Sunday Rating: Rise of the Devils
Who among us could forget the screams from within 0-1 Devils’ wardrobe call the second game of the season “must win”? (Which was a game they also lost). Since that humorous one-game overemphasis, New Jersey has won 12 of its last 13, including nine in a row. The crowd used to chant for head coach Lindy Ruff’s job, now the masses happily apologize to be wrong, that, given the classification of trainers… maybe we should too?
What’s surprising is that this isn’t a Philadelphia-style start for the Devils with big results distracting from the unsustainable. shooting or red hot porter. In fact, it’s the exact opposite: The Devils are first in the league in 5-on-5 scoring adjusted by position. expected targets generatedand also first in the league by the same measure for the lowest expected goals allowed. New Jersey has not only won a lot lately, but has been the dominant team in their games. That doesn’t necessarily mean that being good in November guarantees it will stay that way long-term (NJ probably isn’t THE best team in the league, even though they’re playing like that at the moment), but it’s bullshit. a start and one of the best early season stories in the league.
Let’s take a look at the standings and take a quick tour of the Metropolitan Division to see how things are going.
New Jersey (3-0-0): The Devils are lining them up and knocking them down right now. Three home wins last week to stay top of the division for the second consecutive Sunday.
New York Islanders (3-1-0): It’s easy to think of a debate on ‘The Office’ about Hilary Swank, but in this case it’s about “Islanders are good”? They certainly got good results this week, but again, all three of their wins (Calgary, NY Rangers, Columbus) required third-period comebacks, sometimes by multiple goals. Falling behind or in deep holes late are not good signs. But showing some heart and desire to bounce back and win definitely is. Oh, and JNI also lost to Arizona this week. For closing Good luck picking it up and trying to feel confident that this is a good reliable piece of equipment.
That said, the Islanders are currently on pace for 103 points in the standings, so they should also be more than happy to be on a successful path as they try to figure it out. But this is still a pretty tough team to track exactly what they’re working with from night to night.
Carolina (1-3-0): An unusually poor week for the Hurricanes. They got off to a terrible start, losing their first two games of the week by a combined score of 6-1 to Toronto and Florida. That led to a return game on Thursday, where Carolina exploded for seven goals in a win against Edmonton to bounce back from its recent struggles. All good, right? Not really, they lost 4-1 to Colorado last night. It’s a tough week in the competition, but the Canes have not been reached this week. It’s a long season and there’s no reason to worry, but while Carolina is one of the best teams in the league, the “of” part is the key right now.
NY Rangers (2-1-1): Aside from what was supposed to be a cathartic 8-2 win over Detroit on Thursday, the Rangers have been living and dying in a lot of one-goal games. The other three games were all close, and a perfect win, a loss, an OT loss split out of every possibility. As of last night, NYR embarks on a seven-game streak against the Western Conference, and not exactly the elite either (AZ, SEA, SJ, ANA are all close), which might be a chance to get it right and gain weight at the expense of some. minor teams
Philadelphia (1-2-0): The Flyers defeated the struggling Blues 5-1 on Tuesday night, then lost two in a row as their return to earth continues. Aside from that five-goal game, Philadelphia has just eight total goals in its other five games in November as the offense struggles to find consistency and generate enough support for Carter Hart (who continues to play well).
Washington (2-1-0): The Caps deserve some credit for a successful week and beat two pretty good teams (EDM, TB) sparing a home loss to Pittsburgh. Friday’s game against Tampa turned into old-school hockey where, if you’ll ever believe it, a Washington player threw a suspendable headshot on a defenseless opponent. Washington’s decision to sign Sonny Milano from the scrap yard is starting to pay dividends, he had two goals against the Lightning and has four points in four games so far.
Pittsburgh (2-0-1): A good sign for the Pens (other than simply snapping their losing streak)? The goals returned. In Pittsburgh’s last seven games, just them averaged 2.29 goals (28th in NHL during that time). The Pens scored exactly four goals in each of their three games last week. In a wide-open NHL these days, scoring four gives you a chance to win. Getting two points usually won’t cut it.
Columbus (1-0-1): Johnny Gaudreau scored a goal and added two assists for the Blue Jackets to end a five-game losing streak Thursday against the hometown Flyers team he had interest in joining. It’s deliciously ironic, and Columbus is back in Philly next week, so hopefully he’ll do it again to remind them of the mistake they’ve made.
Model of the week
We head to Dom Luszczyszyn a The Athletic for how this model is seeing the season take shape:
This model has also impressed and lowered expectations for the Devils based on his start. He still believes in the Penguins to pull it together, but there’s also a wide range of possible tight ends for Pittsburgh right now. The battle between Washington and the two New York teams could be one of the funnest of the entire season, with potentially a spot for three teams if current projections continue.
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