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NHL Metropolitan Midseason Report: Tight at the Top

With the length of the NHL season, it may come as a surprise to some to learn that we’re already at the midway point of the 2023-24 campaign.

Though some teams have appeared to have been all but ousted from their chances of a playoff spot and others have continued to strengthen their positions atop the divisional standings, the Metropolitan Division is in a league of its own.

NHL Metropolitan Midseason Report: Tight at the Top
Jimmy Vesey #26 of the New York Rangers looks on against the Washington Capitals/Patrick Smith/Getty Images/AFP

The race for the divisional title continues to heat up in the Metro, and with just three points separating the first- and third-place teams, the time to make your future hockey bets is today, if not earlier.

There’s bound to be more shake-ups within the Metropolitan Division as we move into the second half of the season, and as we do so, let’s examine how the teams have done thus far to see which teams have the best NHL betting chances to take home the divisional title.


Contenders: Tight Top Three

New York Rangers (-115 to win division): Losing Ground

The New York Rangers are the current team sitting atop the divisional standings, boasting a 27-13-2 record with 56 points. However, New York may be in trouble. Though it got off to a hot start, winning 12 of its first 15 games, it has dropped four of its last five.

The Rangers have one of the top defenses in the league, with their 2.83 goals allowed a game ninth in the league, but in their last five, it has struggled, given up 3.8 goals a game. While New York’s sixth-ranked penalty kill has remained strong, its second-place power play has stalled as well, going 2-for-16 in its last five games. With a tight race at the top, the Rangers will have to figure it out fast to stay in contention for first.


Philadelphia Flyers (+2200): Heating Up

The Philadelphia Flyers have been coming on strong, winning their last four to grab the second-place spot. If Philly keeps it up and New York’s struggles continue, it could find itself in first place.

The Flyers’ season and record has been aided by a number of winning streaks, and their latest is the result of another strong defensive showing. They allowed 2.3 goals in their last four games. Philly’s goalies have been among the best in the league, ranking seventh while allowing 2.68 goals a game and their .910 combined save percentage is 10th.

With just two points separating them from first place and a stronger road record than they have at home, the Flyers should be one for bettors to keep an eye on in NHL picks for the second half of the season.


Carolina Hurricanes (+165): Not to be Forgotten

The Carolina Hurricanes are the final team fighting for first in the Metro, sitting just three points behind the New York Rangers with 53 points and a 24-14-5 record. Though Carolina has had a couple of losing skids that could threaten its spot in a close divisional race, it has fought back with force, stringing wins together to stay in contention.

The ‘Canes are led by the production machine that is Sebastian Aho, who has 48 points on 15 goals and 33 assists in 40 games to help them rank eighth in scoring, averaging 3.42 goals. Carolina has also been helped by a strong special teams unit: Its power play is fourth in the NHL, converting 27.2% of its chances, while its penalty kill is eighth with a 83.7% success rate.

Though they are currently third, the Hurricanes are not to be ignored going forward in NHL bets. With more than half of their games at home and a current 12-4-4 home record, Carolina has one of the easier strength of schedules remaining, offering an opportunity to overtake one or both of the top two teams.


Pretenders: A Wild-Card Battle

Pittsburgh Penguins (+1800): Close But Not Quite

The Penguins are just five points behind the Hurricanes in the standings currently, but after dropping three of their last five and with a power play that is one of the worst in the NHL, they might be more likely to land a wild-card spot.


New York Islanders (+2500): Figuring Things Out

The Islanders are in the same spot as Pittsburgh with 48 points to their name, but after a midseason skid and losing seven of their last 10, they could be in for more trouble. With a 8-9-4 road record, New York also has to figure out how to win on the road to battle back into the standings.


New Jersey Devils (+1400): Things Get Tougher

The Metropolitan is a tight division, and the Devils are yet another team keeping it close, just six points out of third place. However, things will get harder for a Devils team already dealing with a number of injuries. They also have one of the tougher remaining strength of schedules in the league.


Washington Capitals (+8000): Drop-off May Be Coming

Somehow, despite having one of the worst goal differentials in the NHL at -26, the Capitals still have a winning record at 20-15-6 with 46 points, but like New Jersey, things are about to get hard. Washington has more games on the road in the second half, of which it has a 9-8-2 road record, and a number of quality contenders, meaning a few more losses may be coming.


Columbus Blue Jackets (+5000): The One Outlier

Though most teams in the Metropolitan Division are separated by just one or two points, Columbus is the one team that is different with nine points separating it from Washington. With struggles winning on the road and at home, along with being one of the worst defensive teams in the league allowing 3.73 goals a game, the season continues to be a long one for the Blue Jackets.


Odds to Win the Stanley Cup

  1. New York Rangers: +1000
  2. Philadelphia Flyers: +6000
  3. Carolina Hurricanes: +1200
  4. Pittsburgh Penguins: +3500
  5. New York Islanders: +5000
  6. New Jersey Devils: +2000
  7. Washington Capitals: +12500
  8. Columbus Blue Jackets: +50000



Questions Of The Day

Which teams in the Metropolitan Division show strong midseason trends?

Philadelphia and Carolina both show some strong midseason trends.

What key statistical insights in the Metropolitan Division could guide smarter betting decisions?

Key statistical insights such as how teams have been performing on the power play or how they play on the road as well as at home could help in betting decisions.

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