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Atlantic Division Weekly: Will the Habs ever win again?

And the Sharks saw Jumbo this week, so we’re all crying here.

Jan 8, 2022; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Florida Panthers center Joe Thornton (19) skates with the puck against Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Ethan Bear (25) during the second period at PNC Arena. James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks faced Joe Thornton’s new squad for the first time this season this past week. Thornton has struggled off-and-on with injuries this season and wasn’t a guarantee to suit up for the Florida Panthers, but he showed up and the Sharks didn’t — well, at least not to the third period, but regardless, it wasn’t a fun loss.

Speaking of losses, the Montreal Canadiens may never win another game again. With just eight wins on the season so far, it’s possible they barely crack double digit wins before season’s end.

Boston Bruins (25-14-3)

The Bruins had a bit of an off week. It started off strong with a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Charlie Coyle, David Pastrnak and Oskar Steen found the net, while Tuukka Rask made 22 saves between the pipes.

Things went a bit downhill during their next two games. They lost 5-3 to the Anaheim Ducks to spite us all, then lost 4-3 in overtime against the Colorado Avalanche. They tried to turn things around against the Arizona Coyotes and were successful, winning that game 2-1.

The good vibes didn’t last long. On Sunday, the B’s closed out their three-game road trip with a big 6-1 loss to the Dallas Stars. Tyler Seguin netted two goals and an assist against his former team, while Craig Smith scored the only Bruins goal.

Buffalo Sabres (14-23-7)

The Sabres had a pretty relaxed schedule this week, starting off strong with a 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Sharks fans will not be surprised to hear that Martin Jones started in net for Philly, but was pulled after allowing four goals. Jeff Skinner, Tage Thompson, and Peyton Krebs all found the net twice.

Come Tuesday, Chris Tierney and the Ottawa Senators shut out the Sabres 5-0. Not a goal in sight, just vibes.

It was the first of four games on the road. On Saturday, they faced the Coyotes, finding a rare win, their 14th of the season, on a two-point night from rookie forward Peyton Krebs. The next night, the team was in Denver, where the Avalanche dominated in a 4-1 loss for Buffalo.

Detroit Red Wings (20-20-6)

I ask this a lot, but for real, are the Red Wings okay? Probably not. Their week started with a 4-1 road loss to the Nashville Predators, after having lost at home in overtime to the Stars the night before. It continued to crash and burn when they took the ice against the Chicago Blackhawks at home on Wednesday. While Tyler Bertuzzi, Robby Fabbri, Dylan Larkin, Moritz Seider, and Pius Suter all scored, they still lost 8-5 to the Central’s second-worst team. Tragic!

Then came the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday. The game went into a shootout, but the Red Wings eventually won 3-2. That extra hockey left them tired as once once again, the were forced to travel on a back-to-back, heading back to Detroit to face the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. Larkin netted two goals and an assist, but a hat trick from forward Michael Bunting (who?) powered Toronto to a 7-4 win.

Florida Panthers (32-9-5)

To say the Panthers are doing well right now is probably an understatement. Sure, they lost 5-3 to the basement-dwelling Seattle Kraken this week, but that was just a simple bump in the road. They bounced back against the Jets, flipping the script to win that game 5-3. Forward Mason Marchment scored twice, while Anton Lundell, Sam Bennett and Carter Verhaeghe netted singles.

The Panthers did us all a favor and beat the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1 on Thursday. Bennett found the net twice, while Aleksander Barkov and Marchment each grabbed a goal. Spencer Knight was in net and made 24 saves.

The came Saturday, when the Sharks came to town to visit their old pal Jumbo Joe Thornton. His forth line was buzzing, but didn’t find the net in the Panthers’ 5-4 overtime victory.

Montreal Canadiens (8-29-7)

Remember that time we celebrated the Canadiens’ successful week? We are not doing that this week. They kicked things off with a 3-2 loss in overtime against the Avalanche. So, like, they were briefly on a three-game point streak. However, things got dark quickly. They went down 8-2 at the hands of the Minnesota Wild on Monday, closing out a grueling 10-game road trip.

Did they improve from there? Not really. Returning home on Thursday, the team lost 5-4 to the Ducks, but at least they were in that game. Jake Evans scored twice, while Laurent Dauphin and Artturi Lehkonen netted singles, but it wasn’t enough.

The Edmonton Oilers came to town on Saturday, laying seven goals on the Habs, who only had two of their own. The home crowd embarrassments didn’t end there, as the Blue Jackets visited the next day, beating Montreal 6-3.

Despite the losses, Tyler Toffoli and Artturi Lehkonen have been playing well for Montreal this week. Maybe something to keep an eye on as the Trade Deadline approaches.

Ottawa Senators (14-21-4)

The Senators had a decent week, can you believe it? They’ve played the fewest games of any Atlantic team, thanks to COVID, so hope isn’t totally lost. The week started with 3-2 loss in overtime, so not a great start, but pulling out a point against the Washington Capitals isn’t half bad, either. Things did improve and it didn’t take long — they beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 the next night, then shut out the Sabres 5-0 on Tuesday. Tyler Ennis netted a hat trick, while Drake Batherson and Alex Formenton each got on the board for Ottawa.

They almost beat the Carolina Hurricanes but ended up falling 3-2 in a shootout on Thursday. No, Chris Tierney did not score. I’m sorry.

Tyler Ennis continued to impress, scoring a tying goal in a tight game against the visiting Ducks on Saturday, but Anaheim completed the 2-1 comeback early in the third period.

Tampa Bay Lightning (29-10-6)

The only played three games this week, but for some reason, I only remember two. They played the Sharks on Saturday but I remember nothing of it. Simply cannot recall.

However, the Lightning did take the ice back home at Amalie Arena again on Thursday and won 3-2. Anthony Cirelli, Mathieu Joseph and Alex Killorn all scored.

On Saturday, the Golden Knights came to visit and though the Bolts scored two goals in the third period to force overtime — the tying goal coming from human dumpster Corey Perry — Tampa Bay couldn’t close out the game with a win. A seven-round shootout eventually saw Mark Stone net the game-winner for Vegas.

Toronto Maple Leafs (28-10-3)

The Maple Leafs played three games this week and came out on top every time. The first was a 3-1 victory over the New York Islanders, the last game of six on the road. Morgan Rielly, Pierre Engvall and Mitch Marner each scored, while Petr Mrazek made 27 saves between the pipes.

The team saw the Ducks next and won 4-3 in a shootout. William Nylander, John Tavares and Marner found the net in regulation. Jack Cambell was in net this time, making 17 saves. The Leafs then made a quick trip across the border to put seven goals on Detroit. Marner continued to dominate with a goal and an assist, but the game was largely fueled by Michael Bunting’s (again, who???) hat trick.