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Metropolitan Division Weekly: Hurricanes, Capitals stay on top

Plus, Sidney Crosby returns and an update on Jack Hughes.

Oct 29, 2021; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Antti Raanta (32) and right wing Sebastian Aho (20) celebrate their victory against the Chicago Blackhawks at PNC Arena. James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Hurricanes are still holding on to that undefeated status, while the Capitals show they’re not washed up as some pundits think. Plus, bad news out of Jersey: Jack Hughes won’t be back soon.

Here’s what you missed in the Metropolitan Division this week:

Carolina Hurricanes (7-0-0)

Losing top defenseman Dougie Hamilton hasn’t slowed down the Carolina Hurricanes. They rolled off three more wins since we last checked in on them. The Hurricanes added to the Toronto Maple Leafs’ woes, beating the Leafs 4-1 on Oct. 25. It was a fitting win for goaltender Frederik Andersen, who was practically run out of Toronto at the end of last season. He made 24 saves in the win.

Anderson followed it up with a shutout of the Boston Bruins on Oct. 28. As the San Jose Sharks witnessed first-hand, it’s difficult to keep Boston’s top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak off the score sheet, but Andersen stepped up. He stopped 33 shots to claim the shutout.

One night later, the Canes kept rolling, this time over the floundering Chicago Blackhawks. Carolina won 6-3 in front of Antti Raanta. It was Raanta’s first game in net for the Canes.

Andrei Svechnikov is tearing it up since joining Carolina. In his first seven games, he has 11 points including 7 goals and 14 penalty minutes. Sebastian Aho is close behind, with 10 points (5 goals, 5 assists).

Washington Capitals (5-0-3)

This past week was a good one for the Washington Capitals. They managed to get at least a point in all four of their games. Things started off with a 4-3 loss to the Calgary Flames. The loss came in overtime, so the Capitals walked away with a point.

The Caps followed it up with a 7-5 win over the Ottawa Senators on Oct. 25. T. J. Oshie registered the hat trick and Alex Ovechkin added two goals of his own in the win.

Two days later it was a 3-2 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings. The Capitals finished up the week with a 2-0 shutout of the Arizona Coyotes. Ilya Samsonov only had to make 16 saves to secure a perfect night.

Ovechkin continues to look ageless. The 36-year-old has 15 points this season including 9 goals. He’s going to need to continue his tear if the Capitals want to keep winning. Oshie was placed on injured reserve following the win over the Sens and Nic Dowd is considered day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

Normally I drop hockey highlights here, but this is the play of the week for the Capitals:

New York Rangers (5-2-1)

To the Big Apple, where it was only a so-so week for the Rangers. They lost to the Flames 5-1 on Oct. 25, but bounced back with a shutout of the Columbus Blue Jackets on Oct. 29. Netminder Igor Shuesterkin stopped 31 shots for the win and defenseman Adam Fox tallied three assists.

Fox leads the team with 8 points and 7 assists. Chris Kreider has scored 6 goals for the Rangers this season.

The team is without forward Ryan Reaves, who is on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.

Philadelphia Flyers (4-2-1)

The Metropolitan Division is tough this season. Even though Philly only has one regulation loss in this young season, the Flyers are still in fourth place. Philadelphia continued its winning ways on Oct. 27 with a 5-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers.

The next night, our good friend Martin Jones reeled off a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Jones stopped 27 of 28 pucks in the win.

I saw a crazy stat the other day:

Food for thought.

The Flyers ended their week on a low note, getting shutout by the Flames 4-0 on Oct. 30.

Sean Couturier leads the team with 9 points. Cam Atkinson has a team-leading 6 goals.

Newcomer Ryan Ellis is day-to-day.

New Jersey Devils (4-2-0)

The Devils are doing better than many expected to start the season. They lost to Calgary 5-3 on Oct. 26, but bounced back with a 4-2 win over Sidney Crosby and the Penguins on Oct. 30.

Three players lead the team with 5 points: Pavel Zacha, Dougie Hamilton and Andreas Johnsson. Zacha also leads the team in goals scored with 4.

New Jersey is without goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood and forward Jack Hughes. Blackwood has a heel injury. He took some of his recovery time to receive his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine earlier this week.

The news isn’t great for Hughes. He separated his shoulder in a game against the Seattle Kraken on Oct. 19 and doctors are now saying he won’t be back into action for at least five weeks. That’s a tough loss for the Devils, who prior to the Hughes injury looked like they could make some waves in the Metropolitan Division.

We’ll wrap this up with a look at Hamilton in good spirits after the win.

New York Islanders (3-2-2)

Many people thought the Islanders were better than sixth place in the Metropolitan Division, but so far, they haven’t shown it.

The team followed up last week’s shutout of the Arizona Coyotes with a 2-0 shutout of the Vegas Golden Knights on Oct. 24. Ilya Sorokin stopped 42 shots and outdueled Robin Lehner for the win. The team was off for nearly a week before playing the Nashville Predators on Oct. 30. They lost in the shootout, 3-2.

The Islanders aren’t getting a lot of support from their top players. Their leading scorer is Josh Bailey, who has 5 points (1 goal, 4 assists) this season. Oliver Wahlstrom leads the team with just 4 goals.

If the Islanders want to keep pace in the Metropolitan Division, they’re going to need to start putting more pucks into the net.

Columbus Blue Jackets (4-3-0)

The Blue Jackets are continuing their so-so start to the season. They beat the Dallas Stars 4-1 on Oct. 25, but lost to the Rangers 4-0 on Oct. 29.

Oliver Bjorkstrand leads the team with 9 points (3 goals, 6 assists). Bjorkstrand is one goal behind Boone Jenner for the team lead.

Columbus lost a few players this past week. Dean Kukan is out with a fractured wrist. It will be a while before he returns to the line up. Adam Boqvist is day-to-day.

They need to win more if only so I can watch this happen over and over again.

Pittsburgh Penguins (3-3-2)

The Pengiuns held their own at the start of the season, even without Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, but they’re in the middle of a skid and the return of Crosby has not helped.

Crosby was back in the lineup on Oct. 30 but didn’t make it onto the score sheet and finished the night a minus-3 in the 4-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils. Crosby also took the penalty that gave the Devils the lead for good. His penalty led to this penalty shot and goal by Jesper Bratt:

It is the third straight loss for the Penguins who lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1 on Oct. 26 and were shutout by the Flames 4-0 on Oct. 28.

Scoring is scarce for the Penguins. Danton Heinen leads the team with 6 points. He’s also tops in goals with 4.

The team is still without defender Kris Letang, who is on COVID-19 protocol.