By: Rich Miller (@pensbender)
A Look Around the Metropolitan Division
Boy oh boy is this division bad, a combined 15-25 bad. If the Metropolitan really was a city, the Penguins view from the top would look something like this…
Pittsburgh (10 points): All eyes are on the matchup tonight in Philadelphia. Records won’t matter, but Pittsburgh’s is a lot better right now. My question is, is there a better rivalry in all of sports right now? Probably not.
Carolina (7 points): It hasn’t been the greatest start, but they have seven points, and that’s only three behind the Pens. They have the potential to score a lot of goals, and the Staal brothers haven’t even got going yet. Jeff Skinner leads the team in scoring despite being on the third line.
NY Islanders (6 points): Their puck possession numbers are awful and they’re being outshot almost every night, but good goaltending has kept them in it thus far. It will be fun to see how long that will last. John Tavares is starting shifts in his own defensive zone only 22.4% of the time, lowest on the team. That’s not exactly something you would expect from an MVP candidate. He did however pull a tooth out on the bench this week. So there’s that.
Columbus (4 points): Goals for/against is 12-12. Shots for/against is 127-123. Their record is 2-3. So far, everything’s been pretty average in Columbus. Except Marian Gaborik –he’s been pretty good. Cam Atkinson too.
Washington (4 points): They’re 2-5 after Wednesday night’s 2-0 loss to the Rangers. Joel Ward did this. Troy Brouwer thinks it’s effort. That’s just what happens when you ask Troy Brouwer questions. Brouwer then went out and destroyed Derek Stepan.
Oh, and the Capitals are also posing for pictures with dogs. So at least they’re still trying to make us laugh. And dogs are pretty awesome too.
NY Rangers (4 points): Well, they beat the Capitals Wednesday night. So that’s good. Having Henrik Lunquist and Brad Richards be key players in the victory is encouraging also. The shutout will surely help their 29th ranked 4.17 team GAA, Considering that the team PDO is 94 –second worst in the league. It’s easy to believe this team will be improving in the standings very soon.
New Jersey (3 points): They haven’t won a game but still have more points than the Flyers. The locals, however, are thoroughly convinced this is a very bad team.
Philadelphia (2 points): This video came from Tuesday night’s loss against the Canucks and is basically the most entertaining thing Philadelphia hockey is providing fans.
Around The Boards
In case you haven’t been paying attention, the Western Conference is absolutely destroying the Eastern Conference head-to-head this season.
Toronto: They are 6-1 despite a being a -40 in shot differential. It doesn’t make any sense. People who understand and apply statistics to this hockey stuff are baffled. The eminent demise of this team is being counted on as the catapult for advanced statistic acceptance across the entire hockey community. Don Cherry chimed in. Things are always weird in Toronto. Always.
“It’s never going to be over for me, and I realize that, and I’m fine with that. Right now, I err on the side of caution. I still watch video to reassure that there are good times to go out and be physical. It’s just a read. If you don’t change the way you visually see the game, then change is impossible.” – Matt Cooke
Max Lapierre: Will have an in-person hearing with the league Friday regarding his hit on Dan Boyle.
Ilya Bryzgalov: Still a free agent. Las Vegas will miss him…
The Bruins play the Panthers tonight: And it looks like Tim Thomas will be in goal against his former team. That’s apparently news to Tuukka Rask…
‘Would you want to play against Thomas?’ a reporter asked the Bruins’ netminder on Wednesday after practice, and prior to the news being announced that Thomas would indeed be in goal.
“Is he playing??” Rask interjected, before the gathered press mentioned [at the time] it was a possibility.
Tampa Bay: They’re off to another good start at 4-2. Their stars are on fire. Starting goalie Ben Bishop is 4-0. Never mind that start last year that saw them win six of their first seven games to only fall all the way to the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Though Marty St. Louis will likely miss tonight’s game against the Wild, at the moment things are looking up in Tampa…
Everything you need to know about tonight’s games here.