Weekly Metropolitan Division Snapshot: 3/9 - 3/15

This week, we are not just Devils fans but also Penguins fans. - Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

As the Pittsburgh Penguins are safe, the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers battle for second, and the Columbus Blue Jackets, Washington Capitals, and New Jersey Devils lurk closely in the distance. All this and the upcoming schedule in this week's Metropolitan Division snapshot.

We all lost an hour, I lost some time putting this together, and this very snapshot will likely change shortly after it's up.  But it's all OK because the state of the division will remain mostly the same, the upcoming schedule is the upcoming schedule, and the situation of our favorite team will remains same.  Here's the Metropolian Division standings before today's games.

Team GP W L OT ROW Pts. Last Week Ptl. Pts.
PIT 63 42 17 4 37 88 2-1-0 6
PHI 64 33 24 7 30 73 2-0-1 4
NYR 64 34 26 4 30 72 1-1-1 8
CBJ 64 33 26 5 29 71 3-1-0 8
WSH 65 30 25 10 22 70 1-2-1 6
NJD 65 28 24 13 28 69 2-2-0 6
CAR 64 27 28 9 26 63 1-3-0 6
NYI 66 24 33 9 18 57 1-2-1 6

Source: NHL.com - Links go to SBN Blogs

And here's the wildcard standings.  Toronto moved up while the Tampa Bay Lightning slipped so the Bolts now own the first one.  The Detroit Red Wings still have the second spot.

W.C. GP W L OT ROW Pts. Last Week Ptl. Pts.
TBL 64 34 24 6 28 74 0-3-1 6
DET 63 29 21 13 25 71 1-1-1 6

Source:NHL.com - Links go to SBN Blogs

The New York Rangers are playing right as I write this and they're going up against Detroit.  It was bad enough the Devils split their home-and-home with the Red Wings.  The Devils had a chance to jump past Detroit for a brief moment but they dropped the game in Detroit.   Instead, they remain on the outside looking in.  That makes today's game more damaging as it either helps the Rangers, which is never good, plus it helps maintain their playoff spot, or the Red Wings, who could make that wild card spot harder to obtain.    Whatever happens, hopefully it's in regulation.

The New Jersey Devils split their week, which wasn't too bad in the larger picture.  They remain only three points behind third in the Metropolitan.   However, they're not getting a lot of help.  The Columbus Blue Jackets had a very good week to remain in place. The Washington Capitals faltered for the most part, but their big comeback win on Saturday helped them stay in front.   The only team that has been all that helpful is the team they beat on Saturday: the Carolina Hurricanes.  They have had an awful run of results since the Olympics ended and it's all but put them out of the playoff picture.  They're eight points behind Detroit for the last playoff spot but given how many teams are in front of them, it might as well be a mountain in their way.   Carolina has to get hot and hope for a lot of help.  I don't see it happening.  So at least the Devils faithful may not have to worry much about them going forward.

Instead, they need to be concerned with New York, the Philadelphia Flyers, Detroit, Washington, and Columbus.  The Flyers had an excellent week, jumping past the Rangers in the standings on Saturday night.  The Rangers may flip back by later this afternoon.  Still, the Flyers have made their awful start to the season look like ancient history.  They have a very short week but that will mean plenty of games in hand on other opponents around them.  Provided they don't fall apart, they're in a pretty good position.  Of course, that's bad news for the Devils among other teams. That's why Tuesday's game is so important beyond it being a rivalry game.

In fact, Devils fans should also be big Pittsburgh fans this week.  Here's the schedule for the upcoming week; games within the Metropolitan Division are in bold:

Team 3/9 3/10 3/11 3/12 3/13 3/14 3/15
PIT @ WSH vs. WSH @ PHI
PHI vs. NJD vs. PIT
NYR vs. DET @ CAR @ MIN @ WPG
CBJ @ DAL vs. DET vs. SJS @ MIN
WSH vs. PIT @ PIT vs. VAN
NJD @ PHI @ FLA @ TBL
CAR vs. NYR vs. BUF @ BOS
NYI @ VAN vs. SJS vs.BUF
W.C.
TBL vs. PHX vs. FLA vs. NJD
DET @ NYR @ CBJ vs. EDM

The Pittsburgh Penguins all but have sewn up the Metropolitan Division crown.  They can help out the Devils greatly with another big week.  They can hold the Capitals back, undercut the Flyers a little bit, and still show the league that they are a top team.   Go Pens.   Conversely, Detroit's week makes that last wild card trickier to get.  Their success makes the wild card spot harder to grab, even though beating Our Hated Rivals and Columbus would help.  Their failure in those two games would keep the Devils back where they are in the division.  They also get Edmonton, which should be a win since, well, they're Edmonton.   Elsewhere, if you believe Carolina's really out of it, then by all means, cheer on Andrei Loktionov against the Rangers on Tuesday.   Columbus gets a mostly Western Conference schedule.  They did well last week so it would be kind of Dallas, San Jose, and/or Minnesota to put that in the past.    As for the New York Islanders, they can do whatever they'd like.  They don't have to be spoilers for another week.

Of course, the Devils still need to take care of business.  This is their last proper road trip of the season; only four road games will take place after this week.  The match-ups are important. Again, the Flyers-Devils game on Tuesday will be massive.  A Devils win would be fantastic. A Devils loss would be a big blow to catching the Orange & Black. The back-to-back in the Sunshine state will also be important.  I'd like to think the Devils should beat Florida if they're serious about taking points.  The game against Tampa Bay will be more important.  If the Lightning continue to flounder, then their spot could be available - a Devils win over them would take a strong step towards it.  Of course, asking for four wins in a row this season seems rather greedy.  Although, at this time of the season, greed is good.   On that note, let's also hope for fewer three-point games in the division.

What do you think will happen in the Metropolitan Division this week?  Will the Devils do well on their road trip? Can Pittsburgh do a big solid for the Devils (and Columbus and the Rangers) by sweeping their week?   How do you think Columbus will do after a strong week?  Who will be in the wild card spots next week? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about the division and upcoming schedule in the comments. Thank you for reading.

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