Flyers finally earn a point ... but let another one get away

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Flyers finally earn a point ... but let another one get away

The Flyers were able to slow down the bleeding, but they continue to hemorrhage points.

Nolan Patrick capped a furious third-period comeback when he scored the game-tying goal with 2.6 seconds remaining in regulation in helping the Flyers earn their first point since Jan. 23, but they failed to pick up that crucial second point, losing to the Senators 4-3 in a shootout (see observations).

“The puck just bounced at my feet and I knew the goalie was down and out,” Patrick said. “We were just lucky enough to get enough guys at the net to get a bounce.”

“It’s a big point,” Claude Giroux said. “We worked hard to come back in the game and tie the game up. I think the third period was one of our best periods this year. We really grinded it out and started playing our game.”

However, their overtime luck also dried up after winning their last three in OT. Not only did the Flyers fail to manage a shot on goal during the five-minute overtime session, but they were collectively 0-for-6 in the shootout. Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman scored the only goal in round six of the shootout to give the Senators the win.

“We need to play a 60-minute game to earn those two points,” said Sean Couturier, who scored his 27th goal of the season. “Tonight, the first 20 minutes were probably questionable. We battled hard to get a big point. It would be nice to get two.” 

The Flyers have managed to earn just that one point during their current four-game losing streak after previously winning four straight, but they have now allowed 17 goals over their last four games — the most they’ve surrendered in regulation during any four-game stretch this season.

Not only are breakdowns resulting in goals, but the opposition is also cashing in on costly turnovers and mistakes. The Senators, who are now 12-23-5 since the last time they faced the Flyers in November, have been routinely outshot this season. Their success has been mainly the result of capitalizing off opponent’s mistakes and to underscore that point the Flyers had 79 shot attempts to the Senators' 44.

“Through this last stretch of four games we’re doing a lot of good things in our play with the puck,” said head coach Dave Hakstol. “We’re not giving up a ton defensively, but one of the things we need to do and we can do within our control was clean up some of the ‘A’ opportunities. For me, the first goal against is an example.”

On that goal, the Flyers lost a puck battle deep in the Senators' offensive zone. However, the problem was compounded as the Senators made a clean breakout which led to a 3-on-2 and eventually a 4-on-3 goal with Matt Duchene skating cleanly around Scott Laughton and beating Alex Lyon top shelf.

“That’s a puck that I felt we should have been able to win down in the offensive zone. That’s where it starts by not being able to hold down that puck, and then that turns into a 200-foot play, and that’s a tough play for our goaltender.”

The comeback may not have been possible unless Hakstol had also successfully challenged Ottawa’s 4-1 goal in the final minute of the second period. Duchene thought he had scored his second goal, but replay concluded he was clearly offsides when the puck re-entered the Flyers zone.

“I started laughing as soon as they challenged,” Duchene said. “I was hoping they weren’t gonna challenge because I think they were wishy-washy about it at first.”

Looking to provide an additional boost, Hakstol also replaced Lyon with Michael Neuvirth to begin the third period with the Flyers trailing 3-1.

“I felt good today,” Lyon said, who stopped 20 of 23 shots, “I felt like I had good preparation. It didn’t obviously end up the way that I anticipated, or hope it would. Neuvy did a great job coming in. All I can do is focus on when I get in there. The boys did a great job battling back. It’s a big point.”

Neuvirth was perfect over the final 25 minutes, stopping just six shots, and was 5-for-6 in the dreaded shootout. However, Neuvirth admitted he still has lingering effects from a week-long stomach bug. Right now the Flyers would greatly benefit from a more stabilizing presence in net as Brian Elliott has missed the last four games, all Flyers losses, with a lower-body injury.

“I think we’ve had that for the majority of the year,” Hakstol said. “Elliott has been rock solid for us, and that’s very important to have leadership in the goaltending position.”

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

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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)

Alex Lyon unfazed by the moment in massive relief effort

Alex Lyon unfazed by the moment in massive relief effort


NEW YORK — Entering a game cold to start the second period following a wild six-goal first period while staring down at future Hall of Famer Henrik Lundqvist at the other end of the rink may have intimidated most rookies, but Alex Lyon simply wasn’t phased. Not this time. 

Perhaps Lyon didn’t have a moment to absorb the magnitude of the moment, and even better, playing on the grand stage of Madison Square Garden didn’t overwhelm him at all. After all, for Lyon, the best way to earn that first NHL victory was in a building where he had never lost. Lyon is now a perfect 4-0 in games at the Garden, dating back to his days with Yale and their battles with Ivy League rival Harvard.

“I actually did take a comfort in that,” Lyon said. “I’ve been here, I’ve won here. You know the surroundings here a bit, so it’s good. When you’re in college and you look at the building and say, ‘Oh my God, it’s huge’, but now that I’ve seen a lot of NHL and AHL rinks it calms things down a little bit.” 

Sunday, Lyon came off the bench in relief of Michal Neuvirth to stop 25 of 26 Rangers shots in leading the Flyers to a 7-4 win over their Metropolitan Division rivals (see observations)

“It really does make a difference when you get that first win, especially after my first start against New Jersey where I felt like I could have uplifted the team there and we lost late. I’m just happy I could contribute,” Lyon said. 

The Flyers announced after the first period that Neuvirth would not return to the game after suffering a lower-body injury. Neuvirth was slow getting to his skates on a Rangers 2-on-1 goal where he was forced to fully extend himself moving post-to-post. 

“You never want to see injuries happen and you never want to see them in key areas, but it is part of the game,” said head coach Dave Hakstol. “With Neuvy and (Brian Elliott) being down, it’s a challenge. Alex stepped in today and did the job. And that’s what our guys will rally behind going forward.”

On the 50th anniversary of the very first game at the current Madison Square Garden, which coincidentally was played between the Flyers and Rangers, the two bitter rivals had no problem turning back the clock to a time when fighting went hand-in-hand with scoring goals. Shayne Gostisbehere dropped the gloves for the first time in his NHL career with Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich, who laid out Travis Konecny with a hard hit on the opening shift of the game.

“I’d never done that before, but the boys were happy I did it,” Gostisbehere said. “I just heard the loud noise and I saw him on the ground. I thought he got smoked and I passed it to him so, I don’t know, I dropped the gloves.”

“It was cool. It was a fun game. It’s not how we drew it up. 3-3 after the first. As a team, our coach said we didn’t really have it tonight, but we found ways. I think the boys stood up for one another and we went out there and got the job done.”

Most impressively after a dismal defensive effort in the opening 25 minutes and facing the adversity of losing another goaltender, the Flyers still found a way to earn a victory during a time of the season when earning points are vitally important. The Flyers have now collected at least a point in their last eight games with a 6-0-2 record dating back to Feb. 3.

“Sometimes you have those nights,” Hakstol said. “Guys were ready to go. There were three scraps in the early parts of the game. It was one of those nights playing against a good offensive team. We weren’t sharp enough and we weren’t quite hard enough with or without the puck, but we recovered enough to get the two points.”

Fortunately, the Flyers were still able to dismantle a fragile Rangers team that has plummeted to last place in the Metropolitan Division by racking up seven goals against Lundqvist for the first time in 56 career games against the Orange and Black.

“Obviously, there were a lot of mistakes,” Lundqvist said. “They’re getting deflections in our net, odd-man rushes. I just have to start with myself, somehow find energy and confidence to play your game, but it’s hard when you give up so many goals to stay confident.” 

“You got to get to the net. There were some flash screens and just a good job of getting pucks to the net and winning net-front battles and it kinda went both ways,” said MacDonald.

Notable stats
• The Flyers are digging the day games, now 7-1-3 in afternoon starts.

• The top line dominated once again with seven points and a plus-five rating. Konecny registered his first career three-point game and Claude Giroux scored his 200th career goal.

• The Flyers scored seven goals on the Rangers for the first time since November 11, 1992, at the Spectrum.

• The Flyers have not allowed a power play in back-to-back games, which has not happened since the NHL began tracking those number through box scores dating back to 1977.