The Penguins only played in two games last week, and saw the rest of the Metro catch up with them to make things very interesting the rest of the way. The Penguins were in NYC to square off against the Rangers in the Pens’ 12th game in 21 days. The Rangers jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead before the Penguins took the game over and scored five unanswered goals to beat the Rangers by a final score of 5-2 before a much needed three day break.
The Predators were next on the schedule on Friday night in Pittsburgh and Nashville bottled up the Penguins behind an amazing effort from Pekka Rinne. Craig Smith scored 1:35 into the game and the Predators would add two more goals before the Penguins finally got on the board with just over a minute left in the game to ruin a perfect night by Rinne.
The Penguins were only able to add two points in the standings and watched as the rest of the Division either pulled away or caught up with the Penguins’ 95 points. Fortunately, the Penguins remain third in the Metro thanks to the Capitals defeating the Hurricanes twice in regulation last week. It’s going to be a wild ride this week to finish the sprint to the finish.
The Penguins and Hurricanes will meet this evening in a monumental game for both teams. Luckily for the Penguins, they have the easiest schedule in April on paper compared to the rest of the playoff hopefuls in the Metro. They will play a home-and-home against the 28 place Detroit Red Wings beginning in Detroit on Tuesday before returning back to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.
The Penguins will then wrap up the season against the 26th place New York Rangers in Pittsburgh on Saturday night. They control their own destiny and have to ability to do so against teams with nothing to play for. Stay tuned, it’s going to be a very interesting week.
The Capitals had an eventful week that saw them win all four of their games. The began last week at home against the Flyers and Braden Holtby played a very strong game and turned aside 35 shots while the Capitals scored in each period to defeat the Flyers by a 3-1 final. The Hurricanes and Capitals then played a home-and-home series and the Capitals would take both games. They met in DC first on Tuesday night and the game was tied at one heading into the 3rd period before the Capitals shut the door on the Hurricanes and added three goals in a 4-1 victory on home ice. The Hurricanes were leading 2-1 going into the 3rd period two nights later before Jakub Vrana tied the game 1:35 into the 3rd period before Nic Dowd sealed the deal with just under five minutes remaining to give the Capitals the come from behind win, their third in a row.
The Capitals would make it four in a row on Saturday night against the league’s best team in Tampa. The Capitals dominated one of the most dominant teams in the history of the NHL with three 1st period goals and added another before the Lightning got their first goal in the 3rd period. Alex Ovechkin would get his 50th and 51st goals of the year in that game, becoming only the third player in NHL history with eight or more seasons of 50 goals with Mike Bossy an Wayne Gretzky being the other two. He may not be well liked in Pittsburgh, but the man is a legend and will go down as one of the greatest players in the history of the game and is showing no signs of slowing down.
The Capitals will play in Sunrise on Monday night to finish their road schedule before playing two tough home games to close out the season.
The Montreal Canadiens will be at Capital One Arena on Thursday and will be in desperation mode to remain in a playoff position. The Capitals will then close out this season against Barry Trotz and the Islanders in a game that could decide the Metropolitan Division. I bet many of their fans didn’t think that was even a possibility at the beginning of the year, but that’s a reality now.
The Islanders began last week at home in the second half of a back-to-back against the Coyotes. Robin Lehner stopped all 28 shots he faced and Jordan Eberle’s goal four minutes into the 1st period would end up being the game winner as the Isles shutout the Coyotes 2-0 at home last Sunday.
The Isles were in Columbus on Tuesday night and their offense never got going as Sergei Bobrovsky turned all 26 of their shots aside and the Jackets shutout the Islanders 4-0. The Islanders then were in Winnipeg on Thursday night and the Jets thought they had that game wrapped up before the Islanders stunned the home crowd with two goals in 33 seconds with less than two minutes in the game to defeat the Jets 5-4. The Jets were leading that game 4-2 in the 3rd period before the Islanders scored three in a row to shock the Jets and their fans.
The Islanders returned to Nassau to face in-state rival Buffalo yesterday. The Islanders made it look easy in a 5-1 victory which was Buffalo’s 13th loss in their last 14 games. That win would clinch the playoffs and give the Islanders a four point cushion over the Penguins in the Metro and three points behind the Capitals.
The Islanders will play their last home game against Toronto on Monday night before finishing the season on the road against the Panthers on Thursday and then will meet the Capitals in a game that could potentially decide the Metropolitan in the last game of the year on Saturday. The Islanders struck gold when they signed Barry Trotz and they may have the possibility of stealing the Metro against the team Trotz won the Stanley Cup with last year. Win or lose, the Islanders fans have to be happy with the turnaround the team has had this year after the loss of John Tavares.
The Hurricanes are in the middle of a brutal stretch of games against some stiff competition. Fortunately for Carolina, most games have come at home. Carolina played four games last week and will play 8 games in 13 days including their massive tilt in Pittsburgh today. Carolina kicked off last week with the second home game of a back-to-back against the Canadiens who are chasing the Hurricanes. The Canadiens struck first 15 minutes into the 1st period and held on to that lead until Trevor van Riemsdyk tied the game with just over five minutes left in the 3rd period before the game went to overtime. Andrei Svechnikov scored the 20th goal of his rookie campaign three minutes into overtime to give the Hurricanes a much needed 2-1 victory.
Carolina would then play the Capitals in a home-and-home series starting on the road in DC on Tuesday night. That game was tied at one after the two teams traded goals in the 1st and 2nd period before the Capitals ran away with a 4-1 victory behind three 3rd period goals. The two teams met again in Raleigh two nights later, and again the Capitals came away with the victory with another strong 3rd period. The Hurricanes were leading 2-1 heading into the 3rd period but the Capitals score two 3rd period goals to defeat the Hurricanes 3-2 in regulation and clinch a playoff berth.
The Hurricanes wrapped up last week at home against the Flyers and needed two points to stay ahead of a surging Blue Jackets team. They secured those two points with three 3rd period goals to defeat the Flyers by a 5-2 final score and holding onto their one point lead over the Canadiens and Blue Jackets in the Wild Card race.
The Hurricanes will be in Pittsburgh today on the back end of a back-to-back. A regulation win would tie the two teams with 95 points. Needless to say, this is Carolina’s biggest game in years.
The Canes will then fly into Canada to face Toronto on Tuesday night before finishing the season against two non-playoff Metro opponents. The Devils will be in Raleigh on Thursday night for Carolina’s last home game before finishing on the road in Philadelphia on Saturday night.
There’s still plenty of ways for this season to end for Carolina, but a strong week could see them in the top three in the Metropolitan.
The Blue Jackets are finally putting the pieces together and went undefeated in four games last week, outscoring their opponents 20-4 to go along with two shutouts. The began last week by wrapping up their western Canadian trip in Vancouver on Sunday. Sergei Bobrovsky made 21 saves and Josh Anderson’s 25th goal in the 1st period would be all the offense the Jackets needed but added four more goals to shutout the Canucks by a final of 5-0 at Rogers Arena.
The Jackets returned home and were back in action two nights later against the New York Islanders. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 25 shots and Ryan Dzingel’s 25th goal in the 1st period was all the offense the Jackets needed but added three more goals in the 3rd period to shutout the Islanders 4-0 at Nationwide Arena to keep pace in the Wild Card race.
Columbus played their biggest game of the year two nights later at home against Montreal, the team two points ahead of them for the final Wild Card. Montreal would score first before the Jackets took the game over in the final 40 minutes to tie the Canadiens in points with a 6-2 victory.
The Jackets continued their hot streak against the Predators in Nashville last night. The Jackets scored three 1st period goals and were up 5-2 after two period which would be the final score in that one, making it four straight wins for the Jackets and keeping them tied with Montreal for the second Wild Card with 92 points each, one point behind the Hurricanes.
Columbus is in Buffalo today for the second game of back-to-back after playing in Nashville last night. They will play their final home game against Boston on Tuesday before finishing their season with a back-to-back on the road at MSG on Friday night before wrapping up their year in Ottawa on Saturday.
The Blue Jackets will play three non-playoff teams and have the possibility to move out of the Wild Card and into the top three of the Metro with a strong finish to this season.
The Flyers season is coming to a quiet end after a tumultuous season that saw them lose 10 straight games in December and also the firing of their coach and general manager. The Flyers began last week on the back end of a back-to-back in DC against the Capitals. The Capitals scored a goal in each period and Braden Holtby stopped 35 Flyer shots in a 3-1 victory for the Capitals to pad their lead in the Metro.
The Flyers hosted the Maple Leafs on Wednesday night and found themselves down 2-0 after the 1st period before adding three goals in the 2nd period but were outscored 2-1 in the 3rd period to bring this game to overtime. Neither team scored during the OT and Sean Couturier would score the only goal in the shootout after five rounds to secure the home win for the Flyers faithful. They were eliminated from playoff contention last night as the Hurricanes handed them a 5-2 loss last night in Raleigh to put the Flyers out of their misery.
Philly will host the Rangers this afternoon and will have the chance to play spoilers in their remaining three games. They will be in Dallas on Tuesday. The Stars are currently in the first Wild Card in the West, three points behind St. Louis for third in the Central, but four points ahead of Colorado for the final Wild Card spot. The Flyers will then play in St. Louis on Thursday who are battling for the Central Division lead.
The Flyers will then finish this season on Saturday at home against the Hurricanes in a game that could change the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference. They are currently 18th in the NHL and have a 1.5% chance of winning the draft lottery. The Flyers did jump 11 spots two years ago when they went from 13th to 2nd place with only a 2.4% chance of that happening.
The Rangers had a very light workload the last two weeks and have only played five games in the last 14 days. They hosted the Penguins on Monday night at MSG and scored the games first two goals in the 1st period before watching the Penguins rebound with five straight goals to defeat the Rangers by a 5-2 final score.
NYR were in Boston two days later and were playing well for 40 minutes before falling apart in the 3rd period and allowing four Bruins goals to fall by a final score of 6-3. The Rangers returned home two nights later to face the Blues. The Blues seemed poised to secure an easy victory after leading 2-0 after the 1st period but the Rangers would score two in the 2nd and two more in the 3rd to hand the Blues the loss by a 4-2 final score, but the Blues did secure a playoff berth even without gaining any points in that game.
The few amount of games played by the Rangers the past two weeks has set them up to play five games this week to wrap up their season. They begin in Philadelphia this afternoon before taking on the Devils in Newark tomorrow night. The Senators will be waiting for the Rangers for a lightweight battle on Wednesday night at MSG. NYR closes out their season with a back-to-back against Columbus at home on Friday before wrapping up their season in Pittsburgh on Saturday.
There’s not a lot to play for and their fans would rather them lose for draft position, but the Rangers can play spoilers in those final two games of the year. The Rangers are 26th in the league standings and currently have a 7.5% chance of winning the draft lottery.
New Jersey didn’t make much noise again this week, which is the way their season has gone for most of the year. They began last week at home against Buffalo and Cory Schneider continued on is redemption tour of 2019 after losing each decision in the 2018 calendar year. He stopped 45 Buffalo shots, although he did allow this one, in a 3-1 Devils victory. That loss was Buffalo’s 12th consecutive on the road. Even though the Devils won, the Sabres may have been more than okay with giving away those two points and having better odds at the Hughes Sweepstakes.
The Devils were in Detroit four days later, and it was another battle of bottom feeders. The Red Wings ran away with this game and Jonathan Bernier and Jimmy Howard combined for a 28 save shutout after Bernier left in the second period due to injury. The victory for Detroit was their fourth in a row, much to the dismay of their fans as these wins are only costing their team draft positions in this upcoming draft.
The Devils closed out last week back home against St. Louis the following night in a game that went to the extra frame. Vince Dunn scored his 12th goal this season for the Blues with only three seconds left which moved the Blues to within two points of the Central Division lead.
New Jersey will begin their final week of play at home against the Rangers on Monday night before finishing the year with two road games in Carolina on Thursday night and closing the year out in Sunrise, Florida on Saturday night.
It’s been a disappointing year for the Devils after a surprise run to the playoffs last year. Taylor Hall’s absence since Christmas didn’t make matters much better, but the Devils would likely still be in a similar position if Hall was healthy this year. The Devils are currently 29th in the standings as of this morning and have an 11.5% chance of landing the number one pick, which would give the Devils their second number one pick in the last three years.
42-25-11; 95 pts; 262 Goals For (6th in the NHL; 6th last week); 231 Goals Against (T-14th; 16th)
1-1 record last week
Nashville weathers early storm, hangs on to beat Pittsburgh 3-1
Sunday, March 31 - vs CAR, 5 p.m. ET
Tuesday, April 2 - @ DET, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 4 - vs DET, 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 6 - vs NYR, 7 p.m.
- 2/25/19, D Chad Ruhwedel - Day-to-day; Upper-body injury
- 3/9/19, LW Zach Aston-Reee - Day-to-day; Lower-body injury
- 3/16/19, C Evgeni Malkin - Day-to-day; Upper-body injury
- 3/24/19, D Kris Letang - Day-to-day; Upper-body injury
47-24-8, 102 pts; 273 GF (5th); 240 GA (18th; 19th)
4-0 record last week
Caps Feed Philly Three Steaks, Win 3-1
Ovechkin Weathers Storm, Caps Cruise 4-1
Caps Clinch Fifth Consecutive Playoff Berth
Caps Battling Flu, Backstrom, Oshie, and Ovechkin Drop Deuces
Monday, April 1 - @ FLA, 7 p.m.
Thursday, April 4 - vs MTL, 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 6 - vs NYI, 7 p.m.
- 3/19/19, D Michal Kempny - Day-to-day; Lower-body injury
- 3/29/19, RW Brett Connolly - Day-to-day; Illness
(2)X-New York Islanders
46-26-7, 99 pts; 222 GF (21st); 193 GA (1st)
3-1 record last week
Playoffs in reach after four-point weekend
Who needs goal scoring?
Huge victory puts the Isles two points away
Playoffs clinched spot with complete four-line performance
Monday, April 1 - vs TOR, 7 p.m.
Thursday, April 4 - @ FLA, 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 6 - @ WSH, 7 p.m.
- 3/18/19, C Valtteri Filppula - Day-to-day; Upper-body injury
- 3/25/19, LW Andrew Ladd - Day-to-day; Torn ACL
- 3/27/19, C Tanner Fritz - Day-to-day; Upper-body injury
43-28-7, 93 pts; 233 GF (16th; T-15th); 215 GA (T-7th; T-6th)
2-2 record last week
CAR: 2 OT
Svech’s heroics steal two points
Rough ending costs Canes in D.C.
Foegele goal not enough
Mrazek, Hamilton shine in big win
Sunday, March 31 - @ PIT, 5 p.m.
Tuesday, April 2 - @ TOR, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 4 - vs NJD, 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 6 - @ PHI, 7 p.m.
44-30-4, 92 pts; 243 GF (T-12th; T-15th); 222 GA (11th; T-12th)
4-0 record last week
Big Josh Anderson leads Blue Jackets to a much-needed two points
Blue Jackets Hitting the High Note at Right Time
Sunday, March 31 - @ BUF, 6 p.m.
Tuesday, April 2 - vs BOS, 7 p.m.
Friday, April 5 - @ NYR, 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 6 - @ OTT, 7 p.m.
- 2/17/19, D Ryan Murray - IR; Upper-body injury
- 3/28/19, D Adam McQuaid - Day-to-day; Upper-body injury
37-33-8, 82 pts; 236 GF (15th; 13th); 261 GA (T-24th; 25th)
1-2 record last week
Flyers fall 3-1 to Holtby, Caps as playoff hopes are really gone
PHI: 5 SO
Couturier leads the way as Flyers top Maple Leafs in shootout, avoid playoff elimination
Flyers eliminated from playoffs with loss to Hurricanes
Sunday, March 31 - vs NYR, 12:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 2 - @ DAL, 8:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 4 - @ STL, 8 p.m.
Saturday, April 6 - vs CAR, 7 p.m.
- 1/3/19, G Michal Neuvirth - IR; Lower-body injury
30-34-13, 73 pts; 215 GF (T-23rd; T-24th); 258 GA (23rd; 24th)
1-2 record last week
Pittsburgh Scores Five Unanswered to Top Rangers at MSG
Rangers Give Up Six Goals and Fall to Boston 6-3
Rangers Score Four Unanswered and Top Blues 4-2
Sunday, March 31 - @ PHI, 12:30 p.m.
Monday, April 1 - @ NJD, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, April 3 - vs OTT, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, April 5 - vs CBJ, 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 6 - @ PIT, 7 p.m.
- 3/9/19, D Libor Hajek - Day-to-day; Separated shoulder
- 3/18/19, RW Jesper Fast - Day-to-day; Shoulder
29-40-10, 68 pts; 213 GF (25th; 22nd); 267 GA (28th; 29th)
1-1-1 record last week
Tank U, Next: New Jersey Devils Shut Down & Out by Detroit Red Wings
STL: 3 OT
Monday, April 1 - vs NYR, 7 p.m.
Thursday, April 4 - @ CAR, 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 6 - @ FLA, 7 p.m.
- 12/26/18, LW Taylor Hall - IR; Lower-body injury
- 3/3/19, RW Nathan Bastian - Day-to-day; Undisclosed injury
- 3/4/19, RW Jesper Bratt - Day-to-day; Lower-body injury
- 3/24/19, D Egor Yakovlev - Day-to-day; Undisclosed injury
- 3/24/19, D Sami Vatanen - Day-to-day; Illness
Which Metropolitan game is the most intriguing?
This poll is closed
3.31.19 - NYR @ PHI, 12:30 p.m. ET
3.31.19 - CAR @ PIT, 5 p.m.
4.1.19 - NYR @ NJD, 7 p.m.
4.2.19 - BOS @ CBJ, 7 p.m.
4.4.19 - MTL @ WSH, 7 p.m.
4.4.19 - NJD @ CAR, 7 p.m.
4.5.19 - CBJ @ NYR, 7 p.m.
4.6.19 - NYR @ PIT, 7 p.m.
4.6.19 - NYI @ WSH, 7 p.m
4.6.19 - CAR @ PHI, 7 p.m.