The NHL’s Metropolitan Division is the toughest division in the NHL with four teams in the top-12 of the league in point percentage. Leading the pack are the Carolina Hurricanes, who are just behind the Colorado Avalanche while three others appear shoo-ins for the playoffs.
But how is the rest of the division doing? And how good have the teams actually been on the NHL betting lines? That is what we will review as we’re just past the halfway point of the 2021-22 season.
The Washington Capitals are fourth in the division in point percentage but it has been the most profitable team. Washington is +8.5 units for the season thanks to being moderately sized as a favorite. The Capitals have also converted on half of their pucklines and are 13-7 on the road.
The Caps are also 7-2-1 against the division and 6-4 on the puckline. Alex Ovechkin is having a Hart Trophy-worthy season. He leads the league in even-strength goals and is on pace to score 54 goals, which would be his highest mark since the 2008-09 season. This team may be “old”, but it clearly is still the cream of the crop.
It may feel blasphemous to put the Carolina Hurricanes, the best team in the division and the conference, as second on this grading sheet. However, Carolina is a bit behind Washington at +7.9 units with an easier schedule: the Hurricanes have played the second-easiest slate.
The team has also been the victim of its own success. You’ll have to stake a lot when betting online on the Hurricanes, who have generally been dependable with a 23-8 record as a favorite. They’ll have a tougher road ahead and will need to improve on its 5-4 division record to stay elite.
The Pittsburgh Penguins got off to a slow start thanks to the absence of several key players, but all things considered, this is still the same dominant regular season we’ve come to know. Pittsburgh opened the season with a 5-6-4 record and a -8 goal differential but has since gone 22-4-1 with a +42 goal differential.
This team is carried by Tristan Jarry in net and its sturdy two-way play, which has also helped them to the second-best penalty kill behind Carolina. Overall, the Penguins erased the early deficit they had on the online gambling lines and are now up 3.5 units. Similar to the Hurricanes, they will have a tougher schedule moving forward.
New York Rangers
Here come the New York Rangers! Chris Drury’s moves have paid off as the Blueshirts are not only in a firm playoff spot but are pushing Carolina and Pittsburgh for the top spot in the division. The Rangers’ combination of elite netminding and timely goal-scoring, led by Chris Kreider, has been a recipe for success.
Chris Kreider, Alex Ovechkin, and Leon Draisaitl are leading the goal scoring race with Auston Matthews not too far behind as most teams near the midpoint of 2021-22.
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) January 27, 2022
New York is up 2.3 units on the moneyline and it is 18-6 as a favorite. It’s a question of how long Igor Shesterkin can keep up his hot play in net. But if he can continue to make up for the team’s inconsistencies on defense, the Rangers are a good outright bet in a crowded division.
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets are a bit of a surprise team as well. An 18-21-1 record is nothing to brag about, but consider that this team was supposed to be the third-worst team in the NHL per the outright preseason odds. Columbus has been almost profitable: down 2.5 units thanks to a recent slide.
The team has won just three of their last seven games and is beginning to resemble the scrub team we all expected them to be. But we’re grading them based on their whole body of work and they’ve cashed enough bets for the first half of the season. Just fade them moving forward.
New Jersey Devils
We’re tempted to give the New Jersey Devils extra points for being one heck of a fun team. Jack Hughes is fun to watch and the Devils are often in high-scoring messes. But as they stand, the Devils are nine units in a hole with a 15-26 record on the moneyline. They aren’t too hot on the puckline either at just 19-22, mostly as an underdog.
Interesting enough, the Devils have been a reliable team to bet on as a favorite against their conference. New Jersey is 5-2 against conference opponents and 3-1 against divisional opponents when lined as chalk. Overall, there aren’t too many teams we’d be confident trusting them over.
New York Islanders
Just when the New York Islanders had everyone believing in them, they have gone and flopped. They started the season on a brutal 13-game road trip, ran out of gas, and lost 11 straight games (0-8-3) including their first six games at their new home. It took them eight games to win at UBS Arena.
But things have started to turn around The Islanders are 9-3-1 since getting that win and are 5-2-0 since coming from their two-week hiatus in January. However, this team has cost bettors nearly 13 units thus far so it’s tough to justify giving them a grade higher than a D. But don’t count them out entirely as they are still a playoff-caliber team.
When it rains, it pours. At one point, the Philadelphia Flyers appeared to have recaptured their mojo. This team was 8-4-2 in its first 14 games. Carter Hart was playing like the stud goaltender he was supposed to be… then the wheels came off. All of them.
Philadelphia has plummeted down the standings with a 5-18-6 record in their last 29 games, the worst point percentage in this span. Yes, even the Montreal Canadiens have them beat. The Flyers have lost 13 straight games (0-10-3) and are Grade-A fade material at this point.