Eagles' title adds fuel to Flyers' fire

Eagles' title adds fuel to Flyers' fire

VOORHEES, N.J. — While much of the Delaware Valley took Monday off from work, head coach Dave Hakstol had his Flyers back at work at the Skate Zone in Voorhees at the regularly scheduled time of 10:30 a.m. to resume their own championship aspirations.

And what the Eagles accomplished Sunday night in Super Bowl LII was squarely on the players' minds before heading out to Carolina to face the Hurricanes on Tuesday evening. It's another important game for the Flyers, losers of three straight who are clinging to the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference as of Monday afternoon.

“It definitely fires you up. To see everyone going nuts, it’s pretty cool to see,” Shayne Gostisbehere said. “Obviously, the thoughts go through your head if it was us. It was great for the city and the Eagles deserve it, winning their first title. We want to emulate what just happened and keep the party going. We want to follow suit from what the Eagles have done.”

A handful of players saw the euphoria unfold after watching Super Bowl LII together at Vesper Sporting Club in Center City, where they rented out a viewing room for themselves and their wives and girlfriends.

Some of the players bolted at halftime to avoid the potential Center City hysteria, while others elected to stick around and see what would unfold. Needless to say, the celebrations even exceeded their expectations. 

“There was a fire going off. It was crazy. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Taylor Leier said. “It was like walking through Times Square, but it was a riot. That’s honestly what it was like. There were guys in this Jeep and they were all just in their underwear and they were hanging out the windows and one guy was standing on top. It was hilarious.” 

Most of the players attended the NFC Championship Game two weeks ago following the Flyers' big overtime win earlier in the day in Washington. In his first season in Philadelphia, goaltender Brian Elliott has made it to a handful of Eagles games, even wearing his No. 37 Eagles jersey given to him by kicker Jake Elliott. The two pro athletes struck up a friendship not long after Elliott booted a 61-yard game-winner to beat the Giants back in October. A few weeks later, Elliott attended his first Flyers game. 

“It’s pretty cool to go from kicking at college and not too long ago in high school and then you’re on the biggest stage of the world,” the Flyers' Elliott said. “Knowing him just a little bit and exchanging some texts, it’s pretty cool that he has that cool, calm presence. The perfect demeanor for a kicker. He got it done. All I texted him last night was ‘Money!’ after hitting that long one at the end of the game there.

“That was a fun and exciting game to watch, especially how it ended. It definitely creates that little bit of buzz, and makes you think how cool it would be to do the same.”

A week ago Thursday, the Flyers honored Eagles head coach Doug Pederson as a special guest inside the locker room prior to their game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Pederson also dropped the ceremonial puck at center ice that night. 

“He stayed within his personality that they’ve had all year long,” Hakstol said of Pederson. “That’s what stood out most for me. I think our guys were excited to see the game and to see the lifelong fans experience a Super Bowl for the first time. That’s pretty exciting.” 

Congrats pour in
Following the Eagles' victory over the Patriots last night, members of the Flyers' community extended their congratulatory praise and admiration through Twitter. 

Doing what he does best, Oskar Lindblom catching fire

USA Today Images

Doing what he does best, Oskar Lindblom catching fire

Before this week begins, it's time for our weekly check-in on the Flyers' prospects playing in the AHL, overseas and at the junior and college levels.

Oskar Lindblom, LW, 21, 6-1/192, Lehigh Valley (AHL)
Flyers fans can't wait to see this at the NHL level.

Last weekend, Lindblom potted a goal in three straight games for the Phantoms, giving him 16 on the season through 54 contests. All three tallies came within close range as the Swedish winger's scoring IQ continues to grow during his first AHL season.

Since going scoreless in his first six games, the 2014 fifth-round pick hasn't gone more than four straight games without a point.

Lindblom surprised many with his vast development leading up to the 2017-18 season. While some were disappointed he didn't make the Flyers' roster out of training camp, a 20-goal campaign at Lehigh Valley will be a nice accomplishment along his path to Philly.

Travis Sanheim, D, 21, 6-4/199, Lehigh Valley (AHL)
Just how much of a difference-maker is Sanheim? The Phantoms are 9-1-2 since the 2014 first-round pick joined them after he was sent down by the Flyers.

Over Lehigh Valley's 3-0-1 week, Sanheim extended his point streak to seven games with five more assists, putting him at 12 helpers in as many games.

Seeing plenty of minutes and responsibility, Sanheim has collected 13 points to go with a plus-11 rating.

Nicolas Aube-Kubel, RW, 21, 5-11/187, Lehigh Valley (AHL)
Aube-Kubel is another Phantom worth noting here.

The 2014 second-round pick put up five points (one goal, four assists) in four games last week, continuing his surge in Year 2 of his AHL development. He now has 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in his last 12 games.

After a feeling-out process last season, Aube-Kubel is coming on strong in 2017-18, as he's a plus-20 and third on Lehigh Valley with 37 points (15 goals, 22 assists).

Quick hits
• Ho-hum for Morgan Frost, who had a six-point week through three games. At 94 points, Frost is six away from 100, while his plus-54 rating remains best in the OHL.

Here's a glimpse into his vision and skill:

• Goalie Carter Hart picked up a win and a shootout loss over the weekend. In total, he made 60 saves on 65 shots.

Maksim Sushko tallied two goals (including this one below) and two assists through three games last week. A 2017 fourth-round pick, the 19-year-old has 48 points in 47 games for Owen Sound.

• Wingers Isaac Ratcliffe and Matthew Strome, also 2017 draft picks, recorded three points each in a pair of games.

• Playing for the first time since Jan. 31, German Rubtsov returned from an undisclosed injury to notch an assist over three games last week. The Flyers' 2016 first-round pick has 24 points (nine goals, 15 assists) in 27 games for Acadie-Bathurst Titan.

• In Michigan's two-game sweep of top-ranked Notre Dame, Cooper Marody tacked on three more assists, giving 26 overall, which is tied for most in the Big Ten.

Here's his primary helper from Sunday's 1-0 win:

Anthony Salinitri pushed his point streak to seven games with an assist Friday and a goal Saturday. The 2016 sixth-round pick has 25 goals and 25 assists in 56 games.

• During the four-game week for the Phantoms, Mike Vecchione scored his 12th and 13th goals of the season, while adding an assist.

Philippe Myers had an assist Tuesday for his first point since Jan. 26, while Samuel Morin (undisclosed injury), who hasn't played since Jan. 20, remains out.

Hall's late OT goal helps Devils keep pace with Flyers

USA Today Images

Hall's late OT goal helps Devils keep pace with Flyers

RALEIGH, N.C. — Taylor Hall scored on a rebound with 22 seconds left in overtime, giving the New Jersey Devils a 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday.

The goal extended Hall's league-best streak of games with a point to 18.

New Jersey had won the first of the teams' four meetings this season on Thursday night to start the Hurricanes' three-game losing streak.

Keith Kinkaid stopped 40 shots for the Devils.

The Devils led 1-0 after a first period in which the Hurricanes outshot them 13-9.

Nico Hischier scored New Jersey's first goal on a power play midway through the first, assisted by Sami Vatanen and Kinkaid (see full recap).

Matthews scores in final minute to give Maple Leafs win over Red Wings
DETROIT — To Jeff Blashill, the outcome came down to one simple fact.

"They made one more play than us," the Detroit coach Blashill said.

To Toronto center Auston Matthews, it came down to persistence.

"We've got a lot of chances the last couple of games," Matthews said. "We had some pretty good chances tonight, the puck just wouldn't go in.

"It was nice to finally finish it off there with a half a minute left."

Matthews scored with 30.2 seconds left to give the Maple Leafs a 3-2 victory over the Red Wings on Sunday night.

James van Riemsdyk and Mitch Marner also scored for Toronto, and Curtis McElhinney made 27 saves (see full recap).

McDavid notches 3rd hat trick of season in Oilers' victory vs. Avalanche
DENVER — Late in the second period, with his team outplaying Colorado, Edmonton coach Todd McLellan couldn't believe his Oilers were trailing 2-1.

"Jay Woodcroft and I looked at each other and said, `How are we losing this game?'" McLellan said.

They didn't, thanks to another big game by Connor McDavid.

McDavid had his third hat trick of the season and fourth of his career, and the Oilers beat the Avalanche 4-2 on Sunday to snap a six-game losing streak.

McDavid now has 11 goals in the last nine games and two hat tricks. His first two goals tied the game, and his last one was into an empty net with 1:26 remaining (see full recap).

Sheahan scores twice in Penguins' win over Blue Jackets 
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Riley Sheahan scored two goals in the first period, rookie Tristan Jarry had 35 saves and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 on Sunday night.

Jake Guentzel had a goal and two assists, and Brian Dumoulin and Zach Aston-Reese also scored for the Penguins. They have won five straight and 10 of their last 12. The win in front of a sellout crowd at Nationwide Arena moved them past Washington into first place in the Metropolitan Division.

The 22-year-old Jarry played well standing in for starter Matt Murray, who got a rest as Pittsburgh played the second leg of a back-to-back and its third game in four days. It was Jarry's first NHL action in a month after going 3-0 in three starts for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the AHL.

Artemi Panarin and Alexander Wennberg scored, and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 18 shots for the Blue Jackets. They have lost two straight and seven of the last nine. In what is becoming the norm lately, Columbus outshot its opponent (37-23) but couldn't score enough to win. The Blue Jackets lead the NHL in shots per game but are lingering near the bottom of the division (see full recap)