The Flyers, like most teams, traditionally raise their sticks to the fans at the conclusion of a season. Is this the year that they raise some heavier, silver hardware? Read on. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday Poll: How Will The Flyers Finish in the Metro?

With about 1/4 of the NHL season completed, now may be a good time to take a look at the Metropolitan Division. So far this season, the Metropolitan Division has been the weakest division in the league. With a majority of the teams at or below .500 it is the only division in which the Flyers still have a legitimate shot at the playoff picture. Right now the Flyers sit 7th in the division but are within four points of 3rd place and a playoff spot. Let’s take a brief look at the Metropolitan Division teams and see what is in store for Philadelphia:

Pittsburgh Penguins

Overall Record: 12-8-0 (24pts)

Last 5 games: 1-4-0

Last 10 games: 5-5-0

Trending: Down

The Penguins have lost four out of their last five games and have only scored 1.6 goals per game in that span.  Sidney Crosby has been held to one goal and one assist while Evgeni Malkin has not scored a single goal (he has notched five assists).  Without their high-powered offense, the Penguins become much less scary.

Washington Capitals

Overall Record: 11-8-1 (23pts)

Last 5 games: 3-1-1

Last 10 games: 6-3-1

Trending: Up

The Capitals have come on strong lately and are now only one point behind the Penguins.  They have surged to second place due to the sensational play of Alex Ovechkin and great special teams work.  Ovechkin is second in the NHL in goals with 15 goals in 18 games.  Both their PP and PK are second in the NHL.  The PP converts at a rate of 24.4% while their PK unit shuts down the opponent 87.3% of the time.

New York Rangers

Overall Record: 10-9-0 (20pts)

Last 5 games: 4-1-0

Last 10 games: 7-3-0

Trending: Up

Even under new head coach Alain Vigneault the Rangers have struggled to find the back of the net.  They have been without Rick Nash for a majority of the season and are averaging 2.3 goals per game (24th in the NHL).  However, they may have turned the corner in the offensive end, as they have averaged 3.2 goals per game over their last five games.  Henrik Lundqvist is 6-7-2 with a SV% of .915 and a GAA of 2.51.  Although his numbers are not bad, they are a step below the numbers that Rangers fans have come to expect from him.  The Rangers started the season 3-6 on a nine game road trip and have come on strong ever since.

Carolina Hurricanes

Overall Record: 8-8-4 (20pts)

Last 5 games: 3-1-1

Last 10 games: 4-5-1

Trending: Up/Even

The Hurricanes have beaten both the Colorado Avalanche and the Anaheim Ducks in their last five games so they seem to be headed in the right direction.  Even as they have been plagued by an offensive drought, averaging 1.9 goals per game (28th in NHL), they have still managed to come away with 7pts in their last five games.  Third string goaltender Justin Peters has come up big recently, only allowing eight goals in his last five starts.  One thing that is holding this team back is their special teams, which are in the bottom third of the league (PP – 24th in NHL, PK – 21st in NHL).

New Jersey Devils

Overall Record: 7-8-5 (19pts)

Last 5 games: 3-1-1

Last 10 games: 6-3-1

Trending: Up

The New Jersey Devils started the season 1-5-4 but have also come on strong.  They are relying on two veterans who are over 40 years old, Jaromir Jagr and Martin Brodeur.  Jagr leads the team in scoring with 16 points in 20 games, including two goals in last night’s victory.  Brodeur is 6-3-2 with a SV% of .919 and a GAA of 1.98.  Brodeur has only allowed four goals total in his last five starts.  The Devils are a very good defensive team.  They are 9th in the NHL in goals against (2.3 per game) and 7th in the NHL on the PK at 85.9%.

New York Islanders

Overall Record: 8-10-3 (19points)

Last 5 games: 2-3-0

Last 10 games: 4-6-0

Trending: Down

The Islanders were able to come away with two points last night despite giving up a tying goal in the final minute of regulation.  The Islanders have the worst PK in the NHL (73.4%) and have been without recently acquired winger Thomas Vanek for the last four games due to an upper body injury.  The only Islander who has been a bright spot over the last few games is the captain, John Tavares, who has 25 points in 21 games this season.

Philadelphia Flyers

Overall Record: 7-10-2 (16pts)

Last 5 games: 3-1-1

Last 10 games: 5-3-2

Trending: Up

Even though they have only averaged 1.8 goals per game this season (29th in NHL), the Flyers still find themselves only eight points back from the division lead with 3/4 of the season remaining.  The only reason they are even within striking distance is because of goaltender Steve Mason who is 5-7-2 with a SV% of .931 and a GAA of 2.13.  He has given the Flyers a chance to win every game in which he has played.  The Flyers are averaging 3.25 goals per game in their last four games and may have finally found their offense.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Overall Record: 6-10-3 (15pts)

Last 5 games: 1-1-3

Last 10 games: 2-5-3

Trending: Down

The Blue Jackets came into the season with reason for hope, but instead they have had quite a bit of disappointment.  Reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky is 5-8-2 with a .908 SV% and a 2.83 GAA (last year he had a .932 SV% and a 2.00 GAA).  The Blue Jackets offense is ranked 21st in the NHL, averaging 2.5 goals per game, and no player on the Blue Jackets roster has scored more than five goals this season.

So there you have it.  With a majority of the division trending up, it could still be a long road for the Flyers to climb into a playoff spot, but with 63 games remaining, it can be done.  Where do you think the Flyers will end up this season?

Where Will the Flyers Finish in the Metropolitan Division?

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Tags: Alexander Ovechkin Jaromir Jagr Martin Brodeur Metropolitan Division Philadelphia Flyers Steve Mason

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