Around the Metro - 2/5/15 - 2/12/15 by @kjcmalakai - PensInitiative | Pittsburgh Penguins Blog | Rumors | News

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Around the Metro - 2/5/15 - 2/12/15 by @kjcmalakai

This just in:  The Metro is pretty good.  Even the bottom feeders are playing good hockey right now. No team is worse than .500 over their past 10 games with Phildelphia and Carolina having the best records over the same span at 6-2-2 each.  No team is advancing itself away from the pack and the top of the division remains separated by only 4 points.

Believe it or not, the Penguins might be (along with the Crapitals) the healthiest team at the top of the division.  Last night, the Penguins turned back the clock to October with a 4-1 shelling of the red-hot Detroit Red Wings.  If you were to tell me that Blake Comeau would be the missing link, I would have called you crazy, but after last night he just may be.  If the Penguins can stay healthy and put out the line combos that they put out last night, they may be able to gain a few points on the Islanders and Rangers while Kyle Okposo and King Henrik are out.  The Pens need to get the special teams going, however, as they are not scoring Power Play goals and are giving up a bunch over the past several games.

While the 5-0 loss to Vancouver last week was ugly to say the least, it kind of should have been expected.  It was the Penguins' third game in four nights in Western Canada.  Needless to say, they were probably a little worn out from the travel at that point and it showed on the ice.  People will point to that game and say that the team is lacking consistency on a night to night basis, and that criticism has some merit, but for that game I am giving them a pass based on where it fell on the schedule.

Metro Games to Watch This Week
Thursday, February 12 - Pittsburgh Penguins @ Ottawa Senators
Friday, February 13 - Philadelphia Flyers @ Columbus Blue Jackets
Saturday, February 14 -  Columbus Blue Jackets @ New York Islanders
Sunday, February 15 - Pittsburgh Penguins @ Chicago Blackhawks
Monday, February 16 - New York Rangers @ New York Islanders
Tuesday, February 17 - Washington Capitals @ Pittsburgh Penguins
Wednesday, February 18 - No Metro games scheduled

Current Patrick Metro Division Standings

New York Islanders
Last Week: 3-1-0
Upcoming Games:
     Thursday, February 12 - vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
     Saturday, February 14 -  vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
     Monday, February 16 - vs. New York Rangers
     Tuesday, February 17 - @ Carolina Hurricanes
     Sunday, February 8 - Colin McDonald called up from AHL Bridgeport
     Sunday, February 8 - Harry Zolnierczyk called up from AHL Bridgeport
     Calvin de  Haan - Face
     Michael Grabner - Undisclosed
     Cal Clutterbuck - Upper Body

The Islanders rebounded well last week compared to the week before, but their schedule may have had a lot to do with it playing Buffalo and Edmonton back to back.  Their schedule remains favorable for the upcoming week, which is bad news for the Penguins who need to take advantage while they are healthy.

Last Week:  2-1-0
Upcoming Games:
     Thursday, February 12 - @ Ottawa Senators
     Sunday, February 15 - @ Chicago Blackhawks
     Tuesday, February 17 - vs. Washington Capitals
     Monday, February 9 - Scott Harrington sent down to AHL Wilkes Barre/Scranton
     Tuesday, February 10 - Mark Arcobello waived
     Christian-Ehrhoff - Concussion

Unlike the Islanders, the Penguins schedule is not favorable with the Blackhawks and Capitals coming up after the classic trap game against the Senators.  The Penguins are healthy for the first time in months and need to keep their focus and compete level up in order to take advantage.  The trade deadline looms large as this team can still use a few pieces to be true contenders.

Last Week:  3-1-0
Upcoming Games:
     Saturday, February 14 -  @ Los Angeles Kings
     Sunday, February 15 - @ Anaheim Ducks
     Tuesday, February 17 - @ Pittsburgh Penguins
     Friday, February 6 - Philipp Grubauer called up from AHL Hershey
     Friday, February 6 - Andre Burakovsky sent down to AHL Hershey
     Saturday, February 7 - Philipp Grubauer sent down to AHL Toronto
     Saturday, February 7 - Andre Burakovsky called up from AHL Hershey
     Monday, February 9 - Cameron Schilling sent down to AHL Hershey
     Tuesday, February 10 - Steve Olesky called up from AHL Hershey
Injuries:  None

Ovechkin continues to score from the Ovechkin spot and the Caps keep winning.  They've won 3 out of their last 4, with their only loss being the worst game they played all season against the Flyers.  The Caps are currently on a west coast road trip before finishing up against the Penguins.  They won their first game of the trip against the Sharks in OT last night, but as the Pens found out, 3 games on the west coast can wear a team down.  Hopefully this happens to the Caps and the Pens can capitalize. (See what I did there?)

Last Week:  1-1-1
Upcoming Games:
     Thursday, February 12 - @ Colorado Avalanche
     Saturday, February 14 -  @ Arizona Coyotes
     Monday, February 16 - @ New York Islanders
Transactions:  None
     Henrik Lundqvist - Neck
     Jesper Fast - Knee

The Rangers are learning that life without Lundqvist is basically going to suck.  It's unfortunate (for them, not for the Pens) as this team had (and still may) realistic cup aspirations.  Getting Henrik Lundqvist healthy should be their top priority while they attempt to tread water in the crowded Eastern Conference playoff race.

Last Week:  1-0-2
Upcoming Games:
     Saturday, February 14 -  @ Los Angeles Kings
     Sunday, February 15 - @ Anaheim Ducks
     Tuesday, February 17 - @ Pittsburgh Penguins
     Monday, February 9 - Anthony Stolarz called up from AHL Lehigh Valley
     Steve Mason - Knee
     Luke Schenn - Upper Body
     Rob Zepp - Leg
     Braydon Coburn - Foot

Offense just isn't enough to win in the NHL as the Flyers are showing.  Voracek and Giroux are still in the top 10 in the NHL in scoring, but it just hasn't been enough to carry the Flyers.  Steve Mason now has a possibly serious and strange injury which is most likely the dagger in the Flyers' miniscule playoff chances.

Last Week:  1-2-0
Upcoming Games:
     Friday, February 13 - @ Chicago Blackhawks
     Saturday, February 14 -  @ Nashville Predators
     Tuesday, February 17 - vs. Buffalo Sabres
Transactions:  None
Injuries:  None

Jaromir Jagr has stated that he wishes to be traded to a contending Eastern Conference team (or has he, says he has NOT asked to be traded).  Gee, I wonder who fits that description.  Looks like #JagrWatch is back on.  Besides Jagr, who else could be moved at the deadline from this team?  It's now time for the Devils to start calling up some of their prospects to see what t hey have at the NHL level.

Last Week:  2-1-0
Upcoming Games:
     Friday, February 13 - vs. Philadelphia Flyers
     Saturday, February 14 -  @ New York Islanders
     Tuesday, February 17 - @ Philadelphia Flyers
Transactions:  None
     Jared Boll - Lower Body
     Ryan Murray - Ankle
     Dalton Prout - Upper Body
     James Wisniewski - Lower Body

Yay, the Blue Jackets have won two games in a row.  Injuries have ruined this season and this is a team that probably doesn't need to blow up their roster.  If they are in the same position next season then their roster can be shoved in the cannon and blown up, but since they've had a hard luck year, I don't know if they do anything at the trade deadline.

Last Week:  2-0-0
Upcoming Games:
     Thursday, February 12 - vs. Anaheim Ducks
     Saturday, February 14 -  @ Minnesota Wild
     Monday, February 16 - @ Ottawa Senators
     Tuesday, February 17 - vs. New York Islanders
Transactions:  None
     Ryan Murphy - Leg

I'm just going to keep the same thing here that I wrote last week.  The Hurricanes continue to play good hockey and probably won't finish at the bottom of the division once all is said and done.  Now its just a question of if they can keep it up and carry the momentum into next season.

Malakai's Musing for the Week

The trade deadline is less than a month away and conventional (twitter) wisdom is that the Penguins are not done making moves, which I completely agree with.  What I have seen the most talk about is the Penguins biggest need being a top 6 winger.  Yes, it would be fantastic to add someone to the top 6, but it is not their biggest need.  The Penguins need another defenseman more than someone to round out the top 6.  The losses of Olli Maata and to a lesser extent Christian Ehrhoff have left the blue line corps depleted.  Trading Paul Martin now looks to be impossible as that would only further deplete the depth.  The Penguins have a bunch of defense prospects, but that is just what they are - prospects.  They are not yet ready for the grind that is the NHL playoffs and Crosby and Malkin are not getting any younger.  The Penguins can't afford to wait for their home grown talent to develop while the Crosby and Malkin are in the prime of their careers.  I believe that one of the defense prospects not named Pouliot along with Beau Bennett will be moved at the deadline- but they may need to do more in order to shed salary to get under the cap depending on they bring over in a trade.  A more detailed look at the trading deadline is coming up as we get closer to March 2.  What do you think the Penguins will do at the deadline?

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