Another week in the books for the Metropolitan Division, and the Pittsburgh Penguins have taken ownership of first place with their 4-0 sweep of Canada. The Pens kicked off the trip with a shutout win in Toronto and completed the sweep with another shutout victory in Vancouver. The Penguins offense is firing on all cylinders right now, averaging 4.4 goals per game. Evgeni Malkin is leading the charge averaging two points per game through the first 9 games. Only Mikko Rantanen has more points in the NHL with 21 points while playing in 3 more games than Geno. The Penguins haven't completely righted the ship just yet, but this road trip was a massive step in the right direction. The Pens play a home-and-home with the Islanders on Tuesday and Thursday before facing the Maple Leafs in Pittsburgh on Saturday night.
The Hurricanes went undefeated this week but were overtaken by Pittsburgh because the Canes only played two games. It seems like everyone is jumping on the Canes bandwagon as their feel good story is still all the talking heads mention when referencing the Canes. Each week will question more and more if they can keep this up, but so far the Canes keep winning. This could be a big week for Carolina to make a statement with four games on the docket - two at home verse the Islanders and Bruins before heading out west for a back-to-back against the Coyotes and Knights.
The Blue Jackets are an interesting story in the first month of the season. The Jackets have surrendered the second most goals in the Metro but still find themselves third in the Metro. Bobrovsky is 2-4 with a horrendous .872 save percentage and has allowed 23 goals in those six games. Joonas Korpisalo is 4-0, but his boxcars would make you think otherwise. Korpisalo has an .897 save percentage and 3.46 goals against average. The story for the past several years has been strong goaltending and defense masking an average offense in Columbus. The script seems to have flipped in Columbus the first month of this year. Columbus plays Detroit at home this week before heading out west to play the California teams.
The Capitals are chugging right along similar to last year's regular season - scoring tons of goals while giving up more than accustomed to. The Metro as a whole is looking shakey defensively, and the Caps are part of that trend with a team save percentage below .890 and an inflated 3.45 goals against. The Capitals wrap up their own Canadian road trip in Montreal Thursday before getting some home cooking. The Capitals will start a 5 game home swing that won't see the Caps outside of D.C. until November 13.
The Devils also weren't defeated in regulation this week but also were passed over by several teams due to playing less games. Injuries are starting to mount for the Devils and to make things worse, New Jersey is starting a seven game road trip that will have them on the road until November 13th when the Penguins will meet them at The Rock in Newark. Keith Kinkaid has been the man between the pipes - starting all 8 games - but should finally catch a break as Cory Schneider should be available to start again this week.
The Islanders have been much better defensively with new coach Barry Trotz behind the bench but are struggling offensively. The offense did come to life against the Flyers on Saturday with a 6-1 smack down, but the Flyers have also given up the most goals in the NHL. Will that game wake them up offensively, or will it be a struggle all season? If the offense picks up and the defense and goaltending stay strong, the Islanders may be able to sneak into the playoffs. Their game against Philadelphia started a five game stretch that sees them playing Metro opponents including Pittsburgh twice. The Isles could make a statement during this stretch.
The defense and goaltending play in Philadelphia may best be described as a dumpster fire on top of an old tire recycling facility that is also on fire inside the base of the nuclear reactor in Chernobyl. Through 11 games, the Flyers have a team save percentage of .864 and a 3.91 goals against average. Their penalty kill is at an abysmal 67.5%, which is surprisingly better than the Canes, somehow. The Flyers have given up 13 power play goals in only 11 games. They also have given up two shorthanded goals, while only scoring 6 power play goals. That's not a good formula to win games. The Flyers head out to California this week to take on the Cali teams.
The Rangers aren't as bad as their record shows, but aren't much better, either. The Rangers haven't gone full tank mode, but if they continue losing, the few remaining spare pieces may be on the way out. Some of their better performers, and higher paid players, have struggled mightily to start this year. If those players can return to their career averages, things may turn around for the Rangers. I wouldn't expect that to happen, however. The Rangers will be the third Metro team to be visiting California this week.
As always, thanks for checking in and dont forget to vote for game of the week at the end!
6-1-2; 14 pts; 40 Goals For (T-3rd in the NHL; T-22nd last week); 26 Goals Against (6th in the NHL; T-9th last week)
3-0 record last week
PIT: 6 OT
Sidney Crosby’s sensational OT goal asserts his continued dominance in 6-5 win.
A Calgary stampede as Pens run wild over Flames.
Pens Cruise Through Canada with Perfect 4-Game Road Trip; Win 5-0
Tuesday, October 30 - vs NYI, 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, November 1 - @ NYI, 7 p.m.
Saturday, November 3 - vs TOR, 7 p.m.
- 10/13/18, D Justin Schultz - IR; fractured leg
6-3-1, 13 pts; 33 GF (T-13th; T-9th); 29 GA (T-13th; T-22nd)
2-0 record last week
Hurricanes Ride Strong Special Teams Performance to Big Win in Detroit
CAR: 4 SO
Hurricanes Come Back, Beat the Sharks in Shootout
Sunday, October 28 - vs NYI, 5 p.m.
Tuesday, October 30 - vs BOS, 7 p.m.
Friday, November 2 - @ ARI, 10 p.m.
Saturday, November 3 - @ VGK, 10 p.m.
- 9/12/18, C Victor Rask - IR; Hand
6-4-0, 12 pts; 36 GF (T-7th; 15h); 38 GA (25th; T-25th)
2-1 record last week
Defensive Miscues, Turnovers, Lackadaisical Power Play Cost Jackets
A Balanced Effort Wins the Day
CBJ: 5 OT
The First Line Delivers the Blue Jackets a Win over the Sabres
Tuesday, October 30 - vs DET, 7 p.m.
Thursday, November 1 - @ SJS, 10:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 3 - @ LAK, 10:30 p.m.
- 10/6/18, C Brandon Dubinsky - IR; Strained oblique
5-3-2, 12 pts; 39 GF (5th; T-3rd); 37 GA (24th; T-27th)
2-1 record last week
Backstrom Bags 600th Assist in Victory over Vancouver
Edmonton Edges Washington with Slick Showing
WSH: 4 SO
Blown Leads Ultimately Don’t Cost Caps in 4-3 SO Victory
Thursday, November 1 - @ MTL, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 3 - vs DAL, 7 p.m.
- 9/26/18, C Travis Boyd - IR; Lower-body injury
- 10/3/18, RW Tom Wilson - Suspended
5-2-1, 11 pts; 28 GF (T-21st; T-16th); 20 GA (T-1st; 1st)
1-0-1 record last week
NSH: 4 OT
New Jersey Devils Faded Late by Nashville Predators in Overtime Loss
New Jersey Devils Snapped Winless Streak & Florida Panthers in 3-2 Victory
Tuesday, October 30 - @ TBL, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, November 1 - @ DET, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 3 - @ NYI, 7 p.m.
- 10/4/18, LW Jesper Bratt - IR; Broken jaw
- 10/18/18, D Ben Lovejoy - IR; Lower-body injury
- 10/19/18, D Steven Santini - IR; Broken jaw
- 10/22/18, RW Drew Stafford - IR; Upper-body injury
- 10/26/18, LW Marcus Johansson - Day-to-day; Illness
4-4-1, 9 pts; 28 GF (T-21st; T-22nd); 24 GA (3rd; T-9th)
1-0-1 record last week
FLA: 3 OT
Return the Gift
The Top 6 Wakes Up Early Today
Sunday, October 28 - @ CAR, 5 p.m.
Tuesday, October 30 - @ PIT, 7 p.m.
Thursday, November 1 - vs PIT, 7 p.m.
Saturday, November 3 - vs NJD, 7 p.m.
- 10/2/18, C John Stevens - IR; Undisclosed
- 10/2/18, LW Matt Lorito - IR; Undisclosed
- 10/26/18, RW Cal Clutterbuck - Day-to-day; Upper-body injury
4-7-0, 8 pts; 32 GF (T-16th; 2nd); 46 GA (31st; 30th)
0-3 record last week
Rantanen, Avalanche bury Flyers, 4-1
Flyers take one in the sack, lose 6-1 to Islanders
Tuesday, October 30 - @ ANA, 10 p.m.
Thursday, November 1 - @ LAK, 10:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 3 - @ SJS, 10:30 p.m.
- 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
- 10/21/18, LW Michael Raffl - IR; Lower-body injury
- 10/26/18, C Corban Knight - Day-to-day; Upper-body injury
(8) New York Rangers
3-6-1, 7 pts; 25 GF (28th; T-26th); 34 GA (T-19th; T-18th)
1-2 record last week
All That Work For Nothing
Here Comes The Scoring
Rangers Start Road Trip with 4-1 Loss to Hawks
Sunday, October 28 - @ LAK, 3:30 p.m.
Tuesday, October 30 - @ SJS, 10:30 p.m.
Thursday, November 1 - @ ANA, 10 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
Which Metropolitan game is the most intriguing?
This poll is closed
10.30.18/11.1.18 - NYI @ PIT, 7 p.m. ET / PIT @ NYI 7 p.m.
10.30.18 - NJD @ TBL, 7:30 p.m.
11.1.18 - WSH @ MTL, 7:30 p.m.
11.3.18 - TOR @ PIT, 7 p.m.