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Atlantic: Injuries rob Rangers of depth at center

Monday, 11.09.2009 / 12:13 PM / Division Notebooks

By Phil Coffey - NHL.com Sr. Editorial Director

Forget for a moment the 3-1 defeat in Calgary on Saturday night for the New York Rangers. That well-played game wasn't nearly as costly as what happened to Chris Drury and Brandon Dubinsky in the contest.

Both centers sustained injuries that may well keep them out of the lineup for some time. Drury was injured just 49 seconds into the game after being blindsided by Curtis Glencross. Drury was assisted off the ice and did not return. After the game, coach John Tortorella said Drury suffered a concussion. 

Dubinsky was injured early in the second period after dropping to block a Dion Phaneuf slap shot that appeared to strike him in the right hand or wrist. To his credit, Dubinsky, in obvious pain, remained on the ice until the Rangers cleared the puck. He also left the game.

"I'm not sure what it is or where the puck hit him," Tortorella said of Dubinsky. "I'm sure it's going to be a little bit, a little while here (that he will be out)."

The injuries will leave the Rangers scrambling at center with Vaclav Prospal, Artem Ansisimov and Brian Boyle the remaining centers.

The good news for the Rangers is they don't have another game until Nov. 12.

Penguins get bit -- Sitting atop the Atlantic Division with a 12-5-0 record, the Pittsburgh Penguins can afford to bin Saturday's 5-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks and move on.

You could make a big deal about the best in the West laying the hammer on the top team in the East, but every team has a clunker from time to time and the Pens are allowed to burn the tape from this one and move on.

"We just weren't ready to play the type of game that they came ready to play," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said.

No doubt the Sharks were poised to take on the defending Stanley Cup champs and they managed to hold Sidney Crosby without a shot for just the fourth time in Crosby's career.

Coming on the heels of a 5-2 loss in Los Angeles to the Kings Thursday, the defeat in San Jose marked the first time in 42 games under Bylsma that the Pens had gone two straight games without a win.

"We were lackluster at points," forward Matt Cooke said. "Everybody goes out on the ice with the intention of winning a hockey game. Sure, we have injuries and it's there as an excuse if you want to take it. But if we want to win hockey games we have to face adversity and find a way to win 1-0 if we have to. You have to adjust, work harder and work smarter."

Isles hit the road -- Heading on a seven-game road trip, the New York Islanders did the smart thing Saturday night, beating up on the Atlanta Thrashers to hit the road with smiles on their faces.

"To be able to win this last home game before we hit the road is obviously huge," Islanders coach Scott Gordon said. "It puts us back at .500 (6-6-5). Now we get a couple of days -- we're off Sunday and have two days of practice -- before we head for Washington. It's a lot better to know you're going on the road with a win rather than a loss."

The Isles' trip takes them to Washington on Wednesday, then Carolina on Friday, followed by trips to Florida, Boston, Minnesota, St. Louis and Toronto.

"After a couple of losses and going on the road and we have a couple of teams that are playing well, it's big for us," Islanders rookie John Tavares said of the win against the Thrashers. "We needed this. We'll have our confidence up the next couple of days, get our rest and get ready for some tough games to come."

In all, the Islanders got points from 13 players.

When's a goal not a goal -- Mika Pyorala helped the Philadelphia Flyers to a 2-1 win against the St. Louis Blues Saturday with a goal, but he's still looking for his first goal.

Hmmmm.

Pyorala scored in the shootout against the Blues to lift the Flyers to the win, but since shootout goals aren't tabulated in a player's stats, the 28-year-old NHL newcomer is still looking for his first "official" goal.

Pyorala scored in the fourth round of the shootout to help the Flyers to their fourth straight win.

"That's a little strange," Pyorala said after being told his goal wasn't his first goal. "But I hope I get a real goal soon."

In 14 games this season, Pyorala, 28, has 1 assist and is a plus-2.

The Flyers are riding the hot hand with the consecutive wins against Carolina, Tampa Bay, Buffalo and St. Louis.

"Coming back after playing (Friday) night (against Buffalo), we needed to get off to a good start and make sure we were moving our feet and getting on the attack early," Philadelphia's Chris Pronger said. "We were able to do that. We had a pretty decent first period, and it kind of built from there. "

The news wasn't all good for the Flyers, as rookie James van Riemsdyk broke the tip of his left pinky finger after getting hit by a Jeff Carter shot and Ole-Kristian Tollefsen suffered a concussion.


Quote of the Day

Not only is it a great idea, but if you don't [start using analytics] you're going to fall behind. You have to be on the cutting edge. It was [Arizona Coyotes assistant general manager] Darcy Regier who said, 'If you didn't invent it, you have to be the second- or third-best copier, because if you're fourth or fifth you've got no chance.'

— Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock on his interest in advanced statistical analysis