It was yet another roller coaster week for the Penguins. The Penguins had a winning record, but it certainly didn’t feel like it. Matt Murray made a career high 50 saves in Philadelphia on Monday in a game that will likely be remembered for Evgeni Malkin’s reckless stick swing that nearly connected with Michael Raffl’s head. Malkin was given a match penalty and suspended by the league for one game for his actions. The Penguins were leading 3-0 at the time and the Flyers had a power play for the remaining time left in the game and they scored 20 seconds into the power play and spoiled Matt Murray’s shutout. It was a much needed victory for Pittsburgh against a streaking Flyers team, but left a sour taste in your mouth with the way things ended.
It was another matchup featuring Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night and the Penguins improved to 6-0 against the Oilers in those games. Neither player would score a goal, but both players recorded an assist and the Penguins came away with the 3-1 victory behind another solid effort from Matt Murray who stopped 38 shots. The Penguins then had two days to prepare for the Flames on Saturday yet came out flat and the Flames got all the bounces and jumped out to a 5-2 lead over Pittsburgh after two periods on Saturday. A refreshed Evgeni Malkin took the game over in the 3rd period with two goals and looked dominant but the Penguins push could not tie the game and the Flames held on for a 5-4 regulation win.
With both the Hurricanes and Jackets winning on Saturday, the Penguins were pushed out of the Wild Card position and now find themselves on the outside looking in. The Penguins have a busy week this week and will need to come away with some victories over the bottom three teams in the Metro. The Rangers are in Pittsburgh this afternoon for a Sunday matinee. The Penguins will be in New Jersey on Tuesday before returning home to host the Sharks on Thursday. The Penguins will play in another marquee NHL game on Saturday when the Penguins and Flyers meet outside again at Lincoln Financial Field in the Stadium Series game. If the Penguins are able to string some wins together and manage to come away with a victory outdoors against Philly, they may finally get the momentum that can carry them into a Stanley Cup contender.
The Hurricanes have been an incredible story the last several weeks. The Canes are 7-2 in February and 9-2-1 in their last 12 games. They were nearly forgotten about after their hot start. Now the Hurricanes are on fire again and have found themselves right in the thick of things in the Wild Card race. They could still potentially finish in the top three in the Metro and were in third place on Saturday until the conclusion of the Jackets victory to move the Canes back into fourth.
Things didn’t start off well for Carolina last week, however, as they lost to some steam in New Jersey last Sunday. The Devils jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the 1st period and held off the Canes rally and defeated Carolina 3-2 in regulation. Carolina was in Ottawa on Tuesday and scored four 3rd period goals after going into the 3rd down 1-0. Michael Ferland scored 16 seconds into the 3rd to tie it and the Canes outshot Ottawa 15-5 in the 3rd period to win it 4-1. The Hurricanes returned to Raleigh to play two Western Conference teams on Friday and Saturday night. The Canes contained Connor McDavid and the Oilers on Friday and soundly defeated them 3-1 before facing the Dallas Stars on Saturday. Justin Williams’ 1st period goal would be all the Canes needed in that game as Petr Mrazek stopped all 33 Dallas shots and the Canes would win 3-0 which temporarily moved them into 3rd place in the Metro.
Carolina has been feasting on lower competition lately, but there are no easy wins in the NHL. Their previous six games were against Buffalo, New York Rangers, New Jersey, Ottawa, Edmonton, and Dallas. The Canes were 5-1 in those games and their next opponents are the Rangers, Florida, Dallas, Los Angeles, St. Louis, and Florida again. The Canes have the potential to string together a lot of points against that competition. Nothing is easy in the NHL, but the potential is there for the Canes to make a serious push.
The Islanders stayed true to their script this season and allowed only six goals in their four games last week. The Wild were in Brooklyn last Sunday and Devon Toews’ PPG two minutes into the 2nd period was the last of the scoring as the Islanders won 2-1 at Barclays. The Islanders crossed New York and were in Buffalo on Tuesday and Buffalo got the better of their former goalie Robin Lehner in a 3-1 victory for the Sabres. Thomas Greiss got the nod in Columbus on Thursday and stopped all 31 shots he faced for his third shutout in his last five starts and fourth overall this season in 28 starts. Casey Cizikas scored two goals in that game and the Islanders won 3-0 over their Metro rival. The Islanders matched their win total from last season on Saturday night and defeated the Oilers by a 5-2 final score at Barclays Center.
The Islanders will be off until Wednesday night as they are headed to western Canada. They will be in Calgary on Wednesday night before a rematch with the Oilers on Thursday night. The Isles will wrap up next week in Vancouver on Saturday night.
The Capitals had a quiet week last week as their schedule takes them on an extended road trip. The Kings wrapped up a home stand last Monday for the Capitals that hasn’t seen them on the road since their last game before the All Star break. The Capitals scored early and often and held on over the Kings for a 6-4 victory. The Capitals were in Columbus the next night and started their long road trip off the wrong way with a 3-0 shutout loss. Washington was in San Jose on Thursday night and were leading 2-1 after the 1st period and never looked back and defeated the Sharks 5-1 in that game to finish last week for the Capitals alone in 2nd place in the Metro.
The Capitals wrap up their California trip with the Ducks tonight and a rematch with the Kings tomorrow night. The Capitals return to the east coast but continue on the road with games in Toronto on Thursday and Buffalo on Saturday afternoon. The NHL schedule makers were not very kind to the Capitals as they will immediately return home the next afternoon against the Rangers the next day after their 12 day road trip.
Columbus has been able to get by with the Bobrovsky and Panarin contract situations hanging over their heads. The Jackets had another winning week last week and moved back into 3rd place in the Metro with the win over Chicago on Saturday. The Jackets began last week with a huge clash at home against the Capitals. The Capitals played in DC the night before and didn’t have their legs under them in Columbus and were shutout 3-0 with Bobrovsky making 20 saves for his third shutout this year. The 1st place Islanders were next for Columbus, and that game also ended 3-0 with the Blue Jackets on the wrong end of that shutout. Artemi Panarin would haunt his former team in Chicago with two goals and an assist to finish up last week with a 5-2 victory for Columbus to stay in the playoff position in the Metro.
Columbus has two sets of back-to-backs this week with both sets splitting home and road games. The Jackets will host Tampa Bay on Monday before playing the Canadiens in Montreal on Tuesday night. Ottawa will host Columbus on Friday before the Jackets return home to face the Sharks on Saturday evening.
The Flyers had another winning week and are still hanging in there for the Wild Card race. It started off with a dud in Philly for the Flyers when the Penguins stormed through in a 4-1 loss for Philly, ending Carter Hart’s 8 game win streak. The Flyers were in Minnesota 24 hours later and would outscore the Wild in the 3rd period, scoring the games final two goals in a 5-4 regulation win for Philadelphia. Anthony Stolarz would get the win in that game, which would end up being his last game with the Flyers.
The Flyers made a significant move late Friday night when they traded goalie Anthony Stolarz to Edmonton for goalie Cam Talbot. Stolarz hasn’t reached the heights the Flyers thought he would and with the emergence of Carter Hart, Stolarz became expendable. Cam Talbot has been one of the worst goalies in the NHL this year, but has been a mentor for Carter Hart and has been a good goalie previously in the NHL. Not the biggest move, but could pay off big for the Flyers.
The Flyers seemed to be in complete control in their game on Saturday against the Red Wings with two early goals in the 3rd period to make it 5-1, but the Red Wings shocked the Flyers and their fans and scored three goals in six minutes to bring it to 5-4 before Anthony Mantha tied the game with six seconds left to force overtime. Fortunately for the Flyers, Travis Konecny would score 1:27 into overtime to hold on for a 6-5 victory after blowing a four goal lead in the 3rd period.
The Flyers are in Detroit today to complete the home-and-home before returning back to Philadelphia on Tuesday to play the Lightning. The Flyers then head north to face Montreal on Thursday before facing the Penguins outdoors again on Saturday night in the 2019 Stadium Series at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Rangers had an up-and-down week last week. It started off very positive at home against Toronto last Sunday night. It was Alexandar Georgiev’s 23rd birthday and one that he will never forget. He made 55(!) saves - 22 in the 1st, 17 in the 2nd, 17 in the 3rd - in a 4-1 victory for the Rangers. His 55 saves are the most ever by a Rangers goalie at the Garden in their history.
The Rangers were in Winnipeg two nights later and the Jets got two 1st period goals by Mark Scheifele before the Rangers scored the games next three goals with the third coming early in the 3rd period. The Jets would score two goals two minutes apart later in the 3rd and hold on for a 4-3 victory for the Jets. The Rangers squared off against in-state rivals Buffalo in Buffalo on Friday night. The Rangers were leading 3-2 in the 3rd period before the Rangers blew the doors open with two goals in 8 seconds late in the 3rd before adding an empty netter to make it a 6-2 final score.
The Rangers and Penguins will meet this afternoon on national television before the Rangers are in Raleigh to face the red hot Hurricanes on Tuesday night. The Rangers return home after that to finish this week against the Wild on Thursday and the Devils on Saturday.
Last week started and ended well for New Jersey in their four games played. It started with the Devils ending Carolina’s three game win streak behind Marcus Johansson’s two goal effort in a 3-2 regulation win in Newark. New Jersey laid yet another stinker in St. Louis two nights later and were trailing 6-1 before the 2nd period ended and the Devils would lose that game by an 8-3 score. Former Cup winning ex-Penguin Chris Kunitz was honored before the Devils next game in Chicago on Thursday for playing in his 1,000th NHL game. The Hawks would make it another victory for Kunitz with a 5-2 victory, while also making it 0-17-4 for Cory Scneider in his last 21 decisions.
I said above that the week ended well for the Devils, but it ended as well for Cory Schneider as any other hockey player right now. He finally got that elusive win, and it didn’t come the way you’d expect it. Keith Kinkaid started for the Devils in Minnesota against the Wild on Friday night and gave up four goals in 27 minutes before Scnheider would take over in net, trailing 4-1. The Devils would score one goal in the 2nd period and two more in the 3rd with Ben Lovejoy scoring to tie it with less than three minutes in the game. Then, 3:19 into overtime, Nico Hischier would score his 17th goal to win the game for the Devils, and more importantly for Schneider. He certainly deserved this one making 15 saves and allowing the Devils to come back. This will most likely be the most memorable game for the Devils, and it’s nice to see a good guy like Schneider finally get one in the win column again.
The Devils will try to make it two in a row back home against Buffalo this evening to begin a three game home stand. The Penguins will be next in New Jersey on Tuesday night before the Senators wrap up the home stand on Thursday. The Devils finish this week in NYC on Saturday afternoon before returning home for their next three games.
30-21-7; 67 pts; 200 Goals For (6th in the NHL; 6th last week); 179 Goals Against (T-17th; 18th)
2-1 record last week
The Matt Murray Redemption tour rolls on. Pens down Edmonton 3-1
Pittsburgh falls short on comeback loses 5-4
Sunday, February 17 - vs NYR, 12:30 p.m.
Tuesday, February 19 - @ NJD, 7 p.m.
Thursday, February 21 - vs SJS, 7 p.m.
Saturday, February 23 - @ PHI, 8 p.m.
*2019 NHL Stadium Series at Lincoln Financial Field
- 2/11/19, D Olli Maatta - IR; Upper-body injury
35-17-6, 76 pts; 169 GF (T-21st; 22nd); 138 GA (1st)
3-1 record last week
I like this winning thing, a lot
Isles snap win streak in boring loss
Cizikas breakaway show in another Greiss shutout
Two points are two points
Wednesday, February 20 - @ CGY, 9:30 p.m.
Thursday, February 21 - @ EDM, 9 p.m.
Saturday, February 23 - @ VAN, 10 p.m.
- 11/13/18, LW Andrew Ladd - IR; Right leg
- 12/16/18, D Thomas Hickey - IR; Upper-body injury
32-19-7, 71 pts; 197 GF (7th); 184 GA (T-19th; 21st)
2-1 record last week
Bobrovsky Blanks Washington
Oshie Nets Two As Caps Defeat Sharks 5-1
Sunday, February 17 - @ ANA, 9 p.m.
Monday, February 18 - @ LAK, 10:30 p.m.
Thursday, February 21 - @ TOR, 7 p.m.
Saturday, February 23 - @ BUF, 1 p.m.
33-21-3, 69 pts; 185 GF (11th; T-9th); 172 GA (T-13th; 16th)
2-1 record last week
Blue Jackets Shutout Capitals, 3-0
Islanders Come to Columbus, Thrash Jackets in Nationwide Arena
Bob + Bread = Blue Jackets win at Chicago
Monday, February 18 - vs TBL, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, February 19 - @ MTL, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, February 22 - @ OTT, 7 p.m.
Saturday, February 24 - vs SJS, 5 p.m.
- 2/1/19, C Brandon Dubinsky - IR; Hip
- 2/14/19, C Boone Jenner - Day-to-day; Undisclosed injury
- 2/14/19, LW Markus Hannikainen - Day-to-day; Illness
31-22-6, 68 pts; 173 GF (T-17th; T-23rd); 165 GA (8th; T-10th)
3-0 record last week
Canes fall 3-2 to struggling Devils
Canes score four unanswered in win over Sens
Nino scores twice, sparks controversy in Canes’ win over Oilers
Mrazek’s shutout lifts Hurricanes into wild card playoff spot
Tuesday, February 19 - vs NYR, 7 p.m.
Thursday, February 21 - @ FLA, 7 p.m.
Saturday, February 23 - @ DAL, 5 p.m.
- 12/22/18, C Jordan Staal - IR; Upper-body injury
27-24-7, 61 pts; 173 GF (T-15th; T-17th); 195 GA (T-26th; T-25th)
2-1 record last week
Way to win one, the refs
Do not go gentle into that good night
PHI: 6 OT
Flyers blow lead late, score overtime winner in thriller vs. Red Wings
Sunday, February 17 - @ DET, 6 p.m.
Tuesday, February 19 - vs TBL, 7 p.m.
Thursday, February 21 - @ MTL, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 23 - vs PIT, 8 p.m.
*2019 NHL Stadium Series at Lincoln Financial Field
- 10/1/18, D Samuel Morin - IR; Knee
- 11/15/18, G Brian Elliott - IR; Lower-body injury
- 1/3/19, G Michal Neuvirth - IR; Lower-body injury
25-24-8, 58 pts; 165 GF (25th; 26th); 188 GA (T-22nd)
2-1 record last week
Birthday Boy Georgiev Dazzles With 55 Saves Against Toronto
Rangers Blow Third Period Lead and Fall to Winnipeg 4-3
Rangers Down Sabres with Three Goal Third Period
Sunday, February 17 - @ PIT, 12:30 p.m.
Tuesday, February 19 - @ CAR, 7 p.m.
Thursday, February 21 - vs MIN, 7 p.m.
Saturday, February 23 - vs NJD, 1 p.m.
- 1/29/19, C Brett Howden - Day-to-day; Sprained MCL
- 2/16/19, D Brady Skjei - Day-to-day; Knee
22-28-8, 52 pts; 169 GF (T-21st; 23rd); 203 GA (29th; T-27th)
2-2 record last week
Playing Spoiler: New Jersey Devils Defeat Carolina Hurricanes 3-2
New Jersey Devils Embarrassed & Dominated by St. Louis Blues
Devils Battle but Can’t Hold the Lead, Fall 5-2 to the Blackhawks
NJD: 5 OT
What a Relief! Schneider & Hischier Secure OT Win for New Jersey Devils Over Minnesota
Sunday, February 17 - vs BUF, 6 p.m.
Tuesday, February 19 - vs PIT, 7 p.m.
Thursday, February 21 - vs OTT, 7 p.m.
Saturday, February 23 - @ NYR, 1 p.m.
- 1/28/19, D Sami Vatanen - IR; Concussion
- 2/11/19, RW Blake Coleman - IR; Upper-body
- 6/18, LW Taylor Hall - IR; Lower-body injury
- 1/13/19, RW Stefan Noesen - IR; Lower-body injuryinjury
- 2/16/19, C Pavel Zacha - Day-to-day; Upper-body injury
Which Metropolitan game is the most intriguing?
This poll is closed
2.17.19 - NYR @ PIT, 12:30 p.m. ET
2.18.19 - TBL @ CBJ, 7:30 p.m.
2.19.19 - NYR @ CAR, 7 p.m.
2.19.19 - PIT @ NJD, 7 p.m.
2.20.19 - NYI @ CGY, 9:30 p.m.
2.21.19 - WSH @ TOR, 7 p.m.
2.21.19 - SJS @ PIT, 7 p.m.
2.23.19 - NJD @ NYR, 1 p.m.
2.23.19 - PIT @ PHI, 8 p.m. 2019 NHL Stadium Series at Lincoln Financial Field