clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

A trip around the Metropolitan Division: Oct. 26- Nov. 2

The Hurricanes continue to lose ground in the Metropolitan while the Penguins continue to stay hot. Tempers flared in a divisional match between Philadelphia and Washington and all eight of the division teams find themselves in action on Saturday night. There could be some movement in the standings after those duels, so let's take a look at the week that was in the division.

Captain Alex Ovechkin looks on during a game.
Captain Alex Ovechkin looks on during a game.
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Spor

1. Pittsburgh Penguins (10-4-0)

The Penguins lost only once this week, dropping a 4-1 decision to the Maple Leafs, who sit atop the Atlantic Division.

Three straight wins over Carolina, Boston and Columbus have Pittsburgh atop the Metropolitan by seven points- the largest first place lead of any club.

A week ago, Pittsburgh had lost three straight and was searching for answers. Consider it a short slump.

These Penguins are tough.

They currently rank fourth in the Eastern Conference in goals allowed with 2.36 per game.

The offense checks in at third in the conference, scoring 3.14 goals per game.

Third line forward Brandon Sutter, who was held without a goal in his first 12 games of the season, has two goals in his last two games.

"It's definitely one of those things that sometimes it goes in, sometimes it doesn't," Sutter said in an interview with "Fortunately, the last couple nights, it has. I don't pay too much attention to trying to go in and score goals all of the time. I just worry about my game."

Chris Kunitz joins Sutter in terms of positive trends, scoring six goals in his last nine games.

Sidney Crosby leads the league with 22 points, ahead of Steven Stamkos' 19.

Marc-Andre Fleury is displaying dominance of his own. He leads the league in wins with 10 and has compiled a 1.83 GAA and a .929 save percentage.

Pittsburgh's Beau Bennett has still been unable to join the team after suffering a lower body injury. Tanner glass was shaken up on Friday night, but Bylsma had no updates.

The Penguins remain without the services of James Neal, Chuck Kobasew and Rob Scuderi.

Pittsburgh heads into Columbus for the second half of a back-to-back home and home series with the Blue Jackets on Saturday night, puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m.

2. New York Islanders (5-5-3)

After falling to the Flyers and Rangers this week, the Islanders put the finishing touches on a road shootout win over the Senators on Friday night to remain in second place in the division.

It seems as if the Islanders benefit from throwing pucks at the net. They threw a season-high 57 shots at Ottawa goaltender, Robin Lehner.

Frans Nielsen continues to be quite a story for New York.

Nielsen leads the team with eight goals. He scored six all of last season.

Nielsen also delivered the shootout dagger to sink the Senators on Friday night, while Evgeni Nabokov shut down all three shooters he faced.

The Islanders are without Lubomir Visnovsky, Brian Strait and Colin McDonald.

The Islanders return home for the second half of a back-to-back to face the Bruins on Saturday, who have waited for New York since they last played on Thursday.

Jack Capuano has used backup goaltender Kevin Poulin in the two other back-to-back scenarios of the season for New York, but he lost both starts.

3. Washington Capitals (6-7-0)

The Capitals lost two straight against the Flames Canucks this week to split their four game Canada tour 2-2.

Even more concerning was the loss of captain Alex Ovechkin to an upper-body injury on Monday night against the Canucks.

They were without Ovechkin going into a divisional matchup against the Flyers on Friday night.

But, they didn't need him.

Joel Ward's first career hat trick fueled the Capitals to a 7-0 drubbing of the Flyers on Friday night- marking the largest margin of victory for Washington over Philadelphia since 1974.

It also matched the Flyers' largest shutout loss since 1994.

It was the first game this season that the Capitals won in which Ovechkin did not tally a goal.

Jason Chimera, Mikhail Grabovski and Ward have combined for 20 points in the last four games.

Tempers flared during a line brawl in Friday night's matchup, but the Capitals left with a convincing two points in their pockets, regardless.

They return home to face the Panthers on Saturday night- a team with no player with more than two points in the last four games.

On Friday, the Capitals were without John Erskine and Jack Hillen. Ovechkin could return Saturday night.

Saturday's game is the start of a three-game homestand for Washington. The Capitals will host the Islanders and Wild before heading out for a west coast back-to-back against the Coyotes and Avalanche next weekend.

4. Carolina Hurricanes (4-6-3)

It's been tough sledding for the injury-ridden Hurricanes.

Carolina will slide into a Saturday night affair with the Rangers having lost four straight.

During that stretch, the Hurricanes have been outscored 13-4.

Through 13 games, Eric Staal and Jordan Staal have combined for four goals.

Eric Staal is also a team worst -10 on the season.

Alex Semin has five points in his last five games. Andrej Sekera has three points in his last four.

Plus/minus leader and leading scorer, Jeff Skinner remains out with an upper-body injury.

Cam Ward, Anton Khudobin, Radek Dvorak and Brett Bellemore are also injured for Carolina.

After a 7:00 p.m. affair with New York on Saturday, Carolina starts a five game homestand that features matchups with the Flyers, Islanders, Wild, Avalanche and Ducks.

5. New York Rangers (5-7-0)

It was a tough start to the season for the Rangers, but they appear to be finding their stride.

Winners of three of their last four and back-to-back games for the first time this year, the Rangers continue a four-game homestand with games against the Hurricanes, Ducks and Penguins before heading out to Columbus to tangle with the Blue Jackets.

The Rangers are tied with Philadelphia for lowest goal total in the NHL with 20, but in Thursday's win over Buffalo, New York threw a season-high 46 shots on net.

Henrik Lundqvist returned from an undisclosed injury last week and proceeded to allow just two goals in two games.

Chris Kreider notched his first two goals of the season, matching his season total from last year.

Captain Ryan Callahan remains out after a broken thumb suffered on Oct. 16 and Rick Nash is still sidelined after an Oct. 8 concussion.

Dominic Moore is also out for New York.

The Rangers and Hurricanes will drop the puck at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday night.

6. Columbus Blue Jackets (5-7-0)

Does Columbus want second place in the division?

Despite being in sixth, they sit a mere three points behind the second-place Islanders going into Saturday night' slate of games.

The Blue Jackets' three game winning streak was snapped with a 4-3 home loss to the Ducks on Sunday.

Columbus lost their next game, as well, losing the front end of a back-to-back with the Penguins on the road Friday night.

Ryan Johansen has six points in his last six games.

Marian Gaborik leads the team with 10 points and has scored three goals in his last four games.

Columbus will host the Penguins on Saturday night to cap off the back-to-back.

"It seems like our division is up for grabs right now and we're trying to get in that top-three spot. So these are crucial for us to establish what type of team we are," RJ Umberger said to

Columbus might figure out what type of team they are this week. After playing the Penguins Saturday night, the homestand will continue as they host the Senators, Rangers and Islanders.

7. New Jersey Devils (3-5-4)

The Devils won consecutive games for the first time this season and now sit three points out of second place in the log-jammed Metropolitan.

Martin Brodeur was in net for both wins last week, recovering from a tough start.

He allowed only four goals in the two wins over Boston and Tampa.

Cory Schneider will return from a lower-body injury to back up Brodeur in the Devils' Saturday night matchup against the Flyers.

Jaromir Jagr has a five game point streak, with seven points during that time.

Bryce Salvador and Ryan Clowe are injured for the Devils.

After Saturday night's match against the Flyers, New Jersey will embark on a road trip that brings them to Minnesota, Philadelphia and Toronto.

8. Philadelphia Flyers (3-9-0)

The Flyers have had a tough start, but Friday night's debacle may represent rock bottom.

The Flyers were pounded 7-0 by Washington on Friday, after also dropping a home game to the Ducks on Tuesday.

Steve Downie, acquired by the Flyers in exchange for Maxime Talbot, amassed 17 penalty minutes in a messy debut and suffered a concussion.

Vincent Lecavalier and Brayden Schenn also earned fighting majors and game misconducts in a line brawl with Washington during the rout.

Lecavalier suffered facial injuries during the meltdown, according to general manager Paul Holmgren.

Lecavalier has four goals in his last three games for the Flyers.

The Flyers are tied with the Rangers for lowest goal total in the league with 20.

Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell have not scored this season and are a combined -12.

Philadelphia faces the Devils on the road Saturday night and are likely to see the 41-year old Brodeur.

They will face Carolina on the road Tuesday before home affairs with the Devils and Oilers on Thursday and Saturday.