Pretty good week not to be in the Atlantic Division, eh?
Even if the entire league weren't overshadowed by the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders interpretation of Valentine's Day on Friday, there wasn't much from the Southeast this week to make it stand out. No changes in the standings, a relatively light schedule throughout the division, and no line brawls. No wonder hockey isn't popular in the south.
Our Lightning lost Ryan Malone Tuesday against the Sabres. He'll be out six to eight weeks with an abdominal injury. Talk about adding
injury insult to injury, as this news broke after Buffalo scored six goals in a row, five in the third period alone, to obliterate the Bolts in front of a testy home crowd.
Malone was trying to work his way back from a different injury when he crashed into the net in the second period. It's been a tough go the past couple seasons for Malone, as last season he was on pace for a career year before being slowed by an injury, and missing 13 total games. This season he has a respectable 34 points in 50 games, but as previously stated, is likely done until the playoffs.
We'll take a peek around the rest of the division after the fold.
Atlanta Thrashers: Tobias Enstrom returned on Friday after missing six games with a broken finger. He had a power play assist while logging more than 22 minutes of ice time in a win over the Rangers. The return comes at a desperate time for the Thrash. They are 2-5-3 in their last ten, but are still just two points out of a playoff spot.
A side note that may or may not be related to the team's struggles: Dustin Byfuglien snapped a 13 game pointless streak on Monday and still leads the team in points. That's literally a full calendar month without a point. Yikes.
Carolina Hurricanes: The Canes lost three of four games this week after overtaking the Thrashers last Saturday. They did however score two extra-attacker goals on Saturday against the Lightning to steal a point. One of which was by Jeff Skinner, who continues to leave no doubt who the front runner for the Calder trophy is. Don't believe me? He's only the fifth player to reach 20 NHL goals before his 19th birthday in more than 20 years. Impressive indeed.
Florida Panthers: The Panthers sent Michael Frolik and goalie prospect Alexander Salak to the increasingly desperate Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday. In return they got Jack Skille, Hugh Jessiman, and David Pacan. Assistant GM Mike Santos claimed the move was done to increase physicality. I guess we'll see; color me skeptical.
Unrelated: Bryan McCabe's return is coming soon. Hopefully Leafs bloggers don't read that article, otherwise they may combine their ‘McCabe own goal' and ‘Wellwood is fat' jokes into one giant attack against the whole world. Actually, I hope they do read that article...
Washington Capitals: Pretty rough week for the Caps. They lost both games. They gave up six goals. They scored only one. They were forced into a players-only meeting.
Something has to be going on with the Capitals. Alex Ovechkin is looking pretty regular, they had that long losing streak earlier in the year, and are now in a current funk getting ready to embark on a long road trip. Is it make or break time for Bruce Boudreau?
Important Matchups this week: Flyers at the Lightning (Tuesday).