The Washington Capitals are currently on a four-game win streak and have a record of 17-7-3. You might expect them to be jumping out to a mondo Metropolitan Division lead just like they did last year. But as NHL.com reported Monday morning, the Metro division cumulatively went 17-1-0 last week, and the Caps gained no ground despite their win streak. They sit in fifth place in the division despite their solid record, although they have games in hand on everyone other than the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Philadelphia Flyers are on a nine-game win streak. The Penguins are 7-3-0 in their last ten and feature the league’s current leading goal-scorer in Sidney Crosby (20 goals in 22 games). The New York Rangers have a plus-35 goal differential, and the Blue Jackets are somehow plus-31. This is not last year’s Metro division.
With the World Cup over and the preseason winding down, it’s time to climb the crow’s nest and survey the lay of the land in the Caps’ division.
First things first, the Caps should repeat as Metropolitan Division Champions this year. With Barry Trotz’ steady hand at the helm, the Capitals found nearly unbridled success last season, finishing with 56 wins – the most in franchise history. They did this by having the second-rated penalty kill, the fifth-rated power play, and exceptional goaltending. Over the summer, the Caps improved their depth and are a good bet to finish atop the division yet again.
Predicting the rest of the standings is always a bit futile in a game like hockey, but it’s more fun that way so here are is a crack at how the Metro teams are doing and where they are likely to finish up.
Before tonight’s home opener, the Washington Capitals will raise a new Southeast Division Champions banner for the last time. The Capitals won half of the Southeast’s 14 division titles since 1998, but as of this season they will have to compete in the tougher Metropolitan Division, a sort of super-sized Patrick Division.
Some think the change will be disastrous for the Caps. “They will actually have to play against some tough teams in arguably the league’s toughest division,” the Pensblog said in their division preview story.
That’s not entirely correct.
The Southeast Division is no more. Starting in October, the Washington Capitals will be competing in a value-sized version of the Patrick Division from days gone by– now known as The Metropolitan Division. It’ll be a tough going, but at least now we’ve got specifics. The NHL has finally released the upcoming season schedule, and we’ve got your breakdown right here.
Well, there’s 82 games.
Some of them are on the road. Some of them are at home. About 50/50, I suppose.
More summertime analysis behind the jump, plus the whole dang sched.
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