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The Philadelphia Phillies' Fifth Wheel

Posted by Stephen Gallo

April 6 vs. NYM
April 17 vs. FLA
May 4 vs. WASH
May 20 vs. TEX
May 25 vs. CIN
June 10 vs. CHC
June 16 vs. FLA
June 28 vs. BOS
July 9 vs. ATL
July 24 vs. SD
July 29 vs. PIT
Aug 14 vs. WASH
Aug 26 vs. FLA
Sept 5 vs. ATL
Sept 16 vs. STL
Sept 21 vs. WASH

All of the games above are home games slated to be started by Joseph Matthew Blanton. Sure there will be rainouts, injuries and skipped starts, which will of course deem the above list useless, but for now those dates are recorded with a light shade of pencil.

While any real fan is just happy to be at the ballpark, there is no denying that the real thrill this season will be heading to C.B.P. to watch one of the Phour Aces in action. You should expect a playoff atmosphere (sans rally towels) in the air every time Roy, Cliff, Roy, or Cole takes the mound. Unfortunately, like any double date intruded on by that friend who has no luck with the ladies, Joe Blanton is the 5th wheel.

With all due respect, Joe Blanton just doesn’t bring the excitement that the others do. Joe is a big league pitcher with the talent to match, but he is a 3rd or 4th starter on most other teams. We’ll never forget his gutsy (see what I did there?) performance in Game 4 of the 2008 World Series, where he not only pitched well enough to get the win, but also clubbed one of the most unexpected homeruns in Phillies history.

Not before long, this post could be titled “Top 10 things to do at the ballpark when Kyle Kendrick pitches” ::shudder::

In the meantime, we poke fun at Blanton, well, because it feels really nice to have such amazing starting pitching.

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Jayson Werth Hates the Phillies, His Life, and Yo Mama Too

Posted by Jorge Suarez

Werth
Courtesy nydailynews.com

Former Philadelphia Phillies  emergency catcher Jayson Werth, continued to spew venom at the team who gave him a chance to reestablish his career, won him a World Series ring, and made him a millionaire.

Earlier in the day in a piece in the Washington Times, Werth told reporter Thomas Boswell, "I hate the Phillies too," after his general manager Mike Rizzo said that he, too, "f----- hates the Phillies".

But the madness did not end there, as Werth continued to offer jabs.

"They mama so stupid, it takes they two hours to watch 60 minues," Werth said. "And - they mama so fat, they gotta use a baseball bat as a toothpick."

Asked why he hated the Phillies, Werth responded, "Clearly, they caused me to sign with the worst team in baseball...I mean, they could have paid me the same amount of money, but instead chose to spend the money on the best pitcher in baseball.  It's not like he's that good."

"The worst part of it," Werth continued as he took a few more hacks at batting practice, "is that it's not like they even have a blue chip prospect to replace me.  That's some disrespect."

Asked if he had any regrets, Werth responded, "Yeah, that I didn't get to give the city the finger on the way out the door."

Well, Jayson, you have 126 opportunities to do so over the next seven years.  The fans will be ready.


Phillies Fall 7-3 to the Yankees at Bright House Networks Field

Posted by Danielle Wilson

Large_joe_blanton_spring_training
Photo courtesy of Pennlive.com

 

Today, February 27th, the Phillies played at home against the Yankees (yes, again) and this game was not a victorious one for the Phils. Joe Blanton started this game against Yankees’ starter Ivan Nova, and out of the two, I’d say Joe Blanton put on a better show. After Joe allowed a walk on four pitches to Brett Gardner, he got Nick Swisher to ground into a double play, then struck out Curtis Granderson on three pitches. The Phillies went down in order (Rollins, Victorino, Ibanez) on three groundouts in the same inning.

After that walk to Brett Gardner, Joe retired the next eight batters. The first Phillie on base was Wilson Valdez after a single in the third, but Rollins flied out afterwards to end the inning.

Justin De Fratus was put on the mound in the fourth inning, and was roughed up a bit. After a 4-pitch walk to Gardner, Curtis Granderson hit a 2-run homerun to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead. In the fifth inning, Justin got off easy with a ground out, another ground out, and a fly out.

Dellin Betances was put on the mound for the Yankees in the fifth inning, and had me squinting at my MLB Gameday screen. He struck out Dom Brown (Dom actually struck out swinging a total of 3 times this afternoon), Wilson Valdez, and Ben Francisco on 9 pitches. Holy hell.

Now it’s the sixth inning and here comes young pitching prospect Michael Schwimer. Brett Gardner doubled to lead off the inning. Nick Swisher played copycat and sent Brett home with an RBI double. After a Ryan Howard fielding error, Jordan Parraz (pinch-running for Swisher) stole third, and Curtis Granderson reached first. Jorge Posada then hit an RBI double. Montero singled, and Daniel Brewer (pinch-runner for Grandy) scored. The inning ended on a double play by Eduardo Nunez. Again, holy hell.

You know what the Phillies did in the sixth inning? Not nearly as much as the Yankees. Victorino walked then stole second, but it was a wasted steal after Howard struck out. There’s your sixth inning.

Madson was in for the seventh, and retired the side on a strikeout, fly out, and ground out. Alas, the Phillies score in this inning! Carlos Rivero was placed as Polanco’s pinch-runner after Adam Warren walked him, and then…Francisco doubled and Rivero scored! Finally! But that was all the Phillies would do in that inning.

J.C. Romero pitched a strong eighth inning, despite the fact that he gave up a single to Mesa, but that was fine and dandy because Mesa was caught stealing afterwards. No offense for the Phils in the eighth.

Brad Lidge time in the ninth, and it was not very pretty. After giving up a homerun to Vazquez, Brad his Gustavo Molina. Strikeout, ground out, single on a Freddy Galvis error, and then another ground out.

The Yankees were winning 7-1 at this point, but that was about to change (spoiler alert, the Phillies still lose!) Buddy Carlyle was on the mound for the Yanks, and after giving up a single to Delwyn Young, Ben Francisco, Big Ben, hit a 2-run homerun to make it a 4-run game. Erik Kratz who replaced Carlos Ruiz then grounded out and the game was over, 7-3 Yankees.

There’s your re-cap. Maybe it doesn’t matter because it’s just a spring training game, but hey, it’s still Baseball! Next game is tomorrow against the Blue Jays at Grant Park in Dunedin.

 


Phillies Beat the Yankees 5-4 in Pre-Season Opener

Posted by Danielle Wilson

 

The Philadelphia Phillies went against the New York Yankees in Tampa, Florida, at George M. Steinbrenner Field to kick off the Grapefruit League season today. The Phillies put Cole Hamels on the mound against Bartolo Colon, and the Phillies started the game with infielders Jeff Larish at third base, Wilson Valdez at shortstop, Pete Orr at second base, Ryan Howard at first base, and Brian Schneider behind the plate. Outfielders who started were Raul Ibanez in left, Ben Francisco in center, and Dom Brown in right.

The Yankees’ lineup however, was full of more familiar faces, with Derek Jeter at shortstop, Nick Swisher in right field, Mark Teixeira at first base, A-Rod at third base, Robinson Cano at second base, Jorge Posada at the designated hitter, Curtis Granderson in center field, Francisco Cervelli behind the plate, and Brett Gardner in left field.

Seemed a little intimidating at first, but then I remembered, the Phillies are freakin’ good, and so our the minor leaguers in this organization. Obviously they showed that during the entire game when the underdogs proved that they are worthy of being on the 40-man roster.

 

Here are individual stats from today's game, along with the lines from the 6 pitchers who stepped onto the mound today:

Catchers:

Brian Schneider- 2 AB.

Dane Sardinha- 2 AB, 2 runs, 2 RBI.

First base:

Ryan Howard- 2 AB.

Robb Quinlan- 3 AB, 1 hit, 1 run.

Second base:

Pete Orr- 3 AB, 1 run, 1 hit, 1 RBI.

Josh Barfield- 2 AB, 2 hits.

Shortstop:

Wilson Valdez- 2 AB, 1 hit, 1 .

Brian Bocock- 2 AB.

Third base:

Jeff Larish- 4 AB.

Left field:

Raul Ibanez- 2 AB.

Delwyn Young- 2 AB.

Center field:

Ben Francisco- 2 AB, 1 run, 1 hit (triple)

Michael Martinez- 1 AB.

Right field:

Domonic Brown- 3 AB.

John Mayberry- 3 AB, 1 run, 1 hit.

Designated hitter:

Ross Gload- 5 AB, 2 hits, 1 RBI.

E– Valdez (1)

GIDP– Larish (1)

2B– Orr (1) Gload (1) Sardinha (1)

3B– Francisco (1)

Pitchers:

Hamels: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K.

Worley: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB.

Feierabend: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K.

Schlitter: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB.

Zagurski:  1 IP, 1 H, 1 K.

Grilli: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 K.

HR: Schlitter (1, Vazquez)

Balks: Feierabend (1)

Hit batter: Hamels (1, Texeira)


Madoff and the Mets: New York Mets are Being Bailed Out by Baseball

Posted by Frank Klose

The Mets' money problems from the Bernie Madoff ponzi schedule scandal are well-documented.  But according to The New York Times, the Mets have resorted to borrowing cash from Major League Baseball:

MetsMess

This bodes well for the Phillies in the short-term, but the long-term could be another story.

Recently, the Mets were trying to sell 25% ownership in the team, with the current ownership maintaining control of team operations.  Baseball analysts felt that this was due to a pending lawsuit to recover funds for victims of the ponzi scheme.

While no judgment has been reached in that particular case, this could be a sign that the current Mets current ownership may come to an end.  Those who publicly expressed interest in buying into ownership of the Mets were interested only with some control of the club.  The Wilpon family may have no choice but to sell the Mets outright.

Alg_fred_wilpon
Mets' owner Fred Wilpon Courtesy www.nypost.com

The Mets have many high-priced players on their roster that are no longer productive, including Luis Castillo, Francisco Rodriguez, Oliver Perez, and Jason Bay.  The only high-priced player on the Mets roster that would be attractive in a trade is all-star third baseman David Wright, whom is the only real positive face of the franchise right now.

As long as the Mets' roster is clogged with high-priced aged talent, the Phillies should be in good shape.  However, no new owner would be satisfied with the status quo and would be prepared to spend to improve the team.

The full New York Times post by Michael S. Schmidt and David Waldstein can be read here.


Should Phillies Fans Worry About Chase Utley?

Posted by Stephen Gallo

Utley
Courtesy www.phillies.com

It’s a slow Friday in the Phillies universe, so why not talk about one of the more head scratching issues going on right now? I know Spring Training 2011 is only two weeks old, but should we be worried about the long term health of fan favorite, Chase Utley?

Dave Murphy, writer for philly.com and The Daily News has reported that Chase is not in the lineup for tomorrow’s 1:05 spring training game against the New York (Booooo!) Yankees. He was also left out of yesterday’s preseason opener against Florida State because of what Charlie Manual calls “routine soreness.”

Routine soreness? Two weeks into spring? Am I the only one that is even slightly worried about Chase’s health, or did he just overdo it in the gym and will he maybe take it easy moving forward? He’s an annual all-star, a great team leader who leads by example, and more importantly our #3 hitter in a lineup that already has more questions than we’re used to.

We all know Chase is the kind of guy who prides himself on staying in great playing shape, so hearing he has “routine soreness” already raises an eyebrow. Maybe it’s the franchise’s history of downplaying significant injuries that has me wondering.

I’m not saying that our excitement for this upcoming season should be curbed at all, but Utley’s health is definitely something we should monitor. We’re all aware of what this guy can do when healthy, and this team’s success is counting on his production.

Here’s hoping that the face of the franchise is in the lineup for Sunday’s game so that we can put any worrying to rest.

What do you make of this?


Q&A with Minor Leaguer Jiwan James

Posted by Danielle Wilson

Jiwan

Courtesy blueclaws.com

Recently, I chatted with Lakewood Blueclaws’ outfielder Jiwan James. Jiwan was drafted in the 2007 Amateur Draft in the 22nd round by the Philadelphia Phillies. He has been in the organization since then. Here’s a short Q&A session between Jiwan and me.

 

Danielle: I've noted that you began your career as a pitcher, but later began fielding right and center field, any specific reason why you changed positions?

Jiwan: Arm injury was the main reason. I didn't mind pitching at all, I felt like that's what the Phillies wanted me to do so I was all for it. I ended up having a stress reaction in my humorous, that just kept re-occuring and that's when I decided to make the switch.

Danielle: There is no record of you playing any position in 2008, were you injured? If so, could that effect your future?

Jiwan: I missed all of '08 with the arm injury. There isn't as much stress on my arm playing a position as to pitching, so that's behind me now.

Danielle: Since 2007, you've been playing for the Phillies Organization, would you have that any other way?

Jiwan: NOPE!!! The "Phillie Way" is all I know, I couldn't imagine playing with someone else.

Danielle: How did it feel winning the SAL Championship in 2010?

Jiwan: It was a "GR-R-REAT"(Tony the Tiger) feeling...I've never won a ring before, so it was pretty exciting being in the middle of all of it. Our goal when we left spring training was to repeat as SAL leagues champions. Once that final out was made it was like. Goal accomplished, now it's party time...Lol

Danielle: Do you think having that title will benefit you in anyway in years to come?

Jiwan: I'd like to think so. I know how much hard work we put in day in and day out to accomplish our goal. So each year, you're only going to work harder so you have that same feeling of winning another title.

Danielle: Do you share any brotherly relationships with any of your teammate's? I know how you and Jarred Cosart call each other "Boob".

Jiwan: Hewitt! Him and I have been roommates since extended spring 09. So there's stuff that him and I know about each other that no one else knows. We can just look at each other and tell if something's wrong or give each other a little head nod and be on the same page.

Danielle: Where do you see yourself in 3 years?

Jiwan: Trying to get my feet wet in the Major Leagues with someone.

Danielle: If you had never took an interest in baseball in the past, where do you think you would be now?

Jiwan: Either training for the NFL Combine or trying to reach March Madness. Every time I go home, one of my High School football coaches tell me "I'm sure Florida State will still take you" (football). So I'm guessing I would've gone there on a football scholarship and walked on to the basketball team.

Thanks to Jiwan for taking the time to answer these questions, you can follow him on Twitter @Jiwan23

 


Will Raul Ibañez Put It All Together in 2011?

Posted by Laurie Dougherty

  Fresh off their first World Series championship in 28 years, in November  2008, the Phillies front office made the difficult decision to not re-sign fan favorite Pat Burrell. Yes, Burrell had been a top draft pick for the Phillies and certainly had contributed his share of big moments, including setting up the winning run by knocking a double off the left-center field wall in game 5 of the 2008 World Series.

For a variety of reasons, management decided it was time to move on. So in December of that same year, the Phillies signed free-agent outfield Raul Ibañez, who had spent most of his major league career in Seattle (with a brief stint in KC from 2001-2003).  Phils fans were a bit cautious. Ibañez was billed as being a much more consistent hitter than Burrell but he was older (he had just turned 36 in June 2008) and he had a bad rap for his defense.

Entering the 2009 season, Phils fans weren’t sure what to expect from Ibañez. He started out very well with his new team. From the first day to June 17, Ibanez batted .312 with 22 home runs and 59 RBIs.  The next day, the Phils put him on the DL due to a groin problem that had been nagging him since April. 

However, even after Ibañez returned to the roster, his production dropped off precipitously.  For the last 72 games he played in the regular season his line was: .232, 12 HR, 34 RBIs.  During the offseason, after the Phillies lost to the Yankees in the World Series, Ibanez underwent surgery for his sports hernia and entered 2010 presumably ready to start fresh.

Unfortunately, his struggles continued into the first half of 2010.  From April 5 to July 1, he hit .236 with only 6 home runs and 36 RBIs. His on-base plus slugging (OPS) was .711, which ranked him 7th out of 9 Phillies players who had at least 100 plate appearances in that time span.

 Luckily, something seemed to click for Raul and from July 2 to the end of the season, he picked up his production--his average was .307 with 10 homers and 47 RBIs. He went from being near the bottom  of the rankings in team OPS to near the top—only Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz had a better OPS for Phils players with 200 or more plate appearances in that span (Werth’s OPS was .922, Ruiz .905, and Ibanez .864).

Although Raul struggled in the postseason (as did most of his teammates), he worked hard this offseason to get himself in good shape for the long season ahead. He hopes to carry the momentum from his strong 2nd half performance into 2011.

Although much focus has been on Ibañez’s offensive production (or lack thereof for certain time periods), he has been a steady if unspectacular fielder. In 145 games in left field, he had 218 total chances and only made 2 errors all season, for a fielding percentage of .991. Overall, I would say he’s a better fielder than Pat—he doesn’t seem to let many balls get by him and his arm is at least as good as Burrell.  Raul even played two flawless (well, sorta) innings at first base last year—he was pressed into duty there when Ryan Howard was ejected in the late innings of a game against the Astros in August.

Given that the Phillies no longer have Jayson Werth, they could definitely use a strong bat in the middle of the lineup—will that bat belong to Ibañez? It’s one of the questions the Phils are facing as they head into the 2011 season as strong favorites to win the NL pennant and reach the World Series for the third time in four seasons. No doubt Raul Ibañez wants to play a contributing role this year. We can only hope he’ll deliver!

 


That's Enough, Jayson Werth

Posted by Stephen Gallo

That’s enough, Jayson Werth.

Werth_holiday
Photo courtesy of washingtonnationals.com

While I think he’s deserving of a standing ovation when he comes back home, Jayson Werth needs to finally move on. He wasn’t traded, or released; he was offered a ridiculous amount of money from a bad team and he took the bait.Who can blame him really? A lot of people would be satisfied with winning a World Series ring in 2008, enjoying a few years of being at the top of the baseball world, and then cashing in to spend seven years in the purgatory that is the Washington Nationals for a handsome reward.

Just yesterday, Werth was quoted as saying the following:

“I think if they would have played it right they would have had us both. I mean, they traded Cliff away for prospects and then realized that was probably not what they should have done...They ended up paying him a lot more than they would have if they’d signed him the year before. Then we would have had him. Chances are if they had signed him before they traded him, it probably would have made it a little easier to sign me.”

Am I the only one who thinks he can ball up some $100 bills and use them as tissues to dry his eye? At what point is he going to say that whatever happened is done and that he is ready to move forward with his new team? Werth is starting to sound like a scorned lover who just can’t let go. How long will it be until he’s calling Ruben at 3 am, sobbing into the phone about how much he misses his old team and city?

If it makes you feel any better, Jayson, then you should know that your team is actually on the rise. If they keep going after solid players in the offseason and mix them with young talent like Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, then your team could be a contender in a couple years. But for now, if you want to see a winner, you’ll have to look just north.

Don’t be sad though; we’ll see you real soon. Starting April 12, Phillies fans will take over your home park down in Washington. You’ll be able to look forward to this for the next seven years. You took the money and ran, Jayson.

We won’t hold it against you, just as long as you move on. If you feel the urge to speak about how it’s the Phillies fault that you’re wearing that ugly new uniform with the goofy looking “W” on it, then please think again. You’re a World Series hero in this town, but right now you’re playing with the enemy.

You made your bed out of cash, now lay in it. We’ll send you a postcard from the World Series.


Atlantic Watch: 2/16-2/22

In the Flyers' four games this week they posted a record of 2-1-1. Philly won two games this week, 4-2 Wednesday against Florida and 4-2 Sunday against the Rangers, but unfortunately they lost more than just two games this week. Blair Betts, Sean O'Donnell, and Oskars Bartulis all went down with injuries this week.

Feeling the high of scoring a short-handed goal to get his team back into the game Friday, Betts shortly felt a low having to leave the game with a cut on his right hand. Betts, who missed part of the 3-2 loss in Carolina, also missed Philly's match ups with the Rangers and Coyotes this week due to the laceration. He's expected back in the line up later in the week.

O'Donnell left in the first period of Sunday's win in New York with an injury relating to his knee. The incident occurred after being tripped and falling into the corner in Philly's defensive zone. He was originally diagnosed as being out for 10-14 days, but Paul Holmgren now says O'Donnell could play on Thursday against the Islanders.

Playing for the first time since January 11, Bartulis was filling in for the injured O'Donnell before he too found his way to the locker room due to an injury. As he stood over Sergei Bobrovsky after a low-key play, Bartulis was hit after the whistle by former Flyer Scottie Upshall. The hit sent Bartulis flying into the boards and resulted in a shoulder injury. The extent of Bartulis's injury should be determined today as he will be given an MRI.

Aside from the injuries, the Flyers were able to grab 5 out of a possible 8 points this week. Danny Briere led the way with one goal and four assists this week including a three-point game in Florida on Wednesday (1 goal, 2 assists). Despite their being twelve Flyers' goals this week, only one Flyer had more than one goal. Claude Giroux netted a power-play goal on Sunday and the game tying goal with a little over a minute left in regulation last night against the Coyotes forcing the game to overtime; Shane Doan scored two minutes and forty-one seconds into the extra period leaving Philly with a point.

The upcoming week seems to be a lot less challenging for Philly as the only games they have are against the Islanders and Senators. Now that we know how well the Flyers did this week let's look at the rest of the division.

Pittsburgh Penguins:  1-1-1. The biggest news of the week coming out of Pittsburgh has to be acquisition of James Neal and Matt Niskanen. Sending defense man Alex Goligoski to the Dallas Stars, the Pens picked up a forward in Neal who has twenty-one goals and eighteen assists so far this season. Niskanen has six assists in forty-five games.

With the exception of the trade, the past week for the Pens went from good to bad. After posting a 3-2 overtime win in Colorado on Wednesday, the Pens lost 3-2 to the Blackhawks on Sunday in a shootout and then didn't gain any points in a 1-0 loss to Washington the following day.

Pittsburgh's lone win of the week wasn't all that impressive either as they needed a power-play goal in extra time to edge out a team in the midst of a ten-game losing streak.

Jordan Staal had a goal and two assists as he took part in three of Pitt's five goals within the week. After scoring the game tying goal in the Avalanche game, Staal set up Tyler Kennedy for the game winning goal in overtime. Adding onto that, he also stood up for Matt Cooke after the Caps' Matt Bradley laid him out in the corner. The fact of whether Staal standing up for his notoriously cheap teammate is a good or bad thing is still up for debate.

The Pens' upcoming week starts off rough as they host the San Jose Sharks tonight. The Sharks are currently on a four-game winning streak after beating the Red Wings 4-3 last night.

New York Rangers: 2-2-0. The Rangers started turning things around this week as they posted multiple wins within a seven day span. The Rangers' 4-3 shootout win over the Kings on Thursday paired with a 4-3 shootout win over Carolina yesterday kept New York at five-hundred this week.

Adding on to their long list of injury problems this season, Marian Gaborik left Sunday's game with a concussion. Gaborik didn't play in Tuesday's game against Carolina and the team isn't sure if he'll be back this week.

Unfortunately for the Rangers, both of their losses came against divisional opponents. Both Johan Hedberg, who posted a sixteen save shutout on Friday, and Brian Boucher, who made thirty-six of thirty-eight saves on Sunday, made it difficult for the Blueshirts to rack up enough goals in either game for a win.

Wojtek Wolski came through for the Rangers last night as he led New York to their shootout win in Carolina. After netting the game tying goal with under two minutes left in regulation, Wolski made his shootout attempt to give the Rangers the additional point. Wolski also had the opening goal in Sunday's game against Philly.

After eeking out two shootout wins, the upcoming week could treat NY horribly. A trip to Washington on Friday along with a visit from Tampa Bay, the Rangers could see the gap widen between them and the Penguins in the race for second in the division.

New Jersey Devils: 4-0-0. Going unbeaten yet again, the Devils post the best record within the division. Two wins over the Hurricanes in addition to shutouts against the Rangers and Stars allowed the Devils to obtain every possible point this week.

Johan Hedberg has to take a lot of the credit for the Devils' wins this week. After Martin Brodeur went down with a knee injury, Hedberg stepped up and performed well in all four games this week. Two shutouts, a one-goal game, and a two-goal game summarize the work of a goaltender who deserves a lot more recognition around the league.

Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrik Elias, and Nick Palmieri all had a strong string of performances this week. Kovalchuk had two goals, one of which was the game winner against the Rangers on Friday, along with two assists.

Elias had the game winning goal against the Hurricanes along with an assist. He'd add on two more assists over the next three games.

Palmieri had the game winning goal against the Stars on Tuesday scoring the only goal of the game late in the third period. He'd provide two assists on the week as well.

The Devils will see nothing but the Southeast division this week as they play the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday and the Florida Panthers on Sunday. Both of the games are in Florida.

New York Islanders: 2-2-0. Wins over the Kings and Panthers were sandwiched between losses to the Bruins and Maple Leafs as the Islanders broke even this week.

Nathan Lawson handed the game to the Bruins on Thursday as he allowed five goals on eighteen shots before being pulled just before three minutes had passed in the second period.

A 3-0 victory on Saturday against the visiting Kings and a 5-1 romping of the Panthers made for a great weekend on Long Island. However, the thrill of back-to-back wins with a goal differential of +7 was short-lived as the Isles allowed a late third period goal to Phil Kessel losing 2-1 in Toronto last night.

Playing in three games over a four day span, Al Montoya stopped seventy-eight of eighty-one shots. After posting a thirty-five save shutout on Saturday, Montoya only allowed one goal to the Panthers. Unfortunately, allowing two goals yesterday was too much as the Isles were only able to muster one goal in response.

Matt Moulson was the Islander of the week as he had six goals and an assist over the four game span. With a two-goal effort on Saturday against the Kings and a hat-trick against the Panthers on Monday, Moulson played a key role in the Isles' two victories this week.

The Islanders will be tested this week as they visit the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday to take on the Flyers and then have back-to-back games against the Caps on Saturday and Tuesday.