clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

A trip around the Metropolitan Division: Jan. 11

Five of eight teams in the division have winning streaks of two or more games and four teams have won seven or more games in their past 10. Everyone seems to be playing well, and that keeps things interesting.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

1. Pittsburgh Penguins (32-12-2) 66 points

A three-game winning streak for Pittsburgh was snapped on Friday night when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins sunk the Penguins roughly a minute into overtime with his 13th of the season.

Pittsburgh took care of the Rangers, Jets and Canucks before picking up the extra point in Calgary.

The Penguins wrap up their three-game Western Conference trip with the latter half of a back-to-back on Saturday against the Flames.

Recent history favors the Penguins- they haven't lost in Calgary since Dec. 7, 2003.

Pittsburgh will look to get a lead and hold it. Uncharacteristically, the Penguins jumped out to a 2-0 lead against the Oilers, only to fall 4-3 in overtime.

"Being up by two goals, obviously we need to find a way to close that game out," Sidney Crosby said in an interview with "We knew they were going to come out hard for the third and we still let them get even. You don't deserve to win games when you do that."

In six career games against the Flames, Crosby has six goals and three assists. He is also riding a seven-game point streak and his league-high 67 points are 13 more than runners up Patrick Kane and John Tavares.

The Penguins will enter Calgary without Tomas Vokoun, Beau Bennett, Chuck Kobasew, Chris Connor, Pascal Dupuis, Jayson Megna, Andrew Ebbett and Paul Martin who are all injured.

The Flames and Penguins begin play at 10 p.m.

2. Philadelphia Flyers (23-17-4) 50 points

The Flyers, winners of three-straight, enter a Saturday matchup with the the Lightning from Philadelphia where the Flyers have won 10 in a row.

One of the big factors for Philadelphia's success is the strong penalty kill which has killed off 19 consecutive penalties- a streak that has stretched over six games.

Scott Hartnell had a career-high eight-game point streak, but that was snapped after he was held without a point against the Canadiens. Over that stretch Hartnell had four goals and five assists.

After the matinee with the Lightning on Saturday, the Flyers open up a busy week.

The team will travel to New York for the latter half of a back-to-back on Sunday against the Rangers before traveling to Buffalo on Tuesday, before hosting the Predators and Islanders on Thursday and Saturday, respectively.

Zac Rinaldo and Matt Read are out with injuries while Erik Gustafsson is possible for Saturday's game.

The Flyers and Lightning begin play at 1 p.m. Saturday.

3. Washington Capitals (22-16-6) 50 points

In Washington, don't call it a comeback.

Actually, feel free to call it a comeback.

The Capitals battled back from a 2-1 deficit in the third period of Friday night's game against the Maple Leafs when Nicklas Backstrom tied the game five minutes into the period and Joel Ward scored the eventual game winner at the 11:51 mark.

It marked the second consecutive game the Capitals scored a game-winning goal in the final ten minutes of the third period after Eric Fehr tipped in a Mike Green shot at the 19:08 mark of the third on Thursday night against the Lightning.

The Capitals have registered nine wins this season when trailing in the third period, which ranks first in the NHL, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Washington will have home games this week against the Sabres and Sharks before beginning an important stretch of games in which four of five games come against Metropolitan rivals.

Beginning that stretch is a three-game road swing that puts the Capitals against the Penguins, Blue Jackets and Rangers.

4. New York Rangers (23-20-3) 49 points

It's been a good week for the Rangers who have picked up points in four-straight games including a 7-1 victory over the Maple Leafs and a 3-2 win in Chicago.

New York opened up a four-game home stand with a 3-2 victory over the Stars.

Rick Nash, who was selected to Team Canada for the Olympics, scored his 10th goal of the season to break the third period tie with less than two minutes remaining.

The homestand continues with games against the Flyers, Lightning and Red Wings.

New York next plays on Sunday. They will host the Flyers at 7 p.m.

5. Carolina Hurricanes (19-17-9) 47 points

Things were going well for the Hurricanes who had won five-straight after a 6-1 trouncing of the Maple Leafs at home.

Jeff Skinner was on a scoring tear, Jordan Staal was picking up the slack for his injured brother and Anton Khudobin literally was not defeated.

That all came crashing down on Friday night in Columbus, however, as Sergei Bobrovsky stopped all 36 Hurricanes' shots, frustrating the Hurricanes and allowing the lead that Boone Jenner gave Columbus in the first period to stand up for the entire game.

A light week awaits the Hurricanes, and that is probably good, as Eric Staal remains banged up and hasn't played since Jan. 4.

A three-game homestand kicks off when the Hurricanes host the Flames on Monday and won't play again until they host the Panthers on Saturday.

Cam Ward and Jiri Tlusty are injured and Riley Nash was activated off of injured reserve.

The Hurricanes and flames will drop the puck at 7 p.m. Monday.

6. New Jersey Devils (18-18-9) 45 points

The Devils close out a three-game homestand when they host the Panthers at 7 p.m. Saturday.

In the first two games of the homestand, the Devils have picked up points, losing to the Flyers in overtime 3-2 and beating the Stars 1-0.

Michael Ryder scored the lone goal of the Dallas game. His 15th of the season came in the second period and was all the Devils needed to win.

Ryder has points in a season-high three-straight games. He has six goals and nine points in his past 11 games.

Patrik Elias, Jacob Josefson and Damien Brunner are all out for New Jersey. Peter Harrold has resumed skating after suffering a foot injury, but is doubtful for the Devils' next game.

After the home battle with the Panthers, the Devils embark on a four game road trip that takes them to Toronto, Montreal, Colorado and Phoenix in a seven day span.

7. Columbus Blue Jackets (20-20-4) 44 points

The Blue Jackets have won three of four games in January, including two shutouts- a 36 save performance from Bobrovsky against the Hurricanes and a 34 save display from Curtis McElhinney against the Coyotes.

Eight of Columbus' next 11 games will be at home. One of the three road games will happen Saturday night when the Blue Jackets travel to Winnipeg for a 7 p.m. duel.

Bobrovsky, who shut down the Hurricanes after returning from a groin injury, is expected to go again Saturday.

Brandon Dubinsky, who scored his 9th of the season against the Hurricanes on Friday night, extended his point streak to three games. Over that stretch, he has four points.

Blake Comeau was placed on injured reserve Friday with a sprained knee.

Jared Boll, Marian Gaborik and Jack Skille are injured.

8. New York Islanders (17-22-7) 41 points

The Islanders may be in last place, but that doesn't mean they are a team devoid of effort.

On the contrary, in fact.

The Islanders are 7-3-0 in their last 10 games, have won three straight overall and have won six straight road contests.

Their most recent victory was a gutsy one- a road win over the Avalanche.

After falling behind 1-0 in the second period on Nathan MacKinnon's 15th of the season, the Islanders did not fade.

Brock Nelson tied the game at the 4:28 mark of the third period and in overtime, Michael Grabner ended the game less than two minutes into the extra frame.

The Islanders will have to stay hot on the road- they have four more consecutive road contests this week before returning home.

The road trip sends them to Dallas, Florida, Tampa and Philadelphia in a seven day span.

After that, however, five of New York's next six will be home games.

The Islanders and Stars will begin play at 6 p.m. on Sunday.