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Southeast Division Notebook: March 6-20

Wednesday, 03.20.2013 / 9:25 PM / Features
By Peter Pupello  - Lightning Beat Reporter
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Southeast Division Notebook: March 6-20
Southeast Division Notebook: March 6-20

With just over a month remaining of the regular season and with teams looking ahead to the NHL Trade Deadline to try and bolster their clubs’ rosters heading into the postseason, a number of transactions continue to be enacted throughout the Southeast Division, where the standings remain tightly bunched.

SOUTHEAST DIVISION STANDINGS, ENTERING PLAY ON WEDNESDAY, March 20

Winnipeg 16-12-2 34 Points

Carolina 15-12-2 32 Points

Tampa Bay 13-15-1 27 Points

Washington 12-16-1 25 Points

Florida 8-16-6 22 Points

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING

The Bolts are coming off two straight wins as the team keeps it eye on making a strong playoff push, as it enters Wednesday’s game at Toronto – the first of a three-game road trip – just seven points behind Winnipeg for the division lead.

Even though injuries to Benoit Pouliot, Victor Hedman, Vincent Lecavalier and Ryan Malone have hit the club recently, the infusion of youth from the team’s top minor league affiliate in Syracuse of the American Hockey League continues to be a big part of the team’s recent success.

The Lightning currently have five rookies on their roster, and recently called up Dana Tyrell from the AHL after center Adam Hall was placed on waivers and claimed by the division-rival Carolina Hurricanes.

Hall spent five seasons with the Lightning organization, playing with the big club for four of them, but for as much as the Lightning liked Hall, they were going in a different direction of playing their younger players. As a result, Hall was often a healthy scratch, appearing in just three games this month.

Leaders:

Goals: Stamkos (21), St. Louis (7), Lecavalier (7)

Assists: St. Louis (31), Stamkos (19), Purcell (18)

Points: Stamkos (40), St. Louis (38), Purcell (24)

Upcoming Games:

Wednesday, March 20 at Toronto

Saturday, March 23 at Ottawa

Sunday, March 24 at Winnipeg

CAROLINA HURRICANES

The Hurricanes are in the middle of a three-game homestand, but despite having the home crowd to their advantage, the team has yet to turn around their recent struggles.

After winning five of six to start the month of March, Carolina has lost four straight, which has hurt them in the standings as the Winnipeg Jets were able to jump them for the Southeast Division lead.

Not to mention, the injuries keep coming.

Carolina did manage to pick up former Lightning forward Adam Hall off waivers, but after losing goaltender Cam Ward earlier in the year to a sprained MCL, the team also lost young defenseman Justin Faulk to the same injury this week, as he is expected to be out two to four weeks.

Leaders:

Goals: E. Staal (14), Tlusty (13), Skinner (9)

Assists: Semin (22), E. Staal (20), J. Staal (12)

Points: E. Staal (34), Semin (30), Tlusty (22)

Upcoming Games:

Thursday, March 21 vs. New Jersey

Tuesday, March 26 vs. Winnipeg

Thursday, March 28 at Toronto

FLORIDA PANTHERS

Florida continues on a five-game road trip this week, already having defeated Carolina 4-1 on Tuesday to kick off the trip.

It was a step in the right direction, although wins have been hard to come by this season for the Panthers, which have just one win in their past six games.

Although the team has combatted injuries to key players this season, it did recall former first-round pick Quinton Howden from the AHL this week.

Howden has played 57 games in his first professional season for San Antonio this year, recording 13 goals and 30 points.

Leaders:

Goals: Huberdeau (12), Kopecky (11), Matthias (9)

Assists: Fleischmann (13), Campbell (12), Shore (9)

Points: Huberdeau (19), Kopecky (19), Fleischmann (19)

Upcoming Games:

Thursday, March 21 at New York Rangers

Saturday, March 23 at New Jersey

Sunday, March 24 at New York Islanders

WASHINGTON CAPITALS

Like the Panthers, Washington has struggled to earn victories this season.

After dropping a 2-1 contest to the Penguins in Pittsburgh to kick off a four-game road swing, the Capitals must now play back-to-back games against the division-leading Jets, with the results of both matchups shaping up to be crucial not only for the Jets, but for the teams chasing them too, such as the Lightning.

The team recalled defenseman Dmitry Orlov from the Hershey Bears of the (AHL) this week, recorded 12 points (one goal, 11 assists) and 16 penalty minutes in 22 games with Hershey and has tallied three assists in his last two AHL contests.

He collected 19 points (three goals, 16 assists) and 18 penalty minutes in 60 games with the Capitals during his rookie season in 2011-12. Orlov finished the season ranked fourth in scoring among rookie defensemen despite finishing ranked 23rd in average ice time per game (16:52).

Leaders:

Goals: Ovechkin (12), Ribeiro (10), Brouwer (10)

Assists: Ribeiro (22), Backstrom (21), Ovechkin (12)

Points: Ribeiro (32), Ovechkin (24), Backstrom (24)

Upcoming Games:

Thursday, March 21 at Winnipeg

Friday, March 22 at Winnipeg

Sunday, March 24 at New York Rangers

WINNIPEG JETS

After somewhat of a slow start to the season, the Jets have flown to the top of the division, entering Wednesday’s action with a slim two-point advantage over Carolina at the top of the Southeast standings.

Part of that success comes with the team’s recent play as of late, as the Jets have earned victories in six of their past eight games.

Winnipeg earned a 3-1 victory at home on Tuesday against a tough Bruins team, and continue on its homestand with three additional games yet to play, including an important back-to-back set against the Capitals with implications of a division shakeup should Washington earn a pair of victories.

Of the two more notable names called up from the AHL this past week to bolster the lineup were goaltender Eddie Pasquale and Patrice Cormier.

Pasquale has been a frequent call-up both this season and last, as in just the short season this year, he has been recalled twice as it is.

He has played in 40 games for the St. John’s IceCaps so far this season, earning a 14-21-4 record to go along with a 2.69 goals against average and a .909 save percentage.

Cormier, meanwhile, has played in 32 games with the IceCaps so far this season, registering seven goals and 11 points.

Leaders:

Goals: Ladd (14), Wheeler (14), Kane (12)

Assists: Ladd (16), Byfuglien (14), Little (14)

Points: Ladd (30), Wheeler (26), Kane (21)

Upcoming Games:

Thursday, March 21 vs. Washington

Friday, March 22 vs. Washington

Sunday, March 24 vs. Tampa Bay