A shift in the division standings, call-ups and a number of other transactions have the Southeast Division buzzing this week.
Here’s a look at all the action from the five clubs:
SOUTHEAST DIVISION STANDINGS, ENTERING WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2013
Carolina 8-5-1 17 Points
Tampa Bay 8-6-1 17 Points
Winnipeg 6-8-1 13 Points
Florida 4-7-4 12 Points
Washington 5-9-1 11 Points
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
The Bolts currently find themselves halfway through a two-game homestand that began with a total team effort that resulted in a 4-2 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Following tomorrow’s tilt against the Boston Bruins, the Lightning will go on to compete in a weekend back-to-back set at Carolina and Pittsburgh on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
In the past two weeks, the Bolts have executed a number of transactions, including reassigning Brendan Mikkelson and Pierre-Cedric Labrie to Syracuse of the American Hockey League, while also recalling forwards Richard Panik and Alex Killorn from the Crunch.
Panik has appeared in three games this season, registering no points and a minus-2 rating, while Killorn has skated in four games, registering two points coming on a goal and assist.
Desjardins appeared in a pair of games with the Lightning throughout the 2010-11 season, winning both while posting a goals-against average of 1.00. He also played in 22 games this season with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL, compiling a record of 7-13-2 with a 2.94 goals-against average and .905 save percentage and made his Crunch debut Monday afternoon in a 5-3 win against Albany, stopping 22 of 25 shots.
Goals: Stamkos (10), Lecavalier (6), Conacher (5)
Assists: St. Louis (18), Stamkos (12), Purcell (11)
Points: Stamkos (22), St. Louis (22), Lecavalier (16)
Thursday, February 21 vs. Boston
Saturday, February 23 at Carolina
Sunday, February 24 at Pittsburgh
After somewhat of a slow start, the Hurricanes have risen to the top of the Southeast Division with five wins in their past seven games.
The team wraps up a two-game homestand on Saturday when it takes on the Lightning.
Like the Bolts, the Hurricanes have relied on their farm system as of late, making three recalls from Charlotte of the American Hockey League to the big club.
The first came last Thursday, when the team brought up defenseman Michal Jordan from the American League, who in his third professional season, has scored six goals and earned nine assists in 48 games this season with Charlotte.
Carolina also recalled forwards Riley Nash and Jeremy Welsh, in part because of Tim Gleason being placed on Injured Reserve.
Nash, 23, is in his third full professional season and has appeared in 50 games with the Checkers this season, totaling 11 goals and 24 assists. He ranked first among Charlotte skaters in assists (24), second in points (35) and tied for second in plus/minus (+11) at the time of his recall.
Welsh, meanwhile, appeared in the Frozen Four last spring that was held at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
The Bayfield, Ontario native is in his first full professional season and has totaled 10 goals and eight assists in 47 games with the Checkers this season. He also played one game on the NHL level for Carolina, skating in the team’s 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay on January22.
Goals: E. Staal (8), Skinner (7), Tlusty (5)
Assists: J. Staal (10), E. Staal (9), Skinner (7)
Points: E. Staal (17), Skinner (14), J. Staal (12)
Thursday, February 21 vs. Winnipeg
Saturday, February 23 vs. Tampa Bay
Sunday, February 24 at New York Islanders
Not even the advantage of having home ice could help the Panthers rise up in the division standings lately.
Florida has lost each of its past five consecutive games, allowing five or more goals in three of those losses. The Panthers will hit the road for a two-game set through the state of Pennsylvania before returning home to play three straight.
On Tuesday, the Panthers recalled center Mike Santorelli from San Antonio of the AHL. Santorelli, 27, played in three games with Florida this season, before being assigned to San Antonio on January 31. In seven games with the Rampage this year, he has recorded two goals and three assists.
Last week, Florida general manager Dale Tallon also looked towards the future, as he traded defenseman Keaton Ellerby to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a fifth round selection in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
Goals: Huberdeau (6), Fleischmann (4), Campbell (4)
Assists: Fleischmann (6), Campbell (4), Kopecky (4)
Points: Fleischmann (10), Huberdeau (9), Campbell (8)
Thursday, February 21 at Philadelphia
Friday, February 22 at Pittsburgh
Sunday, February 24 vs. Boston
The last-place Capitals open a stretch of three home games this week, where the team will look to climb out from the bottom of the division standings. The Capitals had won three in a row, but just when it appeared as if the club’s fortunes might be changing, a close 2-1 defeat at the hands of the New York Rangers quickly brought that momentum to an end.
Goals: Brouwer (7), Ribeiro (5), Ward (5)
Assists: Ribeiro (13), Backstrom (10), Ward (6)
Points: Ribeiro (18), Ward (11), Backstrom (11)
Thursday, February 21 vs. New Jersey
Saturday, February 23 vs. New Jersey
Tuesday, February 26 vs. Carolina
The Jets continue on with their five-game road trip this week, with four contests still to play after opening the set with a 2-1 victory against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.
The win was a welcomed change for Winnipeg, which previously had dropped three straight.
Like all NHL clubs, Winnipeg is looking to improve its hockey club, and made a number of moves recently to do just that.
Most recently, the club recalled forward Norm Ezekiel from the Colorado Eagles of the ECHL.
Ezekiel, 21, adds grit to the lineup, as he has played in 27 games with the Eagles so far this season, recording one goal and 112 penalty minutes in that time. His 112 penalty minutes ranked first on his team and eighth in the league among rookies at the time of his recall.
Also on the minor-league front, Winnipeg recalled goaltender Eddie Pasquale, who has played in 36 games for the IceCaps this season, posting a 14-19-2 record to go along with a 2.63 goals against average and .912 save percentage.
The bigger news, however, came last week when the Jets traded Alex Ponikarovsky to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for draft picks.
Ponikarovsky played in 12 games for the Jets this season, recording two goals and six penalty minutes. He has played in 648 career NHL games between Toronto, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Carolina, New Jersey and Winnipeg for 137 goals and 316 career points. Ponikarovksy returns to New Jersey where he played 33 games during the 2011-12 NHL season for seven goals and 18 points, while helping lead the Devils to the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Jets also acquired Eric Tangradi from the Pittsburgh Penguins, who had played in five games with the team prior to being traded in exchange for a seventh round draft pick in the 2013 NHL Draft.
Tangradi started the season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League, where he in 34 games, collecting 10 goals and 18 points to go along with 57 penalty minutes. Throughout his career, he has played in 45 NHL games, all with Pittsburgh, recording a goal and five points. He also suited up for three NHL playoff games, collecting one assist.
Goals: Ladd (8), Kane (4), Wheeler (4)
Assists: Enstrom (11), Kane (8), Wheeler (7)
Points: Ladd (13), Enstrom (13), Kane (12)
Thursday, February 21 at Carolina
Saturday, February 23 at Philadelphia
Sunday, February 24 at New Jersey
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