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Keeping up with the Metropolitans: Week 8

Your weekly dose of Metropolitan action!

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Another week in the books, and the Devils are still in 1st place. Meanwhile, the Pens are in 6th in Metro. The Penguins struggles are very evident and alarming. Take away the 10 goal game and the Pens are still allowing over 3 goals per game. On the flip-side of that, the Pens do have 25 PPGs in 25 games, the most PPGs in the NHL. However, the PK is giving up the same amount with 23 PPGs allowed, also the most in the NHL. The PP is 26.7% / PK is 76.7%. One impressive stat for the Penguins, however, they have scored 4 SHGs, while not allowing any this year. The Penguins are the only team in the NHL to not allow a SHG. Hooray!

There’s lots of reason to expect things to change soon. The Pens have the most shots in the league, but are tied with SJS for 4th worst shooting at 7.9%. That’s going to go up. It has to with the level of talent the Penguins possess. The Pens are also tied with Ottawa for 3rd worst team save percentage in the NHL at 89.2%. With Matt Murray in net, it’s only a matter of time before he starts winning games single-handedly. Tristan Jarry has been pulling his own weight too, and congratulations to him on his first NHL victory Saturday against Tampa Bay. Basically what I just pointed out in this paragraph is an advanced stat called PDO. For those unaware it is a team’s shooting percentage + save percentage at even strength. It is a quick way to see how “lucky” teams have been and vice versa. The Penguins sit alone in dead last in PDO at an even 96. Next closest is Montreal at 97.4. Colorado finished at 97.4 last year and only won 22 games. This years Penguins are certainly not that much worse than last years Avalanche. What I’m trying to say is, the Penguins may look like a far cry from the last the two years standards, but by New Year’s Day, I’m saying this team will be in or near 1st place in the Metro.

Everyone knows the Penguins flaws this season has been 5vs5 play and goals against. Since I elaborated on that already, I’m going to point out one flaw in all the other Metro teams to make us Pens fans feel better about ourselves.

The Devils have been very impressive across the board. They’re having quite a year, and kudos to them for such a rebound from the last few years. There’s no major flaw that sticks out, but the Devils have only outscored their opponents by a total of 5 goals and have already played in 4 shootouts - winning 2 and losing 2. The Devils are have been, and will likely continue to play in close games. Will the team continue their winning ways in close games, or will the lack of experience and/or success for the Devils start showing? How will the Devils handle adversity when it inevitably shows up?

The Jackets flaw is quite obvious looking at them compared to the league. The Jackets have only scored 6 power play goals on only 62 chances in 23 games. Not only are they not scoring, they aren’t drawing penalties, either. Despite that, the Jackets are still one of the better teams in the NHL. Their 9.7% power play may be worst in the league, but their 84.5% penalty kill is lessening some of the consequences of their power play as the Jackets have only allowed 9 power play goals all year. Columbus also boasts some impressive 5vs5 numbers, which is how most of the game is played, so expect the Jackets to be at or near the top of the Metro the whole year as long as Bob is healthy. If Tortorella can get the power play to come alive, the Jackets could become deadly.

The Islanders have quietly been winning more than losing, and have been doing it with offense. Only the Lightning and surprising Knights are scoring at a higher goals-per-game than the Islanders right now. The top-6 in Brooklyn are doing it about as good as anyone in the NHL right now. The biggest flaw has been the play out of Thomas Greiss and Jaro Halak. They both have an identical .903 save percentage and goals against near 3. Greiss has won 5 in a row and is 8-2-2 this season, but has given up 3 or more goals in 8 out of the 12 games he’s started. Halak is 6-5 and allowed 3+ goals in 9 out of 11 starts. It’s going to be very hard for the Islanders offense to pick up the slack from the defense/goalies all year. The Islanders fate likely rests upon Greiss and Halak, who haven’t been very impressive this year.

The Capitals and Penguins have been dealing with very similar situations in the first quarter of this season. The Caps have been scoring goals at a reasonable rate, but have been giving up way more goals than used to - not as bad as the Pens, though. The Capitals have given up an NHL second worst 22 PPGs, one less than the Pens 23 which I eluded to earlier. Holtby has been very good, but the Caps haven’t been getting the same results from Grubauer as they did last year. He’s currently 1-5-1 with a goals against of 3.49 and save percentage of 88.6%. Brooks Orpik is averaging nearly 22 minutes for the Caps, things definitely aren’t going well (until recently), and a lot of people are gunning for Barry Trotz to get fired. Who knows what’s going to happen next week?

The Rangers have been on fire since their 1-5-2 start. They’ve improved to 13-9-2 and have pretty much erased that start from their memory and are forming an identity for themselves. They stuck to what they know in NYC, and are riding King Hank and playing tough defensively. The one flaw that is on most people’s mind when it comes to the Rangers is the man behind the bench. He’s knocked down the flames some since the dreadful start, but patience has run thin in the media and fan base and many people expect him to be one of the likeliest coaches to be fired this season. One more big bump in the road, and that may be it for him. There are some pretty attractive coaches currently not employed, and the man behind the bench at MSG is an attractive position. It feels like the question has been asked forever now, but is it finally the time to fire Alain Vigneault? (Montreal would like a say in this, most likely.)

Carolina still isn’t completely out of it, but things haven’t improved much since last season. Bringing Justin Williams back has been a good story, but that’s about the only one for the Hurricanes this year. The Finns - Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen - have been great, but Scott Darling and Cam Ward have been below average and scoring goals is the biggest flaw for the Canes. Justin Faulk has fallen off a cliff with only 3 points in his first 18 games, but has 4 points in the last 4 games. There’s nobody to pick up the slack for him, so if he can start scoring again, the Canes may be able to be a Wild Card contender.

Sadly, the Flyers are in last place in the Metro, are currently on a 7 game losing streak and losers of 12 out of their last 15. There are many flaws on the Flyers team, but I’ll say that penalty killing is probably their biggest. The Flyers are much better this year at 5vs5, but are 28th in the NHL in penalty killing. Elliott hasn’t been very good, and Neuvirth has better numbers, but neither of them have been that awful despite their record. The Flyers are very top-heavy up front and haven’t gotten any production out of their bottom-6. It’s looking like the Flyers could be in store for another high draft pick to go along with Nolan Patrick, who is still adjusting to life in the NHL. He’ll get his first taste of the Intra-PA rivalry tomorrow night! Flyers have lost 7 in a row coming into Pittsburgh on Monday night, this is the recipe for disaster for whoever loses.

Get your popcorn ready!


(6)Pittsburgh Penguins

12-10-3, 27 pts; 69 GF (13th in NHL) / 86 GA (30th)
1-2 record last week

11/22/17
VAN: 5
PIT: 2
Pens are the turkey boys in listless 5-2 loss

11/24/17
PIT: 3
BOS: 4
Bruins Get Black Friday Benefit Over Penguins

11/25/17
TBL: 2
PIT: 5
Back to back like 2017

Week Ahead:

Monday November 27 - vs PHI, 7 PM ET

Friday December 1 - @ BUF, 7 PM

Saturday December 2 - vs BUF, 7 PM

Injuries:

  • 11/20/17, C Evgeni Malkin - Day-to-day; Upper-body injury


(1)New Jersey Devils

14-5-4, 32 pts; 76 GF (6th) / 71 GA (19th)
3-0-1 record last week

11/20/17
NJD: 4 OT
MIN: 3
Moore Overtime Heroics Made New Jersey Devils Prevail Over Minnesota Wild

11/22/17
BOS: 3 SO
NJD: 2
New Jersey Devils Lost an Excessively Long Shootout to Boston Bruins, 3-2

11/24/17
VAN: 2
NJD: 3
Boyle, Hall, and the New Jersey Devils Prevailed Over Vancouver Canucks, 3-2

11/25/17
NJD: 4 OT
DET: 3
Goal Scoring Leader Brian Gibbons Salvages a New Jersey Devils OT Win Over Detroit Red Wings

Week Ahead:

Monday November 27 - vs FLA, 7 PM

Friday December 1 - @ COL, 9 PM

Saturday December 2 - @ ARI, 8 PM

Injuries:

  • 10/31/17, LW Marcus Johansson - IR; Concussion
  • 11/12/17, D Mirco Mueller - IR; Fractured clavicle
  • 11/20/17, RW Kyle Palmieri - IR; Foot


(2)Columbus Blue Jackets

15-7-1, 31 pts; 68 GF (17th) / 55 GA (2nd)
3-0 record last week

11/20/17
CBJ: 3
BUF: 2
Surviving a Letdown

11/22/17
CGY: 0
CBJ: 1 OT
Hot Jackets Solve Smith; Douse Flames in overtime

11/24/17
OTT: 2
CBJ: 5
Breakout Success

Week Ahead:

Monday November 27 - @ MTL, 7:30 PM

Tuesday November 28 - vs CAR, 7 PM

Friday December 1 - vs ANA, 7 PM

Saturday December 2 - @ WSH, 7 PM

Injuries:

  • 11/4/17, LW Matt Calvert - IR; Upper-body injury
  • 11/12/17, C Alex Wennberg - Day-to-day; Lower-body injury


(3)New York Islanders

14-7-2, 30 pts; 84GF (3rd) / 74 GA (22nd)
3-0 record last week

11/22/17
PHI: 3
NYI: 4 OT
Greiss saves, Bailey scores on the rebound

11/24/17
NYI: 5 OT
PHI: 4
Leddy’s blast ends back and forth game

11/25/17
NYI: 2
OTT: 1
Goals from Lee, Eberle lead Isles over Sens

Week Ahead:

Tuesday November 28 - vs VAN, 7 PM

Friday December 1 - vs OTT, 7 PM

Injuries:

11/6/17, LW Nikolay Kulemin - IR; Upper-body injury


(4)Washington Capitals

14-10-1, 29 pts; 74 GF (7th) / 75 GA (24th)
2-1 record last week

11/20/17
CGY: 4
WSH: 1
Defense Burns Out, Flames Triumph 4-1

11/22/17
OTT: 2
WSH: 5
All Gravy - Two Vrana Goals Stuffs Ottawa 5-2

11/24/17
TBL: 1
WSH: 3
Washington Wins In Statement Victory over Bolts

11/25/17
WSH: 4
TOR: 2
Ovechkin’s Ordinary Offensive Outburst in Ontario Propels Washington to Win

Week Ahead:

Thursday November 30 - vs LAK, 7 PM

Saturday December 2 - vs CBJ, 7 PM

Injuries:

  • 10/21/17, LW Andre Burakovsky - IR; Upper-body injury
  • 11/14/17, D Christian Djoos - Day-to-day; Upper-body injury


(5)New York Rangers

13-9-2, 28 pts; 78 GF (7th) / 72 GA (15th)
3-0 record last week

11/22/17
NYR: 6
CAR: 1
Rangers Win Second Straight, Dominate Hurricanes 6-1

11/24/17
DET: 1
NYR: 2 OT
Lundqvist Makes 40 Saves, Skjei and Zuccarello Team Up For Thrilling OT Winner

11/26/17
VAN: 3
NYR: 4 SO
Jimmy Vesey’s Shootout Winner Makes it Eight Straight at MSG

Week Ahead:

Tuesday November 28 - vs FLA, 7 PM

Friday December 1 - vs CAR, 7 PM

Injuries:

  • 11/20/17, D Ryan McDonagh - Day-to-day; Abdominal strain
  • 11/25/17, C Boo Nieves - Day-to-day; Lower-body injury


(7)Carolina Hurricanes

10-8-4, 24 pts; 66 GF (25th) / 67 GA (10th)
1-2 record last week

11/22/17
NYR: 6
CAR: 1
Hurricanes Have Little to be Thankful for after 6-1 Loss to Rangers on Thanksgiving Eve

11/24/17
TOR: 5
CAR: 4
Canes drop 5-4 to Toronto

11/26/17
NSH: 3
CAR: 4 SO
Carolina Hurricanes Pick Up Two Huge Points in Shootout Win Over Nashville Predators

Week Ahead:

Tuesday November 28 - @ CBJ, 7 PM

Friday December 1 - @ NYR, 7 PM

Saturday December 2 - vs FLA, 7 PM

Injuries:

10/2/17, RW Lee Stempniak - IR; Hip


(8)Philadelphia Flyers

8-9-6, 22 pts; 65 GF (21st)/ 70 GA (17th)
0-1-2 record last week

11/21/17
VAN: 5
PHI: 2
Losing streak hits five

11/22/17
PHI: 3
NYI: 4 OT
And the losses keep coming, and they don’t stop coming

11/24/17
NYI: 5 OT
PHI: 4
Losing streak hits seven with overtime loss

Week Ahead:

Monday November 27 - @ PIT, 7 PM

Tuesday November 28 - vs SJS, 7 PM

Saturday December 2 - vs BOS, 1 PM

Injuries:

  • 10/3/17, G Anthony Stolarz - IR; Knee
  • 10/3/17, RW Colin McDonald - IR; Lower-body injury
  • 10/21/17, D Andrew MacDonald - IR; Lower-body injury


  • Standings via NHL.com as of 11/26/17
  • Injuries via TSN as of 11/26/17

Poll

Which Metropolitan game is the most intriguing?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    11/27/17 - PHI @ PIT, 7 PM ET; NHL-N
    (25 votes)
  • 0%
    11/30/17 - LAK @ WSH, 7 PM
    (0 votes)
  • 6%
    12/1/17 - PIT @ BUF, 7 PM; 12/2/17 - BUF @ PIT, 7 PM; NHL-N
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    12/2/17 - BOS @ PHI, 1 PM
    (0 votes)
  • 37%
    12/2/17 - CBJ @ WSH, 7 PM
    (17 votes)
  • 0%
    Other
    (0 votes)
45 votes total Vote Now