Win: The Islanders went up to Toronto and left with a victory. The teams traded goals, although the Maple Leafs kept shooting and forced Ilya Sorokin to be great - which he was. About halfway through the first period, Mat Barzal scored the game’s first goal. This lasted until 50 seconds into the second period when Mitch Marner tied it up. This was answered by Kyle MacLean, who came out of the penalty box, got a loose puck flung into the neutral zone by Cal Clutterbuck, and MacLean finished the breakway by rounding Ilya Samsonov. What a way to score your first NHL goal. This held up until Oliver Wahlstrom got called for interference. John Tavares converted the power play with a tip of a Morgan Reilly shot to make it 2-2 with less than five minutes to go. However, the Isles were not defeated. Pierre Engvall buried a rebound of a Brock Nelson shot for a late 3-2 score. The Isles held on. There was a big scrum at the end but the points went to the visitors.
February 8, vs. Tampa Bay, 6-2 Win: This would end up being a big blowout win for the Islanders against a Tampa Bay team that lost the night before in Manhattan. Early on, it was close. Noah Dobson scored first and Nikita Kucherov tied it up. Then later in the first period, Mat Barzal and Kyle Palmieri added goals to end the first period up 3-1. And down a man with Scott Mayfield taking a penalty with five seconds left in the first period. Brandon Hagel converted the power play to make it 3-2. Any hope of a comeback was dashed a few minutes later. A Steven Stamkos hooking penalty was converted by Ryan Pulock minutes later. Over a minute after that, Bo Horvat made it 5-2. Later on in the second period, Casey Cizikas made it a touchdown. The Isles did not need to score any more and Tampa Bay was just done. A big home win and against a team they are battling for a wild card spot. Very good for the Isles.
February 10, vs. Calgary, 5-2 Loss: Calgary came out, went up, and never looked back. Mackenzie Weegar opened the scoring early in the first period. Calgary made it a bigger lead in the second period thanks to a PPG from Jonathan Huberdeau and Weegar getting his brace. The Islanders decided to make the third period a period of dominance. They took 18 shots to Calgary’s one shot on Seymon Varlamov. Brock Nelson beat Jacob Markstrom four minutes into the third period to keep some hope alive. However, an early pull of Varlamov for an extra skater yielded an empty net goal for Blake Coleman. Head coach Patrick Roy pulled Varlamov again and J-G Gabriel did score to make it a 4-2 game. One more pull and Weegar completed his hat trick with a final empty netter. The Isles pushed back but it was not enough. They won the week but they are in a spot where every game counts and so this loss hurts.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The New York Islanders just have one game coming up. They will host Seattle on Tuesday. A Seattle team that played in New Jersey the night beforehand too. The Islanders will get to rest for next Sunday’s big rivalry game at MetLife. They will do some scoreboard watching too.
New Jersey Devils
What Happened Last Week: The New Jersey Devils went into their All Star Weekend break with a home win followed by two losses. They did a bit better this week. They won at home and then got one point out of their next two games. They split the week at 1-1-1 - which was enough to move up to fifth place in the division while still being well behind in the playoff picture.
February 6, vs. Colorado, 5-3 Win: After Colorado lost in OT last night, the Devils went out there and gave up the first goal of the game once again. Mikko Rantanen opened the scoring early. But this time, the Devils had a quick response. A shot by Simon Nemec bounced and tipped past Justus Annunen by Chris Tierney for his first goal as a Devil. The Devils broke out with a much better second period. Jesper Bratt finished a 2-on-1 rush with Nico Hischier to make it 2-1. Dawson Mercer put home a loose puck after Erik Haula failed to finish in front to make it 3-1. All good, right? Until Ross Colton and Kevin Bahl got roughing minors and there was a 4-on-4 situation in the third period. Artturi Lehkonen crushed Luke Hughes behind the net, the puck came out by the right post, and Cale Makar poked it past an unaware Vitek Vanecek to make it 3-2. On the next shift, Samuel Girard beat Vanecek from distance to tie it up. The mood was tense as the Avs, especially MacKinnon, was trying to blow up the blown lead. But John Marino activated, he curled into the slot after a move to the net, and Hischier found him for a killer one-timer. The Devils went up late 4-3. Haula put home an empty net goal for the 5-3 win. Like their last win, a dramatic late ending got them the two points, but would they build on it?
February 8, vs. Calgary, 5-3 Loss: No. They would not. Not even with Jack Hughes returning to the lineup. Not even with the Devils scoring first with Ondrej Palat beating Jakob Markstrom within the final five minutes of the first period. A swarm defensive play that failed led to an open Andrew Mangiapane feeding an open Mikael Backlund to put a one-timer off Vitek Vanecek’s left arm and into the net. Early in the second period, Nazem Kadri put a shot on net and Vanecek crouched seemingly to catch and hold the puck. Only for the puck to squirt through him and sit behind him. The Devils thought he got it. Connor Zary charged in to poke in an easy goal for a 2-1 deficit. This deflated the Devils. In the third period, Kevin Rooney somehow boxed out John Marino and jammed a puck past a prone Vanecek in the crease for an early 3-1 deficit. Haula responded to this with a double-minor high sticking penalty. More positively, though, Nico Hischier scored shorthanded to make it a 3-2 game and the Devils would kill all four minutes. Only for Vanecek to kick out a fat rebound to the slot about halfway through the period for Andrei Kuzmenko to collect and slide through Vanecek’s legs for a 4-2 game. Ondrej Palat tipped in a Colin Miller shot to make it 4-3 with over six minutes left. But the Devils could not beat Markstrom, Vanecek seemingly tackled a Flame and somehow wiped out a Flames goal after (?), the Devils tried to breakout with Vanecek out of the net, Tyler Toffoli bobbled a pass, and Mangiapane took it for an ENG to end it at 5-3. If the Devils had a focused, reliable goalie, then they win this game. They had Vanecek and so they did not.
February 10, at Carolina, 1-0 OT Loss: The decision to start Vanecek after his debacle in Calgary was risky at best and stupid by most. Egg on many faces as Vanecek turned in a great performance. He stopped all 32 shots in regulation, including two power plays and only needed John Marino to bail out a puck that squirted through him once. But seriously, Vanecek played well. And the Devils themselves did well with Carolina’s pace and hit back on offense quite a lot, drew 4 calls, and made Kochetkov work. Unfortunately, Kochetkov was on fire. The difference came in overtime. Martin Necas took a rising shot, Vanecek stopped it, and Sebastian Aho batted in the puck in mid-air while crashing to the net. Far from a bad goal to allow and far from a goal to expect. But it was a goal all the same and so the Devils got one point when they really need two. This is why games like the Calgary loss (among many) hurt; it makes these otherwise “acceptable losses” not so acceptable.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The New Jersey Devils will be very busy this week. They open their week with a dreaded back-to-back set. The Devils have been good in the first half of these sets this season. That will be a home game against Seattle on Monday in this set. They have been bad in the second half of those sets, which will be a Tuesday game in Nashville. After that, the Devils are going back home to host Los Angeles, who is flailing in some way. On Saturday, the Devils will be on a big stage against Philadelphia. MetLife Stadium. Jonas Brothers and The Gaslight Anthem. 80,000ish people in the stands. And a near must-win game against a rival for the Devils. The pressure will be there and be on that night. And it will come after three games in five nights beforehand. Good luck, Devils.
What Happened Last Week: The Pittsburgh Penguins, with their games played advantage, needed results to claw their way back into the playoff picture. They did not quite do enough as they should by going 1-2-0. They sit in sixth place due to games played but that advantage is waning.
February 6, vs. Winnipeg, 3-0 Win: Winnipeg slid into their All Star Weekend break and kept on sliding in Pennsylvania. The Penguins took them on and Tristan Jarry was perfect. 23 shots, 23 saves, and the Penguins just needed one goal. They got three. Kris Letang scored that one goal they needed. In the second period, Brenden Dillon hit Noel Acciari in the head. He received a match penalty, as well as a 3 game suspension, for the hit. Pittsburgh scored two PPGs within 90 seconds with Jeff Carter and Bryan Rust to make it a 3-0 game. The Jets did not beat Jarry and so the Penguins cruised to a victory.
February 9, at Minnesota, 3-2 Loss: Of course, the Penguins still need to win to catch up and so losing in regulation to Minnesota did not help. Plus, it gives some bragging rights for Marc Andre-Fleury, who backstopped the win for Minnesota. The Penguins never led in this one. Matt Boldy punished a double-minor given to Lars Eller for high-sticking to open the scoring. Reilly Smith would tie it up early in the second period, only for Jonas Brodin to restore the one-goal lead for the Wild minutes later. That held until Kirill Kaprizov was given a hooking minor early in the third period. Sidney Crosby converted that power play - yes, the Penguins scored a PPG - to make it 2-2. Kaprizov would have the last laugh he would beat Alex Nedeljkovic before the halfway mark of the period to make it 3-2. The Penguins challenged this goal and failed it. Once that call was killed, the Penguins upped their game trying to tie it up. Minnesota “helped” with two power plays, including one within the final two minutes (Brodin, dude). But the Penguins’ power play woes continued and so they lost 3-2.
February 10, at Winnipeg, 1-2 Loss: Winnipeg would get its revenge and end its losing streak. Mark Scheifele opened the scoring about halfway through the first period and Nino Neiderreiter made it a 2-0 game later on. Bryan Rust would make it a one-goal game in the second period. But Connor Hellebuyck ensured there would be no more goals for the Penguins. The Jets kept the Penguins honest and it was enough to secure an important win for them. As for the Penguins, getting nothing out of their back to back really hurt their cause.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The Pittsburgh Penguins may see their games played advantage increase for a bit after this coming week. They do play two games and it is a back-to-back of two very different teams. They will host a really good Florida team on Wednesday and then go to Chicago on Thursday night. The Pens ideally need something out of both games. They are capable but they have to do it.
What Happened Last Week: The Washington Capitals, like the Devils and Penguins and Islanders, needed results right away after the All Star Weekend. They got one win out of three. An impressive one win but it is still just worth two points all the same. 1-2-0 is not going to do it, Caps.
February 6, vs. Montreal, 5-2 Loss: Montreal came to Washington D.C. and put the Capitals down early. Nick Suzuki scored a brace within a minute in the first period. Michael Pezzetta made it 3-0 later on in that period. Charlie Lindgren was chased out of the net and Darcy Kuemper was put in place. The Caps seemingly had a bit of hope when Alex Ovechkin scored in the second period. But the bottom fell out in the third period. Josef Slafkovsky scored in the third period. While Rasmus Sandin scored on the next shift to make it 4-2. When Anthony Mantha took an elbowing penalty, Slafkovsky scored on the power play to punish the penalty and make it 5-2. A solid win for Montreal and hurtful loss for Washington, who cannot afford too many more of those.
February 8, at Florida, 4-2 Loss: Washington went up early but faded in this one into a loss. A penalty filled first period yielded a PPG for Ovechkin to make it 1-0. In the second period, Florida tied it up thanks to Matthew Tkachuk early on. Mantha made it 2-1 later on with a tip-in. But a Tom Wilson elbowing penalty was quickly responded with a Sam Reinhart PPG to make it 2-2 going into the third period. Ryan Lomberg broke the tie late in the third period by putting home a one-timer in the slot from Dmitry Kulkikov. An empty netter from Eetu Luostarinen secured another loss Washington really did not need.
February 10, at Boston, 3-0 Win: The Caps visited Boston on national television and choked them out in this one. They held the B’s to just 18 shots on net. The first period featured Washington out-shooting Boston 15-4. It also featured Matt Grzelcyk spearing Max Pacioretty near the end of the first period. Grzelcyk was given a misconduct and a major as spearing usually does. T.J. Oshie punished the penalty early in the second period to make it 1-0. Early in the third, Dylan Strome made it a 2-0 game. Boston at least out-shot the Caps 10-5, but it was all for not much. Ovechkin put home his 57th empty net goal to make it a 3-0 final. I’m sure Vladimir congratulated him for that marker. I’m sure Boston fans were baffled at how the game went. As well as Capitals fans wondering where was this team all season. Still a dominant win.
What’s Coming Up This Week: The Washington Capitals need to turn it around and as fast as possible. They will have a chance right away. Washington will host Vancouver this afternoon. A difficult game but they need something against anyone. It will not get any easier two days later when the Caps host Avalanche on Tuesday night. Once that is done, the Caps will have three days to prepare for a trip up to Montreal. Revenge should be on their mind. If they are not careful, these games may not matter too much too soon.
Columbus Blue Jackets
What Happened Last Week: The Columbus Blue Jackets had their break after the All Star Weekend since they played two games in the prior week to wrap up a northwestern road trip. They had one game. They lost it. It is what it is.
February 10, vs. Tampa Bay, 4-2 Loss: Tampa Bay took this game with some help from Columbus. A double-minor for high-sticking on Kent Johnson led to Brandon Hagel scoring in the first period. Within the first minute of the second period, Columbus turned over the puck on offense. This led to Hagel springing Anthony Cirelli to break away from Cole Sillinger and the other Jackets. Cirelli finished it to make it 2-0. With 10 seconds left in the second period, Damon Severson got two minutes for cross-checking Darren Raddysh. 23 seconds into the third period, Steven Stamkos converted the power play to make it 3-0. Columbus would make a legitimate comeback effort. Boone Jenner scored at 12:22. After Tyler Motte was given a slashing penalty, Jenner scored a PPG at 15:50. The Jackets had over four minutes left to tie it up at 3-2. It did not happen. Hagel ended it with an empty netter (with Nikita Kucherov’s 56th assist) to make it 4-2. At least there was an attempt, Columbus. Next time, try not to help your opposition so much?
What’s Coming Up This Week: Columbus will be on the road again for this coming week. It is a light week but it begins a trip to California. On Tuesday, the Blue Jackets will go up to Ottawa. Then they will need to go out West and visit San Jose on Saturday night. These are games the Blue Jackets could get results in. Whether or not they actually want them is another question. Such as it is for the Blue Jackets. Again.
That was the eighteenth Weekly Metropolitan Division Snapshot of the 2023-24 season. Will the Rangers and Flyers cool off after sweeping their weeks? Can the Islanders, Devils, Penguins, and/or Capitals salvage some hope? Could the Hurricanes catch the Rangers in time? When will the Blue Jackets will again? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about the week that was and the week that will be for the Metropolitan Division in the comments. Thank you for reading.