Oct 3, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) and center Sidney Crosby (87) react after defeating the New Jersey Devils at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Pittsburgh Penguins won 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Metropolitan Outlook: October 11th, 2013

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Well, the Penguins drenched your hopes of a 82-0 season with a loss Friday night to the Florida Panthers for their first game of their away stretch.

Jeff Zatkoff, the rookie back-up goaltender, started in his first NHL game and was unimpressive to say the least.

Zatkoff finished the game with a 6-3 loss, 6.00 GAA and a .800 save percentage.  He looked lost out their on the ice and was allowing rebounds left and right.

While it was his first game, their aren’t high hopes for the future of the 26-year-old goalie anymore.

But while the Penguins surrendered their first loss of the season, four teams in the Metropolitan Division were busy with some game action of their own.

The Penguins’ cross-state rival, the Philadelphia Flyers, took on the Phoenix Coyotes for their fifth contest this season.  The Flyers lost to the Coyotes with a 2-1 final score.  Rob Klinkhammer and Oliver Ekman-Larsson got Phoenix on the board against Philly goalie Steve Mason.  Former Pen, Maxime Talbot, added the only goal for the Flyers.

The Los Angeles Kings and Carolina Hurricanes was a great game that featured All-Star goalies in Cam Ward and Jonathan Quick.  The game ended with the Kings stealing a 2-1 victory in a shootout.  Jeff Skinner with the lone goal for the Canes’ during regulation.

Another Metropolitan Division team playing tonight was the New York Islanders, who took on the recent Stanley Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks.  While the Islanders keep it close with goals from forwards Kyle Okposo and Josh Bailey, Michal Handzus’ goal in the second period proved to be too much for the Isles.

The final game going on in the Metropolitan was the New Jersey Devils taking on the Calgary Flames in Alberta, Canada.  The Devils looked to get their first win of the season but Calgary had something to say for themselves.  Flames rookie Sean Monahan scored his fourth goal of the season in the third period to end the Devils’ chance at a win.

So while Penguins fans are upset about the team’s first loss of the season, losses by every other team in the Metropolitan lighten the mood of the disappointment.

With all the Metropolitan teams done for the day, let’s look at the standings for the division.

1. Pittsburgh- 4 GP – 3 W – 1 L – 6 points

2. Carolina- 5 GP – 2 W – 1 L – 2 OTL - 6 points

3. Islanders- 4 GP – 2 W – 1 L – 1 OTL – 5 points

4. Columbus- 3 GP – 2 W – 1 L – 4 points

5. New Jersey- 4 GP – 0 W – 1 L – 3 OTL – 3 points

6. Rangers- 4 GP – 1 W – 3 L – 2 points

7. Washington- 4 GP – 1 W – 3 L – 2 points

8. Philadelphia- 5 GP – 1 W – 4 L – 2 points

Things are looking good so far for the Penguins through four games — by being tied with the Hurricanes at 6 points each.

A couple of the surprises on the list include the Devils, Rangers and Capitals.

The Devils, who acquired goaltender Corey Schneider this offseason, looked like they would improve from their poor performance last season.  He has a lowly two losses, 2.94 GAA and .887 save percentage.  The one bright spot in their lineup has been young forward Damien Brunner, who has 3 goals and an assist in four games.

The Rangers have only had one win with a fabulous team and outstanding goaltender in Henrik Lundqvist.  Lundqvist hasn’t been outstanding, boasting a 4.30 GAA (which is his worst start of his entire career).  Not to mention, captain Ryan Callahan, All-Star Rick Nash and young stud Derek Stepan haven’t found the back of the net yet.

To think that Alexander Ovechkin already has 7 points (5 G, 2A) on the season and the Capitals only have one win, is absolutely crazy.  This attests to two things, poor defense and goaltending.  Forwards Eric Fehr and Joel Ward are showing a -7 and -5 rating respectively.  Braden Holtby, the average goalie who turns to a superstar in the playoffs, has returned to his regular play — posting a 4.04 GAA and .873 save percentage.

The Penguins are lucky to get great goaltending so early from Marc-Andre Fleury, especially since most teams are finding that their netminder’s poor play have resulted in most of their losses.

Could this be attested to the new rules implemented in the NHL?

It could.  The goalies will get used to it and less goals will be scored in the coming weeks.  It is hard to play one way your entire career and then have to change it up in just a few months.

The Penguins will look to get their fourth win on the season as they head to the Times Forum to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.

Let’s see if the Penguins can continue to add points to the win column in the near future!

While we take a look around the division don’t forget to look ahead and make your plans for the Stadium Series game at Soldier Field. You can find Pittsburgh Penguins outdoor game travel packages available from PrimeSport here.

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