Flyers

Lindholm completes hat trick in overtime of Ducks' win

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Lindholm completes hat trick in overtime of Ducks' win

NEW YORK — Hampus Lindholm scored his third goal of the game in overtime to give the Anaheim Ducks a 5-4 victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday night.

Lindholm's sixth of the season came at 4:03 of the extra period, snapping a three-game losing streak for Anaheim.

The Ducks tied the game with goalie Ryan Miller pulled for an extra skater when Rickard Rakell scored at 18:45 of the third period. Brandon Montour and Ryan Getzlaf assisted. Getzlaf had four assists overall and has points in five games since returning from a facial fracture.

Andrew Ladd put the Islanders ahead 4-3 at 7:52 of the third as New York rallied from a 3-1 deficit.

Ladd's rebound shot for his ninth goal beat Miller at 7:52 after Islanders captain John Tavares tied the game with his second goal of the night at 5:44 of the third. The goal was the 21st of the season for Tavares (see full recap).

Birthday boy McAvoy sends Bruins past Jets in shootout
BOSTON — Charlie McAvoy celebrated his 20th birthday by scoring the decisive goal in the shootout, Tuukka Rask made 37 saves and the Boston Bruins beat the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 on Thursday night.

After Winnipeg's Nikolaj Ehlers' first attempt of the sudden-death portion of the shootout clanged off the post, McAvoy took the puck and meandered up the ice before firing his shot past Connor Hellebuyck.

Torey Krug scored his sixth goal of the season for Boston (18-10-5), which won its third straight game and sixth of its last seven.

Rask recorded a point for his eighth straight game (7-0-1) as the Bruins beat the Jets for the fourth straight meeting (see full recap).

Boyle leads Devils to shootout win over rival Rangers 
NEWARK, N.J. — Brian Boyle scored the tying goal in the third period and the game-winner in a shootout against his former team, and the New Jersey Devils overcame a season-high 45 saves by Henrik Lundqvist to beat the rival New York Rangers 4-3 on Thursday night.

John Moore and Blake Coleman also scored in regulation, and Kyle Palmieri converted in a four-round shootout for the Devils on the way to their third straight victory.

Cory Schneider made 25 saves and stopped three of four attempts in the tiebreaker, denying Jimmy Vesey when the Rangers had a chance to win. Schneider also turned aside defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to end it after Boyle put New Jersey ahead.

Vesey, Nick Holden and Kevin Hayes scored for the Rangers, who had won three in a row. Mika Zibanejad had a goal in the shootout (see full recap).

Letang gets winning goal in shootout as Pens top Blue Jackets
PITTSBURGH — Kris Letang scored the deciding goal in the shootout, and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 on Thursday night.

Letang scored in the fourth round of the shootout, beating Sergei Bobrovsky to the glove side after a series of dekes. Evgeni Malkin also scored for Pittsburgh in the shootout.

Cam Atkinson scored in the shootout for Columbus, but Matt Murray stopped Artemi Panarin, Jack Johnson and Oliver Bjorkstrand. Murray made 29 saves, while Bobrovsky stopped 39 shots.

Patric Hornqvist and Malkin both scored their 12th goals of the season on the power play for the Penguins, who have two wins in their last three games following a three-game losing streak. Pittsburgh scored twice on the power play after a 0-for-15 slump (see full recap).

Claude Julien gets last laugh in return to Boston

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Claude Julien gets last laugh in return to Boston

BOSTON -- David Pastrnak and Ryan Spooner each scored an early goal, Tuukka Rask stopped 21 shots and the Bruins beat Montreal 4-1 Wednesday night in Canadiens coach Claude Julien's return to Boston.

The surging Bruins have earned at least a point in 14 straight games (10-0-4), their longest stretch since going 15-0-1 in March 2014.

Brad Marchand added a power-play goal in the third period, David Krejci had an empty-netter and Patrice Bergeron had two assists for Boston, which posted its second win over the Canadiens in five days. The teams meet again in Montreal on Saturday night.

Jakub Jerabek scored his first NHL goal for Montreal, and Carey Price made 28 saves.

Julien, who coached Boston's Stanley Cup-winning team in 2011, was fired last Feb. 7 in his 10th season. He was replaced by assistant and current Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, who opted for more up-tempo, charge-into-the-zone play from his defensemen as opposed to Julien's mostly defensive-minded style.

Rask extended his career-best point streak to 15 games (13-0-2), including a 4-3 shootout win at Montreal last Saturday (see full recap).

Ducks score 4 in 2nd period to beat Penguins
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Rickard Rakell and Adam Henrique scored 1:35 apart to Anaheim the lead during its four-goal second period, and the Ducks went on to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 Wednesday night.

Chris Wagner and Ondrej Kase also scored for Anaheim in the middle period, and Hampus Lindholm added an empty-netter in the final second of the game. John Gibson stopped 30 shots to help the Ducks improve to 7-3-1 in their last 11 games.

Anaheim scored four goals in a period for first time since doing it in the third period at Buffalo last Feb. 9.

Jake Guentzel, Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin scored for the Penguins, who snapped a four-game win streak. Tristan Jarry made 28 saves.

With the Ducks trailing 1-0, Rakell tied it on a redirect of a shot by Francois Beauchemin at 4:17 of the second. Henrique then put them ahead at 5:42, beating Jarry with a wraparound while the rookie was caught flatfooted at the opposite post trying to get his stick back.

Wagner scored on a short-handed breakaway to make it 3-1 at 9:24, notching the third special-teams goal of his career, all of which have come this season.

Kase's smooth breakaway backhand with 1:32 left in the period capped off the scoring deluge. Kase, who also had an assist, has five points in his last three games (see full recap).

Where is Dave Hakstol's sixth sense?

Where is Dave Hakstol's sixth sense?

VOORHEES, N.J. — Movie director M. Night Shyamalan may have created the sixth sense, and some of the more successful coaches in the NHL actually possess it. 

No, not the ability to see dead people, but rather, the recognition of assessing in-game situations and taking an immediate and proactive course of action before the team and the game itself begins to unravel.

Predators coach and former Flyers bench boss Peter Laviolette had an uncanny ability to utilize his only timeout at a moment when the team needed desperately to refocus during a stretch of poor hockey. Laviolette may have signaled for one during a lackluster first period or at the first sign of trouble in the third period.

He’d rip the gum out of his mouth and begin the process of chewing out his guys. His face would turn red and his temperature would rise as if it was measured by the red liquid in a thermometer. More often than not, Laviolette’s teams responded swiftly and appropriately to his message. He had an ability to seize the moment when others may not have seen it coming.

It’s a club Hakstol simply doesn’t have in his bag.

Hakstol prefers to hold onto his timeout predictably when the Flyers are down a goal late in the third period to draw up a play on the dry-erase board or to give his players a breather following an icing call. Rarely, if ever, is that timeout taken in an effort to overcome the opposition’s surge of momentum.

Same can be said for Hakstol’s decision to make a goaltending change.

In the Flyers' two most recent lopsided losses, both 5-1 setbacks to the Penguins and Rangers, Hakstol chose to pull Elliott after two periods with the outcomes pretty much decided heading into the third period. 

Regarding the Flyers' loss to New York Tuesday night: "We put [Elliott] in a pretty tough spot," Hakstol said postgame (see story). "Looking back on it, I could make the change after the fourth goal, but I felt like we put him in pretty tough spots tonight with the opportunities that we gave up in the first 30 minutes of the game."

While every coach seems to possess hindsight, not every coach has the appropriate sense of foresight. Goaltending changes can be the result of poor play in net and Elliott wasn’t great Tuesday night, but the decision can also take on a dual-purpose. Give the backup playing time while also attempting to ignite a spark up and down the bench.

Send a message that it’s not the goaltender’s responsibility alone for digging this hole, but since he can’t bench all 18 skaters, bench the goalie as a result of everyone else’s poor play. 

In both losses to the Penguins and Rangers, once Hakstol decided to replace Elliott with Neuvirth, the Flyers were facing a 4-1 and 5-1 deficit, respectively, heading into the third period. The coach would have had better success creating a spark by rubbing two sticks together.

Over the course of an 82-game season, it’s important for a coach to remain consistent with his message. Over the duration of a 60-minute game, that message is tailored around the team’s performance. Moments and situations elicit when a coach should be bold with his words or more reserved.

Judging by his manner and behavior behind the bench, Hakstol’s barometer rarely tilts one way or the other, and the team has seemingly taken on the personality of its coach, especially at times when urgency is required.

“It’s got to be the same this time of year,” Hakstol said when asked about the team’s mindset following a 5-1 loss. “It’s never as bad you think and it’s never as good as you think. Address the issues, be direct about it, fix them and move forward.”

However, the Flyers are now 27th in the league when trailing after the first period and 25th when trailing after two periods. Against the Penguins and Rangers, the Flyers gave themselves no chance at forcing overtime when every single point matters right now, especially against the two teams they’re chasing in the wild-card standings.      

Hakstol can attempt to correct X's and O’s, but at some point, his decision-making and ability to put his finger on the pulse of his team will become an X-factor.