Best of NHL: Golden Knights edge Predators for shootout win

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Best of NHL: Golden Knights edge Predators for shootout win

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Malcolm Subban won a matchup of siblings, making 41 saves and then denying all six shootout attempts Friday night to lead the Vegas Golden Knights to a 4-3 victory over star defenseman P.K. Subban and the Nashville Predators.

Reilly Smith scored the only goal of a six-round shootout for the Golden Knights. William Karlsson, James Neal and Erik Haula scored in regulation to help Vegas win its third straight game.

Nate Schmidt had two assists, and Haula forced overtime when he scored with 40 seconds left in the third period after the Golden Knights pulled Subban.

Calle Jarnkrok, Viktor Arvidsson and Nick Bonino had the goals for Nashville, which had won three in a row.

It was the first time the Subbans faced each other in an NHL game. According to the NHL, they became the 10th set of brothers to play against one another with one a skater and the other a goaltender (see full recap).

Capitals beat Rangers for 4th straight win
WASHINGTON -- Matt Niskanen scored the tiebreaking goal with 3:22 remaining and the Washington Capitals beat the New York Rangers 4-2 Friday night to continue their climb up the Metropolitan Division standings.

Braden Holtby made 27 saves for the Capitals, who have won four in a row and seven of eight. Jay Beagle scored 14 seconds in, Nicklas Backstrom had a goal in a second consecutive game after a long drought and Tom Wilson added an insurance goal with 1:32 left.

Wilson also assisted on the winner by Niskanen.

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist stopped 36 shots in his first game back after a brief illness. Michael Grabner and Jesper Fast scored for New York, which won its previous two games (see full recap).

Panarin posts 5 assists in Blue Jackets’ victory
NEWARK, N.J. -- Artemi Panarin had five primary assists, setting up the Columbus Blue Jackets for a 5-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night and a split of their home-and-home series.

Pierre-Luc Dubois, Lukas Sedlak, Scott Harrington, Alexander Wennberg and Zach Werenski scored for Columbus. Sergei Bobrovsky made 21 saves.

After losing to the Devils 4-1 in Columbus on Tuesday, the Blue Jackets gained a measure of revenge while also snapping a two-game skid.

The five assists for Panarin tied a Blue Jackets record set by Espen Knutsen against Calgary on March 24, 2001.

Brian Boyle, Marcus Johansson and Blake Coleman had the New Jersey goals. Cory Schneider stopped 23 shots (see full recap).

Breaking down why Flyers traded Cooper Marody

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Breaking down why Flyers traded Cooper Marody

The Flyers on Wednesday traded NCAA prospect Cooper Marody’s rights to the Edmonton Oilers for a 2019 third-round draft pick that originally belonged to the New Jersey Devils.

Marody enjoyed a breakout junior season at Michigan University in 2017-18. The 21-year-old led the Wolverines with 32 assists, 46 points and 1.24 points per game.

His 32 assists were tied for third-most in the nation, while his 46 points were tied for ninth most. He made the Big Ten All-Tournament team and was the Big Ten scoring champion.

Let’s make sense of why the Flyers moved Marody and why it’s a good return.

One, he was a 2015 sixth-round draft pick with little NHL upside. Essentially, this boils down to a sixth-round pick netting you a third-rounder, which has a higher probability of hitting.

Two, the Flyers’ pipeline is loaded with forwards, and the book on Marody doesn’t project him to be a top-six forward. Think of him as a solid AHL player with bottom-six NHL potential.

Three, the contract limit. The Flyers are currently at 47 contracts, three under the limit. Sure, four players are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents this summer with four more hitting restricted free agency. They could easily fit Marody under the contract limit but it goes back to No. 2.

Another potential factor is the 2019 third-rounder the Flyers owe the Red Wings if they make the playoffs since Petr Mrazek has won five games already with the team. They now have a third-rounder in that draft.

Any way we slice it, the Flyers turned a sixth-rounder into a third-rounder. If Marody proves the Flyers wrong, so be it. If not, it's no big deal. The chances of winning this trade are higher than losing it.

Why Flyers should ride Alex Lyon, not Petr Mrazek

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Why Flyers should ride Alex Lyon, not Petr Mrazek

When the Flyers acquired Petr Mrazek from Detroit out of necessity in February, Ron Hextall explained the trade as a reward for his players’ hard work.

“We’re in a tough situation — you lose your top two goalies when you’re fighting for a playoff spot,” Hextall said then, “and our players have worked hard for a long time now. I didn’t feel like it was fair to not have a proven NHL goaltender for this team.”

One month later, Mrazek has been erratic, and the Flyers’ grip on a playoff spot is loosening. With eight games remaining, Dave Hakstol owes it to his players to ride the steadier goalie, and that's not the proven NHL goaltender.

For the second time in six days, Hakstol was forced to pull Mrazek on Tuesday night, and for the second time in six days, Alex Lyon battled in relief, giving the Flyers a chance in a game they otherwise had no business being in.

Lyon stopped 11 of 12 shots Tuesday, holding off a determined Red Wings team and allowing the Flyers to fight back from a 3-1 deficit and force overtime. They lost, 5-4, in a shootout, but the point was huge.

We’re tired of hearing that too. But at this stage, and with how the Flyers have played in March, any point is needed. The goal is the playoffs, and right now, the Flyers cannot trust Mrazek.

What we’ve seen from Mrazek in his short time here explains why the Red Wings soured on him.

Mrazek showed glimpses of his potential in his first three starts as a Flyer, but since, he’s been inconsistent and unreliable.

In his last nine games, Mrazek’s 2-5-1 with a 4.03 goals-against average and .865 save percentage. He's allowed fewer than three goals just once. There have been far too many bad goals along the way too.

Last Thursday, Mrazek was pulled after yielding his fourth goal against the Blue Jackets, a team the Flyers are jockeying with for playoff position in the Metropolitan Division.

That relief appearance earned Lyon the start Saturday in Carolina, where he was again steady. Hakstol went back to Mrazek on Sunday and then again Tuesday.

Now, it’s time to ride Lyon until the rookie shows wear on his tires and until either Brian Elliott or Michal Neuvirth is healthy enough to return, which likely will not be until closer to the final week of the season.

Lyon has not looked out of place since his second call-up of the season Feb. 11. In six games — three starts — he has a .933 save percentage.

The 25-year-old passes both the numbers and eye test, and it’s time to show faith in him.

After Tuesday’s loss, the Flyers dropped to the top wild-card spot, with Columbus leapfrogging them to third in the Metro. Both teams have eight games left. The Flyers are four points ahead of the Devils, who have one game in hand.

Then, there are the Panthers, five points behind the Flyers with three games in hand. Per Hockey-Reference, the Flyers have an 88.8 percent chance at the postseason.

We’ve seen crazier collapses happen, though. When March began, the Flyers were one point behind the first-place Capitals. They’ve picked up just eight of a possible 22 points this month.

At this point, it’s about surviving, and Lyon gives the Flyers a better shot to stay above the line than Mrazek.