Atlantic Watch: 2/1-2/7

After a dominant victory on Thursday against one of the hotter teams in the league, the Flyers proceeded to drop their next handful of games to suffer their first three-game losing streak of the season.

Poor starts and poor goaltending hurt the Flyers over the weekend, as the only other point they gained this week was from last night’s shootout loss. Hopefully for Philly, their play turns around, as they face three tough opponents over the next seven days.

On Thursday, the Flyers handed the Nashville Predators a 4-1 loss in Philadelphia.

Matt Read had the game-winner in the second period, while Wayne Simmonds had a two-goal game to help the Flyers end the Preds’ five-game winning streak. Ryan Suter was the lone Pred to beat Ilya Brzygalov on the night, as the Flyers’ goalie made 26 saves for his second straight game with only one goal against. Claude Giroux ended his 12-game goal drought with an empty-net tally, as he also had an assist on Simmonds’ second goal of the night. Anders Lindback suffered his fifth straight loss for the Predators, as he received little help from his teammates in a 24-save night. The win extended the Flyers’ point streak to five games, as they posted a record of 3-0-2 over the streak.

The Flyers couldn’t extend the point streak to six games, as a horrible start caused them to lose 6-4 at home to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday afternoon.

Alexei Ponikarovsky had the game-winning goal, but it wasn’t obvious at the time, as his ninth goal of the season 1:37 into the second period gave the Devils a commanding 5-0 lead. With the addition of Kurtis Foster’s second power-play goal of the game, the Devils headed into the final 20 minutes up by six goals. Philly, not giving up, scored four goals in the third period to make it a two-goal loss. Simmonds scored the Flyers’ first goal for his 16th goal of the season before Jaromir Jagr ended his 10-game goal drought with a tally less than six minutes later. Giroux and Jakub Voracek scored 51 seconds apart later in the period, but that was all the Flyers could muster.

Sergei Bobrovsky had a poor performance, as he was pulled in the second period after he allowed his sixth goal against on the Devils’ 23rd shot. The loss was their first regulation loss at home since their 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders on January 19th.

The next day, the Flyers traveled to Madison Square Garden and suffered a 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers.

Michael Del Zotto scored 36 seconds after Simmonds extended his goal streak to three games early in the third period for the decisive goal. Del Zotto’s goal was one of two soft goals Bryzgalov allowed on the day, as Marian Gaborik’s wrap-around goal in the final six seconds of the second period should have never beaten the goaltender for New York’s second lead of the day. Artem Anisimov scored 64 seconds after the opening faceoff to put Philly in an early hole before Brayden Schenn scored his fifth goal of the season 12:02 into the second period to tie the game at one. Tom Sestito had a busy day, as he took part in a trio of fights against Brandon Dubinsky, Stu Bickel, and Brandon Prust before he was ejected. With the addition of Simmonds’ fight against Bickel in the first period, the Flyers took part in four fights Sunday, as Henrik Lundqvist made 21 saves in the Rangers’ fourth win of the season against the Flyers.

Last night, Bryzgalov redeemed himself with a shutout, but the Flyers couldn’t score for him, as they were dealt a 1-0 shootout loss at home to the New York Islanders. Frans Nielsen had the decisive goal in the shootout for the Isles, as Bryzgalov made 18 saves for his second shutout of the season in a game where the Islanders’ shots were more quality than quantity. Evgeni Nabokov also had his second shutout of the season, as he posted a ridiculous 45 saves, which is the most amount of saves he has ever made in a shutout throughout his NHL career. Giroux, Jagr, and Scott Hartnell formed the best line on the night for the Flyers, as they posted 16 shots on net in the loss.

Philly’s seven-game streak of scoring at least one power-play goal was snapped, as they went 0-for-3 with the man advantage in the contest. The loss marked the first time the Flyers lost consecutive games to the Islanders since March and April of 2007.

Danny Briere returned to the line-up last night against the Islanders after missing six games due to a concussion. He had two shots on net and was 60% on faceoffs in 19:21 TOI.

Zac Rinaldo also returned to action this week, as the fiesty forward missed three games due to a neck injury. In addition to his two assists and six PIMs, Rinaldo was fined a total of $5,000 for his late hit on Jacof Josefson and his trip on Zach Parise in the Flyers’ loss on Saturday.

Kevin Marshall was traded this week, as the Flyers acquired forward Matt Ford in a deal with the Washington Capitals. Ford has spent all of his time in the Flyers’ organization with the Phantoms, where he has recorded a goal on nine shots in two games.

The Flyers host the Toronto Maple Leafs Thursday night for the clubs’ second meeting of the season before the Rangers visit the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday. Philly concludes the week by traveling to the Joe Louis Arena to take on the Detroit Red Wings Sunday night.

New York Rangers: 2-1-0. The Rangers won a pair of games to start the week before the New Jersey Devils handed them a painful one-goal loss last night in New York. The Blueshirts’ last two losses have come against the Devils and their last three have all come against Atlantic Division rivals, as they lost 4-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins on January 19. Over the next week, the Rangers have two home games and two road games, as they look to stay at the top of the Eastern Conference.

It took 65 minutes and a five-round shootout for the Rangers to grab a 1-0 win over the Sabres in Buffalo last Wednesday.

Ryan Callahan scored on the last shot of the shootout to give Lundqvist the win, as he recorded his sixth shutout of the season with 34 saves. Gaborik scored in the first round of the shootout, but the advantage for New York was cancelled out with Jason Pominville’s goal in the third round. Ryan Miller had the rare shutout loss, as the Sabres’ goalie made 29 saves for his second shutout of the season. The win was the second straight shootout decision for the Rangers, as they lost 4-3 in a shootout to the Devils on January 31. The win also improved the Rangers’ record to 6-5-1 against the Northeast Division this season.

After the Rangers’ win over the Flyers on Sunday, they suffered a 1-0 loss to the Devils last night.

David Clarkson’s power-play goal in the first ten minutes of the game was all the Devils needed, as Martin Brodeur made 30 saves for his 117th career shutout. Anisimov looked to have the game-tying goal with 3.5 seconds left in regulation, but Gaborik was called for a goaltender interference minor, as he piled on top of Brodeur. The game started violently, as Prust fought Eric Boulton and Mike Rupp fought Cam Janssen two seconds after the opening faceoff. Lundqvist made 21 saves in a loss that ended his four-game winning streak, as he has allowed two goals against or less in his fifth straight decision. The loss was the Rangers’ third one-goal loss of the season and the sixth time they were shut out.

New York’s biggest roster move this week was trading forward Erik Christensen and a conditional seventh-round pick in 2013 to the Minnesota Wild for Casey Wellman. The American center hasn’t played a game for the Rangers yet, but he has two assists and eight shots on net in two games with the Connecticut Whale.

Both Wojtek Wolski and Jeff Woywitka were assigned to Connecticut for conditioning earlier in the week. Wolski had a goal on seven shots in three games with Connecticut, while Woywitka had three assists, five shots on net, and two PIMs.

The Rangers conclude their three-game homestand with a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow night before they visit Philly to play the Flyers on Saturday. The Blueshirts return home to host the Washington Capitals on Sunday and conclude the week by traveling north to take on the Boston Bruins Tuesday night.

New Jersey Devils: 4-0-0. Adding on their win over the Rangers last week, the Devils are currently on a five-game winning streak, as they have yet to lose since the All-Star break. The streak is the Devils’ longest winning streak of the season, as it has helped them move into third place in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Devils’ streak will be put to the test this week, as they host one of the best teams in the league and another team fighting for the playoffs.

Trailing 3-1 early in the second period, New Jersey scored the game’s final four goals to beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-3 on Thursday night at home.

Parise and Clarkson each had two-goal games, as Dainius Zubrus had the other Devils’ goal for the two-goal win. Brodeur made 27 saves in the win, as he recorded his most saves in a win since his 41-save victory against the Penguins on January 7. Ilya Kovalchuk had three assists in the win, as Ponikarovsky had a pair of assists in the Devils’ second win of the season against the Canadiens. Carey Price made 17 saves in the loss, as Mathieu Darche deposited a shorthanded goal in the second period for his third goal of the season in the Canadiens’ second straight loss. The win gave the Devils a record of 3-2-1 over their six-game homestand.

Two days later, the Devils traveled to Philly and earned a 6-4 win over the Flyers.

Kovalchuk earned the Gordie Howe hat trick, while Foster recorded a rare three-point game in the Devils’ first regulation win over the Flyers all season. Steve Bernier earned his first point as a Devil, as he had the primary assist on Ponikarovsky’s game-winning goal in the second period. Johan Hedberg made 37 saves, a season-high for saves in a win for the Jersey goaltender, who recorded his 13th win of the season. Despite being out scored 4-0 in the final 20 minutes, as well as being outshot 24-1, the Devils held on to extend their winning streak to three games.

The next day, the Devils returned home to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2.

Kovalchuk had his third straight three-point game, with one goal and two assists, as Zubrus recorded the game-winner early in the second period with his 15th goal of the season. Anton Volchenkov scored his first goal of the season 9:33 into the first period to give the Devils’ a 2-0 lead, as nine Devils’ recorded a point in their fifth three-goal victory of the season. Brodeur recorded his third straight win with 28 saves and an assist on Clarkson’s empty-net goal in the final minute of the game. The win improved the Devils’ record to 3-1-0 against the Penguins this season, and to 8-5-0 against the rest of the Atlantic Division overall.

New Jersey concluded the week with their 1-0 win over the Rangers in New York, where Brodeur earned his fourth straight win with his first shutout of the season.

Adam Larsson (back) and Ryan Carter (hand) both suffered injuries this week and are day-to-day.

Adam Henrique, on the other hand, returned to the Devils’ line-up this week. The rookie was plus-1 with two shots on net in the Devils’ latest two games.

Both Boulton and Patrik Elias were fined $2,500 by the NHL. Boulton was fined for his slash on Rupp in the second period of the Devils’ win on January 31, while Elias was fined for his boarding of Mike Blunden in the Devils’ win on Thursday.

In addition to injuries and fines, two players were assigned from New Jersey to Albany. Defenseman Peter Harrold and center Brad Mills spent time in the AHL this week.

Harrold, who was sent down after going minus-1 against the Flyers on Saturday, didn’t play for Albany. Mills also didn’t see the ice in Albany.

After hosting the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night and the Florida Panthers’ Saturday afternoon, the Devils travel to the First Niagara Center for a match-up with the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.

Pittsburgh Penguins: 1-2-1. After having their eight-game winning streak snapped last Wednesday, the Penguins lost two of their next three games to earn only three points in the process. The Penguins hope they can turn things around with a three-game homestand that starts this week.

The Pens’ streak ended against the Toronto Maple Leafs last Wednesday with a 1-0 road loss.

After a late-game miracle allowed them to extend their streak to eight games the day before against the Leafs, Clarke MacArthur potted his 16th goal of the season with just over six minutes left to give Toronto the edge for their 12th one-goal win of the season. James Reimer stopped all 25 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season, as Evgeni Malkin led all Pens with four shots on net. Brent Johnson, who didn’t gain a single victory over the Pens’ eight-game winning streak, recorded 23 saves for his third straight loss and his sixth regulation loss of the season. The loss was the second time all season the Penguins were shutout, the first being another 1-0 loss on the road to the Washington Capitals two days before the eight-game winning streak started.

On Saturday, the Penguins were involved in another one-goal game, but this time it was a 2-1 win in Boston against the Bruins.

Matt Cooke registered his first game-winning goal of the season with his ninth goal of the season 1:53 into the third period off of assists from Dustin Jeffrey and Pascal Dupuis. Malkin deposited his 28th goal of the season in the first period, as he put home a power-play tally with nine seconds left before the first intermission. Marc-Andre Fleury out played Tim Thomas, as the Pens’ netminder made 28 saves or more for a third straight game. Thomas, on the other hand, had his third straight game where he allowed at least two goals against. James Neal had an assist on Malkin’s tally and a team-high six shots on net, as the Pens improved to 7-6-0 on the season against the Northeast Division.

The next day, the Pens dropped a 5-2 decision to the Devils in Jersey.

Matt Niskanen scored a power-play goal for his third goal of the season 34 seconds after Zubrus potted the eventual game-winner, while Malkin scored in his second straight game with a power-play goal in the third period. Joe Vitale had all four of the Pens’ PIMs in the Pens’ first multi-goal loss since their 5-1 defeat at home to the Ottawa Senators on January 10th. Fleury was pulled after he allowed his third goal on the Devils’ 12th shot of the game, while Johnson came in to stop 11 of the Devils’ final 12 shots in the game for the Penguins’ first multi-goal road loss since their 3-1 loss to the Devils on December 31st. The loss was also Pitt’s third straight loss to the Devils this season.

Last night, the Penguins concluded their four-game road trip with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens. Tomas Plekanec had the decisive goal in the lengthy shootout, as the Pens were able to overcome two one-goal deficits. Dupuis ended a 17-game goal drought with a shorthanded tally early in the third period to tie the game at one, while Neal scored his 28th goal of the season with 12:28 left in the game to tie it at two. Fleury made 28 saves in the contest, but Price had 32 saves in regulation and overtime before he edged out Pitt’s goalie in the shootout. The loss was the Pens’ first shootout loss since their 4-3 decision in San Jose against the Sharks on November 3rd. It also marked only the third time the Penguins lost in the shootout out of the ten times they have been tied after overtime this season.

Tyler Kennedy missed last night’s game against the Canadiens and is day-to-day with a lower body injury.

The most intriguing roster move of the week for the Penguins was when they picked up Cal O’Reilly off of waivers from Phoenix. In his first three games with Pitt, O’Reilly had an assist and was minus-2.

Already in Pittsburgh, Vitale decided to sign a two-year contract extension. The center has 11 points in 47 games this season for the Penguins.

As for their interaction with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Pens assigned Steve MacIntyre to the AHL while they brought up Jason Williams later in the week.

In three games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this week, MacIntyre was minus-2 with two PIMs and a shot on net.

After he posted a goal and three assists in three games down in the AHL earlier in the week, Williams had a shot on net in 12:01 TOI last night against the Canadiens before he failed to extend the shootout with the final shot for Pittsburgh.

The Pens start their three-game homestand this week with games against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday and the Lightning on Sunday.

New York Islanders: 2-0-1. The Islanders managed to extend their point streak to five games after they won a pair of games and lost one in a shootout this week. The Isles’ longest point streak of the season is six games, which took place in late November and early December. New York will look to extend their point streak to a new season-high with three games at home before they hit the road.

To start the week, the Islanders traveled to Ottawa and grabbed a 2-1 overtime over the Senators.

After they let Ottawa gain the lead with a Zach Smith shorthanded goal in the final minute of the second period, New York tied the game at one with Matt Martin’s sixth goal of the season 5:27 into the final period. Mark Eaton scored the game-winning goal 2:35 into overtime for his first goal of the season and to snap his 133-game goal drought. Nabokov recorded 23 stops in the win for his eighth decision of the season with one goal against or fewer. Parenteau had a two-assist game, as the Islanders improved to 4-5-2 against the Northeast Division on the season.

Although they jumped out to a 3-1 lead over the Sabres on Saturday, the Islanders managed to lose 4-3 in a shootout at home.

Goals from Derek Roy and Paul Gaustad forced the game to overtime, where neither team scored to set up Brad Boyes’ decisive goal in the shootout to gain Buffalo the additional point. Nielsen had two goals and an assist for his second three-point game of the season, as Josh Bailey potted the Islanders’ other goal in the loss. Al Montoya suffered his second straight decision after regulation, as he made 34 saves in regulation and overtime, but couldn’t stop either Boyes or Pominville in the shootout. The shootout loss was the Islanders’ third of the season and their first since their 5-4 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on December 2nd.

The Islanders’ final game of the week was Nabokov’s 45-save shutout that helped New York edge out a 1-0 shootout victory over the Flyers last night.

Milan Jurcina, who had the primary assist on Eaton’s game-winner against the Sens, is day-to-day with an elbow injury.

In addition to placing Anton Klementyev on unconditional waivers, the Islanders also recalled Aaron Ness from Bridgeport. The defenseman played last night against the Flyers, taking 21 shifts for a total of 14:25 TOI.

The Isles endure a three-game homestand this week, starting with a contest against the Montreal Canadiens tomorrow night. Then, after a pair of matinee games against the Los Angeles Kings and Florida Panthers on Saturday and Sunday, the Islanders hit the road to take on the Jets on Tuesday night.