Flyers

Best of NHL: Connor McDavid scores quickly in OT, Oilers beat Islanders

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Best of NHL: Connor McDavid scores quickly in OT, Oilers beat Islanders

NEW YORK — Connor McDavid stormed down the ice with Leon Draisaitl trailing a step behind. Two slick passes and a one-timer later, and the game was over.

McDavid scored 38 seconds into overtime to lead the Edmonton Oilers over the New York Islanders 2-1 on Tuesday night.

McDavid intercepted an off-target pass by John Tavares to start a 2-on-1. McDavid carried the puck into the New York end of the ice dropping the puck to Draisaitl, who flipped a behind-the-back pass to McDavid at the circle to set up a one-timer.

The goal was the sixth of the year for McDavid.

"Our two big guns took it down the ice and got us a win," said Cam Talbot, who made 36 saves. "That's what we look to them for in situations like that, and we got it tonight" (see full recap).

Penguins spoil Tocchet's return in victory over Coyotes
PITTSBURGH — Penguins coach Mike Sullivan understands the risk/reward when he pairs Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel.

When fully engaged and focused on the finer points of the game, they are as dynamic as any second-line duo in the NHL. When they're not, things can get sloppy. Really sloppy. So Sullivan will occasionally split them up, as he did with Pittsburgh's offense languishing at the end of a road trip out West.

Yet Sullivan almost always puts them back together, confident the good will outweigh whatever baggage might come along with it. The evidence was on display during a workmanlike 3-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night. Malkin and Kessel both had a goal and two assists as the Penguins put together a clinical performance to take some of the sting out of an uneven five-game swing through Western Canada (see full recap)

Tarasenko, Schwartz score in 1:35 span, Blues beat Devils
NEWARK, N.J. — The St. Louis Blues got back in the game against the New Jersey Devils with a lucky bounce, and then their talent took over.

Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz scored in a 1:35 span bridging the second and third periods and the Blues beat New Jersey 3-1 on Tuesday night, sending the Devils to their season-high third straight loss.

The big goal was Tarasenko's eighth of the season. With the Blues trailing 1-0 late in the second period, his shot from high in the slot hit off the shin of Devils defenseman Mirco Mueller and tied it with 63 seconds left in the period.

"I think that was big for us," said Blues goaltender Jake Allen, who made 21 saves. "It could have been a different game if we didn't get that goal in the second there, and I thought we played well in the third. We didn't give them anything" (see full recap).

Jarnkrok, Rinne power Predators past Blue Jackets​
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Nashville Predators finished off a successful early-season trip with a win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Predators won a couple in California before beating Columbus 3-1, with the only loss coming in the first game of the swing at San Jose on Nov. 1.

"We did what we had to do on the road here, so it was good," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "(We) walk away with six points out of eight on a road trip this early. For me, it's good to be in the spot we're in."

Calle Jarnkrok scored in the third period and Pekka Rinne stopped 35 shots for the Predators, who dealt Columbus its third straight loss (see full recap).

Pekka Rinne notches milestone in Predators' rout

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Pekka Rinne notches milestone in Predators' rout

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Pekka Rinne made 33 saves in his 300th career win and the Nashville Predators routed the San Jose Sharks 7-1 on Thursday night.

Nick Bonino, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson each had a goal and an assist, and Scott Hartnell, Kevin Fiala and Mattias Ekholm also scored for Nashville, which has won three straight. The Predators moved within one point of expansion Vegas for the Western Conference lead.

Nashville defensemen Roman Josi and P.K. Subban each had two assists.

All of Rinne's wins have come with Nashville. He tied former Predators goalie Tomas Vokoun for 33rd place in NHL history.

Logan Couture had the San Jose goal. The loss snapped the Sharks' three-game winning streak (see full recap).

Wild use big 2nd period to top Devils
NEWARK, N.J. -- Joel Eriksson Ek and Chris Stewart scored in a 39-second span during Minnesota's three-goal second period, and the Wild rallied from two down to beat the New Jersey Devils 4-2 on Thursday night.

Wild defenseman Mike Reilly also scored in the second period and Eric Staal iced the game with an empty-net goal, his 900th NHL point. Backup goalie Alex Stalock made 38 saves as the Wild moved into third place in the Central Division after winning for the 11th time in 17 games (11-3-3).

Taylor Hall and Stefan Noesen scored for the Devils, who have lost two in a row after a four-game winning streak. Eddie Lack made 21 saves.

Hall's 13-game point streak is the longest in NHL this season, one more than David Pastrnak of Boston.

Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau made the right moves in this one, inserting Reilly and Stewart into the lineup and electing to give No. 1 goaltender Devan Dubnyk a night off (see full recap).

Matthews exits Maple Leafs’ SO victory with injury
TORONTO -- Tyler Bozak scored the shootout winner and the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the New York Islanders 4-3 on Thursday night.

Auston Matthews tipped in Jake Gardiner's shot to tie it 3-all with 3:29 remaining in the third period, but later left the game favoring his right side after taking a hit from Cal Clutterbuck and did not return. The 20-year-old Toronto star missed six games in December with a concussion and another four games with an undisclosed upper-body injury.

Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly had the other Maple Leafs goals, and Frederik Andersen made 32 saves. Toronto (38-20-5) has won eight straight at home.

Ryan Pulock, Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle scored for the Islanders (29-26-7), and Jaroslav Halak turned aside 28 shots. New York, one point out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, dropped to 4-6-2 since the All-Star break and 13-15-3 on the road this season.

With his three points, Barzal has a team-leading 65 and a 14-point lead over Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL's rookie scoring race (see full recap).

Here comes Nolan Patrick, just in time for Flyers

Here comes Nolan Patrick, just in time for Flyers

BOX SCORE

When Dave Hakstol was hired on May 18, 2015, to become the 19th head coach of the Flyers, there was an underlying belief that given his collegiate pedigree, Hakstol was the perfect bench boss to handle the team's homegrown prospects.

However, as we’ve seen over the course of three seasons, the progression of a young player doesn’t always continue on an upward trajectory from the moment they start their NHL career.

As he juggles a roster that is now the youngest in the Eastern Conference following injuries to Brian Elliott and Wayne Simmonds, Hakstol appears to be pushing all of the right buttons, including those connected with the organization’s most prized prospect, Nolan Patrick.

Thursday night’s 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets further exemplified that as Patrick scored a power-play goal in his second straight game (see observations). With the injury to Simmonds, Hakstol believed Patrick could slide seamlessly into Simmonds' net-front role on the top unit, and the rookie has yet to disappoint his coach or teammates.

“I think there’s a little less pressure,” Patrick said. “You don’t have the puck on your stick as much. I think my shots are something I need to improve on. It’s kind of nice for me to be there and not try and beat goalies with my shots. I like it there.”

Hakstol recognized early in the opening month of the season that Patrick wasn’t quite ready to handle the role of being a top-six forward, but over the course of an 82-game season, he has gradually given the 19-year-old center more responsibility and Patrick has proved he’s deserving of the coach’s trust.

“His approach, his hockey sense and his intelligence is what gives him an opportunity to be successful in any situation,” Hakstol said. “Each time we’ve been able to give him more of an opportunity, he’s taken advantage of that. Nolan is doing a lot of those little things on a nightly basis — up and down the middle of the rink, playing a good 200-foot game, and the fact he’s taken pride in that is the foundation of his game.”

“He’s been great,” Patrick said of Hakstol. “When I first got here, they made me work for everything. They didn’t put me in situations I wasn’t ready for. Even now, when I’m not playing great, he does what’s best for the team. He’ll hold me back or not put me out there when I’m struggling on faceoffs. He notices that and he’s been huge for me.”

And Patrick has been huge for the Flyers. He’s now scored a goal in three straight games. 

You’re never quite sure when the future will eventually catch up to the present, but with the help of his head coach, it’s coming at just the right time for Nolan Patrick.