Murky is not often a word used to describe a division in a sports league. Yet, it's the first word that comes to my mind when looking at the Metropolitan Division right now. In this past week, the top two teams earned no points but they stay at the top. The team with the fewest amount of wins is ahead of two other teams and only points away from a playoff spot. The biggest performers rose to the middle. October has not been kind to the inaugural Metropolitan Division.
|Team||GP||W||L||OTL||ROW||Pts||Last Week||Ptl. Pts|
Source: NHL.com - Links go to SBN Blogs for the Teams
The Pittsburgh Penguins manage to stay at the top after a winless week. The New York Islanders got half of the points last week and remain in third for the moment. Coming from behind to beat the Pens certainly helped, but dropping that last game to Philly prevented them from finishing a point behind the division leaders. The Pens were also helped out by the Carolina Hurricanes dropping both of their games. The Canes lost Cam Ward for several weeks due to injury so their situation may get worse before it gets better. Everyone outside of the top three were too far behind to catch up, so the Penguins remain the division leaders for now.
The best team within the Metropolitan in this past was arguably the Columbus Blue Jackets. They ended a losing streak, got an inter-division win, and obtained the maximum amount of points. They jumped from seventh to fourth and with a game in hand, they could be in the top three soon enough. The Washington Capitals also helped themselves quite a bit, though dropping last night's game to Calgary prevented a sweep of their own. The Philadelphia Flyers finally won a second game - and a third - but they remain at the wrong end of the division thanks to the five teams ahead of them getting some points.
The New Jersey Devils got half of the points last week, making it their most successful week yet. Unfortunately, they'll have to do some watching this week as they only have two games. The New York Rangers and the Pens play the most, but the Rangers are the ones to keep an eye on. They will use up their games in hand in this week and they could conceivably make a serious push up the standings. That's how murky the Metropolitan Division is right now; a seventh place team could jump up several places with a strong week of results. Especially since two of those games are inter-division games against teams in the top three.
|PIT||@ CAR||vs. BOS||vs. CBJ||@ CBJ|
|CAR||vs. PIT||vs. TBL||@ NYR|
|NYI||vs. NYR||@ OTT||vs. BOS|
|CBJ||vs. ANA||@ PIT||vs. PIT|
|WSH||@ VAN||@ PHI||vs. FLA|
|NJD||vs. TBL||vs. PHI|
|NYR||vs. MON||@ NYI||vs. BUF||vs. CAR|
|PHI||vs. ANA||vs. WSH||@ NJD|
The schedule as a whole has plenty of intrigue within the division. Every team plays at least one other opponent within the Metropolitan in this coming week. Pittsburgh and Columbus have a home-and-home set at the end of the week which could see the Blue Jackets make a big move up in the standings or have the Penguins re-establish a strong hold on first place. If Carolina wants to make a push, then beating Pittsburgh on Monday would be a big help. The other busy team - and the one that could jump the Devils - gets a back-to-back to start with Montreal and their hated rivals on Tuesday followed by two home games against a bad team (Buffalo) and a team that's hurting a bit (Carolina). Now all they have to do is make the most of it.
The Devils only have two games, both at home. Given that their record is a mere 2-5-4, it's more important to win for winning's sake as opposed to worry about the division. Tampa Bay isn't an an easy one; they actually have the same record as Boston right now. The Flyers broke their own run of failure in this past week and would love nothing more to announce to the league that they're not quite dead with a good week. Hopefully, Washington will wear them down on Friday to make it a little easier for what should be a fresh Devils squad on Saturday night.
What do you think will happen in the Metropolitan Division this week? Will the Penguins stay in first place? Can the Blue Jackets stay hot? Who will be in the top three by next Sunday? Will the Devils have four wins by next week? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about the division in the comments. Thank you for reading.