Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Crossing the NHL's Atlantic Division: Week 9 (Part 1)

Greetings, Internet traveller! You’re just in time to join us on a sporadic journey through central and eastern North America (nobody said this was going to be an energy-efficient journey). We’ve enlisted the help of local tour guides for every stop, equipped with all the information you need to know about what’s new and exciting in every area of our trip. So without further ado, let’s fire up those engines and fasten your seatbelts…we’re going for a ride.

NOTE: Some pieces were submitted Friday and therefore do not reflect on last night’s games.

Montreal Canadiens

By Andy Bayer

The Habs’ bipolar season continues. After losing four in a row earlier this month, they are now on a four-game winning streak. The difference between early and late November comes down to one line. Michel Therrien moved Brendan Gallagher to a line with David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty and it immediately paid dividends, with 12 points between them in the last four games. Nobody is happier about this than Desharnais, who has worked his way out of the hot seat (and the mayor’s ire) after starting the season in a miserable slump.

Other than the Desharnais line, the Habs still aren’t scoring a ton of goals. When two defensemen are your top scorers, it’s a good sign that you’re not setting the net ablaze. Fortunately, Montreal hasn’t had to score much with the way Carey Price has been playing. The return of Alexei Emelin has also stabilized the D corps and added a physical element the Habs have been missing.

The drama around PK Subban has also died down as Therrien has bumped up his ice time. Therrien even reneged on his earlier comment that Subban may not be cut out for Team Canada, and now says he wants him on the team. With the evil Maple Leafs coming to the Bell Centre tonight there is nothing but excitement and optimism in La Belle Province. Until next week.

Tampa Bay Lightning

By Tasha Meares, Editor of Bolts By The Bay

This has been a week of ups and downs for the Lightning.

For a team struggling with multiple injuries, they have been doing the best they can with the issues that they have in front of them.

On Monday, the Lightning returned home from their four-game road trip through the Western Conference to host former Lightning center Brad Richards and the New York Rangers. The Lightning were able to blank the Rangers 5-0 and start the home stand off properly.

Next up for the Tampa Bay Lightning was another former Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier and the Philadelphia Flyers. Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback played a pretty solid game. Despite a late charge from the Flyers, the Bolts still came out on top and brought the two points home.

The only downside of the week was Friday’s loss to Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins. While the numbers certainly didn’t reflect it, the Lightning played a rather good game all around. Unfortunately, at the end of the night it was unnecessary penalties and overpassing that allowed the Penguins to shutout the Bolts 3-0 at home.

The Lightning will head to Columbus on Tuesday to go head-to-head with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Buffalo Sabres

By Caitlin Campbell, Co-Editor of Sabre Noise

After the exciting news last week of the Buffalo Sabres giving Darcy Regier and Ron Rolston the boot, things returned to normal in Buffalo as the Sabres continued their losing ways.

The Sabres fell 3-1 to both the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens as they were outplayed and outworked in both games by better teams. On Friday, they managed to rack up a W as they defeated their divisional rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 in overtime. It seems that no matter how poorly the Sabres are playing, when the Leafs come to town they give it their best shot and usually end up on the winning end. Two of the Sabres’ three home wins this season have come against the Maple Leafs.

Ryan Miller started all three games this week and he played solid, giving his team a chance to win each and every night and was finally rewarded on Friday for his efforts. Miller, of course, is playing for an Olympic spot and so far he’s earned the crease. Matt Moulson found his scoring touch again as he potted two goals in as many games and was one of the best players for the Sabres this past week after being invisible the week before. Luke Adam also scored his first goal since being recalled and is looking solid playing on the third line.

After another week the Buffalo Sabres still sit 30th in the NHL as they make their case to become the worst team in NHL history and get the first overall pick.

The second leg of the journey begins here.

Tags: NHL Atlantic Division Toronto Maple Leafs

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