So the last time we put out these Power Rankings the Columbus Blue Jackets were in the midst of a 10 game winning streak. Low and behold as we release our first rankings of the new year, the Blue Jackets are still in the midst of that winning streak, however it is now at 16 games. The Metropolitan Division continues to be the toughest in the National Hockey League producing must see games almost on a nightly basis. All you need to know about the Metro Division is that it’s top three teams Columbus, Pittsburgh and the Rangers are also the top three in the NHL in points. Below are your Metropolitan Division Power Rankings as of Jan 4, 2017.
1. Columbus Blue Jackets (27-5-4)
As stated in the open there is no team hotter in the NHL. The Blue Jackets have won 16 straight games and have a chance to tie the NHL record of 17 (92-93 Pittsburgh Penguins) with in a win in Washington on Thursday night. During this streak Columbus has vaulted to the top spot overall in the league while playing a league low 36 games. Since the streak started Nov 29, they are second in goals scored (62) and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky has a 1.64 GAA during his 14 of the 16 wins. Watch out NHL, statement made.
2. Pittsburgh Penguins (25-8-5)
Winners of seven of their last 10 and four in a row, the Penguins are doing everything they can to keep pace with Columbus. Matt Murray is out indefinitely with a lower body injury. Marc-Andre Fleury has won four straight games allowing six goals. Sidney Crosby continues his MVP-like play with 26 goals in 32 games played. He was also voted an All-Star captain this week.
3. New York Rangers (26-13-1)
Despite winning six of their last 10 games the Rangers have fallen to third place in the division and trail the Blue Jackets by five points. They lead the league in games played (40). However, after an upcoming Friday night tilt with Columbus, the Rangers will be off for five full days. Rick Nash, Mika Zibanejad, Pavel Buchnevich and Matt Puempel all remain out with injury. The depth of the Rangers has truly been tested and so far it has passed the test.
4. Washington Capitals (23-9-5)
Winners of six of their last 10 (notice a trend?) the Capitals sit 4th in the rankings and 4th in the division. Alex Ovechkin is starting to show signs of breaking out with two goals in his last three games. Washington hosts the Blue Jackets Thursday night looking to stop them from winning their 17th in a row. Huge hockey game in D.C. for both teams.
5. Philadelphia Flyers (20-14-5)
After a 10 game winning streak pulled the Flyers right back in the division race they have lost six of seven to fall 5th in the division. Philadelphia currently holds the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference six points behind Washington and three ahead of Toronto. Steve Mason needs to be better, 16 goals against in his last seven games played has yielded one win.
6. New Jersey Devils (16-16-7)
The Devils are the first team to make a jump in the rankings (7th to 6th). New Jersey has won three of their last four including wins over the Capitals, Bruins and Hurricanes. Corey Schneider looked sharp winning both games of a back to back allowing one goal on 52 shots. Taylor Hall returned from injury to score a goal against Boston. The Devils have 39 points, six behind the final wild card spot in the East.
7. Carolina Hurricanes (16-14-7)
Although tied in points and having played two less games than the Devils, Carolina falls to seventh in the rankings by virtue of their home loss Tuesday night to New Jersey. Cam Ward continues his resurgence not allowing more than three goals in any game since a December 10th loss to the San Jose Sharks. Carolina also is six points out of the final wild card spot.
8. New York Islanders (15-15-6)
The shake-up in Brooklyn has begun. The Islanders, in the midst of a disastrous season waived #1 goalie Jaroslav Halak late last week. Halak went unclaimed and will report to the AHL. Has anyone seen John Tavares? Just one season after being talked about as an MVP candidate, Tavares has just 11 goals in 36 games. If the Islanders have any hopes of making a 2nd half push it starts with the face of the franchise.
This article was written by Scott Burke