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Crossing the NHL's Atlantic Division: Week 11 (Part 2)

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 of these pieces were submitted on Friday, others on Saturday. Therefore, Friday’s and yesterday’s games are not reflected upon in these summaries. 

Part 2 of 2 (Check out Part 1)

Detroit Red Wings 

By John Evans, Staff Writer at Octopus Thrower

After defeating the New Jersey Devils last Friday, the Wings dropped a 2-1 decision to the Atlantic’s basement-dwelling Florida Panthers. Both games were marred by some questionable officiating, but that certainly doesn’t explain a lack of offense. The Wings followed this effort up with two shootout losses, one to Florida on Tuesday night and another to the Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday night. Is another OT losses streak on the horizon? I certainly hope not.

Injuries have been a concern this year and the hits just keep on coming. Jimmy Howard has suffered a knee injury and even if his performances have left something to be desired as of late, not having him in the lineup is never good.

Wings fans were given something to lift their spirits this week when Steve Yzerman committed to playing in the Alumni Showdown before the Winter Classic, and there was much rejoicing.

It’s a tough road ahead for the Wings this week but at least they’ll be at home for a bit. Detroit hosts the Pittsburgh Penguins Saturday night followed by the Lightning Sunday evening. They’ll also face Anaheim on Tuesday night and Calgary on Thursday night…yeesh who made this schedule?

Florida Panthers 

By Patrick McGrath, Editor of The Rat Trick 

If the Florida Panthers season were a roller coaster, it would be one of those fun-for-the-whole-family, low-intensity rides. There may be a lot of ups and downs but the thing never really gets too far off the ground.

That trend continued this week as the Panthers mixed in some good wins with some ugly losses while holding steady in their position at the bottom of the Atlantic Division. The good news is the Panthers have started the month of December with a 3-2 record. They took down the new Atlantic Division rival Detroit Red Wings twice in the last week winning 2-1 in Detroit last Saturday and 3-2 (SO) at home on Tuesday.

The bad news is Tim Thomas left Thursday’s practice with an injury with unkown severity. 23-year-old Jacob Markstrom has been called up from the minors and it looks like he and 36-year-old Scott Clemmensen will handle the goaltending duties for now. For an idea of what losing Thomas means for the Panthers, consider this: The Panthers have won 10 games this season and Thomas has been in net for nine of them. Clemmensen and Markstrom have a combined record of 1-7-4 compared to Thomas’ 9-10-1.

Ottawa Senators 

By Jared Crozier, Editor of SenShot

The Ottawa Senators, albeit against some of the weaker teams in the conference, have actually started showing signs of getting out of the early season doldrums. They find themselves within three points of the final playoff spot, and have passed most of the teams they need to pass.

While they have accumulated six points in their last four games, there is a big test coming up with games against some elite Western Conference teams. The Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues both come to town on Saturday and Monday respectively and the Senators performance in those games will demonstrate just how far they have progressed in the past couple of weeks.

Buffalo Sabres

By Tim Redinger, Founding Editor of Sabre Noise

The Buffalo Sabres continue to look for their new general manager, and still struggle to score offensively. While the energy and attitude has changed the look of the current edition of the Buffalo Sabres, they were still only able to muster one shootout victory in the past week. The fact of the matter is the Buffalo Sabres are a poorly constructed hockey team struggling to find leadership, offense, and consistency.

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Tags: NHL Atlantic Division Toronto Maple Leafs

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