Flyers

Auston Matthews' return helps Maple Leafs beat Rangers

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Auston Matthews' return helps Maple Leafs beat Rangers

NEW YORK -- Auston Matthews had a goal and an assist in his return from a concussion to help the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the New York Rangers 3-2 on Saturday night.

Matthews sat out the previous six games. The top pick in the 2016 draft made a pretty move just outside the crease to give the Maple Leafs a 3-1 lead at 11:22 of the second period. Zach Hyman and William Nylander assisted on the play.

Nylander and Ron Hainsey also scored for Toronto, and Frederik Anderson stopped 30 shots.

Jimmy Vesey and J.T. Miller scored for the Rangers, and Henrik Lundqvist made 24 saves. New York dropped only its third game at Madison Square Garden in the last 15 contests.

The Rangers appeared to have tied it at 3 at 12:09 of the third period. Michael Grabner snuck a shot between Anderson's pads. However, Toronto coach Mike Babcock challenged the play and the call was overturned after the referees determined Kevin Hayes was offside.

Nylander scored the game's first goal at 17:14 of the opening frame when Matthews delivered a backhand pass to set up a one-timer. Matthews missed a point-blank opportunity moments before he set up Nylander (see full recap).

Reimer makes 38 saves to lift Panthers over Senators
SUNRISE, Fla. -- James Reimer made 38 saves for his first shutout this season, Jonathan Huberdeau scored in the second period and the Florida Panthers beat the Ottawa Senators 1-0 on Saturday night.

Reimer got his first shutout since April 9 at Washington. He was playing in his ninth straight game and second in two nights after beating Minnesota 4-2 on Friday.

Ottawa backup Mike Condon stopped 37 shots, but couldn't turn away Huberdeau when he went top shelf 1:36 into the second. Ottawa has dropped three straight.

Huberdeau sent a wrist shot past Condon after a cross-ice pass from Nick Bjugstad from just inside the blue line. Huberdeau also scored twice Friday.

Florida's best opportunity to extend the lead came with just over nine minutes remaining, when Evgenii Dadonov had a short breakaway, but his shot bounced off Condon's right arm. Bjugstad then had a chance at a tip-in, but that grazed off Condon's pads (see full recap).

Fleury has first shutout, leads Vegas past Capitals
LAS VEGAS -- Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 26 shots for his first shutout with Vegas, William Karlsson scored during a three-goal first period and the Golden Knights beat the Washington Capitals 3-0 on Saturday night.

Fleury was perfect in his 699th career game and eighth since being selected by Vegas in the expansion draft.

Alex Tuch and Oscar Lindberg also scored in the first period for Vegas, which went 4-0-1 on this homestand and has a point in nine straight games.

Washington was 4-0-1 in its past five games and 8-1-1 in its last 10, but the Capitals lost their second in two nights, including a defeat to the Coyotes.

The Capitals had scored at least four goals in six of their previous nine games and hadn't been shut out since a 2-0 home loss to Toronto on Oct. 17 -- the only other time they've been blanked this season.

Tuch opened the scoring by tapping in Brendan Leipsic's rebound for his eighth of the season. Lindberg then took a pass from Tomas Nosek and punched in his seventh. Finally, Karlsson slapped a one-timer past Braden Holtby.

It could have been worse for Washington. Tuch's goal came moments after Leipsic missed on a breakaway, Jon Merrill had a solid attempt from the right slot that Holtby stymied, James Neal had two great looks and Jonathan Marchessault clanked a shot off the crossbar (see full recap).

Flyers not surprised, but look it on Broadway

Flyers not surprised, but look it on Broadway

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK — Flyers players lifted their massive equipment bags onto carts outside the visiting locker room of Madison Square Garden.

There wasn't much energy or zealousness to such a mundane task.

Shortly before doing so, the Flyers made skating in the world's most famous arena seem just as mundane, allowing the New York Rangers to turn Broadway into breakaway on Tuesday night to the tune of a 5-1 loss (see observations).

"We just made too many mistakes that cost us," Jakub Voracek said. "Four goals out of five came off our mistakes, so it's tough."

The Rangers, not once, but twice during the first period, bolted behind the Flyers' slow-reacting coverage for nothing but open ice and Brian Elliott to beat. On both occasions, New York scored easily and took control of the evening.

It was a full exploitation of a Flyers team that had won four straight but wasn't "engaged in this game enough," as head coach Dave Hakstol put it.

With the Flyers holding a 1-0 lead just over six minutes into the contest, Pavel Buchnevich fed a stretch pass to Rick Nash streaking up the middle of the ice, leaving defensemen Radko Gudas and Brandon Manning in the dust. Both the delivery from Buchnevich and the speed of Nash appeared to catch Gudas and Manning by surprise.

"The first one, probably a better read by me and Gudy," Manning said. "We talked before the game, we knew that's what they were going to do, they were going to try and stretch us out. That one we can probably eliminate."

The second was deflating in every way imaginable. As the Flyers sputtered through their first man advantage, a pass behind Jordan Weal bounced off the side boards and right to Peter Holland. With most of the Flyers' second power-play unit pinching on the attack, New York rushed up ice and beat Manning in retreat as Holland hit Paul Carey for a shorthanded marker.

Whatever life the Flyers still had, it was sucked out of them.

At the time, before it unfolded, they seemed to be in OK position. The Flyers were down, 2-1, but vying for an equalizer by turning to their power play, which had been 7 for 14 over the four-game winning streak. However, what transpired was New York taking a surprising 3-1 lead with 10 seconds remaining in the opening frame.

"Those are ones we can prevent," Hakstol said. "They're a good transition team, so when you give them opportunities, whether it's a turnover out of their defensive zone or a turnover entering the zone, they're a good transition team. But our awareness on those plays was not what it needs to be.

"I just thought in the first half of the game, in all the areas of the game that mattered, they were the quicker and hungrier team."

The Rangers showed it some more when they went on another semi-breakaway, this time midway through the second period for a 4-1 edge. Michael Grabner came swooping in to pick Voracek's pocket before quickly flicking a shot past Elliott, who watched another blue jersey barrel down untouched toward his crease.

"We put him in pretty tough spots tonight with the opportunities that we gave up in the first 30 minutes of the game," Hakstol said.

The goalie making his 18th start in the last 19 games still took blame.

"It's not the easiest way, but that's my job," Elliott, who was yanked ahead of the third period, said. "I didn't have them tonight. Go back to work and try to feel good about my game. That's not where I wanted to be tonight. I didn't really give ourselves a chance to win and I've got to own a lot of that."

Tuesday marked the Flyers' first outing against the Rangers this season.

Were they surprised by the opposition's transition game?

"No," Hakstol said.

Manning sounded like he will be far more ready when the Flyers come back to Madison Square Garden on Feb. 18 for the second of four meetings.

"I don't know if surprising is the right word, they have some guys who can skate and I think we were expecting that," Manning said. "We haven't played them this year, it's the first time. When you see it for the first time, it's something a little different."

The Flyers on Thursday night will see the Maple Leafs for the third time. The previous two matchups were won by the Flyers. Interestingly enough, Manning had his best game of the season with a goal, an assist and three hits in the October victory, while rookie blueliner Travis Sanheim played in the December win.

Hakstol will have to decide between the two for Thursday.

One will be an extra, the other will want to make sure breakaways are at a minimum.

Devils finally put an end to 6-game skid

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Devils finally put an end to 6-game skid

NEW YORK -- Damon Severson scored twice 1:26 apart in New Jersey's three-goal second period, and the Devils ended a six-game skid with a 4-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.

Kyle Palmieri and Taylor Hall also scored for New Jersey, which was 0-3-3 since beating Detroit at home on Dec. 27. Keith Kinkaid, getting the start after Cory Schneider was a late scratch due to illness, stopped 25 shots.

Anders Lee scored and Jaroslav Halak made 38 saves as the Islanders snapped a three-game winning streak that started with a 5-4 shootout victory over the Devils here on Jan. 7.

New Jersey trailed less than two minutes in but got four straight goals starting with Palmieri's score late in the first period.

Halak, who faced more than 35 shots on goal for his 10th straight start, made nice stops on in-close tries by Brian Boyle and Brian Gibbons with about 7 1/2 minutes left in the middle period to keep the score tied.

However, Severson gave the Devils the lead about 30 seconds later as he got the rebound of a shot by Gibbons and beat Halak from the right circle. It was the defenseman's fifth goal of the season and first in 12 games (see full recap).

Spezza scores 2 after benching in Stars’ win
DETROIT -- Jason Spezza responded to being benched by scoring two tiebreaking goals on power plays, helping the Dallas Stars beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-2 on Tuesday night.

Spezza scored on a lunging, one-timer below the left circle with 5:52 left in the second period. His first goal came on a redirected shot midway through the first.

The 33-year-old forward was a healthy scratch on Monday when Dallas won at Boston in overtime. He bounced back by ending his 14-game goal drought, scoring twice in a game for the first time since March 12, 2016. Spezza scored 33 goals just two years ago and has 323 career goals.

Dallas' Radek Faksa and Martin Hanzal also scored. Ben Bishop stopped 13 shots for the Stars, who have won six of eight.

Trevor Daley put Detroit ahead in the opening minute, but Faksa redirected a shot past Jimmy Howard at 2:48. Andreas Athanasiou pulled the Red Wings into a 2-all tie midway through the second period and Spezza's second goal 2:25 later put Dallas ahead 3-2.

Howard had 22 saves for the Red Wings, who had won five of their previous seven games (see full recap).

Blues rally late for overtime victory
TORONTO -- Alexander Steen tied it with 57 seconds left and Vince Dunn scored 1:43 into overtime, lifting the St. Louis Blues over the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 on Tuesday night.

Connor Brown put Toronto ahead on a short-handed breakaway midway through the third period, but Steen scored with goalie Carter Hutton pulled for an extra attacker by backhanding Alex Pieterangelo's rebound past Frederik Andersen.

Dunn snapped a low shot past Andersen after choosing to keep the puck on a 2-on-1.

Andersen stopped 40 shots and Hutton had 30 saves.

It was the Maple Leafs' first game back after the bye week. Their last game was a 4-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Jan. 10 (see full recap).