Atlantic Watch: 2/23-3/1

Despite playing two pathetic games, the Flyers still found a way to come out with a win at the end of the week. After blowing a two-goal lead in the third period, Andrej Meszaros was able to save the Flyers from embarrassment by scoring in overtime on Thursday finalizing the score at 4-3.

Thanks to several hectic events on Saturday (Chris Pronger and Oskars Bartulis injured, Erik Gustafsson making his NHL debut, and James van Riemsdyk briefly being sent down to the Phantoms), the Flyers were beat by a team that shouldn’t even be in the same league as them. The Ottawa Senators capitalized on only being down by a Scott Hartnell goal after the opening period despite being out shot 15-3. Keeping the Flyers off the scoreboard for the next two periods, the Sens scored a pair in both the second and third periods winning the game 4-1. Erik Condra netted two goals, including his first goal in the NHL, while Chris Phillips scored his first on the season.

With his team sitting atop the Eastern Conference, Flyers’ GM Paul Holmgren found no reason to shake things up. “I wasn’t going to disrupt things,” said Holmgren, “I like our team, so I actually felt good about (no moves).”

That being said, the Flyers will be welcoming some new faces to the club. Veteran defense man Nick Boynton was picked up off waivers from Chicago on Saturday due to the news Oskars Bartulis will be out for the remainder of the season. In addition to this move, the orange and black also picked up Tom Sestito from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Adirondack’s Greg Moore and Michael Chaput.

Here’s a look at how other teams in the Atlantic did throughout the week and what deals went done.

Pittsburgh Penguins: 1-1-1. Still looking for ways to win without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins lone win on the week was edging out the Maple Leafs on Saturday 6-5 in a shootout. An overtime loss to the surging Sharks 3-2 on Wednesday and being completely dominated by the Hurricanes on Friday 4-1 filled out the rest of Pitt’s schedule this week.

 Alex Kovalev made his mark in a Pens’ uniform scoring the opening goal in Saturday’s game along with scoring the only goal in the shootout to give the Pens the win. Mark Letestu also made his presence felt in Saturday’s game by scoring a power-play goal in the second period as well as assisting on Mike Rupp’s game-tying goal in the third period.

The Penguins didn’t make any moves on deadline day, but they did acquire Kovalev from the Senators for a conditional draft pick in the 2011 draft earlier in the week. 

New York Rangers: 1-2-0. After demolishing the Capitals 6-0 on Friday, the Rangers lost back-to-back one-goal games giving them two out of the six points possible this week. Losses at home on Sunday to Tampa Bay 3-2 and last night against Buffalo 3-2 dropped the Rangers even further behind the second place Penguins.

Erik Christensen had a five point week registering three goals and two assists over the three game span. His biggest game of the week was the Caps game, where he scored two goals and assisted on both of the Rangers’ third period goals. Christensen also scored a goal last night against Buffalo for his ninth on the season.

Former Flyer Martin Biron is most likely out for the remainder of the season with a fractured collarbone. Biron suffered the injury after taking a shot to the collarbone during practice on Monday. Cam Talbot has been called up to fill in for Biron.  

The Rangers were busy around the deadline as they made two different deals. On February 25th, the Rangers gave the Florida Panthers Tim Kennedy and a third round pick in the 2011 draft in exchange for defense man Bryan McCabe. The veteran defense man tallied his first point for the Blueshirts last night assisting on Christensen’s second period power-play goal.

In addition to McCabe, the Rangers also added forward John Mitchell from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for a seventh round pick in the 2012 draft. Mitchell had two goals and one assist in twenty-three games this season for Toronto.

New Jersey Devils: 1-1-0. The Devils were able to beat the Panthers 2-1 on Sunday in what appears to be Jason Arnott’s last game in a Devils’ uniform. Dropping their first game of the week 2-1 to the the Lightning on Friday, the Devils ended up going .500 on the week.

Not a single Devil this week registered more than a point. Brian Rolston had the only game-winning goal of the week scoring on the powerplay halfway through the first period on Sunday.

Although he lost his lone start of the week on Friday, Johan Hedberg’s ability to step up while Martin Brodeur was injured did not go unnoticed. Hedberg was named the NHL’s third star of the month for February posting a record of 7-1-1 with two shutouts over the ten game span.

The Devils took part in one of the biggest moves on deadline day. Unfortunately, they were on the wrong side of the deal. Accepting David Steckel and a second round pick in the 2012 draft in return from Washington, the Devils shipped Jason Arnott to the nation’s capital. Steckel is regarded as one of the best faceoff men in the league, but Arnott’s effect on the Capitals will surely have a greater result than Steckel’s effect to the Devils.  

New York Islanders: 0-1-2. The only winless team within the division this week, the Islanders still found a way to gain two points forcing two of their games into overtime. Meszaros scored in overtime on Thursday for Philly, while Alex Ovechkin scored last night to keep the Isles from winning within the week.

The Isles handed the Caps two wins this week after blowing a pair of third period leads. Heading into the final period on Saturday, the Islanders were up 2-1 before both Mike Knuble and Alexander Semin found the net before the six minute mark. Semin’s goal turned out to be the game-winner as the Caps hung on for a 3-2 win on Long Island.

Not learning their lesson, the Islanders had a 1-0 lead over the Caps heading into the third period again in Washington last night. Brooks Laich scored with forty-eight seconds left in the game sending it to overtime where Ovechkin went coast-to-coast allowing the Isles to choke away another late game lead.

Matt Martin isn’t known as a goal scorer, but he stepped up on Thursday to give his team a chance. Shortly after Jeff Carter had just put Philly up 3-1 in the third period, Martin responded with his third goal of the season a minute and twenty-six seconds later. In the final minute of play, Martin was able to get off a shot from the slot while being checked to score his second goal in the period and his fourth goal on the season.  The Isles were unable to utilize Martin’s goal with twenty-eight seconds left in regulation as they watched Meszaros and the Flyers celebrate an overtime victory.

The Islanders didn’t make any moves near the trade deadline.