clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Metropolitan Division Weekly Roundup: Devils Come Storming Back to the Top

After losing two straight, the Devils now lead the division with a tiebreak over the Rangers

NHL: Washington Capitals at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

1. New Jersey Devils: 14 Points (7-3-0)

The Devils had a rocky start, losing their first two games of the season, however, heading into Tuesday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks, the Devils are the hottest team in the league having won five of their last six games.

These wins include a shutout win against the Colorado Avalanche and a blowout 7-1 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. They are proving that they can win different ways and against good and bad opponents.

The Devils have been powered by their incredible 62.5 Corsi For Percentage, which is the top in the league. They lead the league in shots for per game (39.3) and shots against per game (21.7). Their 73.39% high danger chances also leads the league. They are doing this in spite of having the second worst even strength goaltending with their goalies ranking 32nd and 60th in the league in save percentage at all strengths.

2. New York Rangers: 14 Points (6-3-2)

Artemi Panarin was named the NHL’s third star of the month for October with five goals and 16 points in just 10 games played. He was tied for the third most points in the NHL and was second in assists in that timeframe, with seven of those assists coming on the power play.

The Rangers 38 scoring chances on the man advantage are the third most in the league and they are scoring at a 23% rate which equates to nine goals on the man advantage. This is just two less than the league leading Edmonton Oilers who have 11.

Chris Kreider also scored his fourth goal of the season last night in an overtime win against the Flyers. This was Kreider’s first game winning goal of the season. Kreider’s 8.8 shooting percentage is down from his career high of 20.2 which he set last year on his crazy, breakout season. A huge part of the Rangers’ success last season was Kreider’s goal scoring abilities which saw him net 52 goals. This was the first time he scored more than 28 goals in a season. It seems like he is on a pace to score around 32 and not his career high 52 last season.

3. Carolina Hurricanes: 13 Points (6-2-1)

After the Carolina Hurricanes started the season with three very impressive wins, they have regressed a bit. Over their last six games the Canes have had a record of 3-2-1 with both of their division wins coming in overtime. While it’s great to get two points, the Canes still gave loser points to two of their division rivals in the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers. Neither of those teams have impressive rosters with the Caps having been without four of their top players.

The Canes needed breakout seasons from Andrei Svechnikov and Martin Necas to hit the next level and so far the pair has delivered. However, their breakout seasons are the only reason that the Canes have been hanging onto games. They have combined for 13 goals and 23 total points, with Necas leading all Canes in points. While Sebastian Aho still has four goals and six assists for 10 total points, the rest of the top line has not been performing.

Teuvo Teravainen has largely struggled this season to make an impact on the scoresheet. Through nine games he has just three assists and zero goals. Seth Jarvis, who looked poised to break out after scoring the Canes’ first goal of the season also only has three points.

Since October 20th, Jarvis and Teravainen have ranked in the bottom three of the Canes in goals for percentage, 33.33% and 37.5% respectively. In addition the top line also takes up the bottom three spots on the Canes in Corsi For Percentage.

4. Philadelphia Flyers: 12 Points (5-2-2)

The Flyers have started the last three seasons with a 5-2-1 record, so it should be no surprise that the Flyers hit that mark after eight games this season. It’s also no surprise that the Flyers’ underlying stats aren’t great. Their 39% Corsi is the worst in the league and their 39.64% goals for both rank in the bottom two of the league. Simply put, like other years the Flyers performances aren’t sustainable.

The sole reason the Flyers are in any games is due to the big performances of goaltender Carter Hart, whose 0.938 save percentage ranks in the top five of the league for goalies who have played over 5 games.

5. New York Islanders: 12 Points (6-4-0)

The New York Islanders have been able to right the ship after a slow start. Since starting 2-4-0, the Isles have now rattled off four straight wins to improve to 6-4-0. Thee of their last four wins came against high quality opponents in the Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers, and Colorado Avalanche. This hasn’t been a fluky stretch. Brock Nelson kicked it into overdrive last week with three combined goals against the Canes and the Aves.

Surprising for the Islanders with their new found success is that their star player, Matthew Barzal, has yet to score this year. He does have 10 points though, all of which are assists. This is good enough to rank him in the top six in the NHL for helpers. One of the best “awards” in the NHL is the Cy Young which goes to the player with the most goals and least assists, which makes their stat line look like a great MLB pitcher. The 0-10 means he’s nowhere close for the fake award, but his linemates are going to love the next contract they get with that kind of playmaking.

6. Washington Capitals: 12 Points (5-4-2)

The Washington Capitals have lost another key piece for their team. T.J. Oshie will be out indefinitely with a lower-body injury he sustained in a game against the Nashville Predators on Saturday. There is no timetable for his return. Prospect Connor McMichael has filled in for Oshie taking his role and minutes in the last two games. This is a big opportunity for the prospect who has now played in 72 career games with nine goals and nine assists. His biggest issue has been a lack of opportunity, think Martin Necas playing on the bottom line as opposed to top six, where his skill can blossom.

While John Carlson didn’t play in the back-to-back on Monday and Tuesday, he is still listed as day-to-day. That’s the best injury news they have gotten so far this season. He should be able to return later this week or early next week. But back on tougher news, forward Conner Brown had successful surgery on a torn ACL which means he will also be out 6-8 months. The Caps traded a second-round pick to the Ottawa Senators for him in the offseason to help bolster a depleted top six.

7. Pittsburgh Penguins: 10 Points (4-4-2)

The Penguins were on top of the division this time last week, but now find themselves towards the bottom of the standings due to going on a four-game losing streak. The four-game road trip also included losses to the Seattle Kraken and the league-worst Vancouver Canucks. Now Jeff Carter is being evaluated for a lower-body injury after leaving Saturday’s game just four minutes in. Kris Letang also missed last night’s game with an illness. The Penguins ended up giving up a 5-3 lead in the third to lose in OT against the surging Bruins.

The Penguins special teams has left a lot to be desired. Their 71% penalty kill is bottom five in the league and their 22.9% powerplay ranks just 15th. In the last three games the offense has completely dried up which has seen them average just one goal for per game. When the offense has dried up, it hurts when you can’t get a cheap one on the power play or end up giving one up while shorthanded.

8. Columbus Blue Jackets: 9 Points (3-7-0)

The Columbus Blue Jackets head off to play in Finland this week against the Colorado Avalanche for two games on Friday and Saturday. The Blue Jackets head there as the last place team in the East with just six points through 10 games. They have now lost three straight games and have only mustered four goals combined through those games. This could be a great chance for the Blue Jackets to hit reset with just these two games in just under two-weeks time.

The Blue Jackets are the only team that has yet to score on the powerplay. They are currently 0-26 and have let up two shorthanded goals, which means they have a negative net power play percentage. This is even with the early return of Patrik Laine who sprained his elbow and missed six games. Since his return on the 25th, he has yet to record a point.