A trip around the Metropolitan Division: Oct. 19- Oct. 26

Kyle Okposo celebrates a goal with his teammates . - Christopher Pasatieri

Sidney Crosby and the Penguins are still running the show in the Metro Division, but a four team logjam in the two through five slots draws the most interesting dialogue. Have the Devils, Rangers and Flyers found a way to begin to turn their dismal starts around?


1. Pittsburgh Penguins (7-3-0)

After beating the Canucks 4-3 on Saturday, the Penguins went on to drop a 1-0 decision at home to the Avalanche and a 4-3 home loss to the Islanders.

It marks the first time this season that Pittsburgh has lost two straight in the Consol Energy Center.

Sidney Crosby remains hot. He has scored in nine of the Penguin's first 10 games and has 18 points on the young season (8 G, 10 A).

Jussi Jokinen is enjoying a good start with five goals and two assists in his first ten games.

Marc-Andre Fleury has lost only once this season (7-1). He has a 1.74 GAA and a .930 SV%.

Kris Letang returned from a lower body injury on Friday and played 25:32 in his season debut.

Beau Bennett, James Neal, Matt D'Agostini and Tomas Vokoun remain on the injured reserve.

The Penguins hit the road to face the Maple Leafs at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday. It is the first meeting of the season for the two.

2. New York Islanders (4-3-3)

After a come from behind win over the Penguins on Friday that saw Josh Bailey sink Pittsburgh with a goal in the last two minutes of the third period, the Islanders return home to face the division rival Flyers.

That also means that former Islander captain Mark Streit will make his return to Nassau Coliseum, this time wearing a Flyers sweater.

The win over the Penguins on Saturday snapped a two game losing skid for New York.

John Tavares has a nine game point streak.

Matt Moulson and Frans Nielsen have scored goals in two straight games. Moulson leads the league in powerplay tallies with five.

Lubomir Visnovsky has been ruled out with a concussion.

Michael Grabner will play again after sitting out two games for an illegal hit on Nathan Gerbe.

The Islanders and Flyers drop the puck at 7:00 p.m. Saturday.


3. Carolina Hurricanes (4-4-3)

The Hurricanes have lost starting goaltender Cam Ward for 3-4 weeks. That news came after backup Anton Khudobin was injured playing a loose puck against the Coyotes earlier this month.

The tandem in the meantime is Justin Peters and Mike Murphy.

Slow starts have been the story for the Canes, who rank 29th in the league in first period scoring.

Carolina slipped back to third as the Islanders hold a game in hand.

The Capitals and Blue Jackets also hold a game in hand and sit just one point behind Carolina.

Forward Radek Dvorak left Saturday night's road affair with the Avalanche with an apparent lower body injury, there is no word on the severity.

Carolina returns home to face the Penguins on Monday night before enjoying a three day break that leads into a back-to-back against the Lightning and Rangers.


4. Columbus Blue Jackets (5-5-0)

The Jackets snapped a four game losing streak and are making a statement.

They won three straight this week, outscoring opponents 12-4.

Their +3 goal differential ranks them second in the Metro Division, behind only Pittsburgh.

Marian Gaborik leads the way for Columbus. He has five goals and five assists in nine games for the Blue Jackets.

Columbus wraps up a four game homestand with a Sunday 6:00 p.m. duel with the Ducks.

A home and home weekend series against the Penguins looms after that for Columbus.

5. Washington Capitals (5-5-0)

This time last week, the Capitals were 2-5-0 and searching for results.

That was before they won three straight.

After taking care of the Blue Jackets at home, the Capitals headed out for a Canadian tour. After knocking off the Jets and Oilers, the team will now face the Flames on Saturday and the Canucks on Monday to round out their trip.

Alex Ovechkin became the first player in the league to hit double digit goal totals when he notched his 10th of the season against the Oilers.

Since March 17, Ovechkin has 32 goals in 31 regular season games.

Defenseman Jack Hillen is on injured reserve with a leg concern.

The Capitals and the Flames will square off at 10:00 p.m. on Saturday.

6. New Jersey Devils (1-5-4)

Cory Schneider may be the future for the Devils at goaltender. The 27-year-old lead the Devils to their first win of the season as he shutout the Rangers in New Jersey as the Devils won 4-0.

But, there may have been some nerves facing his former team, the Canucks on Thursday.

The Devils entered that game fresh off a Tuesday loss to the Blue Jackets.

Twice the Devils had a lead over the Canucks, and twice Schneider made questionable decisions. He failed to cover a loose puck up leading to a Kessler goal and made a poor read on a bank attempt off the backboards with left Daniel Sedin open to tie things up.

The Devils went on to lose in a shootout.

"For me personally, I expect more of myself and when my team plays like that, you've got to respond and pull your weight," Schneider said to NHL.com. "We were challenged a little bit before this game and everyone really stepped up and I didn't really rise to the challenge there in the first two periods."

Rookie defenseman Eric Gelinas made his season debut after being recalled from AHL Albany to fill in for Bryce Salvador, who headed home to tend to a personal matter.

The 22-year-old Gelinas played with the first powerplay unit of the Devils and notched his first NHL goal.

"He was unbelievable. He was the best player on the ice. He made the right plays," Jaromir Jagr said to NHL.com when asked about the play of Gelinas.

The Devils will clash with the Bruins in Boston at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday.

7. New York Rangers (2-6-0)

For the Rangers, It's been tough being away from Madison Square Garden as renovations there are completed.

The marathon nine-game road trip for New York wraps up against the Red Wings on Saturday. The Rangers hope to finish the trip strong.

Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist missed Thursday's game against the Flyers, a 2-1 loss, with an undisclosed injury. He could return on Saturday.

The leading scorer for the Rangers, Brad Richards, has five points in his last four games and eight on the season.

Carl Hagelin, Ryan Callahan and Rick Nash are all out with injuries.

The Rangers face the Red Wings at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday.

8. Philadelphia Flyers (2-7-0)

The Flyers played only once last week, but they notched their second win of the season, a 2-1 victory over the Rangers at home.

The Flyers got back in the win column, but concerning is the fact that they have not scored more than two goals in any of their nine contests this year.

Brayden Coburn said the team will need to focus on getting dirty goals to ignite the struggling offense.

"We've got guys like Wayne screening the goalie and causing havoc in there, so you know as long as you can get the pucks through, things can happen," Coburn said in an interview with NHL.com.

Goaltender Steve Mason is 2-5 on the year, but be boasts an impressive 2.17 GAA, and a .930 SV%.

Scott Hartnell hasn't played since Oct. 11 after suffering an upper body injury. He could return on Saturday.

Vincent Lecavalier was also injured on Oct. 11 and returned to action Thursday against the Rangers.

The Flyers take on the Islanders on Saturday, it will be Mark Streit's first game back to Nassau Coliseum since being traded to the Flyers in June.

The puck drops in that contest at 7:00 p.m.

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