As of Monday morning, the Metropolitan Division Standings are as follows:
1. Pittsburgh Penguins – 18-9-1 – 37 points
2. Washington Capitals – 14-11-2 – 30 points
3. New York Rangers – 14-13-0 – 28 points
4. New Jersey Devils – 11-11-5 – 27 points
5. Philadelphia Flyers – 12-12-2 – 26 points
6. Carolina Hurricanes – 10-12-5 – 25 points
7. Columbus Blue Jackets – 10-14-3 – 23 points
8. New York Islanders – 8-15-4 – 20 points
The Metropolitan Division is a lot closer than the Atlantic Division. In the Atlantic, you are either good or you aren’t. 5 teams have 30+ points but then one has 24 and the last two haven’t even hit 20.
The Metro Division provides a much more exciting race for the top 3 seeds in the division. Even the Islanders, who are tanking fast, are only 8 points out of a definite playoff spot.
Despite the Devils sitting in 8th place in the Eastern Conference Standings they are not in a playoff spot. The new realignment plan brings a lot of confusion as it even took me a long time to figure it out. ESPN’s playoff standing page is wrong in the respect that it is cutting off the top 8 teams when that isn’t true anymore.
SB Nation reported on the new system when the realignment passed and you can read into it more here.
The Devils sit in 4th in the division which means, at the moment, they would need a wild card spot to make the playoffs. With the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs sitting on 33 and 31 points respectively, both teams get the wild card spot. The wild card spots are handed to the highest point totals of the non-qualifying, top-3 seeds regardless of division.
With that being said, the Devils are only one point behind the third-place New York Rangers and 3 behind the Capitals. There is no reason to worry at the moment if you are a Devils fan because the top-3 seeds (depending on if Pittsburgh potentially slumps too) are more than within reach.
Obtaining a wild card spot could be tough due to the very strong top-5 in the Atlantic Division.
If the playoffs ended today, the first round matchups would be:
Boston Bruins (1) vs Toronto Maple Leafs (WC 2)
Detroit Red Wings (2) vs Tampa Bay Lightning (3)
Pittsburgh Penguins (1) vs Montreal Canadiens (WC 1)
Washington Capitals (2) vs New York Rangers (3) —- these two teams are destined to be rivals, in my opinion.
As for the Devils, they face a big Metropolitan schedule coming up. They have a crucial home-and-home with the Montreal Canadiens and that could end up being a big series in regards to the wild card once the season concludes. After they play the Detroit Red Wings on Friday, they play the Rangers, Blue Jackets, and Penguins on the road.