Flyers

Best of NHL: Oilers score goal in own net to gift win to Maple Leafs

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Best of NHL: Oilers score goal in own net to gift win to Maple Leafs

EDMONTON, Alberta -- Oilers defenseman Kris Russell fired the puck into his own net while trying to clear it late in the third period, handing the Toronto Maple Leafs the go-ahead goal Thursday night in a 6-4 victory over Edmonton.

William Nylander had a goal and two assists for Toronto. Auston Matthews, Dominic Moore, Matt Martin, Patrick Marleau and Nazem Kadri also scored for the Maple Leafs (17-9-1). Frederik Andersen stopped 41 shots for the win.

Marleau was credited with the winner after Russell sent the puck into his own net with 1:05 remaining.

Russell had tied the score for Edmonton early in the third. Mark Letestu, Zack Kassian and Connor McDavid also scored for the Oilers (10-14-2), who won their previous two games.

Laurent Brossoit started in place of injured goalie Cam Talbot, expected to miss at least the next two weeks. Brossoit made 30 saves (see full recap).

Janmark lifts Stars to overtime win
CHICAGO -- Mattias Janmark scored his second goal of the game 51 seconds into overtime and the Dallas Stars beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 on Thursday night.

Radek Faksa had a goal and an assist and Remi Elie also scored for Dallas, which has won three straight and five of six. Ben Bishop made 19 saves.

Janmark skated in and beat Corey Crawford over the goaltender's right shoulder for his sixth of the season, giving the Stars the opener of the home-and-home series between division rivals. Dallas hosts Chicago on Saturday night.

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks, who dropped to 1-1-1 in a seven-day stretch with five games. Alex DeBrincat and Artem Anisimov also scored, and Nick Schmaltz had two assists.

Chicago trailed 3-2 before Kane redirected defenseman Gustav Forsling's shot past Bishop at 4:34 of the third. Kane has at least one point in eight of his last nine games.

Elie, who replaced an ailing Martin Hanzal in the lineup, had three good looks at a potential go-ahead score with about 5 1/2 minutes left, but Crawford turned him away each time. Crawford finished with 31 saves (see full recap).

Flames’ Smith helps blank former team
CALGARY, Alberta -- Mike Smith stopped 28 shots to blank his former team, Mark Jankowski scored twice and the Calgary Flames beat the Arizona Coyotes 3-0 on Thursday night.

Smith picked up his second shutout of the season and 35th of his career. The 35-year-old was making his first start against Arizona since being acquired by Calgary via trade in June.

Mikael Backlund also scored for Calgary. The Flames bounced back after opening their four-game homestand with a 4-1 loss to Toronto on Tuesday night.

Scott Wedgewood made 41 saves for the Coyotes.

Jankowski opened the scoring 2:48 into the second by showing an elite set of hands. Set up in front on a tic-tac-toe passing sequence with linemates Sam Bennett and Jaromir Jagr, Jankowski was stopped on his first try but put his stick between his legs to zip the rebound over Wedgewood's glove.

Calgary extended its lead to 2-0 at 10:19 of the third when Matthew Tkachuk neatly set up Backlund in front.

Jankowski added his second of the night and fifth of the season less than two minutes later. Right off a faceoff, he went to the net and scored on a forehand-to-backhand deke (see full recap).

Why the Flyers? How Canadians decided to 'bleed orange'

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Why the Flyers? How Canadians decided to 'bleed orange'

Aaron Roberts proudly wore his No. 88 Eric Lindros jersey when the Flyers traveled to Edmonton in December. Aaron also owns a John LeClair jersey, a Wayne Simmonds sweater, and at the time, a Claude Giroux that was on order.    

Roberts, like many who attended that game, is an Orange and Black diehard who was born and raised in Canada.

“Growing up when Philly won their Cups I started watching hockey,” Roberts said. “I don’t know. I went with a winner then and I just never, ever veered away from it. Of course, there’s temptation, but it’s always been Philadelphia for me.”

It’s not unusual to see a Philly faithful make their way out of the Canadian woodwork. Their popularity even rivals that of American-based Original Six teams.  

“I find that when I go to games Flyers fans are more friendly, like everyone wants to high five and stuff, which is cool,” said Troy Krechuniak, who lives in Calgary, but grew up in Edmonton. “I had to go through all of that (the Oilers winning the Stanley Cup). That’s the problem going through the (Wayne) Gretzky years, 1985 Game 5, 1987 Game 7.” 

So why this allegiance to a team located hundreds of miles away in another country? 

At one time, the Philadelphia Flyers were as Canadian as the Montreal Canadiens themselves, considering they’re still the last team to win a Stanley Cup with an all-Canadian roster. 

“First off, you choose the identity of a team when you’re probably six-to-nine years old, and at my age, I cheered for the Broad Street Bullies - Bobby Clarke, Dave Schultz and so forth,” said Rick LeFort of Saskatchewan. “I moved to Manitoba years later. Manitoba connections are Bobby Clarke and Reggie Leach.”

More than 40 years after bringing the city of Philadelphia it’s first Stanley Cup championship, the Broad Street Bullies left behind a legacy that has impacted a region where hockey is indeed a religion.

“Being in Calgary when there was no team, you got to choose which team you wanted to affiliate yourself with,” said Shawn Cochlan of Langdon, Alberta. “I did love that brand of hockey, and yet, a lot of my friends didn’t. I liked Philadelphia better because they were tougher.”

And the allegiance to the Flyers has been passed down from a generation of fans to their children and siblings.  

“My aunt and uncle were big Flyers fans, and I loved being an outsider,” said Ryan Doram of Edmonton. “Every year when the Flyers come to Edmonton we make sure we come to the games. I loved Lindros. I loved the Recchi years, and you always find your new favorites I guess. You always find players you look and gravitate to.”

Giroux has that gravitational pull. As the Flyers hit Ottawa and Montreal one final time this weekend, you’ll see No. 28 jerseys scattered throughout the arenas for the Hearst, Ontario native.

“We haven’t won a cup in a while. We’ve been there four or five times, but we’re getting better. I like what Ron Hextall is doing, and we’re going in the right direction,” said 54-year-old Tom Banks. 

“You cut me in the winter months, I bleed orange.”

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).