As the calendar changes to November, there’s a new leader atop of the Metropolitan standings. As a team nobody really gave much thought to during the off-season, the Islanders have been on fire lately, and are winners of four-straight games against Metropolitan opponents and five-straight overall. Barry Trotz has straightened out their defensive issues and has been getting stellar goaltending from both Thomas Greiss and Robin Lehner. The offense has woken up in Brooklyn, and with a strong defensive effort, the Islanders have taken sole possession of first place. Who needs John Tavares, anyway?
Toronto. That’s who needed John Tavares. After getting shut down offensively in Toronto several weeks ago, Tavares got his revenge Saturday night in Pittsburgh scoring a goal and setting up another in one of his best displays against Pittsburgh. That loss to Toronto was Pittsburgh’s third loss in a row and fourth loss in six games at PPG Paints Arena. Despite not playing great lately and getting shut out last game, the offense in Pittsburgh is first in the league with 3.8 goals per game. It’s been a total crap shoot with the defense, however.
The Penguins also aren’t the only team struggling to stop pucks in the Metro. The Pens and Islanders are the only two teams in the Metro with a positive goal differential, and seven out of the eight teams have a goals against average at or above three per game.
The Metropolitan Division is a total mess right now. It seems every week at least one team is giving up seven or more goals in one game. Until another team can get it together defensively, the Islanders may be the best team in the division.
Columbus has been effected by this trend the most, as they sit 25th in the league with 48 goals against in 13 games. Sergei Bobrovsky has been a far cry from his usual Vezina worthy self. The Jackets are still finding ways to win games, and the return of Seth Jones should level them out more defensively. The Jackets wrap up their California road trip tonight in Anaheim and will face the Stars in Columbus on Tuesday night before facing off against two Metro opponents in DC against the Caps on Friday and back home against the Rangers on Saturday. It will be a busy week for the Jackets after their long-distance road trip.
It seems the magic has worn off completely at the moment in Raleigh. The Canes were losers of three straight one-goal games heading into their match up against Vegas on Saturday and were then swiftly shut out 3-0 by Marc-Andre Fleury - Fleury’s 50th career shutout. That loss to Vegas was Carolina’s 8th loss in 14 games, and fourth in a row. Sebastian Aho has been a great story for Carolina thus far, and he tied Wayne Gretzky and Ken Linesman’s record of an assist in the first 12 games of the regular season, although the streak was also broken this week. The Canes will wrap up a current win-less road trip in St. Louis and Chicago this week before facing off against Detroit in Raleigh on Saturday.
This is not the way the Capitals were hoping this season was going to start. The Capitals have lost three out of the last four games, and have won only 5 out of 12 games this season so far. Braden Holtby has been particularly shaky this year, and has given up some soft goals to lose the last couple games. The Canadiens scored three goals Thursday night in the last 3:04 of the 3rd period to defeat the Capitals. Max Domi and Joel Armia set a new record for the fastest two goals ever in that game. Holtby then gave up a goal most goalies should save in OT against the Stars on Saturday night.
The Capitals didn’t get off to a great start last year, and I don’t need to remind people how that ended for them. The difference this year is that Philipp Grubauer isn’t there to cover for them. If Holtby struggles like he did last year, and right now his numbers are much worse, Phoenix Copley will have to step his game up mightily or the Capitals may have to find help elsewhere. It’s still early, but definitely something worth keeping an eye on.
The Flyers seemed to have regrouped this week out west and tightened up defensively. There’s still plenty of work to do, but winning two out of three and securing 5 out of 6 total points from the Cali teams is just what Philadelphia needed. The Flyers will now square off in a very rare home-and-home against Arizona in Glendale on Monday and in Philadelphia on Thursday. The Blackhawks will then come to town for an afternoon matinee in Philadelphia on Saturday. The Coyotes game will begin a five game home-stand for the Flyers, where they will try to improve their 2-4 record at home.
After a promising start to the season in Sweden for the Devils, October ended sourly and November began just as bad. The Devils jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in Tampa on Tuesday before getting completely dismantled in an 8-3 loss. The Devils would then allow two short-handed goals in a 4-3 loss to the Red Wings on Thursday before getting shut out in Brooklyn 3-0 on Saturday. Things aren’t going to be getting any easier for New Jersey as they play a back-to-back on the road against Pittsburgh and Ottawa on Monday and Tuesday and then face the Maple Leafs in Toronto on Friday. The trek will then push forward to Winnipeg next Sunday before the Devils finally return to New Jersey. November could be the demise of the Devils as they are currently 0-4 on the road and will play 11 of their 16 games away from New Jersey this month.
The Rangers won back-to-back shootouts to wrap up their early California road trip this week. It’s been pretty quiet out of the Big Apple this year, and will likely continue that way as they attempt to rebuild on the fly. The Rangers return home from their western road trip to host Buffalo tonight at MSG and will then host the Canadiens on Tuesday before playing back-to-back in Detroit and Columbus this weekend.
As always, thanks for checking in this week and don’t forget to vote for game of the week at the end!
6-3-3; 15 pts; 45 Goals For (10th in the NHL; T-3rd last week); 40 Goals Against (T-14th in the NHL; 6th last week)
0-2-1 record last week
Loose second period sinks Pittsburgh in 6-3 loss
NYI: 3 SO
Pittsburgh tripped up in 3-2 shootout loss
Penguins lay an egg in 5-0 loss to Maple Leafs
Monday, November 5 - vs NJD, 7 p.m. ET
Wednesday, November 7 - @ WSH, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 10 - vs ARI, 7 p.m.
- 10/13/18, D Justin Schultz - IR; fractured leg
- 10/26/18, C Derick Brassard - IR; Lower-body injury
8-4-1, 17 pts; 42 GF (T-13th; T-21st); 30 GA (T-2nd; 3rd)
4-0 record last week
Goals from Lee, Pulock lead Isles
Lehner stars, but leaves with injury
NYI: 3 SO
Greiss goes Dubi on Crosby in OT, Bailey wins shootout
Wall of Greiss protects 1st in the Metro
Monday, November 5 - vs MTL, 7 p.m.
Thursday, November 8 - @ TBL, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 10 - @ FLA, 7 p.m.
- 10/2/18, C John Stevens - IR; Undisclosed
- 10/2/18, LW Matt Lorito - IR; Undisclosed
7-6-0, 14 pts; 44 GF (11th; T-7th); 48 GA (25th)
1-2 record last week
Jackets Come Back From Three-Goal Deficit But Still Lose, 5-3
Where Has This Been?
Game #13 Recap: Blue Jackets at Kings
Sunday, November 4 - @ ANA, 9 p.m.
Tuesday, November 6 - vs DAL, 7 p.m.
Friday, November 9 - @ WSH, 7 p.m.
Saturday, November 10 - vs NYR, 7 p.m.
6-6-2, 14 pts; 39 GF (T-13th; T-9th); 41 GA (T-17th; T-13th)
Greiss does the deed again in Isles win
Mental miscues lead to 3-2 Canes loss
ARI: 4 OT
Canes Rally From 3-0, but Fall in OT
Canes outplayed as they fall in fourth straight
Tuesday, November 6 - @ STL, 8 p.m.
Thursday, November 8 - @ CHI, 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 10 - vs DET, 7 p.m.
- 9/12/18, C Victor Rask - IR; Hand
5-4-3, 13 pts; 46 GF (T-6th; 5th); 47 GA (T-23rd; 24th)
0-1-1 record last week
Washington Wastes One
DAL: 4 OT
Washington’s Comeback Falls Short in Overtime
Monday, November 5 - vs EDM, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, November 7 - vs PIT, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, November 9 - vs CBJ, 7 p.m.
- 9/26/18, C Travis Boyd - IR; Lower-body injury
- 10/30/18, D Brooks Orpik - Day-to-day; Lower-body injury
- 10/3/18, RW Tom Wilson - Suspended
6-7-1, 13 pts; 43 GF (12th; T-16th); 54 GA (29th; 31st)
2-0-1 record last week
Finally, a win
Two in a row, baby!
SJS: 4 OT
OK, so we deserved that
Monday, November 5 - @ ARI, 9 p.m.
Thursday, November 8 - vs ARI, 7 p.m.
Saturday, November 10 - vs CHI, 1 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 - IR; Upper-body injury
- 11/2/18, G Michal Neuvirth - Day-to-day; Undisclosed injury
5-5-1, 11 pts; 34 GF (T-27th; T-21st); 35 GA (T-6th; T-1st)
0-3 record last week
New Jersey Devils Steamrolled by Tampa Bay Lightning, 3-8
Outworked Again: New Jersey Devils Rolled by Detroit Red Wings, 3-4
Slumping New Jersey Devils Shutout by Surging New York Islanders
Monday, November 5 - @ PIT, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, November 6 - @ OTT, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, November 9 - @ TOR, 7 p.m.
- 10/4/18, LW Jesper Bratt - IR; Broken jaw
- 10/19/18, D Steven Santini - IR; Broken jaw
- 10/31/18, RW Stefan Noesen - IR; Upper-body injury
(8) New York Rangers
5-7-1, 11 pts; 35 GF (T-25th; 28th); 43 GA (T-20th; T-19th)
2-1 record last week
Rangers Fall to Kings 4-3, Lose Second Straight
NYR: 4 SO
Shattenkirk, Lundqvist Get Job Done in Shootout
NYR: 3 SO
Rangers Close Out Road Trip With Yet Another Shootout Win
Sunday, November 4 - vs BUF, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, November 6 - vs MTL, 7 p.m.
Friday, November 9 - @ DET, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 10 - @ CBJ, 7 p.m.
- 10/2/18, C Ben Nieves - IR; Concussion
- 10/19/18, D Frederic Claesson - IR; Upper-body injury
- 10/24/18, D Adam McQuaid - Day-to-day; Lower-body injury
Which Metropolitan game is the most intriguing?
This poll is closed
11.5.18 - NJD @ PIT, 7 p.m. ET
11.7.18 - PIT @ WSH, 7:30 p.m.; NBCSN
11.8.18 - NYI @ TBL, 7:30 p.m.
11.9.18 - CBJ @ WSH, 7 p.m.; NHLN
11.10.18 - CHI @ PHI, 1 p.m.; NHLN
11.10.18 - NYR @ CBJ, 7 p.m.