First place remains the same but it's definitely up for grabs. The Pittsburgh Penguins remained at the top of the Metropolitan Division for another week. However, they dropped two games within the division while everyone else had a positive week. As a result, they're in danger of not being in first for much longer.
|Team||GP||W||L||OT||ROW||Pts||Last Week||Ptl. Pts|
Source: NHL.com - Links go to SBN Blogs
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan remains a swamp of murkiness. The Washington Capitals are right on the heels of the Penguins. Behind them are four teams with either nineteen or twenty points. The Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets are bringing up the rear but they're not entirely out of the picture either. Truthfully, this was a good week for the division. Everyone not named Pittsburgh earned at least half of all available points last week. Even the Columbus did it, though it was the most disappointing way possible with three post-regulation losses. When you have a losing week and everyone improves, then it's no wonder your hold on first place becomes tenuous. The fact that the Caps are just one point out will make Wednesday night a big one in the division. More on that in a little bit.
The New Jersey Devils arguably had the best week among all eight teams within the division. They earned the most points with two of those wins coming within the Metropolitan. They no longer have the fewest amount of wins in the division, too. Then again, they had the advantage of playing one additional game. Since everyone else did so well, they only moved up one spot in the standings. Just as they are right behind the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers (who have a precious game in hand on everyone right around them), the New York Islanders are right with the Devils in points. This is the challenge that comes with a poor start to the season. It's not enough to have winning weeks; other teams have to falter in the standings. The Devils will have to keep having good weeks if they want to keep pushing up the Metropolitan. Easier said than done considering the schedule ahead.
|PIT||vs. ANA||@ WSH||vs. NYI||@ MTL|
|WSH||vs. STL||vs. PIT||vs. MTL||@ TOR|
|NYR||vs. LA||vs. BOS||@ DAL||@ NSH|
|CAR||vs. BOS||@ DET||@ BOS|
|NJD||@ ANA||@ LA||@ SJ|
|NYI||@ TOR||@ PIT||@ PHI|
|PHI||vs. OTT||vs. BUF||vs. NYI|
|CBJ||@ OTT||@ EDM||@ CGY||@ VAN|
I decided to embolden the inter-division games in this coming week. The big one is first one: Pittsburgh at Washington on NBC Sports Network. This is definitely a national television-worthy game as it could very well decide a new leader within the division in addition to highlighting a match-up between #8 and #87. You know who they are. It should be a fun one and with the Devils in Anaheim for a 10 PM game, you should have enough time to watch most of it before your favorite team takes to the ice.
Other than that, the New York Islanders are involved in the other two inter-division games. They get to go to Pittsburgh on Friday and then go to Philadelphia on Saturday. It may be in the best interest for the Devils if the Pennsylvanian teams won those games in regulation, though that will depend on how the Devils do on their own. That's a big question because they get to go to California for the week. All three teams have done very well this season and the Devils have not been so good on the road. The last long road trip they were on went winless. Unfortunately for them, they have to get some results to keep pace within the division.
At least no one really has an easy week. The Rangers get the Kings, Bruins, and Stars. Carolina gets the Bruins twice this week. The Caps start this week today against a really strong St. Louis team before a big game against the Pens. Pittsburgh could trip up early to Anaheim and maybe at the end with their back-to-back set. Columbus kicks off their own road trip into Canada, which Devils fans know isn't an easy at all; though Edmonton should be since, well, they're terrible. Nevertheless, the Devils can't assume everyone around them will fall with them. They still have to take care of their own business and continue to get results. If they can get at least three points, then I'll mostly be satisfied.
What do you think we'll see in the Metropolitan Division in this coming week? Will there be a new team in first place by next Sunday? Who do you think has the toughest week of games? Where will the Devils finish in the Metropolitan after this week and will you be happy with that? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about the division and the upcoming week of games in the comments. Thank you for reading.