NHL Standings: New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins Leading Metropolitan Division in Eastern Conference
The 2014-15 National Hockey League season has been an exciting one so far. One of the best division races is currently taking place in the Metropolitan Division in the Eastern Conference.
The Pittsburgh Penguins presently lead the division with a 13-3-1 record, giving them 27 points.
The Penguins have been red hot lately, winning won 10 of their last 11 games. Their only loss during this hot streak was a 5-0 defeat to the New York Rangers on Nov. 11 at Madison Square Garden. As usual, Sidney Crosby leads the Penguins in total points with 26; eight goals and 18 assists. Crosby's 26 points leads the NHL this season. Swedish right winger Patric Hornqvist has scored the most goals for the Penguins this season with nine.
Thanks to Crosby, Hornqvist and Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins have the No. 1-ranked scoring offense in the entire NHL.
The Penguins have also been very balanced defensively. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who helped the Penguins win a Stanley Cup in 2009, has increased his play this season. Fleury has been inconsistent at times, but this season he has a 1.98 goals against average and has earned four shutouts. Even backup goaltender Thomas Greiss has played good in his three starts as well.
The Penguins have the No. 5 ranked defense, allowing just 2.06 goals against per game.
This is Mike Johnston's first year coaching the Penguins, taking over for Dan Bylsma.
Although the Penguins are playing great, they can't take their foot off the gas pedal. The Islanders are just two points behind them, and they're trying to leave Long Island on a good note, as they will be playing in Brooklyn next season.
The Islanders are 12-6 this season, and they've been one of the best road teams in the NHL. The Islanders are also 3-0 in shootouts. Despite the fact that the Islanders have just a plus seven goal differential, they still lead the Washington Capitals, New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers in the division.
The Islanders have a very balanced offensive attack, with Brock Nelson, John Tavares and Kyle Okposo all having a team-leading 18 points. Nelson leads the Islanders with nine goals and Tavares has a team-leading 11 assists. Offensively, the Islanders rank fourth in goals scored per game, but defensively, 19th in goals allowed.
Jack Capuano has spent his entire head coaching career with the Islanders.
Jaroslav Halak, who the Islanders traded for this offseason, hasn't exactly resembled Billy Smith in net. The last time the Islanders made the playoffs in an 82-game season was 2006.
The Islanders and Penguins will play each other on Friday, Nov. 21 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the CONSOL Energy Center. The very next day, the two teams will face off in Uniondale, New York at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
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