A trip around the Metropolitan Division: Nov. 30

NEWARK, NJ - NOVEMBER 27: Jaromir Jagr #68 of the New Jersey Devils reacts after the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at Prudential Center on November 27, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey.(Photo credit: Elsa) - Elsa

The logjam in the standings continues at the end of the month. Pittsburgh has a comfortable 7 point lead, but positions 2-8 are all separated by 4 points at most.

1. Pittsburgh Penguins (17-9-1)

After a 4-3 overtime loss to the Bruins on the road, Pittsburgh came home where they beat the Leafs 6-5.

The Penguins opened up a three-game road trip with a 3-0 win over Tampa on Friday night.

The rest of their trip features matchups against the Panthers on Saturday and the Islanders on Tuesday.

The win in Tampa was Dan Bylsma's 100th road victory.

Evgeni Malkin's point streak has improved to seven games. During that stretch, he has three goals and 10 assists.

Sidney Crosby has four goals and seven assists in his last seven.

Chris Kunitz remains hot, as well. He has four goals and five assists in his last six.

The Penguins are without the services of Paul Martin long term after a leg injury.

Rob Scuderi, Tanner Glass and Beau Bennett are also injured.

After the three-game road trip, Pittsburgh will host the Sharks.

2. Washington Capitals (13-11-2)

For the Capitals, Friday's 3-2 win over the Canadiens at home snapped a four-game losing streak.

They snapped out of the funk in style, too.

Mikhail Grabovski tied the game to force overtime, and the Capitals went 3-3 in the shootout, including the deciding tally scored by Grabovski.

Eric Fehr, who returned from an injury recently, has two goals and an assist in his last three games.

The Capitals have a light week. After visiting the slumping Islanders, they host the Hurricanes and Predators on Tues. and Sat., respectively.

John Erskine and Jack Hillen remain injured on a long-term scale.

Brooks Laich and Michael Neuvirth both have lower-body injuries, as well.

3. New York Rangers (13-13-0)

During the Thanksgiving time, drama is usually reserved for when Uncle Bob has one too many pieces of pie to himself.

For the Rangers, it comes Saturday as they host the Canucks, which means the return of John Tortorella to Madison Square Garden.

It will be Tortorella's first trip to MSG since being fired on May 29.

Tortorella isn't letting the hype get to him or his team, however.

"Quite honestly, we've beaten this thing up," Tortorella said Friday in an interview with NHL.com. "It's another game on the schedule. It's a very important game for us to try to gain some traction. We need to continue trying to gain traction. That's what all this is about. We have enough things to worry about with our hockey club."

New York closed out a five game road trip witha  3-2-0 mark after dropping a decision 3-2 to the Bruins on Friday.

The Rangers have seven wins in their last nine road games.

Since returning from a concussion, Rick Nash has three goals in six games and goals in his last two.

Forward Derek Dorsett did not play Friday against the Bruins nursing a sprained wrist.

After the matinee against the Canucks on Sat., the Rangers will host the Jets, travel to Buffalo and come back home to host the Devils this week.

4. New Jersey Devils (10-11-5)

A 5-2 victory over the Hurricanes on Friday snapped a three-game skid for the Devils.

The Devils exploded for four third period goals to sink the Canes on the road.

"I liked our game right from the drop of the puck,'' Devils coach Peter DeBoer said in an interview with NHL.com. ''I thought we had good energy, good legs. We created a lot of things. ... We found our game again in the third.''

Anton Volchenkov returned to the lineup Friday after missing seven games.

His presence was felt immediately. He finished with five blocked shots, five hits and almost 20 minutes of ice time while being a +2 on the night.

Jaromir Jagr roofed a goal over Cam Ward in the third period of Friday's game. It was career goal 692 for him- which ties him with Steve Yzerman for eighth in NHL history.

Jagr is two goals behind Messier for seventh place.

Jagr has been a big contributor for New Jersey this season. He leads the team in goals (11), points (22) and game winning goals (3).

Defenseman Andy Greene quietly has a four-game point streak.

Stephen Gionta is on the injured reserve with an ankle injury.

Adam Larsson is questionable for Saturday night's matchup with the Sabres. Ryan Clowe and Bryce Salvador are both doubtful.

After hosting the Sabres on Saturday, the Devils will have a home-and-home with the Canadiens before hosting the Red Wings and taking on the Rangers on the road in a back-to-back scenario next weekend.

5. Carolina Hurricanes (10-11-5)

Friday night's matchup against the Devils presented a big chance for Carolina to leapfrog in the division standings.

It was a chance.

A 5-2 loss fueled by a gigantic third period for the Devils sunk the Hurricanes and left them in fifth place.

After a first period defensive lapse from Jeff Skinner, the young forward came back in the second period and tallied his first goal since returning from injury.

Jordan Staal had a confidence building breakaway goal after a homerun pass from Justin Faulk.

Carolina has outscored opponents 28-21 in second periods.

The Devils handed Carolina their first loss when leading after two periods on Friday. Carolina is now 6-1-1 when leading after 40 minutes.

A Sunday matinee against the Canucks will be the beginning of a stretch of seven of their next eight games against Western Conference opponents for the Hurricanes.

"We didn't respond enough. We didn't fight back," defenseman Jay Harrison told Hurricanes.com. "I don't think we're going to let five minutes in the third period deter us from continuing to build something here."

Alex Semin remains out with a concussion. Defenseman Andrej Sekera is nursing an upper body injury and did not play against the Devils.

After playing the Canucks, Carolina will take on the Capitals and Predators on the road before welcoming the Sharks to Raleigh on Friday night.

6. Philadelphia Flyers (11-12-2)

The Flyers are 7-2-1 in their last 10 and Steve Mason has been a big part of that.

Mason has allowed two goals or fewer in seven of his last eight starts.

Over that span, he is 5-1-2.

After a 2-1 win over the Jets on Friday, the Flyers begin a six-game road trip that starts in Nashville on Saturday night.

The rest of the road trip leads the Flyers into Minnesota, Detroit, Dallas, Ottawa and Chicago.

"This is a huge stretch for us," Hartnell said  of the Flyers' upcoming road trip in an interview with NHL.com. "We're going to look back at this season and say that December was a huge month for us."

Claude Giroux has three goals and seven assists in his last 10.

7. Columbus Blue Jackets (10-13-3)

Columbus has been hovering around .500, as they have gone 4-3 over their last seven.

That's not enough to climb the ladder very far in the Metro division, however.

Over that seven game span, the Blue Jackets have been outscored 17-2 in losses.

Ryan Johansen has three goals in his past two games.

Nathan Horton ,Derek MacKenzie, Marian Gaborik and Jared Boll are all on injured reserve.

Brandon Dubinsky is doubtful for the Blue Jacket's Saturday matchup in Boston with a foot injury.

After playing the Bruins on Sat., Columbus hosts the Lightning and Wild on Tues. and Fri., respectively.

8. New York Islanders (8-15-3)

The Islanders have lost five-straight games and are stuck in the bottom of the division.

A 5-0 loss at home to the Red Wings is the latest installment in mediocrity for New York.

The Islanders have lost 10 of their last 12 and haven't won since a 5-4 win over the Red Wings at home on Nov. 16.

New York has scored nine goals in their last five games.

"You keep your head up and you keep playing hard but this isn't good enough in any way," captain John Tavares said in an interview with NHL.com. "As a team, all we can think about is playing a better game next time out."

Tavares has points in eight of his last 10 games.

The Islanders are without the services of the injured Evgeni Nabokov, Lubomir Visnovsky and Brian Strait.

After a home game against the Capitals on Sat. night, the Islanders host the Penguins before embarking on a West Coast swing that pits them against the Blues, Kings, Ducks, Sharks and Coyotes before returning to New York.

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