After a two week hiatus, Keeping up with the Metropolitans is back for the final recap of the decade! The Penguins have been one of the most consistent teams in the NHL this year despite missing a cornerstone player in the lineup every game this season. December has been good for the Penguins in the standings, and last week was no different.
The Penguins had several days of rest following the western Canada swing combined with the three day Christmas break and were well rested when the Penguins resumed action in Nashville on Friday night to kick off a home-and-home against the Predators. Dominik Simon started the party with one of the easiest goals of his career only 2:17 into the game. Nashville would get on the board shortly after, but the Penguins were in firm control of the game following that with two more goals in the 1st period and two more to lead comfortably 5-1 after the 2nd period after Juuso Riikola’s highlight reel goal, his first of the season for Pittsburgh. The Preds would score one in the 3rd period in an otherwise perfect road game for the Penguins after their extended break.
Both teams boarded their planes and took off to Pittsburgh to play less than 24 hours later and conclude their season series just like that. The Penguins probably wish they played Nashville more this season as they took it right to the Predators with three goals in the 1st period including two in the first 65 seconds by Bryan Rust and Dominik Kahun and Kris Letang’s 10th of the season on the power play.
But Nashville did not go down as easy as they did in Nashville the night before. Viktor Arvidsson and Alex Galchenyuk traded power play goals in the 2nd and the Predators scored two goals late in the 2nd period to make it a 4-3 game heading into the 3rd period. The Predators came out firing everything they could at Matt Murray with 21 shots in the 3rd period and they would even the score at four 8:56 into the 3rd period. But the dynamic Guentzel-Malkin-Rust trio teamed up on the power play with just over one minute left in the game to break the tie and Rust would add an empty net to give the Penguins the 6-4 victory over the Predators after allowing the Predators back in the game.
The Penguins host the Ottawa Senators on Monday night in the Pens’ final game of the 2010s before christening the 2020s at PPG Paints Arena against San Jose on Thursday night. The Penguins conclude next week with the first game of a back-to-back in Montreal before playing the Panthers in Pittsburgh next Sunday.
Not much has changed up top in the last several weeks for the Capitals. They find themselves with a double digit points lead over the Metro and sit four points ahead of St. Louis for the most in the NHL at the nearly midway point. They have the most goals in the NHL and have been doing most of their damage on the road with a 16-5-1 road record. It’s a great time to be a Capitals fan.
It wasn’t the best week last week for the Capitals, however. The Capitals and Bruins met in Boston last Monday in a battle of two of the best teams in the NHL. It was a disastrous start for the Capitals as the Bruins scored four goals in the 1st period and added a short handed in the 2nd period before Alex Ovechkin finally got one in the goal column for the Capitals with five minutes left in the 2nd period. Neither team would score again until an avalanche of goals late in the 3rd where both teams scored twice in a four minute span to bring the final score to 7-3 in favor of the Bruins despite being outshot 42-17 by the Capitals.
It was another chapter in the Blue Jackets/Capitals rivalry when the two teams met at Capital One Arena on Friday night. Both goalies were on their game and it took nearly half the game for a goal as Columbus finally broke the ice in the 2nd period. Carl Hagelin picked a good time to score his first of the year, as he tied the game at one where the game would stay until overtime. The Blue Jackets were called for hooking in OT and T.J. Oshie would make them pay with his 15th goal this year as the Capitals came out victorious with the hard fought 2-1 victory in overtime.
It was another Metropolitan opponent the next night for the Caps as they were in Raleigh less than 24 hours after their hard fought overtime win in DC. The travel with no rest after playing a tough game the previous night appeared to keep the Capitals off their game as the Canes outshot the Capitals in the 1st period and found themselves with a 4-2 lead over the Caps heading into the 3rd period. Evgeny Kuznetsov got the Capitals to within one with a power play goal two minutes into the 3rd period, but the Hurricanes answered just over a minute later and added an insurance goal late in the game. Richard Panik scored with just over a minute left but it wasn’t nearly enough as the Hurricanes held for to the 6-4 victory.
The Capitals return to action on New Years Eve afternoon against Barry Trotz and the Islanders on Tuesday. The only other game for the Capitals is a rematch against the Hurricanes again in Raleigh on Friday night.
The Islanders have finally met the regression monster and have come back down to earth since their 17 game point streak ended, going 7-7-1 since the end of the the streak, but they are still doing very well with a 23-10-3 record and still allowing the fewest goals in the NHL, but that gap over the rest of the league isn’t nearly as wide as it was for most of the season.
The Isles have been showing cracks in their goaltending and defense after allowing 16 goals in their three games heading into last weeks matchup in Long Island against the Blue Jackets last Monday night. Anders Lee got the Islanders on top in the 1st period, but Columbus scored two goals in the first 10 minutes of the 2nd period to jump ahead by one. Mathew Barzal continued his improved goal scoring ability minutes later with his 16th of the year to tie it at two where the game would remain until the 3rd period. Vladislav Gavrikov would uneven the score for Columbus with less than five minutes remaining and the Islanders could not get the equalizer as the Jackets held off the Isles with the 3-2 regulation win for Columbus.
Robin Lehner faced his former team when the Islanders resumed play after Christmas in Chicago on Friday night. Ross Johnston would put one past his former teammate to give the Isles an early 1-0, but Chicago would get the next five goals with three in the 1st period and two more early in the 3rd to run away with the game. Casey Cizikas would score shorthanded late in the game, but the game was well out of hand as Lehner stopped 38 shots and the Isles lost both of their games this week and trail the Penguins by one point in the Metro with two games in hand over Pittsburgh.
The road trip continues for New York in Minnesota this evening before concluding in DC on New Years Eve in a matinee game. The Islanders busy week continues against the Devils on Thursday in Long Island before the Isles fly north to Toronto on Saturday night.
Carolina has been doing well all December and faced off in Toronto last Tuesday night in their finale before Christmas, and the fans were in for a wild game. Toronto scored three goals in the first five minutes of the game, but Carolina answered with two goals in the 1st period and rattled off three more in the 2nd period to head into the 3rd period up 5-3, stunning the Leafs fans after Toronto’s great start.
But Toronto would flip the script in the 3rd period. Auston Matthews scored early in the 3rd period to cut the deficit to one, but Carolina answered with Erik Haula’s 10th goal of the season to go ahead 6-4. With just over 9 minutes remaining in the game, the Leafs took the Canes to the cleaners with two goals in 53 seconds to tie the game before adding the go ahead goal only 6 seconds later, turning a 6-4 deficit into a 7-6 lead in only 59 seconds. Carolina tried their best to recover, but Toronto would score into an empty net to seal the deal on an 8-6 victory for Toronto in one of the craziest games of the year in the NHL.
The Canes picked up play again on Friday night at the Rangers and got the game’s first goal five minutes into the 1st period, but the Rangers picked the Hurricanes defense apart after tying the game at one on the power play late in the 1st period before scoring three more in the 2nd period before the Canes finally stopped the bleeding late in the 2nd to bring the game to 4-2 heading into the 3rd period. Sebastian Aho scored his 22nd goal early into the final frame, but that was as close as Carolina got and the Rangers scored the dagger with just over six minutes left and held on for the 5-3 win.
Carolina was back home the next night to host the Capitals in Raleigh. The Canes would strike first with a power play goal in the 1st period and Warren Foegele’s seventh goal of the year only eight seconds into the 2nd period before the Capitals got on the board. Dougie Hamilton and Alex Ovechkin traded goals and then Foegele scored shorthanded to give the Canes the two goal lead heading to the 3rd period.
The Capitals scored on the power play two minutes into the 3rd period to make the score 4-3, but Martin Necas scored his 9th for Carolina just over a minute later and Andrei Svechnikov gave the Canes a three goal cushion with his 17th goal with four minutes left to make it 6-3. The Capitals went down swinging and added one more, but it was too little, too late and the Hurricanes got their only win of the week at the Capitals expense on Saturday to end the week for Carolina on a high note.
The Canes have two days off before playing the Canadiens on New Years Eve in Raleigh to end 2019 for Carolina. The Capitals and Hurricanes meet again for the second time in a week when the two clash in Carolina on Friday night to end the week for the Canes, who are just beginning an extended home stand that will keep them in North Carolina until January 13th.
The Flyers have been rolling in the last several weeks but saw themselves drop from third to fifth in the Metro with a loss on Saturday night. But the Flyers began last week at home against the Rangers last Monday night. New York scored shorthanded to break the ice in the 2nd period, but the Flyers responded in a big way starting with Travis Sanheim’s third of the year with just one second remaining in the 2nd period to tie the game. The Flyers ran away with the game in the 3rd period with four goals and came away with a 5-1 victory at home heading into Christmas.
Philadelphia began post Christmas break with a California road trip with three games in four days. San Jose was first on the schedule on Saturday night. San Jose scored the first three goals of the game and went into the 3rd period with a 3-0 lead. Ivan Provorov would score on the power play early in the 3rd to give the Flyers some life, but it was short lived as Timo Meier scored 30 seconds later and would add his third of the game to seal the deal with the Sharks’ fifth goal before San Jose added one more to bring the total to 6-1 in favor of San Jose.
The Flyers are right back at it this evening in Anaheim before wrapping up their California trip in Los Angeles on New Years Eve. Once the California swing is complete, the Flyers will head to Las Vegas on Thursday before playing Arizona on Saturday night to complete their week with many miles traveled.
The Rangers made up a few games this week with four games starting at home last Sunday against Anaheim. New York scored three goals in the 1st period and added the only goal in the 2nd to head into the 3rd period with a 4-1 lead. Mika Zibanejad put a nail in the coffin 1:16 into the 3rd period with a short handed goal as the Rangers knocked down the Ducks to begin last week for New York.
The Rangers were in Philadelphia 24 hours later, and added another short handed goal to begin the scoring. However, the Flyers were in complete control of the game following that as the Rangers would not score again and the Flyers added five in a row to send the Rangers into Christmas break with a 5-1 defeat.
The Rangers returned to game action on Friday at home against Metropolitan foe Carolina. It was a game full of momentum swings as the Hurricanes scored first before the Rangers answered late in the 1st period to tie the game at one. The Rangers scored three straight in the 2nd period to jump ahead 4-1, but Carolina fought back and brought the game to within one 1:40 into the 3rd period. But Ryan Strome scored for the Rangers to give the two goal lead again and the game would finish by that 5-3 final score.
The Maple Leafs were host to the Rangers the next night on Saturday in Toronto. It was a classic matchup between two Original Six franchises, and both teams would score early and often in this game. The Rangers would lead 2-1 after 20 minutes and 4-2 after 40 minutes, but Toronto would not be denied and tied the game in the final minute of the 3rd period with two goals in the final frame to tie the game at four. Tony DeAngelo further proved why he was a 1st round draft pick with his 8th goal of the year as the Rangers managed to come away with two points after allowing the Leafs to tie the game late.
The Rangers will be on the road this week in western Canada to begin 2020 as the Rangers are in Edmonton on New Years Eve, Calgary on the Thursday and Vancouver on Saturday before returning back to New York City next week.
It’s been a rough season for Columbus so far, but it’s been a good few weeks since we last recapped the Jackets’ season as they have not lost in regulation since December 7th. Columbus began last week on the road in Long Island last Monday night in a Metro Division clash. The Isles scored first, but the Blue Jackets answered with two goals in the first 10 minutes of the 2nd period to take the lead. The Islanders would tie it in the 2nd before Vladislav Gavrikov scored his fourth of the season for Columbus with less than five minutes in the game and the Blue Jackets stayed strong and held on for the 3-2 regulation win.
Columbus returned to action following the Christmas break with a tough road matchup against Metro leading Washington in DC on Friday night. It was a goalie duel as it took nearly half the game for a goal when Jakob Lilja scored his first career NHL goal for the Jackets nine minutes into the 2nd period which was all the scoring until the Capitals tied it up six minutes into the 3rd period, where the game would remain until T.J. Oshie scored 3:13 into overtime on the power play to finish the comeback, but the Blue Jackets extended their point streak to nine games, going 6-0-3 in those games.
Columbus returns home this evening against Chicago before wrapping up 2019 at home against Florida on New Years Eve in Sergei Bobrovsky’s first game back in Columbus since signing with the Panthers. Columbus will be in Boston on Thursday night before returning back to Ohio to play against San Jose on Saturday afternoon.
The Devils made a major franchise move since the last recap a few weeks ago when they traded former league MVP Taylor Hall to Arizona for prospects and picks. And last week started off with one of New Jersey’s best games of the season in Chicago last Monday night. The Blackhawks scored first just over three minutes into the game, but it was all Devils the rest of the way, including P.K. Subban’s first goal in 23 games which turned into the game winner as the Devils poured in 7 goals in a rout in Chicago before Christmas to give their fans a much deserved blowout victory heading into their Christmas break in New Jersey.
The Devils returned to action at home after the Christmas break against Toronto on Friday night, and the Devils bad habits came out to haunt them once again. It was a back and forth game for the first 40 minutes as the Devils scored the last two goals in the 2nd period to go into the 3rd with a 4-3 advantage. But John Tavares would tie the game at four on the power play and the game would head to overtime. William Nylander scored 2:38 into the extra period when Devils defenseman Damon Severson mistakenly backhanded a loose puck into his own net in overtime to give the Maple Leafs the 5-4 overtime victory in New Jersey.
The Devils are by far the worst team in the Metro, but are still 9 points ahead of the Detroit Red Wings for worst team in the NHL. New Jersey heads across the border for a quick game in Ottawa this evening before returning home for a New Years Eve matinee against Boston on Tuesday. The Devils then hit the road once more to Long Island on Thursday before finishing the week at home against Colorado on Saturday night.
23-11-4; 50 pts; 131 Goals For (8th in the NHL); 102 Goals Against (4th)
2-0 record last week
Murder on Music Row. Pittsburgh crushes Preds 5-2
Get out front, stay out front. Pens win
Monday, December 30 - vs OTT, 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, January 2 - vs SJS, 7 p.m.
Saturday, January 4 - @ MTL, 7 p.m.
- 11/9/19, C Sidney Crosby - IR; Core muscle surgery
- 11/14/19, C Nick Bjugstad - IR; Core muscle injury
- 12/1/19, D Brian Dumoulin - IR; Lacerated ankle tendons
- 12/16/19, D Justin Schultz - Day-to-day; Lower-body injury
27-8-5, 59 pts; 143 GF (1st); 118 GA (16th)
1-2 record last week
WSH: 2 OT
Caps Claw Their Way Back to Victory
Ten Goal Game Goes Carolina’s Way
Tuesday, December 31 - vs NYI, 1 p.m.
Friday, January 3 - @ CAR, 7:30 p.m.
- 12/26/19, D Michal Kempny - Day-to-day; Illness
- 12/27/19, RW Tom Wilson - Day-to-day; Lower-body injury
- 12/27/19, D Christian Djoos - Day-to-day; Upper-body injury
23-10-3, 49 pts; 107 GF (24th); 96 GA (1st)
0-2 record last week
New York hits skid to close 2019 home schedule
Isles lackluster in first game back from break
Sunday, December 29 - @ MIN, 6 p.m.
Tuesday, December 31 - @ WSH, 1 p.m.
Thursday, January 2 - vs NJD, 7 p.m.
Saturday, January 4 - @ TOR, 7 p.m.
- 12/20/19 - RW, Cal Clutterbuck - IR; Wrist
23-14-2, 47 pts; 133 GF (T-4th); 111 GA (8th)
1-2 record last week
Hurricanes fall to Rangers...again
Foegele Leads Canes to 6-4 Win Over Caps
Tuesday, December 31 - vs MTL, 7 p.m.
Friday, January 3 - vs WSH, 7:30 p.m.
21-12-5, 47 pts; 127 GF (11th); 112 GA (T-9th)
1-1 record last week
Flyers win third straight in shootout thriller vs. Senators
Flyers see winning streak snapped in poor showing vs. Sharks
Sunday, December 29 - @ ANA, 8:30 p.m.
Tuesday, December 31 - @ LAK, 9 p.m.
Thursday, January 2 - @ VGK, 10 p.m.
Saturday, January 4 - @ ARI, 8 p.m.
- 9/12/19, C Nolan Patrick - IR; Migraine disorder
- 11/6/19, D Samuel Morin - IR; Torn right ACL
- 12/2/19, C Michael Raffl - IR; Fractured finger
- 12/10/19, LW Oscar Lindblom - IR; Illness
- 12/13/19, LW Scott Laughton - IR; Groin
19-15-4, 42 pts; 124 GF (T-13th); 125 GA (T-21st)
3-1 record last week
Rangers’ Offense Breaks Out With 5-1 Win Over Anaheim
Blueshirts Exit Holiday Break with 5-3 Victory Over Carolina
NYR: 5 OT
Tony DeAngelo Scores Overtime Winner in Toronto
Tuesday, December 31 - @ EDM, 9 p.m.
Thursday, January 2 - @ CGY, 9 p.m.
Saturday, January 4 - @ VAN, 10 p.m.
- 12/4/19, D Libor Hajek - Day-to-day; Sprained knee
- 12/26/19, LW Brendan Lemieux - Day-to-day; Fractured hand
17-14-3, 41 pts; 99 GF (29th); 108 GA (7th)
1-0-1 record last week
WSH: 2 OT
Jackets lose in hard-fought, low-scoring contest that ended in OT
Sunday, December 29 - vs CHI, 5 p.m.
Tuesday, December 31 - vs FLA, 7 p.m.
Thursday, January 2 - @ BOS, 7 p.m.
Saturday, January 4 - vs SJS, 1 p.m.
- 9/24/19, C Brandon Dubinsky - IR; Wrist
- 11/4/19, D Markus Nutivaara - IR; Upper-body injury
- 12/6/19, RW Emil Bemstrom - IR; Dislocated rib
- 12/13/19, LW Sonny Milano - Day-to-day; Upper-body injury
- 12/13/19, RW Josh Anderson - IR; Shoulder
- 12/16/19, Andrew Peeke - IR; Fractured finger
- 12/18/19, RW Cam Atkinson - IR; Lower-body injury
- 12/20/19, RW Oliver Bjorkstrand - IR: Back
- 12/26/19, D Scott Harrington - Day-to-day; Illness
12-19-6, 30 pts; 95 GF (30th); 133 GA (28th)
0-2 record last week
The Gift of a Goal Explosion: New Jersey Devils Blow Out Chicago Blackhawks, 7-1
TOR: 5 OT
Damon Severson Own Goal Sunk New Jersey Devils in OT Loss to Toronto Maple Leafs
Sunday, December 29 - @ OTT, 5 p.m.
Tuesday, December 31 - vs BOS, 1 p.m.
Thursday, January 2 - @ NYI, 7 p.m.
Saturday, January 4 - vs COL, 7 p.m.
- 9/30/19, D Brian Strait - IR; Concussion
- 12/2/19, D Matt Tennyson - IR: Upper-body injury
- 12/26/19, C Pavel Zacha - Day-to-day; Lower-body injury
- 12/27/18, D Will Buthcer - Day-to-day; Undisclosed injury
Which Metropolitan game is the most intriguing?
This poll is closed
12.31.19 - NYI @ WSH, 1 p.m. ET
12.31.19 - FLA (Bobrovsky) @ CBJ, 7 p.m.
1.2.20 - CBJ @ BOS, 7 p.m.
1.2.20 - SJS @ PIT, 7 p.m.
1.2.20 - NJD @ NYI, 7 p.m.
1.2.20 - PHI @ VGK, 10 p.m.
1.3.20 - WSH @ CAR, 7:30 p.m.
1.4.20 - NYI @ TOR, 7 p.m.