Atlantic Watch: 2/8-2/14

The Flyers managed to hold on for a one-goal win Thursday before they dropped both of their games on the weekend to go 1-2-0 this week. The win was the Flyers’ second since the All-Star break, as they are 2-4-2 since the break with both wins coming at home. Philly looks forward to two games against Eastern Conference teams outside the playoff picture in the next few days, as well as a meeting with the Penguins to determine crucial points in the standings.

On Thursday, Brayden Schenn potted the game-winner in the second period to give the Flyers just enough to win 4-3 at the Wells Fargo Center against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Scott Hartnell opened the scoring with his 26th goal of the season late in the first period and assisted on Claude Giroux’s go-ahead goal in the middle stanza to serve as the only Flyer with a multi-point game. Max Talbot was the other Flyer to score in the victory, as he put home his 13th goal of the season to give Philly a 2-1 lead that lasted all of 2:25. Sergei Bobrovsky, who got the start due to Ilya Bryzgalov having the flu, made 24 saves, including 10 in the third period to let the Flyers hold on for a one-goal victory. Tyler Bozak had a two-goal game, while former Flyer Joffrey Lupul had a goal and an assist in the Leafs’ second loss in Philly this season. The one-goal win was the Flyers’ first since the All-Star break and their first at home since their overtime decision over the Ottawa Senators on January 7th.

Two days later, the New York Rangers came to town and won their fifth game of the season against the Flyers 5-2 in a matinee game. Ryan Callahan recorded his second career hat-trick, both of which are against the Flyers, with one goal in each period. Callahan’s tally in the second period was the second of three power-play goals on the day for the Rangers and was also the game-winner, his fifth of the season. Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves in his 25th win of the season, as it was the fifth time he beat the Flyers this season and the second time he did so in Philadelphia. Artem Anisimov was the other Ranger to net a goal in the win, as he deposited his ninth tally of the season 6:28 into the third period. Wayne Simmonds recorded his 18th goal of the season in the first period for Philly, while Giroux stuffed home a breakaway attempt for his 22nd goal of the season in the second period in the Flyers’ fourth loss over a five-game span. Bobrovsky stopped 21 shots on 26 attempts for the loss, as he allowed five goals or more against for the second time in a three-game span. The loss dropped the Flyers to 4-8-1 in games that start before 7 p.m.

To conclude the week, the Flyers traveled to Detroit and suffered a 4-3 loss to the Red Wings. Johan Franzen’s league-leading 10th game-winning goal in the first minute of the third period gave the Wings’ their 20th straight win at home to tie a record shared by both the 1929-1930 Boston Bruins and the 1975-1976 Flyers. Henrik Zetterberg had a goal and an assist for his third three-point performance of the season, as both Niklas Kronwall and Pavel Datsyuk scored power-play goals to round out the scoring for Detroit. Schenn had his first two-goal game in the NHL, as his consecutive goals in the first and second period turned a 1-0 Philly deficit into a brief 2-1 Flyers’ lead. Talbot gave the Flyers’ another brief lead with his 14th goal of the season in the second period, as Zetterberg’s blast came 2:02 later to tie the game at three. Despite a couple of puck handling goofs, Joey MacDonald managed to grab the win for Detroit with a 26-save effort. The loss dropped the Flyers to 9-3-2 against the Western Conference with all three regulation losses coming against Central Division teams.

In the loss to the Red Wings, Zac Rinaldo hit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson behind the Wings’ net in the first period and earned a charging minor. Brendan Shanahan felt this wasn’t enough punishment, as he handed the Flyers’ forward a two-game suspension for the incident.

As mentioned before, Bryzgalov didn’t play at all this week due to having the flu. Due to Bryzgalov’s sickness, Jason Bacashihua was called up from Adirondack. The goalie never saw the ice for Philly, as he was sent back down to the AHL later in the week.

Another Flyer who missed time this week was Jakub Voracek, who is currently day-to-day with an upper body injury. The forward left the Rangers’ game on Saturday and didn’t play against the Wings.

In replace of Voracek, the Flyers recalled Eric Wellwood from the Phantoms to play against Detroit. In his second game with the club this season, Wellwood saw 11:22 TOI.

Harry Zolnierczyk was sent down to the Phantoms earlier in the week. The gritty forward was minus-4 with nine shots on net and two PIMs in three games.

The Flyers look to snap their two-game slide with a contest against the visiting Buffalo Sabres tomorrow night. On Saturday, the Flyers host the Pens in a matinee game before concluding the week with a road game against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.

New York Rangers: 4-0-0. After their painful 1-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils last Tuesday, the Rangers have rattled off four straight victories. Following an overtime decision against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday, the Rangers won three straight in regulation. New York looks to extend their winning streak in the next few games, as they host two struggling Central Division opponents before traveling to Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

Brad Richards provided the clutch overtime tally against his former team on Thursday to give New York a 4-3 win over the visiting Lightning. After Brian Boyle tied the game at three with his fifth goal of the season in the third period, Richards potted his 17th goal of the season 2:37 into the overtime frame off of assists from Anisimov and Michael Del Zotto. Callahan deposited a power-play goal to tie the game in the second period 54 seconds before Derek Stepan’s 11th goal of the season gave New York their first lead in the game. The lead lasted all of 21 seconds before Vincent Lecavalier put home his 21st of the season to tie the game, while Bruno Gervais put home his fourth goal of the season to give the Lightning the lead again. Martin Biron made 14 saves, one of which came in overtime, for his fourth straight decision where he earned the Rangers’ a point (3-0-1). Biron is now 10-2-1 this season, as the Rangers earned their second overtime win at home this season (3-2 win against Florida Panthers on 1/5).

After the Rangers dominated the Flyers again on Saturday, the Blueshirts beat the Washington Capitals 3-2 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday. Brandon Prust potted a shorthanded goal early in the third to extend the Rangers’ lead to 3-1, which turned out to be his first game-winning goal of the season after John Carlson had a shot ricochet off Ryan McDonagh’s leg and past Lundqvist for his seventh goal of the season with 2:28 left. Callahan scored his fifth goal in a three-game span with his 22nd of the season in the first period, as McDonagh put home his 15th goal of the season in the second period to regain the lead after Alex Semin tied the game at one. Lundqvist made 24 saves for his seventh straight decision where he allowed two goals against or less, as he posted a 6-1-0 record in those games. Brandon Dubinsky had two assists for his sixth two-point game of the season, as the Rangers improved to 12-2-1 against the Southeast Division on the season.

Last night, the Rangers traveled to Boston and grabbed a 3-0 win for their fourth straight victory. Callahan extended his goal streak to four games by scoring 10:09 into the game for the game-winning tally, as Lundqvist recorded his league-leading seventh shutout with a season-high 42 saves. McDonagh scored in the final seconds of the first period, while Anisimov put home his 10th of the season early in the third period to round out the scoring for the Rangers third straight win on the road. In the battle of the two best teams in the Eastern Conference, the Rangers have won both of their meetings this season against the Bruins, as they won 3-2 in overtime on January 21st in their first visit to Boston. The win was the ninth time all season the Rangers earned a shutout, while it was the fifth time the Bruins were shut out.

The biggest news of the week related to the Rangers’ roster is the injury to Ruslan Fedotenko. The former Flyer has missed three straight games for New York due to an injury he suffered after an illegal hit from Dominic Moore in the Rangers’ win over the Lightning. The hit has resulted in a head injury for Fedotenko, but not a concussion. Due to his injury, defenseman Stu Bickel has had to play forward for New York in the past few games.

Although Fedotenko suffered an injury this week, the Rangers enjoyed the return of Steve Eminger. After missing 21 games with a seperated shoulder, Eminger played in all four games this week going minus-2 with two shots on net and eight PIMs.

The Rangers start this week by hosting the Chicago Blackhawks, who are currently on a nine-game losing streak, tomorrow night. On Sunday night, the Rangers host the Columbus Blue Jackets before they head out to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins Tuesday night.

Pittsburgh Penguins: 2-0-0. The Penguins only had two games this week, but they won both thanks to the fact they averaged six goals/game. With the addition of their shootout loss on Tuesday, the Pens have earned points in three straight games and have earned points in four of their last five. Pitt has four games over the next seven days, two of which are against Atlantic Division opponents ahead of them in the standings.

The Pens abused Ondrej Pavelec on Saturday night for an 8-5 win. Evgeni Malkin had a goal and four assists, while Chris Kunitz had a goal and three assists for a three-point performance in the Penguins’ second win in the month of February. Kris Letang was the only Pen to score more than one goal in the three-goal victory, as he potted his sixth goal of the season in the second period and his seventh goal of the season on the power play late in the third period. Marc-Andre Fleury made 20 saves for the win, as he allowed a season-high five goals against in the Pens second win of the season against the Jets. Pavelec allowed eight goals on 39 shots for the Penguins’ second eight-goal game of the season, as Pittsburgh beat the Sabres 8-3 on December 17th. The eight goals for Pittsburgh was two more than they had scored in their previous four games, where they were 1-2-1 with six goals.

The Pens carried their momentum from Saturday’s win into their Sunday game against the Lightning, where they overcame an early 2-0 deficit to win 4-2. Steve Downie scored his 10th and 11th goals of the season 11 seconds apart halfway through the first period before Pittsburgh tallied the final four goals of the game. Malkin had a two-goal game, as he scored his 31st of the season on the power play minutes after Downie’s pair and then scored his 32nd goal of the season to cap off the Pens’ total. Kunitz and Letang, who each had three-point games, were the other Pens to score in Pittsburgh’s seventh two-goal win of the season. Brent Johnson snapped his own three-game losing streak, as the goalie made 21 saves for his third win of the season and his first in 2012. With their wins this week, the Penguins improved to 11-5-1 against the Southeast Division on the season.

The Penguins had both Jordan Staal and Richard Park return to the line-up this week.

Staal, who missed 15 games with a sprained left MCL, had a goal and an assist while going minus-2 in the pair of contests.

Park only missed one game, but he returned to action and provided Pitt with the game-winning goal against the Jets.

Simon Despres also returned from injury this week, but didn’t take part in either game for the Penguins. The defenseman was assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton after he missed 15 games due to a lower body injury.

Also assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton were forwards Jason Williams and Colin McDonald. Williams had a goal on seven shots and a rating of minus-1, while McDonald had an assist and four shots on net.

After they host the Anaheim Ducks tonight, the Penguins have a pair of road matinee games this weekend against the Flyers on Saturday and the Sabres on Sunday. Pittsburgh concludes the week with a home game against the Rangers on Tuesday night.

New Jersey Devils: 1-1-1. The Devils were able to grab three points this week, as they played two teams that are currently in the playoff picture. With their win last night in Buffalo, the Devils kept their winning ways on the road intact, as they look forward to a week that features two road games.

Although they headed into the final 20 minutes with a one-goal lead, the Devils managed to lose at home to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday by a score of 4-3 in a shootout. T.J. Oshie had the decisive goal, as the Devils went 0-for-3 in the shootout to hand the Blues the additional point. Zach Parise opened the scoring for New Jersey, with a power-play goal for the 1-0 lead, while goals from Adam Henrique and Patrik Elias minutes apart in the second period put the Devils up 3-2. Ilya Kovalchuk was the only Devil with a multi-point game, as the forward had two assists for his fourth multi-point game in the team’s last five games. Johan Hedberg was handed the loss in a 23-save effort, as the decision was his second loss past regulation this season. The loss dropped the Devils to 2-0-1 against the Central Division and to 6-5-2 against the Western Conference this season.

Two days later, the Devils traveled south and lost 3-1 to the Florida Panthers. After Steve Bernier opened the scoring with his first goal of the season, the Cats potted the game’s next three goals for their second straight win. Sean Bergenheim deposited a power-play goal late in the first for his 11th of the season to tie the game at one, while Kris Versteeg was the only player to score in the second period to gain the Panthers a 2-1 lead with his 21st of the season. Mikael Samuelsson put home his first empty-net goal of the season for his seventh overall and a 3-1 win for Florida. Former Devil Scott Clemmensen stopped 27 of 28 on the night for a win against his former team to improve his record to 10-4-5 on the season. The loss was the first regulation loss for the Devils in the month of February.

Last night, Kovalchuk led Jersey to a 4-1 win in Buffalo over the Sabres. With his first hat-trick of the season, Kovalchuk had three goals and an assist for his first four-point game of the season, as the Devils registered their fifth straight road win. Although Kovalchuk had three of New Jersey’s four goals in the win, it was Petr Sykora who had the game-winner with his 13th goal of the season 1:44 into the third period. Henrique posted his fourth game of the season where he had two assists, as the Devils earned their sixth three-goal game win. Both Martin Brodeur and Ryan Miller saw 30 shots in the game, but Brodeur made two more saves for his 19th win of the season. The win gives Brodeur five victories in his last six decisions, as he posted his fourth straight game with two goals against or less. The victory concluded the Devils’ season series against the Sabres, as they earned seven points against Buffalo with a record of 3-0-1.

Ryan Carter, who has missed the Devils’ last five games, was placed on injured reserved earlier in the week due to a fractured finger.

Both Stephane Veilleux and Nick Palmieri were recalled from Albany this week.

Playing against the Sabres last night, Veilleux had 4:34 TOI in his first game with New Jersey this season and his first NHL game since the 2009-2010 season.

Palmieri didn’t play for Jersey this week.

The Devils return home to host the Ducks on Friday before they travel to Montreal to take on the Canadiens on Sunday. New Jersey concludes the week by visiting the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday.

New York Islanders: 2-2-0. The Islanders continue to hang around the eighth-seed in the Eastern Conference, as they won two of their four games this week. Currently six points behind the Maple Leafs for eighth in the conference, the Isles believe they are fully in the playoff hunt. Playing one of the best teams in the league over the next few days, as well as two of the worst teams in the conference, New York hopes they will continue to win to keep their playoff dreams alive.

Powered by a Max Pacioretty hat-trick, the Montreal Canadiens grabbed a win in New York on Thursday by a score of 4-2 over the Islanders. Pacioretty potted his 20th, 21st, and 22nd goals of the season, as the Canadiens earned their second win of the season over the Islanders. Scott Gomez ended his 368-day drought without a goal, as he put home a power-play tally halfway through the third period to give Montreal a 3-0 advantage. Matt Moulson deposited his 24th goal of the season 48 seconds before Mark Streit put home his fourth of the season, but it was too late for the Islanders. Evgeni Nabokov made 28 saves in the loss, while Carey Price made 31 saves in a game where the Isles out shot the Canadiens by one. The loss extended the Islanders’ losing streak at home to three games, although they earned two points during the streak due to a pair of losses past regulation.

On Saturday, the Isles ended their losing streak at home with a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Streit scored in his second straight game with the overtime tally for his fifth goal of the season. Michael Grabner’s 15th goal of the season in the first period gave the Isles a 1-0 advantage before Andrei Loktionov netted his first goal of the season in the second period to tie the game. Nabokov recorded his 13th win of the season with 34 saves, while Jonathan Quick made 23 saves for his league-leading 10th overtime/shootout loss. The win was the Islanders’ third in the month of February, all of which have came after regulation. The win improved the Islanders’ record to 2-3-1 against the Pacific Division and to 7-5-4 against the Western Conference this season.

Similar to the Devils’ loss against the Panthers, the Islanders lost in Florida on Sunday night 4-1. After Frans Nielsen opened the scoring with his 10th goal of the season 3:35 into the game, the Panthers scored the game’s next four goals. Tyson Strachan tied the game with his first goal in the NHL later in the first period before Tomas Fleischmann, Versteeg, and Jack Skille all scored in the second period for the Panthers. P.A. Parenteau had the primary assist on Nielsen’s tally, while Andrew MacDonald recorded the secondary assist to serve as the only Islanders with points in their third loss of the season to the Panthers. Nabokov was pulled after two periods, as he allowed four goals on just 15 shots against. Al Montoya stopped all four shots he saw in the third period in the relief appearance, as the Isles out shot the Panthers 27-19. The loss was the Isles’ first loss by a margin of three goals since their 3-0 loss to the Maple Leafs on January 23rd.

The Islanders extended their road winning streak to four games last night with a 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Parenteau had the game-winning goal early in the third period for the Islanders, as Nabokov made 37 saves for the win. Moulson scored on a second period power play to tie the game at one after Chris Thorburn’s first period tally. New York’s third goal on the night was Matt Martin’s empty-net goal in the final minute of the game. Jay Pandolfo recorded his first assist of the season with the secondary assist on Martin’s empty-netter. The two-goal win was the Islanders’ fifth two-goal win of the season and their first since their 4-2 win over the Sabres on January 14th. The win improved the Islanders to 2-1-0 against the Jets and to 9-5-0 against the Southeast Division this season.

The Isles had both Marty Reasoner and Milan Jurcina return from injuries this week.

Reasoner, who missed 17 games with a broken right thumb, had two shots and won 54.55% of his faceoffs last night against the Jets.

Jurcina, who missed two games due to an elbow injury, had an assist and five shots on net while going minus-1 in four games.

Unfortunately for New York, it was announced this week that Dylan Reese would be out for 4-6 weeks with a sprained left MCL.

As for their interaction with Bridgeport, the Islanders recalled Ty Wishart and assigned Rhett Rakhshani to the AHL. Both players didn’t see the ice this week.

After visiting the St. Louis Blues tomorrow night, the Islanders host the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday and the Ottawa Senators on Monday. New York concludes the week by going to Buffalo to take on the Sabres.