It’s been an eventful two weeks for the Penguins since the last recap. The Penguins were peaking at that time and worked all the way to the top of the Metropolitan for several days. But that turned out to be a curse in disguise as the Penguins haven’t won a game since they took that crown away from the Capitals.
The Penguins and Capitals kicked off last week in DC in a battle for that Metropolitan lead. The Capitals won the first 20 minutes by scoring the only goal of the frame when Marcus Pettersson wiped out and carried the puck and his body into the Penguins net.
The Penguins won the next 20 minutes when Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist teamed up and scored two goals nearly 30 seconds apart to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead heading into the 3rd period.
The Capitals scored two goals in the first five minutes from the sticks of Tom Wilson and Carl Hagelin before Evgeni Malkin scored a masterful goal for Pittsburgh to tie it at three. Malkin received a beautiful between the legs pass from Bryan Rust at the red line and raced down the far boards before victimizing likely Norris winner John Carlson with a pass between the defender’s legs and leaving him in his dust as he buried a wrist shot past Braden Holtby to tie the game.
But that momentum didn’t do much for the Penguins as T.J. Oshie put the Capitals ahead for good only 1:50 later and Hagelin would add his second goal into an empty net to down the Penguins 5-3 in DC last Sunday.
The Penguins then hit the road to California where the Penguins hit rock bottom this season. Instead of recapping the ugliness individually, I’m just going to add up the three games to paint how bad they were. The Penguins weren’t necessarily blown out and were never really out of the games, but they also showed very little life in the three losses and only managed three goals in the three games.
They were outscored 10-3 in those three games and were shutout 5-0 by San Jose to wrap up the disappointing road trip. Fortunately for the Penguins, some help may be on the way as Brian Dumoulin, John Marino and Nick Bjugstad could all possibly suit up in their next game on Tuesday night against Ottawa.
The Penguins return home to play Ottawa on Tuesday before a quick one game road trip in Buffalo on Thursday before closing out next week with two big weekend games. The Penguins will try to extract some revenge on Saturday when they host the Washington Capitals at 1 p.m. The Hurricanes will be in Pittsburgh next Sunday afternoon to wrap up the back-to-back against Metro opponents.
First off, I just want to congratulate Ovie on 700 goals. I disliked him immensely during his first few years against the Penguins but have since come to appreciate all the things he does for the game. I actually enjoy watching him play now as long as it’s not against the Penguins. 700 goals is quite an accomplishment and I’m definitely happy that I was alive to have witnessed all 700. Whether you like him or not, you can’t deny that he is one of the greatest players to ever lace them up.
The Capitals lead over the Metropolitan has dwindled, but the Capitals have owned first place essentially the entire duration of this regular season so far. Last week they began with one of the most anticipated games of the year when they hosted the Penguins last Sunday. The Penguins were actually in first place in the Metro when the game began, but the Capitals took over the Metro lead once again once this game ended.
Jakub Vrana got the scoring started by crashing the net and getting a fortunate bounce off a Penguins player that knocked the puck into the net just prior to the net coming off its pegs giving the Capitals the 1-0 lead where it would remain after 20 minutes.
The Penguins dominated the 2nd period and were rewarded with two goals in 30 seconds to jump ahead 2-1 going into the 3rd period. Tom Wilson scored a highlight reel goal 1:16 into the 3rd to tie it at two before former Penguins player Carl Hagelin came back to haunt them when he buried a loose puck in front of the Penguins net to give the Capitals a 3-2 lead.
Evegeni Malkin gave the Pens some life with a highlight reel goal of his own, but the Capitals scored another ugly goal from T.J. Oshie, his 25th this year, to give the Capitals the lead once again. Carl Hagelin finished the Pens with his seventh of the year into an empty net to give the Capitals the 5-3 win and put them back in the Metro lead.
Washington then began a rare home-and-home with Winnipeg starting in DC on Tuesday night. Washington raced out to a 3-0 lead when Garnet Hathaway put the Capitals up 3-0 in the 2nd period, but the Jets rallied in a major way.
The Jets scored with just under 1:30 remaining in the 2nd period to cut the lead to 3-1 before adding two more in the 3rd period to tie the game at three. Neither team would score in regulation and both goalies were perfect in overtime so the game needed a shootout to declare the winner.
The shootout lasted five rounds and Alex Ovechkin scored the third goal of the skills competition and Braden Holtby denied Nikolaj Ehlers on his attempt and the Capitals would come away with the 4-3 shootout victory.
Winnipeg hosted the Capitals two nights later in frigid Winnipeg. The Jets scored 6:33 into the first period which turned out the be the winner as Connor Hellebuyck stopped all 34 shots the Capitals fired his way. The Jets added two more goals in the 3rd period and the Capitals were shutout 3-0 and have now dropped four straight road games.
The Caps resume play this evening in Minnesota before playing three games against the Metropolitan in four days to close out their week. The Flyers and Capitals could surprisingly be playing for first in the Metro on Wednesday night in DC before the Capitals are in NYC on Thursday night. The Capitals close out next week with another monumental matchup between the Pens and Capitals on Saturday afternoon.
The Flyers roller coaster season just keeps on going. They’ve catapulted themselves into the second spot in the Metro with their recent five game win streak combined with the Penguins six game losing streak. The Flyers only had two games last week but they made the most of them.
The Flyers hosted the Sharks first on Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers struck first on the power play only 1:32 into the game, but the Sharks answered in the period and the game was tied at one after 20 minutes.
The Flyers added two goals in the 2nd period from Kevin Hayes and Travis Konecny and Hayes added one more in early in the 3rd to put the Flyers ahead 4-1. San Jose made it 4-2 with just over ten minutes remaining, but that was as close as they would get as the Flyers shut the door and held on for the 4-2 victory, their fourth in a row.
The Rangers were in the way of making if five in a row for the Flyers on Friday night. The Rangers got the first goal three minutes into the 1st, but Sean Couturier scored his 20th of the year late in the 1st to even the score at one heading into the 2nd period.
The Flyers completely ran away with the game after the first 20 minutes with two goals in the 2nd and two more in the 3rd before the Rangers added a garbage time goal with less than 30 seconds remaining in the game to bring the final score to 5-2. That win put the Flyers one point ahead of the Penguins for second place in the Metro where the Flyers remain this morning.
Philadelphia will have a very tough test to begin this week with three games against Metropolitan opponents. They square off at MSG this afternoon against the Rangers on national television before they are in DC to play the Capitals on Wednesday Night Hockey once again on national television. The Flyers then host the Hurricanes the following night back in Philadelphia before wrapping up this week at home against Buffalo on Saturday night.
The Islanders have taken a step back in the last several weeks but are still holding down the WC1 spot as of this morning. The Islanders began last week at home against the Sharks. Anders Lee got the first goal of the game in the 1st period but it was answered five minutes later by SJ to make it 1-1 after 20 minutes.
Lee added another goal a minute into the 2nd period and Devon Toews added one more to lead 3-1 heading into the 3rd period. Josh Bailey made it 4-1 and Semyon Varlamov stopped 29 shots, 12 in the 3rd period, to knock down the Sharks 4-1 to begin their week.
The Islanders then hosted their biggest rival two days later when they played the Rangers. The Rangers scored the first two goals of the game but newly acquired forward Jean-Pageau scored his 25th of the season, and first with NYI, to make it 2-1 heading into the 3rd period.
The Rangers scored midway through the 3rd to go up 3-1, but the Islanders would not be denied. Jordan Eberle scored on the power play with five minutes left and Brock Nelson scored his 23rd of the season with less than 20 seconds remaining to force overtime.
Unfortunately for the Isles, that magic faded quickly as Mika Zibanejad ended the game only 28 seconds into overtime and the Islanders were downed by the Rangers 4-3 in overtime.
The Islanders were in St. Louis two days later. The Islanders jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the 1st period with goals from Pageau and Eberle, but the Blues got one in the final minute of the 1st to make it 2-1. Neither team would score again until late in the 3rd period when Vince Dunn tied the game at two with just under two minutes remaining and the game headed to overtime.
It was a tightly contested overtime but the Blues came away with the extra point when Colton Parayko scored to give the Blues the 3-2 win at 3:23 of overtime.
The Bruins were next on Long Island to close out last week for the Isles. It was an ugly game for the Islanders and they were toast from the puck drop. The Bruins scored twice in the 1st and two more in the 3rd period as Tuukka Rask stopped all 25 shots he faced, 13 in the 3rd period, to shutout the Islanders 4-0 to close out the week for New York.
The Islanders have two days off before hosting the Habs on Tuesday night and then head to Ottawa on Thursday night. The Islanders return home on Saturday afternoon to square off against the Hurricanes in what could determine the Wild Card at the end of the year.
The magic has worn off in Columbus since the last recap as the Jackets have dropped 10 out of their last 11 games but still hold down the final Wild Card spot as of this morning.
The Blue Jackets began last week against Ottawa and attempting to end an eight game losing streak. It was a back-and-forth game as both teams traded leads and goals with both teams scoring a goal apiece in each of the three periods to bring a 3-3 game to overtime.
Columbus had control for most of the overtime period but had nothing to show for it until Emil Bemstrom buried his seventh goal of the year on the Jackets’ fifth shot of overtime at 4:35 to end the Jackets losing streak with a 4-3 overtime victory.
Columbus was in Minnesota the next night to face the Wild. It was another ugly game for Columbus as the Wild scored twice in the 1st and 2nd to lead 4-1 after 40 minutes. But the Jackets came out with passion in the 3rd period and rattled off two quick goals in the first three minutes to bring it to 4-3.
But the Wild scored at the midpoint mark in the 3rd to pad their lead by two once again which was the last straw for the Jackets’ comeback bid. Zach Werenski did add his 19th goal this year with four minutes left, but Columbus could not get the tying goal and fell 5-4 to the Wild on Tuesday night.
Columbus had a chance for redemption three nights later when they hosted the Wild at Nationwide Arena on Friday night. Minnesota made no doubt about this one as once again they scored twice in the 1st and 2nd period, but this time they didn’t allow the Jackets to get anything going offensively.
It was more of the same in the 3rd period as the Wild scored on the power play to make it 5-0 and Alex Stalock had a relatively easy night stopping 24 shots for his fourth shutout this year and 18th of his career. That loss made it 10 out of 11 games for the Jackets, but they are miraculously holding on to the final Wild Card for dear life.
Columbus must be happy that February is finally over as we begin March today. The Jackets host a much improved Canucks team this year in Columbus before heading out to western Canada later in the week. They’ll be in Calgary on Wednesday night and play Edmonton on Saturday with a rematch against Vancouver next Sunday.
Carolina has been trying to put it all together and just can’t seem to get over the hump and back into a playoff spot. They were the biggest buyers at the trade deadline and are trying to duplicate the hot streak they rode into last years playoffs that took them all the way to the ECF.
Carolina hosted the Dallas Starts last Tuesday to begin their week. Neither goalie was good to go after that memorable game against the Leafs that saw both goalies go down. You know the story by now, but that situation resulted in the Hurricanes calling up Alex Nedeljkovic to make his season debut in net.
The Hurricanes did well to limit the chances and shots from the Stars, but the Stars capitalized on all of the chances they were given. The Hurricanes outshot the Stars 41-16 but couldn’t get anything going offensively and the Stars stunned the Hurricanes with a 4-1 victory.
Carolina had two days to get the new guys acquainted in Raleigh before hosting the Avalanche on Saturday. Tyson Jost would score a goal in the 1st and 2nd period to give the Avs a 2-0 lead heading into the 3rd period.
Teuvo Teravainen got the home fans rowdy when he scored two goals in two minutes to tie the game at two, but unfortunately for those home fans, the Avs would score the dagger with just over 2:30 remaining and the Canes could not get the equalizer as they fell to the Avs 3-2 in regulation.
Carolina didn’t have much time to reflect on that loss as they were in Montreal the following night. It was the opposite of the start the Canes were looking for as Montreal raced out to a 3-0 lead only 24 minutes into the game before the Canes began their comeback.
Haydn Fleury scored midway through the 2nd period to bring it to 3-1. Joel Edmundson scored to make it 3-2 early in the 3rd and Justin Williams deflected a shot with just over a minute left in regulation and the Canes would not surrender the lead in regulation this time and would head to overtime.
The Canes comeback bid came to abrupt end 52 seconds into overtime when Jeff Petry came streaking in alone and roofed a shot to win the game for Montreal, keeping the Canes one point of of the final Wild Card spot in the East.
Carolina will have another short break before playing their next five games on the road with four of those games coming against Metro opponents. They Canes don’t pick up again until Thursday when they’re in Philadelphia. They’ll be in Long Island on Saturday afternoon before a back-to-back in Pittsburgh next Sunday afternoon.
The Rangers haven’t improved much in the standings since the last recap a few weeks ago, but are still close enough to be considered for the Wild Card. They had three road games in four days last week starting against their cross state rival Islanders on Tuesday night.
Artemi Panarin got the scoring started with his 32nd of the year as the only scoring in the first frame. Greg McKegg doubled the Rangers lead but the Islanders new acquisition Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored in his debut late in the 2nd to bring it to 2-1 heading into the 3rd period.
Brett Howden put the Rangers up 3-1 midway through the 3rd period, but the Islanders would not go down easy. The Isles scored five minutes after that Rangers goal and then scored with less than 30 seconds remaining in regulation and their net empty to tie the game and force overtime.
Mika Zibanejad decided that the game had gone on long enough and finished off the Isles only 28 seconds into overtime with his 29th goal of the year and the Rangers set a team record with their eighth straight road victory.
New York was in Montreal two nights later for another matchup between the two Original Six teams. Montreal scored the only goal of the 1st period and added another late in the 2nd before the Rangers finally got on the board to head into the 3rd down 2-1.
The Rangers owned the 3rd period, but it took a long time before the Rangers scored an avalanche of goals to down the Habs. Zibanejad scored his 30th of the year to tie it at two and Adam Fox put the Rangers ahead just over a minute later. Ryan Strome padded the lead on the power play three minutes after than and then added one more to seal the deal for the Rangers and take down the Canadiens with a four goal 3rd period all in the last ten minutes.
The Rangers were in Philly the next night to try and slow down a red hot Flyers squad. Jesper Fast got the first of the game less than three minutes into the 1st period but that was answered by the Flyers before the end of the first 20 minutes.
Philadelphia added two quick goals in the 2nd period to lead 3-1 going into the 3rd. The Flyers scored once more on the power play early and former Ranger Kevin Hayes put the nail in the coffin midway through the 3rd to put the Flyers up 5-1. Brett Howden scored for the third consecutive game to make it look closer, but the game was far out of reach and the Flyers won a convincing 5-2 game over the Rangers to move into 2nd place in the Metro.
The Rangers return home this week with four home games beginning with a rematch against the Flyers this afternoon on NBC. The Blues are next on Tuesday before the Capitals on Thursday and the Rangers close out the week on Saturday against the Devils.
The Devils began their week last week against another basement dweller, but the Devils had the clear advantage over the Red Wings in terms of talent. The Devils scored a minute into the game and then added two more in the 2nd period before both teams traded power play goals in the 3rd period to bring the final score to 4-1 in favor of the Devils.
That win was Cory Schneider’s first win of the year after going 0-7-2 in his previous 11 games. That win made it three straight for the Devils and seven wins in their last ten games. It took a long time before the Devils had any consistency, but they may have finally turned the corner now that season is coming to its end.
New Jersey took off from Detroit and were in San Jose two nights later. New Jersey got off to a hot start with two goals in the 1st period from Travis Zajac and Nikita Gusev, but those were equaled by the Sharks in the 2nd period with their second goal coming on a Devil’s power play.
Both goalies would not be beat again in regulation and the game headed to overtime. It didn’t take long to decide this one as the Devils never got a chance in OT and Logan Couture buried the Devils only 38 seconds into the overtime to defeat New Jersey 3-2 on Thursday night.
Los Angeles was next as the Devils continued their way through California. Once again the Devils got off to a good start by scoring the first goal of the 1st period. Unfortunately for New Jersey, that was the only goal they could muster. Dustin Brown tied it midway through the 2nd period and once again the game would need overtime to declare a winner.
It took more than 38 seconds this time, but once again the Devils never got a shot on goal and the Kings scored 1:58 into overtime to send the Devils on their way as OT losers to close out their week, but points in five straight games (3-0-2).
The Devils still have two more games out west when they square off in Anaheim this evening and wrap up in Las Vegas on Tuesday. They return home to face the Blues on Friday and are in New York City the following night to wrap up their week with a back-to-back against the Rangers on Saturday night.
37-21-6; 80 pts; 204 Goals For (T-13th in the NHL); 178 Goals Against (T-7th)
0-4 record last week
Slumping Pens offense leads to 2-1 loss
Pens find no answers, lose fifth straight game in Anaheim
Are the good times really over for good? Pens lose sixth straight
Tuesday, March 3 - vs OTT, 7 p.m. ET
Thursday, March 5 - @ BUF, 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 7 - vs WSH, 1 p.m.
- 11/14/19, C Nick Bjugstad - IR; Core muscle surgery
- 11/29/19, D Brian Dumoulin - IR; Lacerated ankle tendons
- 12/29/19, LW Jake Guentzel - IR; Shoulder surgery
- 2/6/20, D John Marino - IR; Fractured cheekbone
- 2/15/20, LW Zach Aston-Reese - Day-to-day; Lower-body injury
39-19-6, 84 pts; 222 GF (4th); 196 GA (13th)
2-1 record last week
Holtby, Team Effort Fuels 5-3 Win over Penguins
WSH: 4 SO
Caps Fly High In 4-3 Shootout Win
Wiped Out in Winnipeg as Jets Beat Caps 3-0
Sunday, March 1 - @ MIN, 8 p.m.
Wednesday, March 4 - vs PHI, 7 p.m.
Thursday, March 5 - @ NYR, 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 7 - @ PIT, 1 p.m.
37-20-7, 81 pts; 215 GF (T-7th); 187 GA (11th)
2-0 record last week
Flyers take care of business in 4-2 win over Sharks
Flyers dominant in 5-2 win over Rangers, extend winning streak to five games
Sunday, March 1 - @ NYR, 12 p.m.
Wednesday, March 4 - @ WSH, 7 p.m.
Thursday, March 5 - vs CAR, 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 7 - vs BUF, 7 p.m.
- 9/12/19, C Nolan Patrick - IR; Migraine disorder
- 11/6/19, D Samuel Morin - IR; Torn right ACL
- 12/10/19, LW Oscar Lindblom - IR; Illness
- 2/9/20, D Shayne Gostisbehere - Day-to-day; Knee
35-21-8, 78 pts; 181 GF (23rd); 175 GA (4th)
2-1 record last week
Three point night for Lee leads Isles
NYR: 4 OT
Isles salvage point despite all kinds of crap
STL: 3 OT
Blues shutdown Isles after promising first period
Home futility against Boston continues
Tuesday, March 3 - vs MTL, 7 p.m.
Thursday, March 5 - @ OTT, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 7 - vs CAR, 1 p.m.
- 1/1/20 - D Adam Pelech - IR; Achilles
- 2/10/20, C Casey Cizikas - IR: Leg laceration
31-21-14, 76 pts; 170 GF (27th); 176 GA (6th)
1-2 record last week
CBJ: 4 OT
Foligno, Korpisalo lead black and Blue Jackets to win: Back in wild card spot
Jackets lose in Wild 9-goal game
On 90s throwback night, Jackets’ play was similar to back then - nonexistent
Sunday, March 1 - vs VAN, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, March 4 - @ CGY, 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 7 - @ EDM, 10 p.m.
- 9/24/19, C Brandon Dubinsky - IR; Wrist
- 12/13/19, RW Josh Anderson - IR; Shoulder
- 12/31/19, C Alexandre Texier - IR; Lumbar stress fracture
- 1/2/20, D Dean Kukan - IR; Torn meniscus
- 2/9/20, RW Cam Atkinson - IR; Sprained ankle
- 2/20/20, RW Oliver Bjorkstrand - Day-to-day; Fractured ankle
- 2/23/20, G Elvis Merzlikins - Day-to-day; Concussion
35-24-5, 75 pts; 207 GF (12th); 183 GA (8th)
0-2-1 record last week
Dramatic Mistakes Cost Canes in Loss to Stars
Missed chances, frustrating loss
MTL: 4 OT
Canes come back, fall in OT
Thursday, March 5 - @ PHI, 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 7 - @ NYI, 1 p.m.
- 1/15/20, D Dougie Hamilton - IR; Fractured fibula
- 2/2/20, D Sami Vatanen - IR; Leg
- 2/21/20, G James Reimer - Day-to-day; Lower-body injury
- 2/21/20, D Brett Pesce - IR; Shoulder
- 2/21/20, G Petr Mrazek - Day-to-day; Concussion
35-25-4, 74 pts; 214 GF (9th); 198 GA (T-14th)
2-1 record last week
NYR: 4 OT
Rangers Give Up Lead Late But Score Early in Overtime
New York Scores Five Unanswered And Wins Fifth Straight
Rangers’ Winning Streak Ends in Philadelphia
Sunday, March 1 - vs PHI, 12 p.m. ET
Tuesday, March 3 - vs STL, 7 p.m.
Thursday, March 5 - vs WSH, 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 7 - vs NJD, 7 p.m.
- 2/7/20, LW Michael Haley - IR; Bilateral core muscle
- 2/23/20, Igor Shesterkin - Day-to-day; Non-displaced rib fracture
- 2/27/20, LW Chris Kreider - Day-to-day; Fractured foot
25-27-12, 62 pts; 174 GF (T-26th); 216 GA (27th)
1-0-2 record last week
Schneider Picks Up Huge Win as Devils Top Detroit 4-1
SJS: 3 OT
Devils Drop Lead to Spirited Sharks, Lose Swiftly in Overtime 3-2
LAK: 2 OT
New Jersey Devils Flopped in Overtime to Los Angeles Kings, 1-2
Sunday, March 1 - @ ANA, 8 p.m.
Tuesday, March 3 - @ VGK, 10 p.m.
Friday, March 6 - vs STL, 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 7 - @ NYR, 7 p.m.
- 9/30/19, D Brian Strait - IR; Concussion
- 2/17/20, D Will Butcher, Day-to-day; Upper-body injury
Which Metropolitan game is the most intriguing?
This poll is closed
3.1.20 - PHI @ NYR, 12 p.m. ET
3.4.20 - PHI @ WSH, 7 p.m.
3.5.20 - WSH @ NYR. 7 p.m.
3.5.20 - CAR @ PHI, 7 p.m.
3.7.20 - WSH @ PIT, 1 p.m.
3.7.20 - CAR @ NYI, 1 p.m.
3.7.20 - NYI @ NYR, 7 p.m.