ATLANTIC DIVISION RECAP (10/23)
News you may have missed from the Atlantic Division
A look at what's been happening around the Atlantic Division.BUFFALO: The Sabres are off to a slow start going 1-8-1 in their first 10 games and sit eighth in the division with three points.
Rookie defenseman Nikita Zadorov played in his first NHL game Saturday night. He logged 11:01 of ice time and will play against the Bruins on Wednesday.
“It’s his second game in the League at 18 years old,” Sabres coach Ron Rolston said after the morning skate on Wednesday. “So matchup wise, he’s got size and he’s physical. He had [three] hits last game, led our team physically. He’s a guy that clears people out in front so it’s going to be another real good challenge for him to see where he’s at.”
Forwards Ville Leino and Corey Tropp returned to practice with the team Monday. Leino cracked a rib in the season opener on Oct. 2 and Tropp broke his jaw in a fight against Toronto in the preseason on Sept. 22.
BOSTON: The Bruins (5-2-0) sit in a three-way tie for third place in the division with the Canadiens and the Lightning with 10 points. They play in Buffalo on Wednesday, completing a three-game road trip that saw them take on the Florida Panther and Tampa Bay Lightning.
Forward Reilly Smith’s game-winning goal late in the third period lifted the Bruins over Tim Thomas and the Panthers on Oct. 17 Panthers. Boston then shutout the Lightning 5-0 on Sunday.
Off-season acquisition Jarome Iginla remains without a goal through seven games played, his teammates are confident he’ll turn it around soon.
“I feel like we’ve been playing pretty good hockey the last few games. So it’s coming. It’s just about to get the first one and get the monkey off your back,” David Krejci told Bruins.com. “And I believe once Iggy’s going to get it, he’s going to be putting the puck in the net more often and he’ll get his 30 goals this year.”
DETROIT: The Red Wings (6-3-1) are currently in second place in the division with 13 points, one point behind Toronto. Detroit hosts the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday.
Backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson was named the NHL’s First Star for the week ending Oct. 20 after leading the team to three straight victories in relief of an injured Jimmy Howard. Howard missed three games with a bruised left hand, but is back in net for Detroit.
Defenseman Niklas Kronwall will return to the lineup Wednesday after suffering a concussion. He sustained the injury after taking a hit from Colorado’s Cody McLeod on Thursday. McLeod was suspended five games by the NHL for the hit.
With Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson (dislocated shoulder) out of the lineup, Detroit has relied on a young defensive corps to carry them through their recent stretch of games.
Center Darren Helm, who has struggled with injuries and has only played one game in the past 18 months, has been recalled and could make his season debut on Oct. 26.
FLORIDA: The Panthers are off to a 3-6-1 start through 10 games and are currently seventh in the division with six points.
Rookie forward Aleksander Barkov, 18, is second on the team in scoring with seven points (3+4).
The Panthers placed goaltender Tim Thomas on injured reserve on Wednesday. He sustained a lower body injury in the third period of Florida’s loss to Chicago on Tuesday. It was his third straight start after missing four games with a groin injury sustained during a 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Oct. 8.
Scott Clemmensen will likely split time with Jacob Markstrom for the foreseeable future.
Forward Sean Bergenheim practiced for the first time this season on Monday. He hasn’t played in 18 months due to hip and abdominal injuries.
“We’ll keep on working with the trainers here, who have been unbelievable to me since I got back, the time they’ve given me,” Bergenheim told the Miami Herald. “I think it’s sooner rather than later.”
MONTREAL: Montreal is tied for third place in the division with the Bruins and the Lightning with 10 points through their first eight games.
The Canadiens are already struggling with injuries early in the season with Daniel Briere, Max Pacioretty, Douglas Murray, Brandon Prust, Davis Drewiske and George Parros all on the injured reserve.
Rookies Mike Blunden and Patrick Holland were recalled from the Hamilton Bulldogs of the Ameerican Hockey League on Monday to help fill out the Canadiens’ roster.
“[General manager] Marc [Bergevin] went to watch the game against the [Toronto] Marlies on Sunday night and then met with [Bulldogs coach] Sylvain Lefebvre. They decided that Blunden and Holland were the best choices,” Montreal coach Michel Therrien told Canadiens.com.
Reigning Norris Trophy winner PK Subban is off to a hot start and leads all NHL defencemen in points with 11 (2+9).
OTTAWA: The Senators started their season on a six game road trip going 2-2-2 before splitting a pair of contests at home. They currently sit sixth place in the division with eight points and a 3-3-2 record.
They face their former captain Daniel Alfredsson for the first time Wednesday in Detroit. The Senators have already moved on.
“The city of Ottawa is going to miss him and as teammates of his for so long we miss him too, but he turned the page. We've got to turn the page too," Senators forward Chris Neil said. "You don't dwell on it, you just go out, focus on the task at hand and that's to beat the Detroit Red Wings.”
In other news, Ottawa recalled forward Mika Zibanejad on Tuesday.
“We just want to see Mika come out and play, do what he does,” Senators coach Paul MacLean told Senators.com. “He's a big guy that can skate and play with a lot of speed and power to the net and really shoot the puck. That's what we want to see.”
Off-season acquisition Bobby Ryan has fit in nicely on the top line with Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek. The three of them have a collective twenty points in eight games.
TAMPA BAY: Martin St. Louis was named the ninth captain in Lightning history at the beginning of the season and is off to a good start to the season. The 38-year-old forward is tied with Steven Stamkos for the team lead in points with 10.
After eight games, Tampa Bay is off to a 5-3 start and is tied with Montreal and Boston for third place in the division.
Tampa Bay last played on Saturday, a 5-0 loss to the Bruins, and do not play again until Thursday, when the Chicago Blackhawks come to town. The Lightning host the Sabres on Saturday.
The team is taking the time off to refocus and get better prepared for the games ahead.
“We need to make sure we’re coming in prepared and executing the way we know we’re capable of,” forward Ryan Malone told Lightning.com. “To have a performance like that, we kind of embarrassed ourselves and they let us know we’re capable of more. I’m sure it’s very frustrating for the coaching staff as well.”
TORONTO: The Maple Leafs bounced back from loss to Carolina and Chicago with a 4-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday. Phil Kessel scored a hat trick in the victory.
Toronto is 7-3-0 and first in the Atlantic with 14 points.
The Maple Leafs have been heavily outshot in the majority of their games and have relied on the goaltending of James Reimer and Jonathan Bernier for their hot start.
The team lost Reimer to a head injury 32 seconds into the team’s game against Carolina on Thursday but he was able to back up Bernier on Saturday.
With forward David Clarkson set to return to the lineup from the 10-game suspension he received for leaving the bench during fight in a preseason game, the Maple Leafs sent Josh Leivo back to the AHL on Wednesday.
Toronto’s next game is in Columbus on Friday.