Flyers

Barzal notches 5 points in Islanders' win

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Barzal notches 5 points in Islanders' win

NEW YORK — Mathew Barzal was terrific and Jaroslav Halak stepped up at a couple of key moments.

It was the Islanders' day again in New York.

Barzal had two goals and three assists, Beauvillier added two goals and an assist, and the Islanders beat the Rangers 7-2 on Saturday for their ninth win in the last 10 meetings of the crosstown rivals.

Shane Prince, Thomas Hickey and Cal Clutterbuck also scored, helping the Islanders to the victory in both teams' first game after their respective five-day byes. Jordan Eberle had four assists in the Isles' highest scoring game of the season, and Halak stopped 37 shots.

"Just one of those nights where everything kind of finds its way into the back of the net," said Barzal, who leads NHL rookies with 29 assists and 44 points. "It was a great team effort honestly." (see full recap).

Danault hit in head by Chara's slap shot; Bruins top Habs
MONTREAL — Canadiens center Phillip Danault was awake and moving after taking Zdeno Chara's slap shot to the head. Considering how hard Chara can shoot, many at the silent Bell Centre feared it might have been much worse.

Danault was hospitalized after a frightening play in Montreal's 4-3 loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday night, a game that ended with Brad Marchand's goal in the fourth round of a shootout.

Danault was taken off the ice on a stretcher after he was hit in the head by Chara's shot - the 6-foot-9 defenseman didn't wind up fully for the one-timer. The 24-year-old Danault was moving and speaking to medical staff before he departed to an ovation from the Bell Centre crowd.

Canadiens coach Claude Julien said after the game that Danault would remain in a hospital overnight and would be re-evaluated Sunday (see full recap).

Malkin powers Penguins past Red Wings
PITTSBURGH — Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins returned from their bye week and picked up right where they left off.

Malkin had two goals and two assists, and the Penguins beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 on Saturday for their third consecutive victory.

"It's always fun when you win and have more confidence," Malkin said. "Your game is better, the mood is better, and now we're feeling so much better."

Phil Kessel added a goal and two assists for Pittsburgh, which had dropped its last three games against Detroit. Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist, and rookie Tristan Jarry stopped 29 shots in his third straight start while Matt Murray is home in Canada tending to a family matter (see full recap).

Dumba scores 2 goals in Wild win
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Central Division has been the NHL's tightest this season, with not much separation from top to bottom.

Minnesota's win over division-leading Winnipeg on Saturday night only jammed it up some more.

Matt Dumba had two goals, Jason Zucker and Mikael Granlund also scored and the Wild beat the Jets 4-1.

Dumba got his goals in the third period, helping Minnesota win its second straight behind 32 saves from Devan Dubnyk.

Minnesota got its first win against Winnipeg in four tries this season. The Wild are 5-0-1 in their last six home games (see full recap).

Why Nolan Patrick is such a power-play fit

Why Nolan Patrick is such a power-play fit

Replacing Wayne Simmonds on the power play may be one of the toughest assignments in the NHL.

After all, the guy is second to only Alex Ovechkin with 85 man-advantage goals since the 2011-12 season.

So when the predicament actually faced Dave Hakstol this week, the Flyers' head coach turned to … a 19-year-old rookie.

Why Nolan Patrick?

Three components of the decision stand out:

Intelligence factor
Leading up the NHL draft, the overwhelming strength of Patrick's scouting report was his hockey sense.

Those close to him, as well as draft experts, lauded Patrick for comprehending plays before they even happen and being above the ice in understanding spacing.

Those characteristics are crucial when having an extra man.

Patrick has two goals over two games filling in for the injured Simmonds on the Flyers' top power-play unit. Patrick exhibited his IQ with Thursday's game-winner, where he quickly planted himself right in front of the net, had the presence of mind to find the puck and then bury it past Sergei Bobrovsky.

"We told him, just stand in front, if you see a puck, bring it home," Shayne Gostisbehere said. "We tried to simplify it for him and he's going to take care of it himself, he's a great hockey player. It's paying off for him."

All about the touch
Patrick has excellent hands.

Put him around the net, and he'll know how to deflect pucks and find holes in a goalie. His vision, skill and finesse are why he's regarded as such an all-around playmaker.

In Tuesday's win, Patrick found immediate success with the first power-play group. Making his way to the middle, Patrick took a Claude Giroux pass and showed off that touch, adeptly going top shelf as Carey Price went low.

Studying Simmonds' net-front proficiency hasn't hurt, either.

"I watch him every game, he's unbelievable there and good at tipping pucks and making plays," Patrick said. "You learn from just watching every day."

Building up the kid
With time, Hakstol and the Flyers have allowed for Patrick to become comfortable instead of putting the world on his shoulders from the get-go.

That's part of Patrick's makeup.

"He almost always wants to be comfortable and then he really starts to exert himself," Patrick's uncle, James, said to NBC Sports Philadelphia last June

We're starting to see Patrick let loose.

As the Flyers have gradually upped his opportunity and responsibility, Patrick has eight points (five goals, three assists) in his last 12 games after putting up six (two goals, four assists) over his previous 34.

Placing Patrick among the team's best talent on the man advantage will only help with his confidence moving forward, in all situations.

The Flyers' power play entered Friday with the NHL's sixth-best percentage at 21.6.

It'll need more of Patrick — but the Flyers couldn't have asked for a much better start to life without Simmonds over the next two to three weeks.

Streaking Penguins move atop Metro Division

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Streaking Penguins move atop Metro Division

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin each had two goals and an assist and the Pittsburgh Penguins routed the Carolina Hurricanes 6-1 on Friday night for their season-best sixth straight victory.

Jake Guentzel had a goal and two assists, Sidney Crosby scored a late goal and Olli Maatta also scored. The Penguins took control with three goals -- two by Kessel -- in a 7:39 span in the second period.

Matt Murray made 27 saves for Pittsburgh, which has won 11 of 13 to overtake idle Washington for first place in the Metropolitan Division. Since the Penguins were shut out by Carolina on Jan. 4, they are 16-3-1.

They were just as busy off the ice, completing a mid-game trade in which they picked up center Derick Brassard from the Ottawa Senators. As part of the complicated three-team deal, they sent defenseman Ian Cole to Ottawa and forward Ryan Reaves to the Vegas Golden Knights.

Teuvo Teravainen scored and Cam Ward stopped 33 shots for the short-handed Hurricanes, who have gone 0-3-1 during a four-game slide that's keeping them outside the Eastern Conference playoff race (see full recap).

Wild dominate skidding Rangers for New York sweep
NEW YORK -- Mikael Granlund and Eric Staal each scored twice and Devan Dubnyk made 22 saves in the Minnesota Wild's 4-1 victory over the free-falling New York Rangers on Friday night.

The Wild completed a three-game sweep of New York-area teams after beating the Monday night and New Jersey on Thursday night.

The Rangers lost for the sixth straight time in regulation. New York is 6-17-0 since beating Buffalo in the Winter Classic on Jan. 1 (see full recap).

Blackhawks’ Berube dominant in 1st Chicago start
CHICAGO -- Jean-Francois Berube made 42 saves in his first start for Chicago to help the Blackhawks beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1 on Friday night.

Defenseman Jan Rutta, activated from injured reserve Friday, and Nick Schmaltz scored, and Artem Anisimov added an empty-netter with 30.5 seconds left.

Anthony Duclair had two assists for the Blackhawks. They won their second straight and third in four games following an eight-game losing streak that dropped them to last place in the Central Division.

Berube lost a bid for this first NHL shutout when Timo Meier scored his 15th goal on a screened shot with 7:51 left in the third period.

Martin Jones stopped 33 shots for the Sharks, coming off a 7-1 loss at Nashville on Thursday night (see full recap).