McDavid in the Metro? Metro Division Weekly Review
We’re a quarter of the way through the 2014-15 season, and things aren’t looking too hot for the Metropolitan Division these days, as four clubs are placed 24th or below in the NHL-wide standings. If this holds up, can a game-changer like Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel wind up in the division come June?
Fascinatingly enough, the Metro is home to the league’s first- and last-place teams (Pittsburgh and Columbus, respectively). Taking a look at the week that was in the Metro Division:
Record for the week: 3-1-0, nine points. Total: 16-5-2, 34 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Rise. The Penguins continued their run atop the Metropolitan Division with a three-win week, and also hold a narrow lead over Nashville for tops in the league (by virtue of one more Regulation and Overtime Win).
Who’s hot? Evgeni Malkin, who recorded five points throughout the week. Malkin scored two goals against Boston (including the game-winner 32 seconds into overtime), and scored a goal and two assists against Toronto. Additionally, Marc-Andre Fleury recorded his 300th career win in the game against the Bruins (just four days shy of his 30th birthday), becoming the third-youngest netminder to reach the 300-win plateau.
Who’s not? Third-period play. The Penguins were dormant in the third against the Bruins and Maple Leafs, and lost a 2-2 tie in the third period of the first game against the Hurricanes. They did, however, manage to hold off a late ‘Canes rally in the second game of their home-and-home.
Schedule for the week: Tuesday vs. Devils (7 p.m.), Thursday vs. Vancouver (7 p.m.), Saturday vs. Ottawa (1 p.m.).
New York Islanders
Record for the week: 3-1-0, nine points. Total: 17-7-0, 34 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Rise. The Islanders played four divisional games (including a home-and-home with the Capitals) and beat all three teams they played, despite losing 5-2 to the Caps in one game.
Who’s hot? Casey Cizikas, who recorded points in the last three games of the week, including a shorthanded goal with five seconds left in regulation against the Devils.
Who’s not? Matt Martin, who has taken penalties that led to two powerplay goals for the Capitals.
Schedule for the week: Tuesday vs. Ottawa (7 p.m.), Thursday at Ottawa (7:30 p.m.), Saturday vs. St. Louis (1 p.m.).
New York Rangers
Record for the week: 2-1-0, four points. Total: 11-8-4, 26 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Rise. The Rangers started their week with a 4-3 hiccup against Tampa Bay, but rebounded with a home-and-home sweep of the Flyers, winning 3-0 in Friday’s “Thanksgiving Showdown” and 5-2 on Saturday. In three games so far between both teams, the Rangers have out-scored the Flyers 10-2.
Who’s hot? Martin St-Louis, who scored his 1,000th NHL point on Friday, becoming the fifth undrafted player to do so. St-Louis also returned to Tampa Bay for the first time since being traded last year, and was met with a mixed reaction. Additionally, Cam Talbot recorded a 26-save shutout against the Flyers for his second blanking of the season. The first came nine days earlier, against the Flyers as well.
Who’s not? While the Rangers couldn’t match the Lightning, nobody was “not” in the two Flyers games. A Mats Zuccarello penalty did lead to a Flyers powerplay goal though, while Dominic Moore took two ill-timed penalties in the first game.
Schedule for the week: Monday vs. Lightning (7 p.m.), Saturday at Detroit (7:30 p.m.).
Record for the week: 1-1-1, three points. Total: 10-9-4, 24 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Even. The Capitals found themselves on both sides of lopsided wins, while also falling to the Islanders in overtime.
Who’s hot? Alex Ovechkin, with a pair of powerplay goals in the first game of a home-and-home with the Islanders, en route to a three-goal week. The Caps’ power play as a whole scored four goals over the week to improve to second in the league, at 28.8 percent.
Who’s not? Playing with a lead. The Caps couldn’t take over in their first game against the Islanders, and didn’t take control of the second game until halfway through the second period. They also failed to take any sort of control against Toronto, who faced as high as a 5-1 lead.
Schedule for the week: Tuesday vs. Vancouver (7 p.m.), Thursday at Hurricanes (7 p.m.), Saturday at Devils (7 p.m.).
New Jersey Devils
Record for the week: 0-2-1, one point. Total: 9-11-4, 22 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Fall. The Devils were shut out against Vancouver, lost to Detroit in a shootout and lost 3-1 to the Islanders.
Who’s hot? Mike Cammalleri, Jaromir Jagr and Adam Henrique, for each putting up two points over the week.
Who’s not? The team’s inability to play with a lead. They couldn’t muster any offense against the Canucks, and didn’t take a lead at all against the Islanders. Additionally, they couldn’t hold a 4-1 lead against the Red Wings, and couldn’t answer the tying goal that came with 9:53 to go in the third period.
Schedule for the week: Tuesday at Penguins (7 p.m.), Thursday at Toronto (7:30 p.m.), Saturday vs. Capitals (7 p.m.).
Record for the week: 0-3-1, one point. Total: 8-13-3, 19 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Fall. The Flyers were winless in games against the Islanders and Detroit, as well as a home-and-home with the Rangers.
Who’s hot? Jakub Voracek, with two goals and three points in the week, including an assist on a Nicklas Grossmann goal (!) against the Rangers. Additionally, Steve Mason made 46 saves in Monday’s game against the Islanders, but the team couldn’t score for him. Mason recorded a shutout, but was still credited with the loss, for the second time in his career.
Who’s not? Offense, as production was limited to just two goals apiece in games the team scored in. Goals are coming at a premium for the Orange and Black, who fluctuated between 21 and 26 shots on goal in all four games.
Schedule for the week: Tuesday at San Jose (10 p.m.), Wednesday at Anaheim (10:30 p.m.), Saturday at Los Angeles (4 p.m.).
Record for the week: 1-2-0, two points. Total: 7-13-3, 17 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Slight fall. The Hurricanes started their week with a shutout loss against Florida, and split a home-and-home with the Penguins.
Who’s hot? Jiri Tlusty, who scored two goals and three points in the 4-2 win over the Penguins. Victor Rask also added three assists against the Pens.
Who’s not? The ‘Canes had 59 minutes and 39 seconds to respond to an early Nick Bjugstad goal against the Panthers, but couldn’t put anything past Al Montoya and Roberto Luongo.
Schedule for the week: Tuesday vs. Nashville (7 p.m.), Thursday vs. Capitals (7 p.m.), Sunday vs. Detroit (5 p.m.).
Columbus Blue Jackets
Record for the week: 0-3-0, zero points. Total: 6-15-2, 14 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Fall. The Blue Jackets lost 4-2 to Winnipeg, were shut out 5-0 by Vancouver and lost 2-1 to Nashville.
Who’s hot? Nick Foligno, who recorded two assists in the week.
Who’s not? Offense as a whole, for scoring a total of three goals over the course of the week. Reading the scoresheets for the Blue Jacket players in those three games is almost similar Dean Vernon Wormer reading the Delta midterm grades in Animal House.
Schedule for the week: Monday vs. Florida (7 p.m.), Thursday at Florida (7:30 p.m.), Saturday at Lightning (7 p.m.).
Follow Rob Riches on Twitter @Riches61.