Shuffle in the standings: Metro Division recap – Week 4
We’re coming up on the end of the 2014-15 season’s first month. This week, the standings have slightly shifted. We look now at the week that was in the Metro Division:
Record for the week: 3-0-0, three points. Total: 7-2-1, 15 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Rise. The Penguins climbed atop the Metro standings for the first time in the Mike Johnston era, after a week that saw them obliterate the Devils (by turning a 3-1 deficit into an 8-3 win), followed up with a shutout over defending-champ Los Angeles. They also routed Buffalo 5-0.
Who’s hot? Marc-Andre Fleury, after posting a shutout streak of 154:46 minutes, dating back to New Jersey’s last goal on Tuesday. Additionally, the Pens’ penalty kill has killed off their last 26 penalties.
Who’s not? Again, it’s tough to find a “not” for the Pens. However, expect the defense to take a hit with the loss of Olli Maatta, who will miss the next four weeks after undergoing treatment for a tumor found in his next.
Schedule for the week: Tuesday vs. Devils (7 p.m.), Thursday vs. Los Angeles (7 p.m.), Saturday vs. Buffalo (7 p.m.).
New Jersey Devils
Record for the week: 2-1-0, total points. Total: 6-3-2, 14 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Even. The Devils were flat-out embarrassed in Pittsburgh, but rebounded with a shootout win over Winnipeg and a win over Columbus.
Who’s hot? Michael Ryder, with a late goal to tie the game against the Jets, coupled with an assist against the Blue Jackets.
Who’s not? Penalty kill, which has fallen to 29th in the league after allowing four power-play goals between the Penguins and Blue Jackets, on 12 attempts.
Schedule for the week: Tuesday vs. St. Louis (7 p.m.), Thursday at St. Louis (8 p.m.), Friday at Detroit (7:30 p.m.).
New York Islanders
Record for the week: 0-3-0, zero points. Total: 6-5-0, 12 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Fall. Looks like the Isles are human after all, after losing 4-3 to Winnipeg, 5-0 to a floundering Colorado team and 3-1 to San Jose. Not an ideal start to a five-game West Coast road trip.
Who’s hot? Brock Nelson recorded a two-point effort against the Jets, while Kyle Okposo added an assist in the Jets game (on Nelson’s goal, to boot) as well as the lone goal against the Sharks.
Who’s not? Defense, as three defensemen — Thomas Hickey, Calvin de Haan and Brian Strait posted minus-two ratings in the shutout against the Avalanche. The Avs and Jets are two of the league’s worst teams in goals-for (23rd and 28th, respectively), and the defense, as well as goaltenders Jaroslav Halak and Chad Johnson, are on the hook for a combined nine goals against both teams.
Schedule for the week: Wednesday at Anaheim (10:30 p.m.), Thursday at Los Angeles (10:30 p.m.), Saturday at Arizona (8 p.m.).
New York Rangers
Record for the week: 1-0-1, three points. Total: 5-4-1, 11 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Even. The Rangers were dormant through much of the week — off between Tuesday and Saturday — and thrillingly beat Minnesota while losing to Winnipeg in a shootout.
Who’s hot? Derick Brassard, who recorded three points in the Wild game, including the Blueshirts’ third goal. Kevin Klein’s goal just under three minutes into the third sparked the comeback effort, and he added an assist on Anthony Duclair’s game-tying goal — the first of his career. Henrik Lundqvist shut the Jets down through 65 minutes — despite four defensemen playing in front of him — but allowed shootout goals to Blake Wheeler and Evander Kane.
Who’s not? MDiscipline, as reckless play led to Chris Kreider’s game misconduct against the Wild and John Moore’s five-game suspension for a hit on Erik Haula.
Schedule for the week: Monday vs. St. Louis (7 p.m.), Wednesday vs. Detroit (8 p.m.), Saturday at Toronto (7 p.m.), Sunday vs. Edmonton (6 p.m.).
Record for the week: 1-2-0, two points. Total: 4-5-2, 10 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Fall. The Flyers dropped both games in a quick trip to Florida, losing to the 4-3 to the Lightning and 2-1 to the Panthers. However, they did outlast the Kings in overtime, leading to this hilariously awkward exchange between Brayden Schenn and Drew Doughty. That same game also saw Chris VandeVelde score his first NHL goal since the 2011-12 campaign.
Who’s hot? Jakub Voracek, whose 13 assists currently lead the league. He also scored against the Lightning.
Who’s not? Steve Mason, whose confidence seems to have dipped, as his record fell to 0-4-1 after the Panthers loss — despite posting 28 saves against the FlaCats. Mason also posts a 3.55 GAA and .887 SP, and the team hasn’t scored any more than three goals in each game he’s played. Additionally, Wayne Simmonds found himself in the sin bin on four separate occasions (one of which, however, was a too-many-men call). If you count life off the ice for this category, you could possibly count Michael Del Zotto here, following a revealing series of tweets from porn star Lisa Ann.
Schedule for the week: Tuesday vs. Edmonton (7 p.m.), Thursday vs. Panthers (7 p.m.), Saturday vs. Colorado (7 p.m.).
Record for the week: 0-3-0, zero points. Total: 4-5-2, 10 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Fall. The Caps plummeted in the standings after losing 4-2 to Detroit, 4-3 to Tampa Bay and 6-5 to Arizona. Coach Barry Trotz had terse words following Sunday’s loss — “Behavior has to change…or we have to change people, plain and simple.”
Who’s hot? Alex Ovechkin, who posted his second assist on the season on a Marcus Johanssen goal against the Bolts, as well as a four-point effort (one goal, three assists) against the ‘Yotes.
Who’s not? Third period play, and the team’s ability to hold a lead. They led the Red Wings 2-1 going into the third, and led the Coyotes 3-1 after the first period. The Wings and ‘Yotes both erupted in the third with three-goal periods, while an early Lightning goal in the third sealed the deal.
Schedule for the week: Tuesday vs. Calgary (7 p.m.), Friday at Chicago (8:30 p.m.), Saturday vs. Hurricanes (8 p.m.).
Columbus Blue Jackets
Record for the week: 0-3-0, zero points. Total: 4-7-0, eight points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Fall. The injury bug is chewing up the Blue Jackets’ roster — with nine players injured, they’re the most-hampered team in the league right now. Nathan Horton, Boone Jenner, Sergei Bobrovsky, James Wisniewski, Matt Calvert, Mark Letestu and Brandon Dubinsky are all on injured reserve at the moment, while Artem Anisimov and Corey Tropp are listed as day-to-day.
Who’s hot? Nick Foligno, with a two-point game in Saturday’s loss to the Devils.
Who’s not? Discipline. Corey Tropp recieved a game misconduct against Ottawa, while Scott Hartnell found himself in the penalty box several times, including an embellishment penalty against the Devils. As a result, the Jackets allowed a total of four power play goals.
Schedule for the week: Tuesday vs. Hurricanes (7 p.m.), Friday at Hurricanes (7 p.m.), Saturday vs. Tampa Bay (7 p.m.).
Record for the week: 2-1-0, four points. Total: 2-6-2, six points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Rise (I’m not sure how often I’ll get to write that for the Hurricanes, but I’ll act like I’ve been there before). The Hurricanes won their first game of the season against Arizona on Saturday(a shutout, nonetheless), and followed that with a 3-2 win over Los Angeles on Sunday.
Who’s hot? Jiri Tlusty, with a two-goal week. Justin Faulk also added two assists against the Coyotes, while Cam Ward recorded his first shutout since the 2011-12 season (and 22nd of his career). Victor Rask also scored the first goal of his career, late in the first period against the Kings.
Who’s not? Nobody, for now. The ‘Canes took full control in both of their wins, and will look to ride momentum into a home-and-home against the battered Blue Jackets.
Schedule for the week: Tuesday at Blue Jackets (7 p.m.), Thursday vs. Blue Jackets (7 p.m.), Saturday at Capitals (8 p.m.).
Follow Rob Riches on Twitter @Riches61.