Flyers

Best of NHL: Red Wings dominate Jets to snap 7-game skid

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Best of NHL: Red Wings dominate Jets to snap 7-game skid

DETROIT -- Justin Abdelkader and Gustav Nyquist scored in a dominant first period for Detroit, and the Red Wings snapped a seven-game slide with a 5-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night.

Fresh off a 10-1 loss at Montreal on Saturday, the Red Wings outshot Winnipeg 16-3 in the opening period and took a 2-0 lead. They put the game away with three more goals in the third.

Winnipeg, which entered tied for the NHL lead in points, managed only a second-period goal by Patrik Laine on a two-man advantage. The Red Wings answered in the third with goals by Jonathan Ericsson, Darren Helm and David Booth.

Abdelkader opened the scoring, and Detroit had a two-man advantage for 1:55 later in the first. The Jets killed off both penalties, but seconds after the second one expired, Nyquist lifted a rebound past goalie Connor Hellebuyck to make it 2-0.

Laine's slap shot from the left circle beat goalie Jimmy Howard for his 14th of the season, and Detroit failed to take advantage of another two-man advantage later in the second.

With 15:05 left in the third, Ericsson took a shot that went into the net, with Hellebuyck ending up underneath both Nyquist and Winnipeg defenseman Josh Morrissey. After a long review, officials said Morrissey created the contact and there was no goalie interference (see full recap).

Schneider stops 41 shots in Devils’ win
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Stefan Noesen, Taylor Hall and Jesper Bratt each had a goal and an assist, and Cory Schneider stopped 41 shots to lift the New Jersey Devils over the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 on Tuesday night.

Travis Zajac also scored and rookie Nico Hischier had two assists for the Devils, one of several teams tussling with Columbus for first place in the rugged Metropolitan Division with a third of the season in the books. Schneider was outstanding in earning his 100th win with New Jersey during his fifth season with the franchise.

Nick Foligno scored and Sergei Bobrovsky had 32 saves for the Blue Jackets, who lost their second straight and continued to squander opportunities with the man advantage. They continue to have the NHL's worst power play, failing to find the back of the net on a half dozen opportunities Tuesday.

The Devils (16-7-4) struck first when Zajac picked up a loose puck in front of the Blue Jackets net and poked it past Bobrovsky 4:24 into the first period.

Foligno tied it later in the first period, just seconds after a Blue Jackets power play expired. He had his back to the net but deflected a shot from Oliver Bjorkstrand to beat Schneider. The Devils goalie held Columbus at bay from there (see full recap).

Gourde, Lightning surge to win over Islanders
TAMPA, Fla. -- Yanni Gourde scored two of Tampa Bay's three goals late in the second period and the Lightning beat the New York Islanders 6-2 on Tuesday night.

After the Islanders dominated the first 16 minutes of the second, Gourde had a power-play rebound goal at 16:22 and then gave Tampa Bay a 4-2 lead 1:34 later on another rebound effort. The Lightning's top-ranked power play extended the advantage to three when Vladislav Namestnikov scored 50 seconds after Gourde's second of the game.

Tampa Bay also got goals from Brayden Point, Andrej Sustr and Chris Kunitz, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 29 saves. The Atlantic Division leaders are 11-2-1 at home.

Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle scored for the Islanders, who had won eight of 10. Thomas Griess stopped 28 shots.

Point opened the scoring 34 seconds into the game from low in the left circle and Sustr made it 2-0 from the blue line late in the first.

Both of Sustr's goals this season have come in the past three games, and the defenseman has 10 in 288 career NHL games (see full recap).

Flyers exorcise some demons thanks to Sean Couturier

Flyers exorcise some demons thanks to Sean Couturier

BOX SCORE

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The losing streak at Nationwide Arena is finally over.

After 11 straight losses on Columbus’ home ice, the Flyers added a pair of crucial points in the standings Friday behind Sean Couturier’s overtime game-winner for a 2-1 win over the Blue Jackets (see observations).

“It’s been a long time,” said Wayne Simmonds, who opened the scoring with a tip-in goal in the second period. “I’ve been here for seven years; that feels like an eternity, but I felt we had a strong team effort tonight and the boys showed up.”

Although the outcome in Columbus favored the orange and black for the first time since Dec. 13, 2005, Friday night’s divisional contest didn’t veer too far out of the ordinary. Nemesis Sergei Bobrovsky (24-18-5) made his seventh home start against his former team, and was once again stellar, stopping 23 of the Flyers’ 25 shots.

The two-time Vezina Trophy winner put on a magic show, starting in the first period with acrobatic saves against Jordan Weal, Couturier and Claude Giroux.

“He’s a good goalie,” Simmonds said. “You've just got to keep shooting and second opportunities, third opportunities — he doesn’t give up very many goals, and I thought Neuvy (Michal Neuvirth) played just as well, if even better.”

As the default starter with Brian Ellliott on injured reserve, Neuvirth (8-7-3) was outstanding, earning the team’s Ric Flair robe. With Columbus coming off of three consecutive outings of firing 50 or more shots on goal, the 29-year-old goalie faced a barrage of shots, stopping 35 of 36 en route to his eighth win of the season.

“I felt pretty good; I feel confident,” Neuvirth said. “Obviously, [it was a] great team effort. The guys played unbelievable in front of me and I was seeing the puck well. It was a good two points.”

After letting Tuesday night’s game against New Jersey slip away in a 5-4 shootout loss, the rare pair of points in Columbus were crucial for Dave Hakstol’s team to stay ahead of the Devils, who won for the second consecutive time with a 5-2 win on Thursday (see standings).

Adding to the familiarity to the feel of a showdown in Ohio’s capital, the contest remained a one-goal game from Simmonds’ tally in the second to Cam Atkinson’s equalizer at the 16:32 mark of the third.

“Both goaltenders played really well tonight,” Hakstol said. “It was a tight, grinding game; there were some great opportunities [in] both directions. I think both teams made enough plays for it to be more than a 1-1 game, but both goaltenders were really good. We’re more and more comfortable in these games. We’ve won a lot of these games and that’s a lot of credit to our guys just staying with it.”

In addition to yet another one-goal game between these two teams, Friday’s tilt marked the seventh time in the last 13 meetings that a game was decided in overtime. Despite some trends between these teams remaining true, however, the Flyers were able to buck a few trends, as well. Couturier’s game-winner not only added to his team-leading goal total in a career year (29), it was also just the fifth overtime blemish for the Blue Jackets all season (12-5). The result was also Bobrovsky’s first home loss against the orange and black (6-0-1), and just his third overall career loss against the team with which he debuted.

“You never want give up a late goal like that, especially two games in a row,” Couturier said of Atkinson’s overtime-inducing goal. “But the key is we focused on what was next, and we came back hard and battled and got that extra point, and that’s what matters.”

Couturier’s impact was felt in Friday night’s game, much as it’s been all year. The first-line center made life difficult for Bobrovsky in attacking the net and dishing out creative centering passes. The 25-year-old is now one goal away from doubling his previous career-high mark (15), while matching linemate Giroux for the team lead in ice time for forwards (20:30).

The redeeming win in Columbus may have been exactly what the Flyers needed, but they’ll have only a day to enjoy it. The orange and black are back in action on Sunday as they travel to the Big Apple to square off against the New York Rangers in what will be the start of a five-game stretch in nine days that will include their third meeting against the Blue Jackets.

Depending on how the stretch run turns out, the Flyers very well could point to getting the proverbial monkey off their back at Nationwide Arena on Friday night as the start of something special.

Greiss catches Islanders' goalie wave

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Greiss catches Islanders' goalie wave

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Thomas Greiss stopped 44 shots for his first shutout of the season, and the New York Islanders beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0 on Friday night.

Johnny Boychuk, Anthony Beauvillier and John Tavares scored for the Islanders, who moved past the Hurricanes into the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Greiss got his eighth career shutout one night after Jaroslav Halak had 50 saves in a 3-0 home win against the crosstown-rival Rangers.

Cam Ward finished with 20 saves for the Hurricanes, who lost their second straight and fell into a tie with Columbus one point behind the Islanders for the conference's last playoff spot.

Jeff Skinner had his game-tying goal in the third period waved off after a replay review ruled he was offside when he entered the zone. Carolina failed to get a better scoring chance the rest of the night despite getting nearly twice as many shots as the Islanders (see full recap).

Wheeler, Scheifele help Jets rout Avalanche
WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Blake Wheeler had two goals and assists and Mark Scheifele assisted on three goals as the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Colorado Avalanche 6-1 on Friday night.

Wheeler ended a 15-game goal drought and Scheifele now has seven points in his last three games.

Kyle Connor, Andrew Copp, Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers also scored for Winnipeg, which is 5-2-1 during its 10-game homestand. Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers each had two assists and Laine added one.

Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves to pick up his 30th win of the season. It was the most wins by a Jets goalie since the franchise moved to Winnipeg from Atlanta prior to the 2011-12 season. Ondrej Pavelec had 29 wins the first season.

Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen nixed Hellebuyck's shutout bid when he scored unassisted on a wraparound with 5:56 left in the third period.

Colorado goalie Jonathan Bernier was pulled following the second period after Winnipeg went up 4-0 on 20 shots. Semyon Varlamov stopped six of the eight shots he faced in relief for the Avalanche (see full recap).

Bishop, Stars hold off Blues to make division move
DALLAS -- Ben Bishop stopped 27 shots and the Dallas Stars held on to beat St. Louis 2-1 on Friday night, moving past the Blues into third place in the Central Division.

Mattias Janmark and Stephen Johns scored for Dallas, which had a season-low 16 shots on goal while winning for the sixth time in seven games. The Stars, who had not been this high in the standings since Nov. 5, are tied with the Blues with 72 points, but have two games in hand.

Brayden Schenn spoiled Bishop's shutout bid with a power-play goal with 1:14 remaining, and Jake Allen finished with 14 saves for St. Louis. The Blues have lost three straight (0-2-1).

Neither team scored in the first period, when the Blues outshot Dallas 8-3. St. Louis failed to score on two power plays, and the Stars were unsuccessful on their only man-advantage of the period.

Janmark scored on the power play at 2:42 of the second, getting his 16th of the season to top his total from his rookie season two years ago. It was also his fourth on power-play goal of the season.

Bishop preserved the Stars' lead early in the third as he turned away Schenn's backhand attempt in front of the net (see full recap).