Metropolitan Division Weekly: Let’s talk turkey

And other things that make you go hmmmmm.

Brad Marchand isn’t the most beloved player in the league and Artemi Panarin used the nationally televised game between the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers to let the world know. During the third period, the Bread Man delivered a well placed dirty glove to Marchand’s face — just not how you’d expect.

Everyone has a different account of what happened. Some are funnier than others.

After the game, Marchand said Panarin got into it over what to eat for Thanksgiving dinner.

In the Rangers’ locker room, everyone was more tight-lipped about the incident. Arthur Staple of The Athletic said, “Marchand made some Russian-centric comments toward Panarin — along the lines of ‘no one likes you there’ while bringing up Russian President Vladimir Putin, of whom Panarin has been critical in the past. Panarin clearly had enough. Those don’t seem like fine-worthy comments, but they might not sit well with the league.”

Rangers beat reporter Vince Mercogliano heard something similar.

Both Marchand and Panarin received a 10-minute misconduct penalty during the game. The league followed it up by fining Panarin $5,000 for “Unsportsmanlike Conduct.” Marchand was not disciplined for his comments.

Carolina Hurricanes (15-3-1)

The Hurricanes have bounced back from adversity. Well, as much adversity as a team with just four losses on the season can face. After losing 2-1 to the San Jose Sharks in overtime on Monday and the Seattle Kraken 2-1 on Wednesday, Carolina dropped a six-spot on the Philadelphia Flyers, winning 6-3 on Friday.

Sebastian Aho scored two goals and the Hurricanes snapped their two-game losing streak. Aho and Andrei Svechnikov are tied for the team lead with 20 points apiece. Aho has 10 goals to lead the Hurricanes.

The only player out for the Hurricanes is defenseman Ethan Bear, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday.

Columbus Blue Jackets (12-7-0)

Columbus lost on Saturday to the St. Louis Blues by a score of 6-3, but it was still a good week for the Blue Jackets. The team took six of a possible eight points over the past week. They beat the Buffalo Sabres 7-4 on Monday, shut out the Winnipeg Jets 3-0 on Wednesday and beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 on Friday.

Oliver Bjorkstrand leads the team with 18 points while Boone Jenner leads the team with 9 goals.

Finally, condolences to Patrik Laine and his family. His father, Harri, died earlier this week. Laine is in Finland to be with his family.

New Jersey Devils (8-6-4)

The Devils are starting to drop in the Metropolitan Division standings and this past week hasn’t helped. They lost to the Minnesota Wild 3-2 in a shootout on Wednesday and fell to the Nashville Predators 4-2 on Friday.

The Devils are dealing with some injuries. Jesper Boqvist is on injured reserve with an upper-body injury, Tyce Thompson is expected to have shoulder surgery and miss several months, Christian Jaros, Miles Wood and Corey Crawford also remain on IR.

Meanwhile, Jack Hughes is a step closer to rejoining the team. After dislocating his shoulder in October, Hughes finally returned to practice with his team on Wednesday. He was in a non-contact jersey, but it’s a step in the right direction.

On the business side of things, the Devils took advantage of Kraken mismanagement and snagged Nathan Bastian off of waivers. Bastian is the winger the Kraken selected from the Devils in the expansion draft. He’s just the latest in a line of Kraken expansion draft players that have been gifted back to their former team.

As All About the Jersey will tell you getting Bastian back is a smart move for the Devils.

Oh yeah, and New Jersey unveiled its third jersey ... and maybe a hat.

New York Islanders (5-10-2)

Even a new arena can’t save these guys. The Islanders started the season with such high hopes, but are now the basement dwellers in the Metropolitan Division.

They lost 3-0 to the Toronto Maple Leafs last Sunday and then fell 4-1 to the New York Rangers on Wednesday. The losing streak stretched to eight games on Friday when the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tristan Jarry shutout the Isles 1-0.

Despite the eight-game losing streak, Head Coach Barry Trotz isn’t worried, so you shouldn’t be either. After Wednesday’s loss to the Rangers, he said, “It’s been done before. A team won a Stanley Cup by being where we were at this time a few years back.”

As a Sharks fan, you feel for the Islanders. COVID-19 is tearing through the line-up and it’s taken too long for the Islanders to get the same break as the Ottawa Senators.

On top of a lower-body injury that will knock Brock Nelson out for two to four weeks and Ryan Pulock’s lower-body injury, Zdeno Chara was added to COVID Protocol on Monday. Chara is the seventh player on the Islanders to enter COVID Protocol. He joins Kieffer Bellows, Andy Greene, Adam Pelech, Anders Lee, Ross Johnston and Josh Bailey.

New York Rangers (13-4-3)

It was a good week for the New York Rangers. They beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-4 last Sunday and then triumphed over the Islanders 4-1 on Wednesday. The Rangers followed it up with a 5-2 win over the Boston Bruins, something we hashed out above.

Igor Shesterkin backstopped the wins over the Bruins and the Islanders, allowing just three goals on 54 shots. Shesterkin is 11-3-2 this season with a 2.22 goals against average and a .933 save percentage.

On the injury front, Sammy Blais is out with a torn ACL.

Philadelphia Flyers (8-7-4)

Philly is another one of those teams that are not having a great week. The Flyers fell victim to Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, who shutout Philly 4-0 on Tuesday. The next night, they lost to the Florida Panthers 2-1 in overtime. Aaron Ekblad had the game-winning dagger.

Then on Friday, they were trounced by the Hurricanes 6-3. Carter Hart was in net for all six goals. Though Hart is considered the team’s starting goaltender, he’s being outshined by his back-up, some guy named Martin Jones.

Jones is 3-2-1 this season with a 2.67 goals against average and a .927 save percentage. He’s the reason the Flyers made it to overtime against the Panthers.

Derick Brassard is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Nate Thompson is being evaluated for a possible dislocated shoulder. Kevin Hayes and Patrick Brown are still out.

Pittsburgh Penguins (10-6-4)

The Penguins’ win streak is over. Pittsburgh lost to the Montreal Canadiens 6-3 on Saturday. Prior to the loss, Pittsburgh had won five in a row, feasting on teams down in the dumps.

The Pens beat the Winnipeg Jets 3-1 on Monday and then added to the Vancouver Canucks’ woes with a 4-1 win on Wednesday. They followed it up with a 1-0 win over the Islanders.

Some unlikely players are leading the way for the Penguins. Jake Guentzel leads the team in scoring with 17 points and 8 goals. He’s followed by Evan Rodrigues, who has 14 points and 7 goals.

Sidney Crosby is still trying to regain his game form after missing the beginning of the season with an injury. Crosby has just 3 points in eight games. Meanwhile, Evgeni Malkin is working his way back into game shape. Malkin was captured on video skating in Pittsburgh earlier this week. He has missed the entire season so far with a knee injury.

Washington Capitals (13-3-5)

For the Capitals, let’s just name this Ovechkin Watch.

Alex Ovechkin netted a hat trick in Washington’s 4-3 win over the Panthers on Friday. He also registered a goal in last Sunday’s 5-2 loss to the Seattle Kraken and 3 assists in the team’s 6-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.

Ovechkin leads the team with 18 goals and 36 points in just 21 games. He now has 748 career goals, fourth on the NHL’s all-time goal-scoring list and just 18 goals behind Jaromir Jagr for third on the list.

The Capitals will now have to weather some injury trouble. Justin Schultz has an upper-body injury. So does Conor Sheary. T.J. Oshie is on IR with a foot injury and Lars Eller is currently in COVID-19 Protocol.

Those injuries are on top of Anthony Mantha’s shoulder injury and Nicklas Backstrom’s hip trouble.