Another week has been played in the Metro, and the Penguins moved up a spot and are tied for fifth with Carolina with 30 points each. The Penguins made some news this week when they announced the trade of winger Daniel Sprong to Anaheim for defenseman Marcus Pettersson. Pettersson has played each game with Pittsburgh since his arrival. Head coach Mike Sullivan has eased Pettersson into the lineup, and Pettersson and Jack Johnson played very well together against Ottawa despite losing that game in overtime. He may not be Bobby Orr, but Pettersson has looked solid in the three game sample size he’s played so far.
The Penguins have been playing better hockey lately, and have a 2-0-1 record to show for it this week. The Penguins kicked this week off with one of the funnest games in the NHL this year. Patric Hornqvist scored three goals in 2:47 to cap off (pun intended) a 6-3 victory against Colorado a week after losing 6-3 in Denver. That hat trick just so happened to be on hat night at PPG Paints Arena, and is also the fastest hat trick in franchise history. That’s hockey gold. The Pens carried that momentum with them against the Islanders two nights later in Pittsburgh and handed the Islanders a 6-2 loss. Phil Kessel heard his name being tossed around again and had himself a four point night, doing much of his damage playing alongside Sidney Crosby. The Penguins then crossed the border into Canada to start a three game road trip in Ottawa. It was a goalie duel in that one, and Craig Anderson came out on top for Ottawa in a 2-1 overtime win for the Senators.
The Penguins will take on Metropolitan opponent New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Monday night before wrapping up this road trip in Chicago on Wednesday night on national television. The Penguins will then return home to play the Bruins and Kings at PPG Paints Arena on Friday and Saturday night.
In the jungle, the mighty jungle, Ryan Reaves is in Tom Wilson’s nightmares. The Capitals remained atop the Metro standings for another week, but it came with a price. Tom Wilson got a taste of his own medicine in an ugly incident in Las Vegas when Ryan Reaves caught him from behind which resulted in Tom Wilson landing face-first into the ice. Not that anyone should need a reminder, but Reaves was tossed from the game and made a mockery of the situation and Tom Wilson has since been diagnosed with a concussion. Wilson is the third Capitals player to get concussed from questionable hits on the ice. Evgeny Kuznetsov has just recently returned and TJ Oshie is still sidelined from several hits against Winnipeg nearly a month ago. It’s a jungle out there.
The Capitals started last week with an epic collapse against Anaheim in DC on Sunday. The Capitals led 5-1 about midway through the game before the Ducks would score five straight in regulation to defeat the Capitals 6-5. Two nights later was a rematch of last year’s Stanley Cup Final that the Knights would go on to win 5-3 with two late Nate Schmidt goals in Las Vegas. The Capitals would rebound from those two losses, however, and finish their three game road trip with a 4-2 victory in Arizona on Thursday and a 4-0 shutout over rival Columbus on Saturday. The Capitals play against Detroit on Tuesday night at home before playing in back-to-back games against Carolina in Raleigh on Friday and against Buffalo in DC on Saturday night.
Columbus started this week with some fireworks at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday. The Jackets would score 6 goals in that game, but were still blown out in a 9-6 loss to the Flames. The Jackets jumped out to an early 4-1 lead one minute into the 2nd period before the Flames would rattle off five straight goals and never look back despite a great offensive effort by Columbus. Cam Atkinson scored a hat trick in that loss and currently has 19 goals in 28 games. He is having a great year and is only five goals short of his total from last season. The Jackets looked like they may have blown another game in Philadelphia two nights later after allowing the Flyers to tie it after trailing by two goals in the third, but Seth Jones would win that game for Columbus 10 seconds into overtime to give the Jackets a 4-3 victory on the road. Columbus ended this week with a dud at home against the Capitals in a game that would have put them in first place in the Metro with a victory. Instead, the Caps shut out the Jackets and gave themselves a three point cushion over the rest of the Metro. The Jackets are in the middle of a six game home-stand and will play the Western Conference in the next four games. This week the Jackets will see the Canucks on Tuesday, the Kings on Thursday, and the Ducks on Saturday night.
The Islanders are still in third in the Metro, but the Islanders are starting to regress. The Islanders dropped two out of their three games this week and are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games. They are still in the top ten in goals allowed, but their goals for has steadily been declining and they now have a negative goal differential on the season, although it is only by one goal. The Islanders have been much better than many expected them to be, but the Islanders need a spark if they plan on making the playoffs this year. The Isles will get a chance for redemption against Pittsburgh when the Pens return to Nassau Coliseum on Monday night. Vegas will be in Brooklyn two nights later at Barclays Center and the Islanders wrap this week up against the Red Wings on Saturday night back at Nassau before the Islanders head out west in two weeks and won’t play another home game until after Christmas.
The Rangers moved up a spot this week and are tied with the Islanders with 31 points but sit in fourth in the Metro due to the Rangers’ 9 ROW wins. Both of the Rangers games last week went to shootouts; the Rangers have played six shootouts already and are 5-1 in those games with their first loss in the skills competition happening last Sunday against Winnipeg. The Rangers would then have five days off before winning a shootout against the Panthers in Sunrise on Saturday. The Rangers will have another short week when they play in Tampa against the Lightning on Monday night before returning home to face the Coyotes on Friday night at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers have been great at home and own a 10-4-1 record at MSG but are 4-8-2 on the road.
Carolina dropped two spots in the Metro from last week after taking on the three California teams. The only team in the NHL with fewer goals than Carolina is the LA Kings. The Kings and Canes met last Sunday and it took 57 minutes for either offense to score a goal. Unfortunately for the Canes, it was the Kings who would get the only goals in that one, resulting in a 2-0 loss at Staples Center for Carolina. The offense for Carolina continued to struggle against San Jose in a 5-1 loss in San Jose. Carolina would finish the trip with a win in Anaheim, 4-1, on Friday. Carolina has the fifth best GAA(2.75) in the NHL, and best in the Metro, but they also own the 29th ranked goals per game(2.54). The Canes are also the lowest shooting percentage team in the NHL, shooting at only 6.5% as a team. Their top goal scorer Michael Ferland has been sidelined with a concussion and Jordan Staal recently joined him on the shelf due to a concussion. To make matters worse, starting goaltender Curtis McElhinney was injured against San Jose, although he managed to finish that game before reporting the injury. He has been playing some of the best hockey of his life, and may be able to play when the Maple Leafs are in Raleigh on Tuesday. The Canes will then play back-to-back games in Montreal on Thursday before hosting the Capitals on Friday.
The Flyers announced early last week that they have named former Penguins assistant General Manager under Ray Shero and former Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher as their new General Manager, replacing Ron Hextall. The Flyers started the Chuck Fletcher Era against Columbus in Philadelphia on Thursday and almost pulled off a great comeback, but would fall to the Jackets in overtime. The Sabres then hosted the Flyers in Buffalo on Saturday afternoon. The game was tied at two after 40 minutes before the Flyers put the pedal to the metal, scoring four 3rd period goals in the first 11 minutes of the period. The Flyers scored the final six goals of that game after giving up the game’s first two goals.
The Flyers are a tale of two teams this year. They have the fewest home wins the league, tied with Chicago, with 5. The Flyers have played better on the road, with a 7-5-1 record away from Philadelphia. Is Gritty to blame for their struggles at home? Good news for the Flyers is that they are currently on a five game road trip that will continue to get further away from Philly and the games will start progressively later as the week goes on. The Flyers are in Winnipeg this afternoon and will play in Calgary on Wednesday night. The Flyers wrap up this week with back-to-back games in Edmonton and Vancouver on Friday and Saturday. You can never count the Flyers out in the Metro, and earlier in the year when Philadelphia was reeling, a trip to California seemed to correct their issues. They will try to repeat those results this week spanning across The Great White North.
The Devils remain in the basement of the Metropolitan for another week, and things don’t seem to be getting better in New Jersey. The Lightning dismantled the Devils for the third time this year when they met in Newark last Monday. The Devils moved on quickly from that loss and won a rare road game in Los Angeles 6-3 on Thursday, only their third road victory in 14 games this season. The Devils will try to improve that abysmal road record this week when they play in Anaheim tonight and in San Jose tomorrow night. The Devils will host Vegas back at The Rock on Friday before squaring off in Nashville on Saturday night against the Predators.
That wraps up another week for the Metropolitans. As always, thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to vote for game of the week!
12-10-6; 30 pts; 96 Goals For (9th in the NHL; T-11th last week); 91 Goals Against (19th in the NHL; T-20th last week)
2-0-1 record last week
Horny Hat Trick on Hat Giveaway night powers Pens
Pittsburgh is the lion in the jungle as they smack down the Islanders
OTT: 2 OT
Cruel, cruel world must I go on? Pittsburgh falls in OT
Monday, December 10 - @ NYI, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Decmber 12 - @ CHI, 8 p.m.
Saturday, December 14 - vs BOS, 7 p.m.
Saturday, December 15 - vs LAK, 7 p.m.
- 10/13/18, D Justin Schultz - IR; fractured leg
- 11/18/18, C Matt Cullen - IR; Lower-body injury
- 11/21/18, G Matt Murray - IR, Lower-body injury
- 12/4/18, LW Dominik Simon - IR; Lower-body injury
- 12/5/18, RW Patric Hornqvist - Day-to-day; Undisclosed injury
17-9-3, 37 pts; 106 GF (5th; T-5th); 90 GA (18th; 13th)
2-2 record last week
Anaheim Snaps Washington’s Streak with 6-5 Victory
Vegas Wins This Rematch 5-3
Burakovsky Buries the Yotes in the Desert
Washington Blanks Columbus 4-0
Tuesday, December 11 - vs DET, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, December 14 - @ CAR, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 15 - vs BUF, 7 p.m.
- 10/30/18, D Brooks Orpik - IR; Lower-body injury
- 11/13/18, RW TJ Oshie - IR; Concussion
- 12/4/18, RW Tom Wilson - Day-to-day; Concussion
(2)Columbus Blue Jackets
16-11-2, 34 pts; 100 GF (7th; 5th); 99 GA (26th; 19th)
1-2 record last week
Blue Jackets Give Up Five Straight Goals in 9-6 Loss to Flames
CBJ: 4 OT
Columbus Blue Jackets at Philadelphia Flyers
Blue Jackets Overmatched, Yet Again, on Home Ice
Tuesday, December 11 - vs VAN, 7 p.m.
Thursday, December 13 - vs LAK, 7 p.m.
Saturday, December 15 - vs ANA, 7 p.m.
(3)New York Islanders
14-11-3, 31 pts; 82 GF (T-21st; T-20th); 83 GA (7th)
1-2 record last week
Isles lose the coin flip tonight
My kingdom for a power play
Comeback kids strike again
Monday, December 10 - vs PIT, 7 p.m.; Nassau Coliseum
Wednesday, December 12 - vs VGK, 7 p.m.; Barclays Center
Saturday, December 15 - vs DET, 7 p.m.; Nassau Coliseum
- 10/2/18, C John Stevens - IR; Undisclosed
- 10/2/18, LW Matt Lorito - IR; Undisclosed
- 11/13/18, LW Andrew Ladd - IR; Right leg
- 12/7/18, LW Tom Kuhnhackl - Day-to-day; Undisclosed injury
(4)New York Rangers
14-12-3, 31 pts; 85 GF (T-19th; 18th); 92 GA (T-21st; T-20th)
1-0-1 record last week
WPG: 4 SO
Rangers Blow Three Goal Lead and Lose in the Shootout
NYR: 5 SO
Rangers End Losing Streak with Shootout Win Over Panthers
Monday, December 10 - @ TBL, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, December 14 - vs ARI, 7 p.m.
- 10/24/18, D Adam McQuaid - IR; Lower-body injury
- 11/11/18, RW Pavel Buchnevich - IR; Broken Thumb
- 11/20/18, LW Cody McLeod - IR; Fractured left hand
- 11/23/18, RW Mats Zuccarello - Day-to-day; Groin
13-11-4, 30 pts; 71 GF (30th; T-28th); 77 GA (5th; 4th)
1-2 record last week
Quick Shuts Out Canes in Road-Trip Opener
Sharks Cruise Past Canes 5-1
Canes Solve Gibson, End Losing Streak in Anaheim
Tuesday, December 11 - vs TOR, 7 p.m.
Thursday, December 13 - @ MTL, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, December 14 - vs WSH, 7:30 p.m.
- 11/29/18, LW Michael Ferland - IR; Concussion
- 12/4/18, C Jordan Staal - Day-to-day; Concussion
- 12/5/18, G Curtis McElhinney - Day-to-day; Lower-body injury
12-12-3, 27 pts; 85 GF (T-19th); 94 GA (T-23rd; T-26th)
1-0-1 record last week
CBJ: 4 OT
Jones, Blue Jackets sink Flyers in overtime despite Sanheim’s heroics
Well, the goals start coming, and they don’t stop coming ...
Sunday, December 9 - @ WPG, 3 p.m.
Wednesday, December 12 - @ CGY, 8:30 p.m.
Friday, December 14 - @ EDM, 9 p.m.
Saturday, Decemember 15 - @ VAN, 10 p.m.
- 9/27/18, C Pascal Laberge - IR; Hip
- 10/1/18, D Samuel Morin - IR; Knee
- 10/26/18, C Corban Knight - IR; Dislocated collarbone
- 11/15/18, G Brian Elliott - IR; Lower-body injury
- 12/7/18, C Sean Couturier - Day-to-day; Lower-body injury
(8)New Jersey Devils
10-12-5, 25 pts; 81 GF (T-23rd; T-25th); 94 GA (T-23rd; 25th)
1-1 record last week
New Jersey Devils Bad All Around in 1-5 Rout by Tampa Bay Lightning
New Jersey Devils Finally Win in a 6-3 Triumph Over Los Angeles Kings
Sunday, December 9 - @ ANA, 8 p.m.
Monday, December 10 - @ SJS, 10:30 p.m.
Friday, December 14 - vs VGK, 7 p.m.
Saturday, December 15 - @ NSH, 8 p.m.
- 11/22/18, RW Joey Anderson - IR; Fractured ankle
Which Metropolitan game is the most intriguing?
This poll is closed
12.10.18 - PIT @ NYI, 7 p.m. ET; Nassau Coliseum
12.12.18 - PIT @ CHI, 8 p.m.
12.14.18 - BOS @ PIT, 7 p.m.
12.14.18 - WSH @ CAR, 7:30 p.m.
12.15.18 - WSH @ BUF, 7 p.m.