There's no question which team will win the Metropolitan Division. After that, however, things are wide open.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have dominated the division almost since opening night, and despite injuries that forced them to raid their farm system, they return from the Olympic break with a 16-point lead over the second-place New York Rangers. Sidney Crosby is poised to win another NHL scoring title, but the Penguins have enough offensive depth, defense and goaltending to pace them through the final six weeks of the regular season before what they expect will be a long run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The other two automatic playoff berths in the division are very much in play, as are the Eastern Conference's two wild-card berths.
The Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers survived bad starts and return from the break second and third in the division, respectively. They're trying to fend off the Columbus Blue Jackets, Washington Capitals, Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils, all of whom have been inconsistent but are no more than a short winning streak away from jumping into the top three. Only the New York Islanders appear to have too much of a hill to climb to make the postseason.
Here's a look at the eight Metropolitan teams as they prepare for the stretch run: