Pens, Isles elite in mediocre division: Metro Division Recap – Week 10
The Metropolitan Division still continues to be one of the league’s most intriguing. The Penguins and Islanders remain top-tier, and their arms race continues, as both teams have 38 points. Pittsburgh’s lost their grip on first-place leaguewide (that now belongs to Anaheim), but the Pens and Isles sit at fourth and fifth in the league, respectively.
While the Penguins and Islanders remain among the league’s elite, the rest of the division is mediocre at best. You have to go down to 19th to find the next Metro team in the league standings (Capitals) The Hurricanes sit at 29th, and are tied with Edmonton for fewest points (19).
And now, taking a look at the week that was in the Metro Division:
Record for the week: 2-1-0, four points. Total: 18-6-2, 38 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Slight rise. Though the Penguins were listless in a 3-0 loss to Vancouver, they outlasted the Devils 1-0 to open the week and rallied to beat Ottawa on Saturday with two goals in the last two minutes.
Who’s hot? Evgeni Malkin, with two goals in the week. Additionally, Christian Ehrhoff scored the game-winner for the Penguins with 1:50 to go against the Senators, after Brandon Sutter tied the game seven seconds earlier.
Who’s not? Offense, save for Malkin. Prior to the 1:57 mark in the third period against the Sens when Sutter tied the game, the Penguins scored just the two Malkin goals in the week.
Schedule for the week: Monday at Rangers (7 p.m.), Friday vs. Calgary (7 p.m.), Saturday vs. Blue Jackets (7 p.m.).
New York Islanders
Record for the week: 2-1-0, four points. Total: 19-8-0, 38 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Rise. The Islanders swept a home-and-home with Ottawa (which included an overtime win), but slipped to St. Louis, 6-4.
Who’s hot? Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome, for scoring two goals throughout the week. Additionally, Kyle Okposo added three assists over the week, including two against the Blues.
Who’s not? Penalty kill, which allowed four goals throughout the week — including three against the Blues. The Isles’ PK now sits last in the league at 72.5 percent.
Schedule for the week: Tuesday at Minnesota (8 p.m.), Thursday at Blues (8 p.m.), Saturday vs. Chicago (7 p.m.).
Record for the week: 2-1-0, four points. Total: 12-10-4, 28 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Rise. The Caps suffered an early-week hiccup with a 4-3 loss to Vancouver, but rebounded with two divisional wins against the Hurricanes, 2-1 and Devils, 4-1.
Who’s hot? John Carlson, with a three-point effort (two goals, one assist) against the Canucks. Brooks Laich also recorded two points against the Devils.
Who’s not? Penalty kill, which allowed three goals to Vancouver’s (now) 16th-ranked power play. The Caps’ penalty kill now sits 28th in the league, at 75.3 percent.
Schedule for the week: Tuesday at Tampa Bay (7:30 p.m.), Thursday vs. Blue Jackets (7 p.m.), Saturday vs. Lightning (7 p.m.).
New York Rangers
Record for the week: 0-2-0, zero points. Total: 11-10-4, 26 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? It’s tough to gauge with the Rangers. While they lost two games this week, both games were played on Monday and Saturday. They have a similar schedule next week, playing Monday, Saturday and then Sunday.
Who’s hot? Kevin Hayes, who had a goal and assist in the week. Rick Nash’s first-period goal against Detroit on Saturday was his 17th of the season, tying him with St. Louis’ Vladimir Tarasenko for second in the league.
Who’s not? Third-period play. The Rangers were tied 3-3 with Tampa Bay heading into the third period, but the Lightning blew the game wide open with three goals — including two within a minute-and-a-half span — en route to a 6-3 win. Additionally, the Blueshirts’ Original 6 matchup against the Red Wings on Saturday was tied 2-2 heading into the final stanza, but a Darren Helm goal with 12:20 to play sealed the win for the Winged Wheel, which happened to be win No. 500 for Mike Babcock.
Schedule for the week: Monday vs. Pittsburgh (7 p.m.), Saturday at Vancouver (10 p.m.)., Sunday at Oilers (9:30 p.m.).
New Jersey Devils
Record for the week: 1-2-0, two points. Total: 10-13-4, 24 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Even. While the Devils held the Penguins to just one goal and beat Toronto 5-3, they lost to the Capitals in convincing fashion, 4-1.
Who’s hot? Eric Gelinas, Marek Zidlicky and Michael Ryder, who each posted two-point efforts in Thursday’s win over the Maple Leafs.
Who’s not? Damien Brunner, who was placed on waivers by the organization after two goals and seven points in 17 games this season.
Schedule for the week: Monday at Hurricanes (7 p.m.), Tuesday vs. Chicago (7 p.m.), Thursday at Flyers (7 p.m.), Saturday at Dallas (8:30 p.m.).
Record for the week: 1-1-1, three points. Total: 9-13-4, 22 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Slight fall. The Flyers lost to San Jose in dreadful fashion and lost to Anaheim in a shootout, but rebounded with a win over Los Angeles — their second win over the Kings this season.
Who’s hot? Wayne Simmonds, who scored with three seconds left to tie the Ducks contest. Simmonds also scored the eventual game-winner on Saturday against his former Kings squad.
Who’s not? Brayden Schenn, with several costly turnovers throughout the week that led to opposition goals. Late in the third period Tuesday against the Sharks, Schenn’s neutral-zone turnover led to a breakaway for Patrick Marleau, and an ensuing lack of coverage from Nick Schultz and Brayden Coburn. Coburn then proceeded to skate into Steve Mason and knock him over, allowing Matt Nieto to score the game-winner with 11.5 seconds on the clock.
Schedule for the week: Tuesday at Columbus (7 p.m.), Thursday vs. Devils (7 p.m.), Saturday vs. Hurricanes (1 p.m.).
Columbus Blue Jackets
Record for the week: 3-0-0, six points. Total: 9-15-2, 20 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Rise. The Blue Jackets swept Florida in a home-and-home, and beat the Eastern Conference-best Lightning 3-1. It’s almost fair to say that the Jackets have gotten their swagger back.
Who’s hot? Boone Jenner, who scored one goal in all three games last week. Sergei Bobrovsky was also marvelous in the second game against the Panthers, as he turned away 52 of 55 shots.
Who’s not? Playing with a lead. The Jackets were safe in their win over the Bolts after racing out to a 3-0 lead, but not the safest against the Panthers. They lost a 1-0 lead in the second period of the first game, but Jenner’s marker midway through the third sealed the deal. The second game was flat-out ugly, as they lost a 3-0 lead entirely in the third period (courtesy of a two-goal effort from the FlaCats’ Nick Bjugstad), but they still won in a shootout.
Schedule for the week: Tuesday vs. Flyers (7 p.m.), Thursday at Capitals (7 p.m.), Saturday vs. Penguins (7 p.m.).
Record for the week: 1-2-0, two points. Total: 8-15-3, 19 points.
Are they on the rise or fall? Fall. The ‘Canes returned to the Metro’s basement, after a week that saw them beat Nashville 2-1, lose 2-1 to the Capitals and lose 3-1 to Detroit.
Who’s hot? Jeff Skinner, who scored a goal and an assist in the win over the Predators.
Who’s not? Alexander Semin (who finally scored his first goal of the season in the Capitals loss). In case you missed it, FTHN CEO/Editor-in-Chief Anthony Scultore deemed his five-year, $35 million contract to be the worst in the NHL. By the way, that one goal is coupled with five assists, over a 21-game span.
Schedule for the week: Monday vs. Devils (7 p.m.), Thursday at Tampa Bay (7:30 p.m.), Saturday at Flyers (1 p.m.).
Follow Rob Riches on Twitter @Riches61.