Atlantic Watch: 3/9-3/16

It’s difficult to believe the Flyers had a rough week when they obtained five out of the possible six points this week, but an injury to Chris Pronger has caused some concern inside the Philly locker room. Tuesday Pronger had surgery to insert a small screw into his right hand to help repair a fracture. The surgery will sideline the big man for three to four weeks, which coincidentally will be around the beginning of the playoffs.

Needing to find ways to win without the veteran blue liner, Philly went 2-0-1 in their first three games without Pronger. If it had not been for a horrible third period on Saturday against Atlanta, the Flyers could easily be on a four-game winning streak right now.

After beating the Maple Leafs 3-2 in Toronto, the Flyers allowed Atlanta to comeback from a 3-0 third period deficit in their own building to win in overtime 5-4. A loss that usually kills a team’s confidence for many games to come only seemed to affect the team Saturday night as Philly then moved on to beat the Panthers 3-2 in Florida on Tuesday night.

Ville Leino had the performance of the week with a hat-trick against the Thrashers on Saturday. He also added an assist on Scott Hartnell’s goal against Florida.

Mike Richards had four assists on the week, three of which came in the game against Atlanta. His fourth assist of the week was also on Hartnell’s goal in the first period against the Panthers.

Jeff Carter’s two-goal night against the Panthers helped the Flyers to their 2-0-1 on the week as he scored the game-tying and game-winning goals.

Here’s a look at what the others teams in the Atlantic did this week:

Pittsburgh Penguins: 2-1-0. As if winning two out of the possible three games this week wasn’t good enough, the Penguins were also rewarded with Sidney Crosby skating for the first time since suffering a concussion back in January.

After Carey Price recorded a twenty-six save shutout against them on Saturday, the Penguins marched on to destroy their next two weak opponents. The Pens beat both the Oilers in Pittsburgh and the Sens in Ottawa by a score of 5-1. Despite their impressive outings, the Pens still lost ground in their chase for becoming division leader.

Both Chris Kunitz and Tyler Kennedy had a big week for Pitt. Kunitz had two goals against Edmonton and three assists against Ottawa, while Kennedy had three assists against Edmonton and a goal and an assist against Ottawa.

The Pens will face tougher competition this week as they host the Rangers in a matinee game Sunday only to travel to Detroit to take on the Red Wings the next day.

New York Rangers: 2-1-0. Dropping a road game in Anaheim seemed to be the Rangers’ only flaw this week as they won two out of there three scheduled games.

One would think a 7-0 win over a division rival a few days earlier is a momentum starter. The Rangers apparently had other plans as they gave up three goals in the first ultimately falling to the Ducks 5-2 on Wednesday.

Looking to rebound from their loss three days earlier, the Rangers beat the Sharks in San Jose 3-2 in a shootout. Brandon Dubinsky gave New York the win beating Antti Niemi in the sixth round.

To finish off the week, the Rangers handled the Islanders 6-3 on Tuesday scoring two in the first period and three in the second.

Marian Gaborik had three goals this week for the Rangers. After scoring against the Ducks last Wednesday, Gaborik registered two against the Islanders on Tuesday.

The Rangers’ strength in schedule fluctuates this week. After hosting the Canadiens tomorrow night, the Rangers visit Pittsburgh on Sunday culminating the week with a visit from the Panthers on Tuesday.

New Jersey Devils: 3-0-0. With only one game not needing extra time, the Devils came through with clutch goals this week to grab all nine points possible. Overtime wins against Atlanta and the Isles over the weekend combined with a win over Atlanta on Tuesday gave New Jersey three wins this week.

With the game tied at two late in overtime, Travis Zajac was able to find the back of the net to give the Devils a 3-2 victory. The very next day, an unlikely hero emerged to give the Devils overtime wins on back-to-back days. Anssi Salmela scored his first goal of the year just over three minutes into overtime to give New Jersey the extra point.

After two late first period goals by Atlanta, the Devils scored the next four to notch their second win of the week against the Thrashers.

Travis Zajac had three goals on the week and they all came against the Thrashers. Two of Zajac’s goals came in Thursday’s game while his third started Tuesday’s comeback.

Patrik Elias registered four points on the week with a goal and three assists. His lone goal came in New Jersey’s second game of the week against Atlanta. Elias also recorded a two-assist night on Thursday.

The Devils have a busy upcoming week as they have four games between now and Tuesday. After visiting Ottawa tonight, New Jersey hosts Washington tomorrow. Trips to Columbus on Sunday and Boston on Tuesday round out the week.

New York Islanders: 1-1-1. The Isles experienced every type of game this week as they beat Boston on Friday, lost in overtime to New Jersey on Saturday, and lost to the Rangers in regulation on Tuesday.

Down 2-0 late in the second period, a Matt Moulson goal with two seconds left in the period allowed the Isles to enter the final twenty minutes down by just one. Motivated by the late period goal, the Isles scored three in the third to beat Boston 4-2.

Unfortunately for them, the momentum of the comeback didn’t carry over to the next day as they’d lose in overtime in New Jersey.

After erasing a 2-0 deficit in the second period of Tuesday’s game against the Rangers, the Isles allowed three goals in an eight minute span during the later stages of the middle period. The Islanders ultimately lost the game 6-3.

John Tavares had five points on the week netting two goals and three assists. He registered a goal and two assists in the Isles’ loss on Tuesday.

PA Parenteau also had five points this week highlighted with a goal and an assist in Tuesday’s loss against the Rangers.

The Islanders will surely get their fill of Southeast teams this week as they visit the Hurricanes on Friday, the Panthers on Saturday, and the Lightning on Tuesday.