Jackets climb out of the basement: Metro Division Weekly Recap
Another week has passed, and the Metropolitan Division continues to boast top, yet mediocre, talent. The Penguins have assumed full control of first place in the division, while the Blue Jackets have leapfrogged from the bottom to the middle of the pack. Taking a look at the week that was in the Metro Division:
Record for the week: 1-0-2, two points. Total: 20-6-4, 44 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Even. The Penguins handily beat Calgary 3-1, yet lost to two divisional rivals — the Rangers and Blue Jackets — in overtime and a shootout, respectively.
Who’s hot? Kris Letang, with a three-goal week — including a two-goal night against the Jackets.
Who’s not? The front office’s handling of the Sidney Crosby mumps situation — they essentially came one step short of referring to it as an “upper-body injury.”
Schedule for the week: Monday vs. Tampa Bay (W 4-2), Thursday vs. Colorado (7 p.m.), Saturday vs. Florida (7 p.m.).
New York Islanders
Record for the week: 1-2-0, two points. Total: 21-10-0, 42 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Slight fall. The Islanders played three Western teams, losing 5-4 to Minnesota and 6-3 to St. Louis. They did bounce back with a 3-2 win over Chicago, though.
Who’s hot? John Tavares, with three points over the week.
Who’s not? Third-period play, as the Isles allowed four goals apiece to the Wild and Blues in their respective third stanzas.
Schedule for the week: Monday vs. Devils (W 3-2), Friday at Detroit (7:30 p.m.), Saturday vs. Tampa Bay (7 p.m.).
Record for the week: 2-0-1, five points. Total: 14-10-6, 34 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Rise. While the Capitals lost in overtime to the Blue Jackets, they also beat a top Tampa Bay team twice, with scores of 5-3 and 4-2.
Who’s hot? Nicklas Backstrom, with a hat trick in the second win over the Lightning.
Who’s not? Jason Chimera, with an interference penalty that set up the Blue Jacket’s overtime-winner on the ensuing powerplay.
Schedule for the week: Tuesday at Panthers (L 2-1, SO), Thursday at Blue Jackets (7 p.m.), Saturday at Devils (7 p.m.).
New York Rangers
Record for the week: 2-0-0, four points. Total: 14-10-4, 32 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Slight rise, only because the Rangers were idle through much of the week. They beat the Penguins 4-3 in overtime, and beat Vancouver 5-1.
Who’s hot? Kevin Klein, who scored the overtime game-winner against the Penguins despite losing part of his ear after taking a high-stick.
Who’s not? The Rangers did blow a two-goal lead with less than five minutes to go against the Pens — with Evgeni Malkin and Steve Downie scoring 24 seconds apart — but didn’t remotely come close to blowing their 5-0 lead over the Canucks. A shutout for Henrik Lundqvist was spoiled by an early Nick Bonino goal in the third period.
Schedule for the week: Sunday at Edmonton (W 2-0), Tuesday at Calgary (W 5-2), Saturday at Hurricanes (7 p.m.).
Columbus Blue Jackets
Record for the week: 3-0-0, six points. Total: 13-15-2, 28 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Rise. The Jackets now find themselves in fifth place, after a week that saw them beat three divisional opponents in the Flyers, Capitals and Penguins in overtime or a shootout.
Who’s hot? Kevin Connauton, with late-game heroics that culminated in the overtime win over the Flyers, and a game-tying goal in the third period against the Capitals (which paved the way for Nick Foligno’s overtime game-winner). Foligno, additionally, scored three goals throughout the week.
Who’s not? The Jackets haven’t really dominated any of their games over the week from the start. While they scored first in two games, the Flyers and Penguins were able to answer shortly thereafter.
Schedule for the week: Tuesday at Detroit (W 1-0), Thursday vs. Capitals (7 p.m.), Saturday vs. Chicago (7 p.m.).
New Jersey Devils
Record for the week: 1-2-1, three points. Total: 11-15-6, 28 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Fall. The Devils beat the lowly Hurricanes, but lost to Chicago (albeit in a shootout), Dallas and the Flyers.
Who’s hot? Scott Gomez, who had points in consecutive games against the Flyers and Stars.
Who’s not? The Devils failed to score in the first period in all but the Chicago game, when Jordin Tootoo scored the game’s first goal at 15:11.
Schedule for the week: Monday at Islanders (L 3-2, SO), Wednesday vs. Ottawa (7 p.m.), Friday vs. Tampa Bay (7 p.m.), Saturday vs. Capitals (7 p.m.).
Record for the week: 2-0-1, five points. Total: 11-14-5, 27 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Rise. The Flyers earned points against three divisional teams, losing 3-2 to the Blue Jackets in overtime, beating the Devils 4-1 and beating the Hurricanes 5-1.
Who’s hot? Scott Laughton, who scored his first career goal against the Hurricanes. Rookie Laughton’s played 14 games this season, and has also contributed three assists so far.
Who’s not? Considering the well-rounded play against the Devils and ‘Canes, it’s tough to find a “not” for the Flyers this week.
Schedule for the week: Tuesday vs. Tampa Bay (L 3-1), Thursday vs. Panthers (7 p.m.), Saturday at Toronto (7 p.m.).
Record for the week: 0-4-0, zero points. Total: 8-19-3, 19 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Fall. The Hurricanes lost all four games of their week while scoring just one goal in each game, and their December record now stands at 1-6-0.
Who’s hot? Justin Faulk scored two goals — half of the total goals scored by the ‘Canes in the week.
Who’s not? Offense can’t score goals, while defense can’t help out Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin. Very rough combination.
Schedule for the week: Tuesday vs. Montreal (L 4-1), Thursday vs. Toronto (7 p.m.), Saturday vs. Rangers (7 p.m.).
Follow Rob Riches on Twitter @Riches61.