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A view from the parapet: Closing out the year

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Our bi-weekly look at the rest of the Metro Division

NHL: DEC 27 Blue Jackets at Capitals Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Being a blog about the Columbus Blue Jackets and being read primarily by Blue Jackets fans, it’s perfectly natural that our focus remains inside our own lines. However, this season, we’ll take a peek over the breastworks to see just what the opposition is doing. This bi-weekly series will give a our fellow Cannonites a little intelligence on the rest of the Metropolitan Division

*Game results listed from 12/12 through 12/31

Carolina Hurricanes

12/12 – OT Loss to Vancouver

12/14 – Beat Calgary

12/17 – Beat Winnipeg

12/19 – Beat Colorado

12/21 – Loss to Florida

12/23 – Loss to Toronto

12/27 – Loss to NYR

12/28 – Beat Washington

12/31 – Beat Montreal

Last time around, Carolina had a decent cushion in the WC race. That cushion is now just 1 pt over Philadelphia. Ok, right…Philly is also a WC team. Still, it has shrunk some! The Hurricanes had a good stretch of results out west before returning east and getting shellacked. However, they ended the year on positive notes. We do think the Wild Card race will come down to Carolina and Philadelphia holding off Florida, but injuries in the Metro might shake that up a bit.

Where they rank in the Metro: Mid-World (Wild Card)

Trending: Even

Canes Country General Mood: “Dougie will represent the Canes well.” Considering his strong reputation, I am surprised this is Dougie Hamilton’s first ASG nod.

New Jersey Devils

12/13 – Loss to Colorado

12/14 – Beat Arizona

12/18 – Beat Anaheim

12/20 – Loss to Washington

12/21 – Loss to Columbus

12/23 – Beat Chicago

12/27 – OT Loss to Toronto

12/29 – Beat Ottawa

12/31 – Beat Boston

Taylor Hall is gone. They did beat Arizona in this segment, but we didn’t bother matching up the trade date with the game date. We will just assume NJD got the last laugh. Other than that, not much is going right for the team. That Boston win is a nice way to end the year, though.

Where they rank in the Metro: At the bottom

Trending: Even

All About the Jersey General Mood: “A lot of dumb rules can be fixed but the league and GMs refuse to for some odd reason.” The problem is that I don’t think the league and GMs think some of those dumb rules are dumb.

New York Islanders

12/12 – Beat Florida

12/14 – Beat Buffalo

12/17 – Loss to Nashville

12/19 – Beat Boston

12/21 – SO Loss to Anaheim

12/23 – Loss to Columbus

12/27 – Loss to Chicago

12/29 – Beat Minnesota

12/31 – Beat Washington

The Islanders are faltering. They’ve won enough, combined with Washington’s losses, to not fall further behind the Caps. However, they have allowed other teams in the Metro to catch up. Pittsburgh is only 1 point back, Carolina is 3 back. The Isles have a games-in-hand advantage, but it doesn’t seem like a sure thing that they’ll make good use of that. They still lead the league in goals allowed, but they’ve allowed 8,5,3,and 5 in their last 4 losses.

Where they rank in the Metro: Top three

Trending: Even

Lighthouse Hockey General Mood: “Starting tonight is the stretch that will define the season. The next 13 are Minn, Wash, NJ, Tor, Col, NJ, Bos, NYR, Det, NYR, WSH, CAR, NYR. At minimum they need 16 points out of that stretch.” Don’t usually see a fan projecting THIS far out as an important stretch. 13 games?! Though…lots of Metro games, so I guess he’s right.

New York Rangers

12/12 – Beat San Jose

12/14 – SO Loss to Anaheim

12/16 – Loss to Nashville

12/20 – Loss to Toronto

12/22 – Beat Anaheim

12/23 – Loss to Philadephia

12/27 – Beat Carolina

12/28 – Beat Toronto

12/31 – Loss to Edmonton

The Rangers and Blue Jackets have been swapping places at the bottom of the Metro for most of this stretch. It was a pretty tough slate of games – lots of playoff contenders and only one loss to a Metro team. Artemi Panarin continues to be the offensive driver – 22-33-55 – and the primary reason to watch this team. Still, they are still within striking distance of that last WC. We still think someone in the Metro is going to fade and that might allow the Rangers to sneak in. They’d have to fix that PK though.

Where they rank in the Metro: Bottom three

Trending: Even

Blueshirt Banter General Mood: “I cannot believe a coach could get to this level thinking that defense is based on effort and that offense is based on skill.” Probably more common than you think – Torts had similar lines in recent years. But isn’t Dave Quinn supposed to be part of the younger group of coaches?

Philadelphia Flyers

12/14 – Loss to Minnesota

12/15 – Loss to Winnipeg

12/17 – Beat Anaheim

12/19 – Beat Buffalo

12/21 – Beat Ottawa

12/23 – Beat NYR

12/28 – Loss to San Jose

12/29 – Beat Anaheim

12/31 – Loss to Los Angeles

We can safely state that the Flyers are legitimate after all. This last stretch of games wasn’t their most impressive, but they are demonstrating staying power. When they lost, they really lost – by 2+ goals every time. When they won, they really won – by 3+ goals 3 times. Carter Hart has been solid in net after a slow start this season and team got through a brief spell without Travis Konecny.

Where they rank in the Metro: Mid-World (Wild Card)

Trending: Even

Broad Street Hockey General Mood: “Not sure if I missed this conversation at some point, but I just wanted to say the Stars Winter Classic jerseys are appalling.” This is a conversation starter! What do you think, Burkus?

Pittsburgh Penguins

12/12 – Beat Columbus

12/14 – Beat Los Angeles

12/17 – Beat Calgary

12/20 – Beat Edmonton

12/21 – Loss to Vancouver

12/27 – Beat Nashville

12/28 – Beat Nashville

12/30 – Beat Ottawa

The last half of December was particularly impressive for Pittsburgh. The Pens just went around beating almost all of their opponents. The big news, of course, is that this team has lost another key contributor. Jake Guentzel is out for 4-6 months after undergoing surgery. The hockey gods seem to keep upping the difficulty level for the Penguins. Right now, they are top 7 in goals for and goals against with mid-pack special teams. We’ll see if they keep answering the call.

Where they rank in the Metro: Top three

Trending: Up

Pensburgh General Mood: “Bottom pair defender is not a priority. Getting a top 6 winger is.” You sure? CBJ have a lightly used Harrington that could really help you.

Washington Capitals

12/14 – Beat Tampa Bay

12/16 – Loss to Columbus

12/20 – Beat New Jersey

12/21 – Beat Tampa Bay

12/23 – Loss to Boston

12/27 – Beat Columbus

12/28 – Loss to Carolina

12/31 – Loss to NYI

The Capitals continue to be the class of the Metro, but they showed a knack for losing to Metro teams this last go around. That’s a good way to gack up a big points lead! Washington finally slayed their Columbus beast last week, but they lost to NYI and Carolina who are larger threats to their stature. It probably won’t matter in the end since the Islanders are not impregnable and Carolina might be too far back – but this team isn’t the juggernaut of October and November.

Where they rank in the Metro: Top of the Metro

Trending: Even

Japer’s Rink General Mood: “And Alexis DeFreniere can thank the Caps for not getting stuck in Columbus next season. And instead be with Detroit. New Jersey, Chicago, or LA.” Hahaha! Funny perspective on the Caps struggles vs Columbus.

Thanks for reading. Here’s your palate cleanser.

Florida Panthers v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images