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A view from the parapet: Readying for the final campaigns

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A bi-weekly view at the rest of the Metro division

Carolina Hurricanes v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI 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 (usually) bi-weekly series will give our fellow Cannonites a little intelligence on the rest of the Metropolitan Division

*Game results listed from 1/26 through 2/24

Carolina Hurricanes

1/31 – Loss to Vegas

2/2 – Beat Vancouver

2/4 – Loss to St. Louis

2/6 – Beat Arizona

2/8 – Beat Vegas

2/11 – Loss to Dallas

2/14 – Beat New Jersey

2/16 – OT Loss to Edmonton

2/18 – Beat Nashville

2/21 – Loss to NYR

2/22 – Beat Toronto

Between the All-Star Break and the Trade Deadline, the Carolina Hurricanes had a generally positive month. The Canes went 6-4-1, beat Toronto with the EBUG, and made a lot of moves at the TDL. Will it help? The wins happened when they had goalies. The TDL moves didn’t help much there. But considering that Florida might have thrown in the towel and Columbus is a couple of injuries from calling up ECHL players, they might slide into WC2 by default. However, they aren’t there yet. Carolina has been very good at most aspects of play except goaltending – which is pretty much their traditional status. Jackets fans – It is my opinion that this is the only team left that matters. If the CBJ end the season ahead of Carolina, they are in the playoffs. If not, they aren’t. That’s it.

Where they rank in the Metro: Mid-Table

Trending: Down

Canes Country General Mood: “Ordering a Ayres sweater tomorrow.” I dropped the “jk” because you totally should.

New Jersey Devils

2/1 – OT Loss to Dallas

2/4 – SO Loss to Montreal

2/6 – Beat Philadelphia

2/8 – Beat Los Angeles

2/11 – Loss to Florida

2/13 – Beat Detroit

2/14 – Loss to Carolina

2/16 – Beat Columbus

2/18 – Loss to St. Louis

2/20 – Beat San Jose

2/22 – Beat Washington

The New Jersey Devils sneakily had a pretty good February. 6-3-2 with wins and points over playoff contenders. It’s good for morale, I suppose. The Devils moved out a few expected pieces at the TDL and are stockpiling picks. They probably don’t want to win too much in March. That’s about all one can say about the Devils now.

Where they rank in the Metro: At the bottom

Trending: Even

All About the Jersey General Mood: “The last player to score 700 was a Devil – Jaromir Jagr.” Yesssssss!

New York Islanders

2/1 – OT Loss to Vancouver

2/4 – Beat Dallas

2/6 – Beat Los Angeles

2/8 – Loss to Tampa Bay

2/10 – Beat Washington

2/11 – Beat Philadelphia

2/13 – Loss to Nashville

2/15 – Loss to Vegas

2/17 – Loss to Arizona

2/19 – Loss to Colorado

2/21 – Beat Detroit

2/23 – Beat San Jose

February broke down pretty neatly for the Islanders. They started out 4-1-1 including victories over Metro teams competing for playoff spots. They finished the month 2-4-0 with the two wins against Detroit and San Jose. Those 4 points count as much as any other, but the Islanders picked a bad time to lose to divisional opponents. New York has slipped into a Wild Card spot, spent a lot of capital on their TDL moves, and have a reasonable slate of games in March. The Isles are in a good spot to catch their breath and buckle down for the stretch run.

Where they rank in the Metro: Mid-Table (WC1)

Trending: Down

Lighthouse Hockey General Mood: “I hate his stupid shovel face.” Written about…Bellows? Domi? No clue. I just want to know what a ‘shovel face’ is.

New York Rangers

2/1 – Beat Detroit

2/3 – Loss to Dallas

2/5 – Beat Toronto

2/7 – Loss to Buffalo

2/9 – Beat Los Angeles

2/11 – Beat Winnipeg

2/13 – Beat Minnesota

2/14 – Beat Columbus

2/16 – Loss to Boston

2/19 – Beat Chicago

2/21 – Beat Carolina

2/22 – Beat San Jose

Last check-in, I wrote that the Rangers had fallen badly behind the Blue Jackets. A 9-3-0 month of February has brought New York within arm’s reach of a playoff spot. Going into their game against the Islanders, the Rangers are only 6 points out of the playoffs with 2 games in hand on Columbus. The Rangers did lose their goalie of the future, but still have King Henrik and Georgiev. The Rags are top 10 in goals scored and power play. They also give up fewer goals than most teams. With Columbus fading a bit, the Rangers might step in to keep things interesting. And yeah, they are a year ahead of schedule.

Where they rank in the Metro: Bottom three

Trending: Rising

Blueshirt Banter General Mood: “Unless there is an injury, Hank may never play for the Rangers again.” Well, there’s been an injury. Still, I didn’t know Henrik Lundqvist had been that bad this season.

Philadelphia Flyers

2/1 – Beat Colorado

2/3 – Beat Detroit

2/7 – Loss to New Jersey

2/8 – Beat Washington

2/10 – Beat Florida

2/11 – Loss to NYI

2/13 – Beat Florida

2/15 – Loss to Tampa Bay

2/18 – Beat Columbus

2/20 – Beat Columbus

2/22 – Beat Winnipeg

The Flyers kept pace with Carolina in January and blew past them in February. Philly went 8-3-0 this segment with very key victories over Columbus (twice), Florida (twice) and Washington. Always smart to beat the teams ahead of you in the standings. The Flyers are now in 3rd in the Metro and inching up on Pittsburgh and Washington. This was not expected (by me). As tends to happen with playoff teams, Philly is hovering around the T10 in offense and defense. The Travis Konecny injury didn’t last very long and the offense continues to hum. Goaltending remains the weakest area for Philly but they are certainly doing enough lately.

Where they rank in the Metro: Top 3

Trending: Rising

Broad Street Hockey General Mood: “The Flyers are now closer to being in first place than they are to being out of the playoffs. But not like in a Pacific Division way.” This is a quality zinger.

Pittsburgh Penguins

1/31 – Beat Philadelphia

2/2 – Beat Washington

2/6 – Loss to Tampa Bay

2/8 – Beat Florida

2/11 – OT Loss to Tampa Bay

2/14 – Beat Montreal

2/16 – Beat Detroit

2/18 – Beat Toronto

2/20 – Loss to Toronto

2/22 – Loss Buffalo

2/23 – Loss to Washington

The Pittsburgh Penguins ended the last segment 2nd in the Metro and 4 points behind Washington. They end this segment in the exact same position. The Pens do have 2 games in hand on the Capitals. 6-4-1 isn’t a particularly strong month, but they earned more than half the points available. It was a bit of a topsy-turvy month – the Pens scored 21 goals in their 5 victories and gave up 20 goals in their 5 losses. Not really any sense to ever doubt this team in the regular season. They’ll be fine. But their goaltending is worth keeping an eye on.

Where they rank in the Metro: Top three

Trending: Even

Pensburgh General Mood: “Liking Carolina’s moves. Crazy how they never seem to address getting better goaltending though.” Well. They do try.

Washington Capitals

1/27 – Beat Montreal

1/29 – Loss to Nashville

1/31 – Beat Ottawa

2/2 – Loss to Pittsburgh

2/4 – Beat Los Angeles

2/8 – Loss to Philadelphia

2/10 – Loss to NYI

2/13 – Beat Colorado

2/15 – Loss to Arizona

2/17 – Loss to Vegas

2/20 – OT Loss to Montreal

2/22 – Loss to New Jersey

2/23 – Beat Pittsburgh

Not the best month for the Metro-leading Capitals. 5-7-1 is not ideal going into a TDL, but the Capitals made a few moves to solidify their slumping roster. On the 22nd of the month, the second most important bit of news in the league was that Alex Ovechkin scored his 700th goal. It’s a nonsense milestone only created for him since no one gave a flip when several better players passed that milestone, but whatever. Thank goodness for EBUGs. Jaromir Jagr is still the best Capital ever. Washington has kept Pittsburgh in the rearview mirror. I suspect this will remain the case.

Where they rank in the Metro: Top of the Metro

Trending: Even

Japer’s Rink General Mood: “The entirety of this is a cool story and the Toronto angle is just hilarious.” Even Caps fans know the Ayres thing was the most important happening of that day.

Thanks for reading. Here’s your palate cleanser.

Ottawa Senators v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images