Rangers, Red Wings streaking in East; big week coming for Pens, Habs

Trending Up

  • Martin St. Louis, New York Rangers: The veteran forward tallied twice for the surging Rangers in a 4-3 shootout win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday. St. Louis, who also beat Blue Jackets goaltender Curtis McElhinney in the first round of the shootout, now has four goals and six points in his last four games. Meanwhile, the Rangers pulled to two points behind the rival New York Islanders in the Metropolitan Division, with three games in hand.

  • Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings: Datsyuk may be one of the most underappreciated stars in the NHL right now, but the guy called “wizard” never seems to disappoint for the Wings. Most recently, he led the Wings in their dramatic comeback win over the Dallas Stars, finishing with two goals and four points in the Detroit’s 7-6 overtime win on Saturday. It was Datsyuk’s second multi-goal game in a week; he has eight points in his last four games, and the Wings continue to be one of the most resilient teams in the league.

  • Boston Bruins: Sure, it’s just one win, but it was a big one for the beleaguered Bruins as they dismantled the Chicago Blackhawks in a 6-2 rout Sunday. Perhaps it was the pressure of a Panthers squad threatening to make a push for the last wild-card spot in the East, because Boston snapped a six-game skid with a win against one of the most impressive lineups out West. Now that the Bruins have wrapped up a five-game road trip, they’ll play five of their next six games at home.

Trending Down

  • Florida Panthers: Squandering a prime opportunity to gain some ground on the Bruins, the Panthers dropped back-to-back games over the weekend and gave up nine goals during that span. The week ahead will be a challenging one too, with a home-and-home set against the Blackhawks that should test their resolve.

  • James Wisniewski, Columbus Blue Jackets: Assuming that no trade was pending -- as Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen told beat writer Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch -- Wisniewski’s stint Sunday night as a healthy scratch is an interesting one. Coach Todd Richards declined to elaborate on why exactly he chose to sit Wisniewski against the Rangers, saying only that he wanted the blueliner to “be better.” Hmmm ...

  • Nikita Zadorov, Buffalo Sabres: For the second time this season, the rookie defenseman was scratched for disciplinary reasons. Zadorov was forced to watch from the press box in Sunday’s game after coach Ted Nolan told reporters Zadorov had violated a team rule. He was also scratched for rejoining his team later after the All-Star break because of travel issues. Not an ideal way to ingratiate yourself to the organization, kid.

Injury Report

  • Miller’s season over: Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller is done for the season after news that he will undergo surgery to repair an injured right shoulder. Miller, who has been hampered with shoulder issues almost all season, aggravated the injury last week during a game against the Calgary Flames.

  • Depleted defense in Buffalo: Not that it matters at this point, with the Sabres clear bottom-feeders, but another tough situation for coach Ted Nolan to have veteran leader Josh Gorges lost for the remainder of the season because of surgery on a lower-body injury. Gorges joins the ranks of Mike Weber and Tyson Strachan as Sabres defensemen to miss time with injury/illness in the past week.

  • Zetterberg questionable: Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg’s status for Monday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks is questionable, according to the Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James, though Zetterberg did make the trip with the team to California. Zetterberg is believed to have suffered a possible head injury in Saturday’s game against the Stars.

What To Watch For

  • Pittsburgh to Make Push? Can the Pittsburgh Penguins build off a resounding 5-1 win against the Florida Panthers on Sunday? The Pens trail the second-place Rangers by one point and the first-place Islanders by three heading into this week, but they’ll square off against another Metropolitan Division foe Wednesday, when they clash with the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center.

  • Bergenheim deal: Trade rumors involving Panthers winger Sean Bergenheim continue to pick up steam as the gritty forward’s agent has already requested a change of scenery for his client. According to our own Pierre LeBrun, the Winnipeg Jets could be one potential landing spot, especially given the recent injury to Mathieu Perreault.

  • Montreal making moves: With the Eastern Conference wide open and his Habs sitting on top, general manager Marc Bergevin has been aggressively working the phones in advance of the NHL trade deadline March 2. The Habs could use some grit and toughness up front, someone tough to play against during a grinding playoff series. The power play could use some help too. Could be a busy week ahead for Bergevin.