Flyers

Devils ride Stefan Noesen's late goals to comeback

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Devils ride Stefan Noesen's late goals to comeback

NEWARK, N.J. -- Stefan Noesen scored on a rebound with 4:07 to play and added an empty net goal as New Jersey rallied from a two-goal deficit to defeat Anaheim Ducks 5-3 on Monday night in the first game between the teams since the late November trade that sent defenseman Sami Vatanen to the Devils for the popular Adam Henrique.

Myles Wood had two goals, Jesper Bratt also scored and Brian Boyle added three assists as the Devils won their second straight game to start a six-game homestand. Cory Schneider had 21 saves and was helped by a goalpost on a shot by Rickard Rakell during a power play before Neosen, a former Duck, scored the go-ahead goal.

Henrique had a wonderful return, scoring a spectacular goal and adding an assist as the Ducks had their point-scoring streak snapped at seven games (3-0-4). Ryan Getzlaf and Jakob Silfverberg also scored for Anaheim. Ryan Miller had 29 saves in losing for the first time in regulation (3-1-4) this season.

Noesen put in his own rebound for his fourth goal of the season. His empty-net tally came after Schneider stopped Henrique in front after the Ducks pulled Miller (see full recap)

Bruins dominate Blue Jackets
BOSTON -- Jake DeBrusk set up second-period power-play goals by David Backes and Charlie McAvoy and added a goal of his own, Tuukka Rask stopped 16 shots to keep up his hot stretch, and the Boston Bruins beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-2 on Monday night.

Brad Marchand, Danton Heinen, Torey Krug and Patrice Bergeron also scored for the Bruins, who had a season-high scoring total while halting a two-game skid. Rask improved to 6-0-1 in his last seven starts. McAvoy also had an assist and his first career NHL fight.

Josh Anderson and Seth Jones scored, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 38 saves -- including a penalty shot by Tim Schaller -- for the Blue Jackets.

Columbus lost for the third in four games and was dominated in the first two periods when they fell into a 3-0 hole (see full recap).

Barrie, Avalanche hold off Penguins
DENVER -- Defenseman Tyson Barrie scored twice, Semyon Varlamov stopped 30 shots -- even getting a little help from the posts along the way -- and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2 on Monday night.

J.T. Compher also scored and Mikko Rantanen sealed the win with a late empty-netter as the Avalanche knocked off the Penguins for the second time in a week to sweep the season series.

Barrie scored his first goal since Oct. 13 in the first period. He followed that up with another in the second for his fifth career two-goal game.

Chad Ruhwedel and Evgeni Malkin found the net for the Penguins, who finished a three-game trip with a 1-2 mark. Pittsburgh was a little unfortunate in the second period when Josh Archibald's shot trickled through the pads of Varlamov, clanged off the post, stood on its edge for a moment and fell down on the line for no goal.

Malkin lined in a shot just 1:25 into the third to make it 3-2. Ryan Reaves nearly tied it late in the third, but his wrist shot down low clanged off the post. Matthew Murray was pulled in favor of an extra skater with around 1:40 left. Seconds later, Rantanen scored an easy goal (see full recap).

Playing through pain, Provorov and Couturier give Flyers all they've got

Playing through pain, Provorov and Couturier give Flyers all they've got

BOX SCORE

You could see the tears that had formed in Ivan Provorov’s eyes.

Whether it was the product of elimination, a turnover that led to the Penguins' go-ahead goal, the sheer emotion of playing on a shoulder that may need offseason surgery or the tribulations of a six-month journey, no 21-year-old kid can be expected to overcome these levels of distress and anguish.

“I did everything I could. The third period didn’t go as well as I wanted to. I turned the puck over a couple of times and it turned to goals and it cost us the game,” Provorov said while holding back emotions. “As long as my arm was attached I was playing.”

How Provorov mustered up the strength to play 20-and-a-half minutes in his final game of the season, an 8-5 loss to the Penguins, probably defied medical logic. His left shoulder was so battered from crashing into the boards in the final few minutes of Game 5 that his upper body was often contorted to a 45-degree angle where his only option was to pass just about every time the puck was on his stick, even with a wide open net to shoot at. 

 “He is a warrior,” said defenseman Andrew MacDonald. “Everyone here knows it and respects the hell out of him.”

Had this been the regular season, Provorov and teammate Sean Couturier would have missed weeks of action. Couturier revealed he suffered a torn medial collateral ligament when he collided with Radko Gudas leading up to Game 4. Last Wednesday the Flyers' center could barely walk and yet he was already skating again.

“The decision was on me,” Couturier said, “Obviously, I had the support of the staff, the organization and the medical team. They helped me a lot. I had a lot of treatments. It definitely got better over the days, but it wasn’t the ideal situation. I didn’t really feel a whole lot today to be honest. I was just giving everything I got.”

Courageous and so incredibly determined, Couturier gave a performance for the ages. Skating on one good leg and another that needs at least four weeks of rest and treatment, the Flyers' Selke Trophy finalist scored a hat trick to go along with five points, and was on the ice for every goal the Flyers scored.

"Credit to Coots, what he played through during the playoffs and the way he played,” Scott Laughton said. “I don’t know much more to say about that guy. The way he battled and the way he played through what he was dealing with.”

The Penguins had their share of injuries as well. Evgeni Malkin missed Game 6 with a leg injury and Patric Hornqvist returned after missing the previous two contests. Even without Malkin, the Penguins had four goals from Jake Guentzel, plus they created havoc and stifled the Flyers with a suffocating forecheck that exposed areas the Flyers need to address in the offseason.

“You have to do it all the time and you have to be consistent in executing under pressure,” said head coach Dave Hakstol. “We didn’t do that consistently in this series, not just tonight. That’s the time of year that it is.”    

Overall, the Flyers weren’t eliminated in six games because they didn’t have a healthy Couturier and Provorov. 

Rather, the dogged determination and incredible resolve of those two players is precisely why the Flyers can take pride in pushing the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions to six games, especially after the Flyers were manhandled 7-0 in Game 1.

In the end, the guys in orange and black simply weren’t good enough or deep enough. 

But draft and develop a few more Couturiers and Provorovs on your roster and the thought of winning championships year after year won’t just be a Pittsburgh thing.   

Sean Couturier played through torn MCL in Flyers' final 2 games

Sean Couturier played through torn MCL in Flyers' final 2 games

Sean Couturier's "lower-body" injury was a lot more serious than originally believed.

After the Flyers were eliminated by the Penguins in Game 6 Sunday (see observations), Couturier revealed he had been playing on a torn MCL in his right knee. It will not require surgery, he said.

Couturier missed just one game with the injury. When asked if he'd come back as fast if it were the regular season, the centerman said, "probably not."

"It's usually something like four weeks," he said. "Depends on the situation during the season, [but] probably take more time off."

The Flyers' top center suffered the injury in a collision with teammate Radko Gudas during practice April 17. He missed Game 4 and then returned for Game 5 in Pittsburgh, where he scored the game-winning goal to help the Flyers force Game 6.

On Sunday afternoon, Couturier recorded his second career playoff hat trick — both coming against the Penguins — and had five total points in the Flyers' 8-5 loss.

"That was incredible," Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald said. "If you guys only knew what kind of shape those guys were in. I respect the hell out of those guys."

It turns out, we found out exactly what kind of shape Couturier was in, and it certainly was far more serious than we thought.

NBC Sports Philadelphia's Eric Mullin contributed to this story.