Atlantic Watch: 1/18-1/24

The Flyers went 2-1-1 in a week that featured a lot of ups and downs for the guys in Orange and Black. After a week that featured a loss to the Islanders, a Scott Hartnell record a natural hat trick, and their first shootout win of the season, the Flyers are still trailing the Rangers for the top spot in the division. With one game this week, the Flyers look to gain ground in the division as well as beat a team they have already lost to twice this season.

The Flyers started the week off with a 4-1 loss to the Islanders at home to end their eight-game winning streak against New York. John Tavares extended his point streak to 11 games with a pair of assists in the win, while P.A. Parenteau also had two helpers in the Isles’ first win in Philly since April 7, 2007.

Josh Bailey recorded his 100th point in the NHL with his shorthanded game-winning goal on a breakaway with a little over seven minutes left in the second period. Matt Read had the Flyers’ lone goal, as he deflected a Sean Couturier shot past Nabokov halfway through the third period to make it a 3-1 game. Claude Giroux, who was held pointless and finished minus-3, took part in his fourth fight in the NHL, as he threw down with Dylan Reese in the second period. Evgeni Nabokov made 40 saves in the win, while Sergei Bobrovsky kept the Flyers in it for most of the game and finished the night with 23 saves.

Two days later, the Flyers traveled to New Jersey and beat the Devils 4-1, but lost a trio of players to injuries. Taking a couple heavy hits throughout the game, Danny Briere suffered a concussion in the win, while Jaromir Jagr exited the game in the first period with a groin injury to damper the huge road win. In addition to the pair of veteran fowards going down, Zac Rinaldo hasn’t played since Saturday due to a neck strain.

As for the game, Hartnell started his big weekend with a pair of goals in the win, while Wayne Simmonds registered his first three-point game in the NHL with a goal and two assists. Giroux also had an impressive game for Philly, as he recorded the secondary assist on Hartnell’s first goal and the primary assist on Hartnell’s second goal. Ilya Bryzgalov made 30 saves in the win for his ninth win with 30 saves or more, as the Flyers enjoyed their sixth win during the month of January.

The following day, the Flyers returned home and lost 6-5 to the Boston Bruins in a shootout. In a game that featured three fights, 63 hits, and 10 goals, it was Tyler Seguin’s crafty shootout move that gave Boston the additional point on the road. Hartnell had a natural hat trick, as he single-handedly turned Philly’s 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead with three goals in the second period. In addition to his scoring, Hartnell laid out Chris Kelly in the third period causing Shawn Thornton to jump him immediately after the check. Max Talbot didn’t receive as much attention for his great game, as the forward registered two goals in the loss.

Giroux had three assists and Kimmo Timonen had a pair of helpers, while Brayden Schenn played a physical game that was noticed by many. Adding on to his hit on Steven Kampfer and fight with Kelly, Schenn also laid out Johnny Boychuk in Boston’s zone which in turn led to Hartnell’s second goal of the game. Tim Thomas allowed a season-high five goals against, but made a crucial save on Simmonds during the shootout to earn the win for Boston.

To end the week, the Flyers got their second crack at a shootout and pulled out the win this time, as they beat the Panthers 3-2 in Florida last night.

Giroux had the decisive goal in the shootout, as the slick forward made Scott Clemmensen look silly on his attempt in the second round. Bobrovsky made 23 saves in regulation and overtime for the Flyers, but more importantly he stopped two of the Panthers’ attempts in the shootout. Luckily for Bob and Philly, Kris Versteeg’s attempt resulted in a bobbled miscue that Bobrovsky didn’t need to worry about saving on Florida’s first shot. Schenn had his third of the season, while Jakub Voracek had his eighth of the season, as both forwards scored in the first to give Philly the 2-1 lead. Sestito recorded his first point as a Flyer in the first period after he completed a give-and-go with Voracek for an assist. Both teams were good on the power play, as Philly converted on one of there three chances while Florida converted on one of two chances. The win advanced the Flyers’ win streak to four games against the Panthers.

As stated above, both Briere and Jagr left during the win against the Devils on Saturday. Briere has a concussion and is sidelined indefinitely, while Jagr is day-to-day with another groin injury.

Rinaldo, out with a neck strain, is day-to-day as well.

Called up from Adirondack due to the injuries in Philly were Tom Sestito and Ben Holmstrom, who both played in the games against Boston and Florida.

While playing a key role in Philly’s physical play on Saturday against Boston, Sestito had an assist and seven PIMs while going minus-1 in the two games.

A little less quiet in his time with the Flyers this week, Holmstrom had one shot on net and won 33.33% of his faceoffs.

After the All-Star Weekend festivities, the Flyers’ lone game of the week is against the Winnipeg Jets in Philly.

New York Rangers: 2-1-0. After losing their first game of the week to the Penguins, the Rangers responded with a pair of wins to seperate themselves by three points from the Flyers,who are currently second in the division. With a shutout in their final game of the week, the Rangers now have three shutouts in the month of January. The Rangers conclude January with a visit to The Prudential Center on Tuesday.

New York had a rough start to the week, as the Penguins visited and handed the Rangers a 4-1 loss. Carl Hagelin had the only goal for the Rangers in the loss, as the rookie potted his eighth of the season in the second period off of assists from Marian Gaborik and Ryan McDonagh. Hagelin’s goal tied the game at one, but a three-goal third period from the Penguins gave the visitors a big road win. Five Rangers finished minus-2, while six other players finished minus-1 in a game where no Blueshirt finished plus-1 or better. Gaborik had a game-high six shots on net, but couldn’t beat Marc-Andre Fleury as the Rangers suffered their second loss in their last three home games.

Two days later, the Rangers traveled to Boston and beat the Bruins 3-2 in overtime. Gaborik had a two-goal night for New York, registering his second of the game in the dying seconds of overtime for the win. Gaborik’s fifth two-goal game of the season was complemented with Ryan Callahan’s 16th goal of the season at the 1:31 mark of the second period, as the Blueshirts won their third game of the season in overtime. Henrik Lundqvist made 32 saves in the win, while Tuukka Rask made 30 saves in the painful loss for Boston. Andrew Ference may have scored his fourth goal of the season in the second period, but his play that will be remembered is his boarding major on McDonagh 1:50 into overtime. Ference’s hit took place behind the Rangers’ net and gave New York the man advantage for the final 3:10 in overtime, which they ultimately took advantage of for the win.

Last night, Lundqvist recorded his 40th career shutout, as the Rangers beat the Winnipeg Jets in New York 3-0. New York’s netminder made 22 saves in the win, while Callahan put home his fourth game-winner of the season with his 17th goal of the season just 4:05 into the game. John Mitchell scored in the second period and Brad Richards scored in the third period, as the Rangers produced their sixth shutout overall for the season. Mike Rupp couldn’t fight Chris Thorburn enough, as the Rangers’ heavyweight fought the Jet once in the first period and once in the second period. Both Zach Bogosian and Blake Wheeler had an especially rough game, as both players finished minus-3 in a loss that saw the Jets out shot in every period. The loss was the sixth time this season the Jets were shut out, while the win improved the Rangers to 8-3-0 for the month of January.

With McDonagh managing to be fine after Ference’s boarding on Saturday, the Rangers didn’t suffer any major injuries this week. In addition, there were no call ups or assignments to Connecticut for the Rangers.

The Blueshirts’ only game this week is a meeting with the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.

Pittsburgh Penguins: 4-0-0. The Penguins kept rolling this week, as they made their three-game winning streak seven after winning all four of their games. On their current seven-game winning streak, the Pens have needed three shootout wins and an overtime victory to earn all 14 of their points over their last seven contests. Pittsburgh looks to extend their winning streak to eight games with a match-up against a Northeast Division opponent currently out of the playoff picture on Tuesday.

Powered by a huge third period, the Pens grabbed a 4-1 victory on the road against the Rangers on Thursday night. Richard Park netted the game-winner 2:23 into the third period, while Evgeni Malkin potted his 23rd and 24th goals of the season later in the period to cap off a 3-0 Pitt third. Chris Kunitz scored the game’s first goal 3:16 into the first period and assisted on Malkin’s second goal to be one of the three Pens with two points on the night. The other Pen with two points was James Neal, who assisted on Kunitz’s goal and Malkin’s second. Fleury made 30 saves for his 10th win where he allowed one goal or less against, as he made 13 saves in the third period. Malkin had a team-high five shots on net, while not a single Pen finished with a negative rating in the team’s fourth consecutive win.

The next night, the Pens returned to Pittsburgh and beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-4 in a shootout. In addition to his game-tying goal late in the third period, Malkin had the decisive goal in the shootout as he was the only player to score with Pitt’s second shot. Fleury made two saves in the shootout, while Andrei Kostitsyn missed on his attempt in the second round, as the Pens’ goalie made 25 saves in the win. Dustin Jeffrey had a huge night for the Pens, as the winger scored two goals and had an assist. Jeffrey’s first goal of the game came shorthanded in the second period, while Craig Adams sat in the box for holding. Kris Letang had a goal and an assist in the game, as the defenseman recorded his first goal since returning from his concussion. Peter Budaj was in net for the Canadiens, allowing two goals in the third period to send the game to overtime and ultimately the shootout.

Staying in Pitt for their matinee on Sunday, the Pens beat the visiting Washington Capitals 4-3 in overtime. Malkin extended his goal streak to six games, as he potted the game-winner 1:31 into the extra frame. With the addition of two primary assists, Malkin had his fifth game of the season where he recorded at least three points. Also boasting a three-point game was Neal, who scored in the first period and tied the game in the third period for Pittsburgh. Alex Ovechkin had three points in the loss, depositing a goal 1:08 into the third for a 3-2 Washington lead that lasted 5:58. Fleury was handed the win after making 17 saves in regulation, as the Pens kept the Caps from producing a single shot in overtime. Letang put home his fourth goal of the season on the power play to open the scoring 4:51 into the game.

In the win that extended their win streak to seven games, the Pens needed four rounds of a shootout to beat the Blues 3-2 in St. Louis last night. Kunitz had the decisive goal in the fourth round of the shootout, as Malkin’s goal in the second round was cancelled out by T.J. Oshie’s goal on the next shot. Neal extended his point streak to four games with a power-play goal early in the second period, while Steve Sullivan put home his ninth goal of the season 8:50 later. Patrick Berglund single-handedly brought the Blues back into the game, scoring three minutes after Sullivan’s tally and then depositing his second of the game on a shorthanded goal off a penalty shot early in the third period. Fleury recorded his seventh straight win with a 32-save performance, while Brian Elliott stopped 37 saves in the loss, the most he has made in any game this season.

After he had missed 21 games due to a concussion, Letang returned to the Penguins’ line-up this week. Playing in all four of the Pens’ games this week, Letang had two goals and two assists with a plus-3 rating.

With the highs of their long winning streak and the return of Letang, the Pens learned they will be without the services of Arron Asham for the near future. The 33-year-old has been dealing with concussion-like symptoms, which are believed to be stemming from his bout with Florida Panthers’ forward Krystofer Barch in the clubs’ meeting on January 13th. He has missed five straight games.

Steve MacIntyre, another pugilistic forward for in the Penguins’ organization, was recalled by the Pens after being waived last week. He had 2 PIMs in 3:52 TOI in the Pens’ shootout win over the Blues last night.

The Penguins’ only game of the week takes place on Tuesday, when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs.

New Jersey Devils: 0-2-1. The Devils went on a three-game losing streak this week after they enjoyed a three-game winning streak last week. After a pair of 4-1 losses, the Devils concluded the week with their second shootout loss of the season last night. New Jersey hopes the All-Star break will help them get on the right track, as their only game this week is against the Rangers.

Losing 6-1 to them earlier in the month, the Devils had more of the same in their 4-1 loss against the Bruins in Jersey on Thursday. After Petr Sykora put home his 12th goal of the season late in the first period, the Bruins pulled off a four-goal third period to earn the three-goal victory. Martin Brodeur, who stopped the Bruins first 12 shots of the game, allowed three goals on 12 shots in the third period to hand Boston two points. Ference, Nathan Horton, Gregory Campbell, and Kelly scored in a 16:12 span of the third period for Boston, who improved to 7-1-0 against the Atlantic Division on the season with the victory. Kurtis Foster finished minus-3 in the defeat, while the only two Devils to finish plus-1 were Bryce Salvador and Mark Fayne. Thomas made 30 saves in the win for Boston.

Two days later, Jersey was handed another huge loss with a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the visiting Flyers. Alexei Ponikarovsky was the only Devil to beat Bryzgalov on the day, as the newly acquired forward redirected a Matt Taormina shot in at the 13:32 mark of the second period. David Clarkson had the only other point for the Devils, as he had the secondary assist on Ponikarovsky’s goal for his sixth helper of the season. Brodeur, who had his lowest save total for any decision to date this season with 16 saves, made a remarkable save on Simmonds early in the third period for a ”save of the year” nominee. Foster had yet another horrible game posting a minus-2 rating, while three different Devils finished with 10 PIMs or more (Brad Mills 14 PIMs, Eric Boulton 15 PIMs, and Clarkson 12 PIMs). The loss marked the Devils’ eighth game all season where they lost by three goals or more.

Last night, the Devils lost a 2-1 game to the visiting Sabres after four rounds of a shootout. Nathan Gerbe deposited the decisive goal in the fourth round for the Sabres, as Jason Pominville extended the shootout with his goal in the third round that cancelled out Ilya Kovalchuk’s goal in the first round for Jersey. Patrik Elias had the goal in regulation for New Jersey, as he potted a power-play goal 10:22 into the second period for his 18th goal of the season. Elias’ goal tied the game at one, after Jordan Leopald’s eighth goal of the season late in the first period gave Buffalo the lead after one period. Brodeur set a new low for minimum saves in a decision on the season making 13 saves in the loss, as the Devils out shot the Sabres 28-14. The loss gave Jersey their third losing streak of at least three games this season. Their longest streak was four games, which spanned from November 26th to December 3rd.

The biggest news of the week involving the Devils’ personnel was the addition of Ponikarovsky from the Carolina Hurricanes. New Jersey gave the Hurricanes defenseman Joe Sova and a fourth round draft pick in 2012 in exchange for the foward. In two games with his new club, Ponikarovsky had one goal on three shots and two PIMs.

In addition to Ponikarovsky, the Devils’ offense also got a boost with the return of Adam Henrique. After missing two games with a groin strain, Henrique was minus-3 with seven shots on net in the Devils’ three games this week.

Another player that joined the Devils’ squad was Peter Harrold. The defenseman was called up later in the week and played against the Sabres last night, where he had a shot on net in 8:01 TOI.

Mattias Tedenby and Steven Zalewski were sent down to the Albany Devils (New Jersey Devils’ AHL affiliate) this week.

Tedenby’s first game with Albany this season was their 5-2 road win over the Springfield Falcons (Columbus Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliate). He was plus-2 with two assists and two PIMs.

Zalewski hasn’t played in any games with Albany since being sent down.

The Devils only game worth two points in the standings this week is on the road against the New York Rangers.

New York Islanders: 2-1-1. The Islanders pulled off two wins this week before they lost both parts of a home-and-home with the Toronto Maple Leafs. With the addition of their 3-0 win over the Caps last Tuesday, the Islanders have earned points in four of their last five games. In their only game after the break, the Islanders look for their third win of the season against the Carolina Hurricanes.

For the first time since 2007, the Islanders walked into Philly and left with a win, as they beat the Flyers 4-1 on Thursday. Nabokov had his best game of the season, as he held the potent Flyers’ offense to one goal while stopping 40 shots in the process. With the help of several breakaways, the Islanders scored four goals in the final 39:32 of the game despite being out shot 33-15 over that time. Tavares had six shots on net to lead the team in that category, while Michael Grabner, who added the empty-net tally with one second left, had five shots on net in the Islanders’ rare win over the Flyers. The win marked the Islanders’ first win against another team from the Atlantic Division since their 3-2 win against the Devils on November 26th.

The Isles extended their win streak to three games on Saturday, as they beat the Hurricanes 2-1 in overtime on Long Island. After Jeff Skinner’s 13th of the season 8:43 into the game, Tavares scored the game’s next two goals to give the Islanders two points on the night. After his 18th goal of the season 7:46 into the second period, Tavares put home his second of the game with only 1:02 left in overtime. The pair of goals extended Tavares’ point streak to 12 games, as the Islanders out shot the Canes 23-8 in the second period and 40-33 overall. In addition to his two goals, Tavares was the only player to finish plus-2 and was one of two players, along with Matt Moulson, to finish the game with seven shots on net.  Nabokov made 32 saves and allowed one goal or less for a second consecutive game, as the Islanders enjoyed their third three-game winning streak of the season.

New York didn’t extend their win streak to four games, as they lost 3-0 to the Maple Leafs in Toronto two days later. Matthew Lombardi had a two-goal game for the Maple Leafs, as Phil Kessel potted his 26th goal of the season in between Lombardi’s markers to round out the goals for Toronto. Jonas Gustavsson racked in his third shutout of the season stopping all 25 of the Islanders’ shots on net. Parenteau finished minus-3, while four other Islanders finished minus-2 in a game where Toronto wasn’t called for a single penalty. The loss marked the eighth time all season the Islanders were shut out by an opponent, and dropped the Isles record to 3-5-0 against the Northeast Division on the season.

Last night, the Maple Leafs swept the home-and-home with a 4-3 overtime winner in New York over the Islanders. Clarke MacArthur had a three-point game, as one of his two goals on the night was the game-winner 2:06 into overtime. Tavares scored 1:54 into the game to give the Islanders an early lead, which was extended by Bailey’s shorthanded tally 9:17 into the second period. While Gustavsson earned another win against the Islanders, Al Montoya made 17 saves in his first action since December 20th. Similar to the night before, the Maple Leafs played a disciplined game, as Kessel’s roughing minor halfway through the second period was the only penalty Toronto posted in either game of the home-and-home. For the Maple Leafs, defenseman Jake Gardiner, who took part in his 42nd NHL game last night, recorded his first NHL goal 1:47 into the third period.

The Isles didn’t suffer any major injuries this week, call up any players from Bridgeport, or send any players down to Bridgeport.

The Islanders travel to Carolina after the All-Star Weekend to take on the Hurricanes Tuesday night.