Another week in the Metro, and another week with the Hurricanes sitting atop of the standings. The early season magic seems to have worn off, however, as the Canes lost three straight regulation games, scoring only four goals in those three games. The offense is clicking - averaging over three goals per game. On the flip-side, and as many predicted, goaltending has been suspect for the Canes. The duo of Curtis McElhinney and Petr Mrazek have a combined .883 save percentage through 8 games. The Canes are still in first place in the Metro, but there is still plenty of room for improvement and reason for concern.
The Devils hot start across the globe came to an abrupt end this week. The Devils kicked off this season by allowing only four goals in their first four games, winning all four contests. New Jersey then surrendered five goals in back to back losses this week to end their four game win-streak. Keith Kinkaid has started all six games for New Jersey while Cory Schneider has been nursing an injury to begin this season. Schneider made a start in the AHL on Saturday in a rehab stint, and should be ready to start playing for the Devils soon. Kinkaid may be filling in nicely, but their locker room should benefit from having Schneider’s veteran presence around again.
The Penguins roller coaster season continued this week, losing to a Vancouver team that is unimpressive on paper, but outplayed the Pens soundly in a 3-2 overtime victory against the Penguins on Tuesday. The Penguins did show signs of life late in that contest, tying the game late in the third before the Canucks scored 30 seconds into overtime. Two nights later the Penguins put in their first defensive gem of the year against the league’s hottest offense in Toronto. Matt Murray played what could have been his best game in over a year, making 38 saves in a shutout that both he and the Penguins needed.
The Penguins continue their trek across Canada this week, playing three western Canadian teams before returning home on Sunday. Better get your rest this week, as the late start times will likely see each game ending past midnight in Pittsburgh. Sidney Crosby was quoted this week saying that Connor McDavid is ‘easy pick’ as the NHL’s top player. That’s no surprise for such a humble person such as Crosby, but I believe Evgeni Malkin would have a different answer. Malkin currently has 3 goals and 9 assists in six games.
The Blue Jackets had four days to think about what went wrong in their 8-2 loss against Tampa Bay the previous week and reversed their fortunes in a 6-3 pounding of the Flyers on Thursday. The Jackets couldn’t bottle that success, however, and fell to old rival Chicago in Columbus two days later. The Jackets have favorable match-ups this week - the Jackets opponents have a combined record of 8-11-2 this week. Columbus could get a shot in the arm this week, as Seth Jones began practicing again, and could be in the lineup on Tuesday night against Arizona.
The Washington Capitals had another eventful week this week. The Capitals hosted the New York Rangers on Wednesday night and needed overtime to defeat the Rangers. Alex Ovechkin is showing no signs of slowing down still, scoring two goals in that contest and has six goals in seven games this season. The Capitals then needed a shootout to decide their game against the Panthers two nights later. Washington fought back after trailing 4-2 and 5-4 with a late Nicklas Backstrom goal to tie the game at 5 before falling in a shootout. The Capitals will also be in western Canada this week, which will be their last three games in October. The Capitals will likely return to DC before flying back out for a game in Montreal on November 1st.
The Flyers have been playing a very chaotic brand of hockey this season. Philadelphia has the most goals scored and surrendered in the Metro Division. Only the Detroit Red Wings have given up more goals than the Flyers, and only the Maple Leafs have scored more goals than the Flyers. The winner in each of their games has scored 5 or more goals, aside from the Flyers’ 1-0 loss to Vegas. The Flyers are almost impossible to gauge right now, and have been a team the last few years that is capable of winning or losing their next 10 games. Who knows what next week will bring in Philly?
The Islanders wrapped up an up-and-down trip in California with a physical and chippy loss to San Jose late Saturday night. The Islanders lost 4-1 to both Anaheim and San Jose, but also destroyed Los Angeles 7-2, playing all three games in four days. San Jose and the Islanders already wrapped up their season series, but there was plenty of animosity brewing between the two teams by the end of their second game. Both teams are most likely going to have to wait some time before they can make this a rivalry, unless they were to somehow meet in the Stanley Cup Final. I wouldn’t put money on that. The Isles return home to Barclay’s Center this Wednesday before facing off against Metropolitan opponents in their next 5 games, including Pittsburgh twice in three days.
The Rangers earned their second victory this week with a shootout victory over Colorado that featured Nathan MacKinnon tying the game with 13 seconds left. The Rangers then flew to DC the following night in another overtime game in which the Rangers fell 4-3. Henrik Lundqvist is doing everything he can to keep the Rangers in games. He owns a .930 save percentage and goals against average of 2.31 for a Rangers team that is allowing over 34 shots per game. If his play slips, the Rangers will likely be in the lottery for Jack Hughes.
Again, thanks for stopping by for another recap of Keeping up with the Metropolitans, don’t forget to vote for game of the week!
3-1-2; 8 pts; 20 Goals For (T-22nd in the NHL; T-15th last week); 20 Goals Against (T-9th; T-18th last week)
1-0-1 record last week
VAN: 3 OT
Stuck in neutral. Pens fall in OT to Vancouver
Murray, Malkin strong as Pens dominate Toronto and win 3-0
Tuesday, October 23 - @ EDM, 9 p.m. ET
Thursday, October 25 - @ CGY, 9 p.m. ET
Saturday, October 27 - @ VAN, 10 p.m. ET
- 10/13/18, D Justin Schultz - IR; fractured leg
(1) Carolina Hurricanes
4-3-1, 9 pts; 26 GF (T-9th; 2nd); 25 GA (T-22nd; T-20th)
0-2 record last week
Canes Drop Second in a Row
Hurricanes Drop a Snoozer to Colorado
Monday, October 22 - @ DET, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, October 26 - vs SJS, 7:30 p.m.
- 9/12/18, C Victor Rask - IR; Hand
- 9/29/18, G Scott Darling - IR; Lower-body injury
(2) New Jersey Devils
4-2-0, 8 pts; 22 GF (T-16th; 18th); 14 GA (1st)
2-2 record last week
New Jersey Devils Edge San Jose Sharks, 3-2, with a Third Period Comeback
New Jersey Devils Stay Hot by Shutting Out the Dallas Stars
Winning Streak Ends as Sloppy New Jersey Devils Defeated by Colorado Avalanche
Undisciplined Devils Cough Up Early Lead, Lose to Flyers 5-2
Thursday, October 25 - vs NSH, 7 p.m.
Saturday, October 27 - vs FLA, 12 p.m.
- 10/4/18, LW Jesper Bratt - IR; Broken jaw
- 10/17/18, C Travis Zajac - Day-to-day; Lower-body injury
- 10/18/18, D Ben Lovejoy - Day-to-day; Lower-body injury
(4) Columbus Blue Jackets
4-3-0, 8 pts; 23 GF (15h; T-13th); 26 GA (T-25th; T-22nd)
1-1 record last week
Getting the Taste out of Your Mouth
Blue Jackets Can’t Muster Enough Against Blackhawks, Lose 4-1
Tuesday, October 23 - vs ARI, 7 p.m.
Thursday, October 25 - @ STL, 8 p.m.
Saturday, October 27 - vs BUF, 7 p.m.
- 9/24/18, D Seth Jones - IR; Knee
- 10/6/18, C Brandon Dubinsky - IR; Strained oblique
(5) Washington Capitals
3-2-2, 9 pts; 29 GF (T-3rd; T-5th); 28 GA (T-27th; T-22nd)
1-0-1 record last week
WSH: 4 OT
Ovechkin Strikes Twice, Tops New York 4-3
FLA: 6 SO
Florida Wins a Wild One in a Shootout 6-5
Monday, October 22 - @ VAN, 10 p.m.
Friday, October 25 - @ EDM, 9 p.m.
Saturday, October 27 - @ CGY, 4 p.m.
- 9/26/18, C Travis Boyd - IR; Lower-body injury
- 10/3/18, RW Tom Wilson - Suspended
(6) Philadelphia Flyers
4-4-0, 8 pts; 30 GF (2nd; T-13th); 33 GA (30th; T-26th)
2-1 record last week
PHI: 6 SO
Flyers win a wild one for first home win of the season
Flyers fall (literally) in Columbus, 6-3
Late goal by Voracek pushes Flyers to divisional win
Monday, October 22 - vs COL, 7 p.m.
Thursday, October 25 - @ BOS, 7 p.m.
Saturday, October 27 - vs NYI, 1 p.m.
- 9/20/18, G Michal Neuvirth - IR; Groin
- 9/27/18, C Pascal Laberge - IR; Hip
- 10/1/18, D Samuel Morin - IR; Knee
- 10/5/18, LW James van Riemsdyk - IR; Lower-body injury
(7) New York Islanders
3-4-0, 6 pts; 20 GF (T-22nd; T-20th); 20 GA (T-9th; T-4th)
1-2 record last week
New York was good, but Gibson was better
California swing ends poorly
Wednesday, October 24 - vs FLA, 7 p.m.
Saturday, October 27 - @ PHI, 1 p.m.
- 10/2/18, C John Stevens - IR; Undisclosed
- 10/2/18, LW Matt Lorito - IR; Undisclosed
(8) New York Rangers
2-4-1, 5 pts; 18 GF (T-26th; 19th); 24 GA (T-18th; T-20th)
1-0-1 record last week
NYR: 3 SO
Rangers Get Their Second Win of the Season
WSH: 4 OT
Rangers Steal a Point But Lose in Overtime
Sunday, October 21 - vs CGY, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, October 23 - vs FLA, 7 p.m.
Thursday, October 25 - @ CHI, 8:30 p.m.
- 9/23/18, LW Matt Beleskey - IR; Shoulder
- 10/2/18, C Ben Nieves - IR; Concussion
- 10/19/18, D Frederic Claesson - Day-to-day; Upper-body injury
Standings via NHL.com as of 10/20/18
Injuries via TSN as of 10/20/18
Which Metropolitan game is most intriguing?
This poll is closed
10.23.18 - PIT @ EDM, 9 p.m. ET
10.25.18 - PHI @ BOS, 7 p.m.
10.25.18 - NYR @ CHI, 8:30 p.m.
10.25.18 - WSH @ EDM, 9 p.m.
10.27.18 - NYI @ PHI, 1 p.m.