It was another rough week for the Florida Panthers. They played four games and picked up 3 out of a possible 8 points. They had their best success against the Winnipeg Jets beating them once, 4-1 on Tuesday and taking them to overtime on Friday in a game Florida lost 3-2. Florida saw the gap between them and first place in the Southeast Division stretch to nine points. Here is a look at what happened around the rest of the Southeast division this week:
Carolina Hurricanes: (29 pts)
1st Southeast, 3rd Eastern Conference
This week: 2-1-0 (4 pts)
Tues 3/5 vs BUF: W 4-3
Thurs 3/7 vs MTL: L 4-2
Sat 3/9 vs NJD: W 6-2
The Carolina Hurricanes faced their first week without Cam Ward who they lost for 6-8 weeks with a sprained knee. The Hurricanes called up 26 year old Justin Peters who picked up a win against Buffalo stopping 37 of 40 shots faced in hist first start of the season. Peters was credited with the loss Thursday while Dan Ellis got the start and the win on Saturday against the Devils.
The Hurricanes’ first line of Jiri Tlusty, Alexander Semin, and Eric Staal had a productive week tallying a total of 15 points (5 goals, 10 assists). All the points came in the Hurricanes’ two wins and it is becoming clear that the way to beat Carolina is to shut down their top trio (a radical bit of analysis right there).
Carolina will have a chance to defend their division lead next week, all three of their games are against Southeast division foe. The Canes play Washington twice; once at home and once on the road, and finish their week Saturday at Tampa Bay.
Winnipeg Jets: (26 pts)
2nd Southeast, 9th Eastern Conference
This Week: 2-1-1 (5 pts)
Tues 3/5 at FLA: L 4-1
Thurs 3/7 at TB: W 2-1
Fri 3/8 at FLA: W 3-2 OT
Sun 3/10 at NJ: L 3-2 SO
The Jets continued their strong play and have taken advantage of the lackluster performances by the rest of the Southeast division to climb their way to second place. Winnipeg have been road warriors having played nine of their last 11 on road going 6-2-1 in those games. The Jets are two points behind the New York Rangers for the last playoff spot in the East.
The Jets return to the Peg for a two game stretch against the Maple Leafs and the Rangers and then hit the road again with games in Toronto and Ottawa.
Washington Capitals: (21 pts)
3rd Southeast, 12th East
This week 2-2-0 (4 pts)
Tues 3/5 vs BOS: W 4-3
Thurs 3/7 vs FLA: W 7-1
Sat 3/9 at NYI: L 5-2
Sun 3/10 vs NYR: L 4-1
The Washington Capitals finally got out of the Eastern Conference basement and into a tie for third place in the Southeast with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Capitals had a huge win Tuesday against the Bruins coming back from a 3-0 deficit to get the win against one of the best teams in the East. Washington continued their momentum with a 7-1 drubbing of Florida. Alex Ovechkin and Wojtek Wolski led the way with a goal and two assists a piece. The second half of the week was not so kind to the Caps who dropped games against the Islanders and the Rangers.
Washington has a packed four game schedule this week including games against the Bruins, Sabres and two against the Hurricanes.
Tampa Bay Lightning: (21 pts)
4th Southeast, 13th East
This Week: 1-3-0 (2 pts)
Mon 3/4 at PIT: L 4-3
Tues 3/5 at NJD: W 5-2
Thurs 3/7 vs WPG: L 2-1
Sat 3/9 vs MTL: L 4-3
The Tampa Bay Lightning continued their struggles this week losing three of four games. The Bolts have now lost seven of their last eight. They also lost their starting goaltender Mathieu Garon who left Monday’s game against the Penguins with a lower body injury, he is day-to-day.
The Lightnings’ struggles can be summed up by their 4-3 loss Saturday to the Canadiens. The Lightning had a 3-1 lead going into the third period but allowed three unanswered goals in the games final frame.
The Lightning play their cross state rival Panthers on Tuesday in what will be a battle for the Eastern Conference basement as only one point separates the two teams. Tampa finishes their week with games against the Islanders and Hurricanes.