The current standings in the Metropolitan Division tell a story. Overall, nobody in this division is playing well. That is not to say they are playing terribly, just not at a high level at this point.
How can you tell no one is playing well in the Metropolitan Division but also not terribly? Among the eight teams, no one has won more than six times in their past 10 games and only the New York Islanders has managed to win less than four times (3) in the same time span.
Here is another telling element of mediocrity: Washington leads the division with 57 points, which is the lowest among the four divisions. The Capitals have a scoring differential of just +12 and here is how that compares to the other division leaders.
Tampa Bay +49
However, there are no awful clubs, and because of this the spread in points from first to last place is just 11. That leaves the door open for any team to win five in a row or eight of nine and make a dramatic move in the standings. So how come this has not happened and what is the problem?
Nobody Can Win On the Road
If you looking over the NHL odds daily from the Metropolitan, whom do you trust away from home?
Washington 9-11 SU
New Jersey 10-11
N.Y. Rangers 7-10
N.Y. Islanders 9-14
Add this up, and these squads on the road are 72-99. That is the single greatest factor for failure of this contingent. Winning consistently or assembling a hot streak requires any team to elevate their level of play, and that is not happening for anyone in this group.
Tired Penguins Have to Use Down Time to Rejuvenate
The two-time defending champion Penguins are wrapping up their "winter break" and return to action Jan. 13 after five days off. They will play seven times in next 13 days and be off for four more days (at least most of the players) for the All-Star break.
From Pittsburgh's first game of the season, it was evident this was a tired hockey club after two long journeys to winning two Stanley Cups. Hopefully for them, they used the time off wisely, and as poorly as they have played they are still just seven points from being in second place in their division. Let's see if the Penguins make a trade for another scorer and shore up the No. 24 defense.
Rangers In Trouble or Can They Overcome Themselves?
The New York Rangers should be better than they are playing. This is why anyone making NHL picks has been perplexed about this team all season. The 1-7 start was later offset by winning nine of 11. The Blueshirts do not have bad numbers, ranked 13th in scoring and in the Top 10 for fewest goals allowed and penalty killing.
Then what is the problem and can it be resolved? If you look up the standard Corsi ratings (Google it if you want more info), the Rangers are 25th. The team must commit to doing all the little things that win games. Unless this changes, New York will remain where it is. In addition, Henrik Lundqvist has faced the third-most shots in the NHL among goalies, and the Rangers will play 24 of their remaining 40 games away from Madison Square Garden.Bet On NHL Futures At SBR's Top-Rated Sportsbooks