In the Flyers' four games this week they posted a record of 2-1-1. Philly won two games this week, 4-2 Wednesday against Florida and 4-2 Sunday against the Rangers, but unfortunately they lost more than just two games this week. Blair Betts, Sean O'Donnell, and Oskars Bartulis all went down with injuries this week.
Feeling the high of scoring a short-handed goal to get his team back into the game Friday, Betts shortly felt a low having to leave the game with a cut on his right hand. Betts, who missed part of the 3-2 loss in Carolina, also missed Philly's match ups with the Rangers and Coyotes this week due to the laceration. He's expected back in the line up later in the week.
O'Donnell left in the first period of Sunday's win in New York with an injury relating to his knee. The incident occurred after being tripped and falling into the corner in Philly's defensive zone. He was originally diagnosed as being out for 10-14 days, but Paul Holmgren now says O'Donnell could play on Thursday against the Islanders.
Playing for the first time since January 11, Bartulis was filling in for the injured O'Donnell before he too found his way to the locker room due to an injury. As he stood over Sergei Bobrovsky after a low-key play, Bartulis was hit after the whistle by former Flyer Scottie Upshall. The hit sent Bartulis flying into the boards and resulted in a shoulder injury. The extent of Bartulis's injury should be determined today as he will be given an MRI.
Aside from the injuries, the Flyers were able to grab 5 out of a possible 8 points this week. Danny Briere led the way with one goal and four assists this week including a three-point game in Florida on Wednesday (1 goal, 2 assists). Despite their being twelve Flyers' goals this week, only one Flyer had more than one goal. Claude Giroux netted a power-play goal on Sunday and the game tying goal with a little over a minute left in regulation last night against the Coyotes forcing the game to overtime; Shane Doan scored two minutes and forty-one seconds into the extra period leaving Philly with a point.
The upcoming week seems to be a lot less challenging for Philly as the only games they have are against the Islanders and Senators. Now that we know how well the Flyers did this week let's look at the rest of the division.
Pittsburgh Penguins: 1-1-1. The biggest news of the week coming out of Pittsburgh has to be acquisition of James Neal and Matt Niskanen. Sending defense man Alex Goligoski to the Dallas Stars, the Pens picked up a forward in Neal who has twenty-one goals and eighteen assists so far this season. Niskanen has six assists in forty-five games.
With the exception of the trade, the past week for the Pens went from good to bad. After posting a 3-2 overtime win in Colorado on Wednesday, the Pens lost 3-2 to the Blackhawks on Sunday in a shootout and then didn't gain any points in a 1-0 loss to Washington the following day.
Pittsburgh's lone win of the week wasn't all that impressive either as they needed a power-play goal in extra time to edge out a team in the midst of a ten-game losing streak.
Jordan Staal had a goal and two assists as he took part in three of Pitt's five goals within the week. After scoring the game tying goal in the Avalanche game, Staal set up Tyler Kennedy for the game winning goal in overtime. Adding onto that, he also stood up for Matt Cooke after the Caps' Matt Bradley laid him out in the corner. The fact of whether Staal standing up for his notoriously cheap teammate is a good or bad thing is still up for debate.
The Pens' upcoming week starts off rough as they host the San Jose Sharks tonight. The Sharks are currently on a four-game winning streak after beating the Red Wings 4-3 last night.
New York Rangers: 2-2-0. The Rangers started turning things around this week as they posted multiple wins within a seven day span. The Rangers' 4-3 shootout win over the Kings on Thursday paired with a 4-3 shootout win over Carolina yesterday kept New York at five-hundred this week.
Adding on to their long list of injury problems this season, Marian Gaborik left Sunday's game with a concussion. Gaborik didn't play in Tuesday's game against Carolina and the team isn't sure if he'll be back this week.
Unfortunately for the Rangers, both of their losses came against divisional opponents. Both Johan Hedberg, who posted a sixteen save shutout on Friday, and Brian Boucher, who made thirty-six of thirty-eight saves on Sunday, made it difficult for the Blueshirts to rack up enough goals in either game for a win.
Wojtek Wolski came through for the Rangers last night as he led New York to their shootout win in Carolina. After netting the game tying goal with under two minutes left in regulation, Wolski made his shootout attempt to give the Rangers the additional point. Wolski also had the opening goal in Sunday's game against Philly.
After eeking out two shootout wins, the upcoming week could treat NY horribly. A trip to Washington on Friday along with a visit from Tampa Bay, the Rangers could see the gap widen between them and the Penguins in the race for second in the division.
New Jersey Devils: 4-0-0. Going unbeaten yet again, the Devils post the best record within the division. Two wins over the Hurricanes in addition to shutouts against the Rangers and Stars allowed the Devils to obtain every possible point this week.
Johan Hedberg has to take a lot of the credit for the Devils' wins this week. After Martin Brodeur went down with a knee injury, Hedberg stepped up and performed well in all four games this week. Two shutouts, a one-goal game, and a two-goal game summarize the work of a goaltender who deserves a lot more recognition around the league.
Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrik Elias, and Nick Palmieri all had a strong string of performances this week. Kovalchuk had two goals, one of which was the game winner against the Rangers on Friday, along with two assists.
Elias had the game winning goal against the Hurricanes along with an assist. He'd add on two more assists over the next three games.
Palmieri had the game winning goal against the Stars on Tuesday scoring the only goal of the game late in the third period. He'd provide two assists on the week as well.
The Devils will see nothing but the Southeast division this week as they play the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday and the Florida Panthers on Sunday. Both of the games are in Florida.
New York Islanders: 2-2-0. Wins over the Kings and Panthers were sandwiched between losses to the Bruins and Maple Leafs as the Islanders broke even this week.
Nathan Lawson handed the game to the Bruins on Thursday as he allowed five goals on eighteen shots before being pulled just before three minutes had passed in the second period.
A 3-0 victory on Saturday against the visiting Kings and a 5-1 romping of the Panthers made for a great weekend on Long Island. However, the thrill of back-to-back wins with a goal differential of +7 was short-lived as the Isles allowed a late third period goal to Phil Kessel losing 2-1 in Toronto last night.
Playing in three games over a four day span, Al Montoya stopped seventy-eight of eighty-one shots. After posting a thirty-five save shutout on Saturday, Montoya only allowed one goal to the Panthers. Unfortunately, allowing two goals yesterday was too much as the Isles were only able to muster one goal in response.
Matt Moulson was the Islander of the week as he had six goals and an assist over the four game span. With a two-goal effort on Saturday against the Kings and a hat-trick against the Panthers on Monday, Moulson played a key role in the Isles' two victories this week.
The Islanders will be tested this week as they visit the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday to take on the Flyers and then have back-to-back games against the Caps on Saturday and Tuesday.
Opening Hockey Day in America, the Flyers continued their seasonal domination of the Rangers beating them 4-2 for their fourth straight win over New York. Jeff Carter and Claude Giroux both had a goal and an assist today leading Philly to victory, despite the orange and black getting out shot 39-24. The win improves the Flyers' record to 39-15-5.
After a very uneventful opening twelve minutes, the Rangers were the first team to score. Brian Boucher failed to clear the puck as the Rangers gained control of it behind the net leading to a few offensive chances. As Ryan McDonagh shot the puck wide from the point, it caromed off the boards to the slot. As Boucher just missed covering up the puck, Wojtek Wolski took a shot from the slot that leaked its way to the goalline. With Boosh unaware of where the puck was, Wolski reached behind the netminder to slam it home for his 10th goal on the season.
The first lead of the game didn't last long as the Flyers found the equalizer four minutes later. Giroux entered the offensive zone and reached the faceoff dot to the left of Henrik Lundqvist before turning back towards the blue line. While facing center ice, Giroux lofted a backhanded pass to the slot where Carter shot the puck five-hole on Lundqvist who was screened by Scott Hartnell. Carter's 27th goal on the season tied the game up with three minutes and eighteen seconds left in the period.
An opportunity for the Flyers to take their first lead of the game came just twenty seconds later as Brian Boyle went to the sin bin for cross-checking. The power play didn't result in a goal as three of Philly's shots were blocked by New York skaters and the lone power-play shot from Danny Briere couldn't find its way past Lundqvist.
As the score was tied 1-1 to start the second period, the Flyers received the first power play of the middle stanza. Derek Stepan sat in the box for a delay of game call. He'd go unpunished for his actions as the Flyers couldn't muster a power-play goal.
With their third power play opportunity of the game, the Flyers finally cashed in on the man advantage. Twenty-three seconds after Wolski went to the box for boarding Andrej Meszaros, Giroux registered his second point on the day by finding the back of the net. After Lundqvist made a great sprawling stick save to keep Carter from scoring his second goal of the game, the puck went behind the net where Carter regained control of it. As Lundqvist was still lying down on the ice from the previous play, Carter passed the puck to Giroux who put home his 20th goal of the season from the bottom of the left circle.
Chances started coming in bunches for the Flyers ultimately leading to their third goal. After initially tipping a Braydon Coburn shot from the point, Daniel Carcillo fought to regain control of the puck and put a spin-o-rama backhander on net. Lundqvist, who was on his knees from the previous save, tried moving slightly to his left opening up just enough of his five-hole for Carcillo's shot to slip through for his 4th goal of the year.
Displaying a great sense of urgency, the Rangers came out and provided strong offensive pressure early in the final period.New York's hard work paid off with a fortuitous bounce. After some cycling in the zone, a Dan Giradi shot from the point caromed off the end boards and snuck in behind Boucher in the crease. As the puck moved from the bottom left to the top right part of the crease, Stepan was the benefactor of the bounce depositing the puck in the net for the Rangers' second goal of the night. Stepan's 16th goal of the season gave the Rangers a chance to tie up the game.
The final minutes of regulation consisted of end-to-end action with both teams providing several scoring chances. In an attempt to find the game-tying goal, the Rangers pulled Lundqvist. The move ended up backfiring as Kris Versteeg netted his first goal as a Flyer hitting the wide open net with a shot from just inside the red line next to the benches.
As the remaining forty-six seconds of regulation clicked off the clock, the Flyers celebrated a 4-2 victory over their divisional foes at Madison Square Garden.
After a soft opening goal, Boucher had another impressive outing. Highlighted with a beautiful glove/kick save combination on a Ryan Callahan in the second period, Boucher made 37 out of a possible 39 saves. He had quite the eventful third period as he momentarily injured himself after making an awkward leg save, then found himself on the wrong side of a lucky bounce. Boucher is now 15-6-2 on the season.
In an attempt to draw in more fans to the game of hockey, the Flyers visit to New York was a game that helped Hockey Day in America greatly. A day filled with non-stop hockey action, Hockey Day in America featured several games at 12:30 pm (including the Caps in Buffalo and the Red Wings in Minnesota) followed by the Blackhawks hosting the Penguins at 3:30 pm. The day will conclude with the Heritage Classic, an outdoor game where the Calgary Flames will host the Montreal Canadiens at 6 pm.
Notes: Blair Betts sat out with a finger injury he suffered in the loss to Carolina on Friday. Sean O'Donnell left the game in the 1st period with a lower-body injury. Wojtek Wolski's first period goal was the first goal scored on Hockey Day in America. The Flyers are now 4-0-0 against the Rangers on the season and are 13-2-1 against their Atlantic division foes (PIT 3-1-0, NYR 4-0-0, NJD 3-1-1, NYI 3-0-0).
On a night where Rod Brind'Amour had his jersey retired by the Carolina Hurricanes, the Flyers lost 3-2 on an Erik Cole goal coming with just over three minutes left in regulation.
A Blair Betts short-handed goal along with a Braydon Coburn goal in the third were the only tallies on the night for Philly. Sergei Bobrovsky saved 26 of the 29 shots he saw on the evening. The loss kept the Flyers from sweeping their four-game season series with the Hurricanes.
Perhaps flush with Brind'Amour's spirit and coming out motivated and charged in front of their home crowd, the Hurricanes dictated the play in taking the early lead. Chad LaRose opened the scoring four minutes and twelve seconds in with a deflection that found its way past Bobrovsky. Joe Corvo released a shot from the blue line that LaRose, who was standing to the right of Bobrovsky, was able to tip past Bob's blocker and into the net for his eleventh goal of the season. Trailing 1-0, the Flyers didn't see the end of the Hurricanes' early fury.
A little over two minutes later, the Hurricanes were able to capitalize on an odd man rush and a weak save attempt by Bobrovsky. Coming up along the boards to the right of the Flyers' net, Jeff Skinner entered the zone lining up a slap shot. As he released the shot, Bobrovsky dropped to his knees allowing the puck to hit the inside of his left leg pad and enter the net between his legs for a two-goal Carolina lead. Skinner's 22nd goal on the season was assisted by Jay Harrison and saw the Hurricanes early hustle pay off as they stunned the visiting Flyers with two early tallies.
The remaining time in the first period saw the Flyers slowly cool down the Hurricanes after their red-hot start. Despite Carolina receiving power plays for a roughing call on Scott Hartnell and a hooking call on Chris Pronger, the Flyers held the Hurricanes scoreless for the rest of the first period.
The beginning of the second period didn't start out too good for Philly, but thanks to a shorthanded snipe the Flyers were able to cut their deficit in half.
After Andreas Nodl went to the sin bin for hooking, Betts entered the offensive zone creating room for himself with a quick move towards the circle right of Cam Ward. Slightly inside the circle, Betts picked the top right corner before Ward's glove could snag the puck. Betts' short-handed goal was his 4th of the season and ended a 44-game goalless drought.
In the midst of the Flyers' surge to try and tie up the game, Ward made an amazing glove save on the penalty kill to keep his team up by a goal. After a shot from the point and a Ville Leino shot at the top of the crease, Ward found himself on his back just inside the right goal post. As the puck glided towards the boards to the left of Ward, Matt Carle pinched in and let a backhanded shot loose towards the net. Pushing himself up for a brief second, Ward was able to glove the puck on the goal line to prevent the power-play goal.
The save shifted momentum as Leino went to the box for slashing shortly after. A few minutes later, the Hurricanes pressure led to both Jody Shelley and Sean O'Donnell going to the sin bin for roughing. The 'Canes were unable to take advantage of a full two-minute 5-on-3 situation leaving the Flyers with one goal to make up with only the twenty minutes remaining.
Coming out rather emotionless to start the final period, the Flyers' first chances came on the period's first power play. With Carolina's Tuomo Ruutu in the box for charging, the Flyers were able to keep a constant stream of offensive pressure on Ward and company for the majority of the power play. Several slap shots from Pronger and some shots from the top of the crease couldn't result in the equalizing goal for the Flyers.
Just as it looked like the Flyers were running out of chances and about to hand the win to Carolina, Braydon Coburn stepped up with a huge goal late in the game.
After Leino created several chances down low, he sent a spin-o-rama pass from behind the net to Claude Giroux at the top of the crease who ended up being stuffed by Ward. The puck then leaked back towards the point setting up a shot for a pinching Coburn who put the puck through traffic and past Ward for his 2nd goal of the season. The goal tied the game up with just five minutes left in regulation.
The lead, unfortunately, didn't last long. Two minutes later the Hurricanes entered their offensive zone on a 2-on-1 led by Jussi Jokinen and Cole. As Jokinen passed the puck from the left circle to the right circle, Cole ripped home the game-winning goal passed a sprawled out Bobrovsky with just three minutes left in regulation.
Pulling Bobrovsky in the final minutes wasn't enough for the Flyers to tie up the game as they fell to the Hurricanes 3-2.
With Mike Richards out after warmups with flu-like symptoms and the Hurricanes' honoring Brind'Amour, the Flyers' troubles came with their inability the survive the early energy coming from the opposition. Unfortunately, two goals in the first seven minutes by Carolina forced Philly to play catch-up for the majority of the game. The Hurricanes win also kept them from being swept in their season series with the Flyers, going 1-3-0 against the orange and black in 2010-2011.
Playing an integral role in both of their trips to the Stanley Cup Finals, including their title run in 2006, Brind'Amour saw his Number 17 raised to the rafters tonight in Carolina as two of his former three teams (with the exception of the St. Louis Blues) met to play their final meeting of the regular season. He joined Ron Francis and Glen Wesley as the only players so honored by the WhalerCanes franchise.
Brind'Amour played 633 regular season games for Philly from the 1991-1992 season to January of 2000. He registered 238 goals and 366 assists, ranking ninth in club history in total points. In his 57 playoff games with Philadelphia, Brind'Amour scored 24 goals and had 27 assists while also playing an important role in the Flyers Finals' run in 1997, where he eventually led the club with 13 goals. He currently holds a franchise record with 484 consecutive games played.
Notes: Brind'Amour also won two Selke Trophies with Carolina (2006-07)...The Hurricanes had 7 power plays to the Flyers 3 power plays...The Hurricanes out shot the Flyers 29-23 tonight and out shot the Flyers in every period tonight (1st/8-6 CAR, 2nd/13-11 CAR, 3rd/ 8-6 CAR)...The Flyers went 3-1-0 against the Hurricanes on the season and are now 9-5-1 against the Southeast division on the season (TBL 1-3-0, WSH 2-0-1, CAR 3-1-0, ATL 1-0-0, FLA 2-1-0).
Keeping in mind their 5-0 loss to Florida back in December, the Flyers avenged their embarrassing game with a 3-2 victory of their own tonight. James van Riemsdyk netted the game winning goal while Danny Briere had a goal and two assists on the night.
The game started off with both teams being assessed a minor penalty within the first three minutes. Nineteen seconds before the two minute mark, Daniel Carcillo was handed a holding penalty giving the Panthers the first powerplay of the game. Florida didn't take advantage of the situation losing the man advantage a minute and eight seconds later after Mike Santorelli went to the box for slashing. The Flyers didn't find the back of the net either on their shortened powerplay.
About five minutes after the teams exchanged powerplays, Mike Richards gave Philly the first lead of the game. Carcillo won a puck battle in the corner to Tomas Vokoun's left and handed the puck to Kris Versteeg, who turned his body towards the net acting as though he was lining up a shot before giving Richards the puck in the slot. He'd put it home through some traffic in front for his 18th goal on the season and a 1-0 Flyers' lead.
Inspired by his captain breaking a ten-game goalless streak, Andreas Nodl decided to break his nineteen-game goalless streak by depositing the puck in Tomas Vokoun's net on a nicely set up play. Sixty-five seconds after the opening goal, Scott Hartnell stood at the left point just inside the blue line sliding the puck over to Danny Briere who was near the faceoff circle to Vokoun's left. Briere saw Nodl's stick, which was placed on the ice at Vokoun's goalmouth, and made a spot-on pass leading to Philly's second goal. Nodl's tenth goal on the season gave Philly an early two-goal lead.
As if a two-goal lead ten minutes into the game wasn't dominant enough, Philly dictated the rest of the period resulting in two more Florida penalties (boarding on Darcy Hordichuk and holding on Stephen Weiss) and an 18-5 shot count in their favor.
Coming out with a stronger effort in the opening minutes of the middle period, the Panthers had several offensive scrums occur near Bob's crease. Unfortunately for Florida, a counter attack by Philly extended their deficit to three goals. Danny Briere took advantage of his one-on-one with Dennis Wideman as he entered the Panthers' defensive zone by deking Wideman out of position. After gaining ground on the beaten defender, Briere moved the puck to the bottom of the circle to Vokoun's left and took a shot that caused the goalie to drop to his knees. While sliding on the ice after making the initial save, Vokoun was moving away from the net as James van Riesmdyk put the rebound home on an open net. JVR's 14th goal on the season gave the Flyers a stranglehold on the game with a 3-0 lead.
Florida was handed the first powerplay of the second period after Braydon Coburn went to the box for high sticking about halfway through the period. Despite Wideman hitting the post on the powerplay and the need for Bobrovsky to make a sprawling save just after the powerplay ended, the Panthers still had not found the back of the net.
The Panthers closest chance to scoring in the second period came on a Bobrovsky flub. After dropping an attempt to catch the puck, Bob covered up the puck on the goal line. Unsure of whether or not the puck completely crossed the goal line, the refs spent several minutes reviewing the play and ultimately decided the puck never did completely cross the goal line.
Mike Santorelli was called for interference with a little less than two minutes left in the second period to put Florida a man down entering the final period of play.
After killing off the remainder of Santorelli's penalty, the Panthers finally scored twenty seconds before the two minute mark of the third period. Marty Reasoner won a faceoff in the circle to Bob's left to Jason Garrison, who then moved a little to his right before ripping a shot from the point. Standing in front of Bobrovsky, Rostislav Olesz turned his body while successfully tipping the puck preventing Bob from catching it. After the puck hit Bob's glove, it went to the left side of the crease where Olesz put it in for his sixth goal of the season. Olesz's goal came on the powerplay as Chris Pronger sat in the box for interference.
The Panthers weren't calling it quits yet as David Booth took advantage of a broken play just inside Philly's blue line to score his 16th goal of the season. An unassisted goal dwindled Philly's lead from two to one with less than eight minutes to play in the final period.
After a frantic few minutes of absolute pressure from Florida, the Flyers were able to put the game away with a Briere empty net goal. Taking the puck in on the empty net from center ice gave Briere his 28th goal on the season and the Flyers a 4-2 lead they'd hold onto until the final whistle.
A strong start didn't carry throughout the whole game for the Flyers as they were heavily outplayed in the third period. Energy and effort allowed Philly to come out with a 3-0 lead after two periods, but an absence in urgency in the final stanza almost allowed Florida to overcome a three-goal deficit.
Sergei Bobrovsky wasn't called on often tonight, but he made key saves all night long. A couple of mishandled glove plays seemed to be Bob's only problem on the evening. A dropped puck in the second almost lead to a goal, while a dropped shot that was deflected led to Florida's first goal on the night.
Kris Versteeg was able to register his first point in a Flyers' uniform tonight as he set up Mike Richards for the first goal of the game.
Notes: The win was the Flyers' 1700th win in franchise history. The Flyers are now 2-1-0 against the Panthers on the season and are now 9-4-1 against the Southeast division on the season (TBL 1-3-0, WSH 2-0-1, CAR 3-0-0, ATL 1-0-0, FLA 2-1-0).
The Flyers found a way to extend their lead in the division to five points this week by going 2-1-0. A 2-1 win over the Hurricanes on Thursday, being shutout 1-0 by Jonathan Quick and the Kings on Sunday, and beating the Lightning 4-3 via shootout last night kept the Flyers atop the Eastern Conference standings.
James van Riemsdyk had the most note worthy performance of the week recording a Gordie Howe hat trick last night in Tampa Bay. After fighting Randy Jones, JVR scored the first goal of the game and assisted on Hartnell's goal in the second.
The biggest news off the ice for the orange and black was the acquisition of Kris Versteeg in exchange for a 1st and 3rd round pick in this year's draft. Versteeg played in Tuesday's game against Tampa Bay, but was unable to register a point.
The Flyers look to extend their lead in the conference this week by attempting to beat the Hurricanes, the Rangers, and the Coyotes. As for what else is going on in the division, here's the division watch.
The biggest news of the week relating to the Atlantic division was the penalty-filled game that took place between the Penguins and Islanders on Friday. In a lop-sided 9-3 victory for the Isles, a total of 346 penalty minutes were handed out between the teams. Fifteen fighting majors (most notably Brent Johnson's second one on the season) occurred within the game. The next time the two teams meet is April 8th.
Pittsburgh Penguins: 1-2-0. After edging out a win in overtime against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, the Penguins lost to both the Islanders and Rangers over the past week. However, the Penguins weak play didn't drop them far in the standings as the Flyers had only a decent week.
Marc-Andre Fleury had the goaltending performance of the week for the Pens as he saved 32 of 33 shots he saw on Thursday keeping the score 1-1 as regulation ended. Thanks to a Jordan Staal goal with with nineteen seconds left in overtime, Pittsburgh enjoyed their lone win of the week.
The joy of Thursday's win quickly dissipated as the Pens ended up losing their next two games by a combined score of 14-6. A 9-3 drubbing to the Isles on Friday and a 5-3 defeat on Sunday to the Rangers were the next two outcomes for Pittsburgh. Out of the six periods in those two games, the Penguins were outscored in three of the periods and only outscored the opposition in one period. That period was the 3rd period against the Rangers on Sunday (entered the third period down 5-2 and outscored the Rangers 1-0).
In addition to their recent rough three game span, Pittsburgh has to deal with several injuries. In addition to the Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin injuries, day-to-day injuries to Arron Asham (upper-body), Chris Kunitz (lower-body), Dustin Jeffrey, Mark Letestu, and Eric Tangradi limit the Pens' lineup greatly. Dependence on rookies Ryan Craig, Brett Sterling, Joe Vitale, and Tim Wallace won't be too harsh considering their only game from now until Sunday is a visit to Colorado to play an embarrassing Avalanche team.
New York Rangers: 1-1-0. They may have only won one game this week, but it was a big win for the Rangers. After losing to the Thrashers 3-2 on Friday, the Rangers losing streak reached six games before a visit from the suddenly inept Penguins changed the direction of the team.
The Rangers saw a tie to Atlanta slip away after Evander Kane scored a powerplay goal with two minutes and twenty seconds left in regulation on Friday. The unfortunate news for the Rangers was this ended up being their sixth straight loss. The good news was this is where their losing streak ended.
Ryan Callahan led the way scoring two goals and assisting on another as the Rangers beat the Pens 5-3 on Sunday. A three-goal second period essentially put the game, along with the losing streak, away for the Blueshirts.
Unable to gain ground on the Penguins in the standings, the Rangers look to be heading in the right direction while the Pens look to be heading towards a losing streak of their own. Don't be surprised if the Rangers make up some ground on the Penguins over the next week.
New York Islanders: 4-0-0. Posting the best record of any team in the division, the Islanders went undefeated while playing the most games of the five teams within the Atlantic. In addition to the widely noticed 9-3 thumping they gave Pittsburgh on Friday, the Islanders were able to gain shootout victories against the Canadiens 4-3 on Thursday and the Senators 4-3 on Tuesday along with a 7-6 overtime win against the Sabres on Sunday.
Michael Grabner was hands down the best Islander of the week notching 8 goals and 2 assists over the 4 game span. He had three multi-goal games in the week netting a hat trick against the Sabres on Sunday (final goal was overtime winner) along with two-goal games against the Canadiens and Penguins.
The Islanders' goaltending wasn't the greatest this week, but they did what they needed to do to help their team win. Rookie netminder Mikko Koskinen recorded wins against the Canadiens and Penguins this week while newly acquired Al Montoya stepped in and won the game against Buffalo.
New Jersey Devils: 2-0-0. A pair of one-goal victories on back-to-back nights gives the Devils yet another successful week of hockey. A 2-1 overtime win in Toronto on Thursday paired with a 2-1 win at home against the Sharks on Friday gives the Devils a record of 6-0-1 in February and a record of 12-1-2 in their last 15 games.
Ilya Kovalchuk had a big week for New Jersey scoring both of the game winning goals. After netting the overtime winner in Toronto, Kovalchuk scored with four minutes left in the third period Friday to give the Devils a one-goal lead. He also assisted on Brian Rolston's third period goal on Friday that tied the game at one. Kovalchuk now has 19 goals and 19 assists on the season.
The only negative news of the week for the Devils was veteran goalie Martin Brodeur had to be placed on injured reserve with a non-operable right knee sprain. In the midst of their recent 15-game hot streak, Brodeur has posted a record of 8-1-1 in the ten games he started. Johan Hedberg started both games this week saving 62 out of a possible 64 shots, but the news of Brodeur being placed on IR is still bad news for the surging Devils.