Hats off to Bruins' David Krejci

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Hats off to Bruins' David Krejci

BOSTON -- David Krejci had his fourth career hat trick, David Pastrnak had two goals and an assist, and the Boston Bruins had their highest-scoring game since 2012 on Thursday night, beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 8-4.

One night after the Boston Celtics posted a season-high 134 points in the same building, the Bruins had their biggest offensive output of the year.

Pittsburgh's Ollie Matta scored just 35 into the game, but from there on it was mostly Bruins. Boston led 2-1 before the three-minute mark, 3-1 after six minutes and 5-2 with just under four minutes to play in the first before Riley Sheahan scored with 4 seconds to play in the period.

The Bruins added three in the second -- two on the power play from Krejci, giving him a hat trick with 25:27 still to play -- and one from Pastrnak. It was Krejci's first three-goal game since 2014; he also has had two in the playoffs.

The Bruins have won back-to-back games since the trade deadline, when they acquired Rick Nash and Tommy Wingels and signed Team USA Olympic captain Brian Gionta. Nash had a goal and an assist, and Gionta had two assists.

Tuukka Rask made 22 saves for the Bruins (see full recap).

Conacher proves clutch as Lightning win in OT
DALLAS -- Cory Conacher scored with 41 seconds left in overtime, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Dallas Stars 5-4 on Thursday night.

Conacher broke away from Dallas' Jamie Benn and slid the puck between goalie Ben Bishop's legs.

It was the Lightning's fourth game in six nights that went past 60 minutes.

Tampa Bay's Anthony Cirelli had a goal and an assist in the three-goal second period of his NHL debut. The Lightning recalled the 20-year-old Cirelli from Syracuse of the AHL earlier Thursday as an emergency replacement for NHL scoring leader Nikita Kucherov.

Tyler Seguin had two goals and an assist for Dallas, which rallied with two third-period goals.

Mattias Janmark had tied the game with four seconds left in regulation, when he lifted a shot from a scramble over fallen Tampa Bay goalie Louis Domingue.

Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos also scored for the Lightning (see full recap).

Barkov, Panthers edge Devils for 4th straight win
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Aleksander Barkov scored two goals to lift the Florida Panthers to a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.

Maxim Mamin scored his second NHL goal and Robert Luongo made 29 saves as the Panthers recorded their fourth straight win.

Jesper Bratt and Taylor Hall scored for the Devils. Cory Schneider stopped 26 shots in his first start since missing 16 games with a lower-body injury.

Barkov's second goal stretched the Panthers lead to 3-1 with 3:34 left in the third. Barkov lifted the puck over Schneider and into the net.

Bratt's goal closed the score to 3-2 with 2:07 left in the third (see full recap).

Flyers show off their youth in win over Rangers

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Flyers show off their youth in win over Rangers


The Flyers survived one of the most dangerous lines in hockey to defeat the Rangers, 4-3.

It marked the first game this season at the Wells Fargo Center between the storied rivals. 

Travis Konecny scored twice to give him 22 goals for the season.

Claude Giroux contributed three assists for the second straight game. His second consecutive three-point game allowed him to reach the 90-point mark for the second time in his career.

Goaltender Alex Lyon stopped 33 of 36 shots for his fourth career win.

The Flyers continue to inch closer to securing a playoff spot as the Panthers lost to the Blue Jackets. Currently, Florida is the final team out and trails the Flyers by seven points with just over two weeks remaining in the regular season.

• After a slow start, the Flyers finally got it going five minutes into the game. Jori Lehtera worked his into the slot for a one-timer chance on Rangers rookie goalie Alexandar Georgiev. Just a little over a minute later, Travis Konecny did an excellent job of working his way into the left circle while using Sean Couturier and two Rangers as a shield to block Georgiev’s view. 

• The Flyers didn’t give up too much in the first period and outshot the Rangers, 15-8. However, they were careless defensively against the Rangers’ top line and it cost them. Konecny attempted to intercept a centering pass (which could have resulted in a breakaway). Instead, Mika Zibanejad was able to make a move past Radko Gudas and slide a shot five-hole through Lyon to tie the game at 1-1. With Brandon Manning along the left side board tying up the right winger, Konecny couldn’t afford to whiff on that play.

• After the Flyers were on their heels in the first four minutes of the second period, they came up big during a 4-on-4. Jakub Voracek produced a terrific individual effort to score his 19th goal and give the Flyers a 2-1 lead. Typically when Voracek skates into a sea of defenders, he turns the puck over. In this instance, he was helped out by Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei, who lost his stick and couldn’t tie up Voracek.

• Part of that goal was set up by Zibanejad’s poor decision to engage with the Flyers after the whistle. The result of his overaggressiveness was two minutes for roughing, which negated a Rangers power play that resulted in Voracek’s goal.

• It took all of eight seconds for the Flyers to extend their lead to 4-2 in the third period as Nolan Patrick built up some speed and snapped a shot up high on Georgiev. The goalie couldn’t corral the puck, which led to a rebound. Credit Oskar Lindblom for going hard to the net and stuffing home the rebound for his second goal. Lindblom has been providing effort plays since being called up. He had several quality chances against the Rangers before scoring his goal.

• Lyon came up with his save of the night in the second period as the Flyers were caught in a 2-on-1 situation. He produced a sprawling pad save on Zibanejad. Unlike what we’ve seen from Petr Mrazek recently, Lyon is coming up with saves when his defense lets him down.

• Exhibit B in Lyon’s defense came in the third period as Chris Kreider appeared to have a wide-open net. Lyon continued to battle and appeared to have stopped Kreider’s shot with the side of his mask or shoulder. More concerning was how the Flyers were caught with the pairing of Travis Sanheim and Andrew MacDonald against the Rangers’ top line.

• The Rangers worked their way back to 3-2 on a fortuitous goal from Jesper Fast, who was simply looking to center the puck to a teammate when he banked the puck off Ivan Provorov’s skate and past Lyon. The Rangers’ top line of Zibanejad, Kreider and Fast came into the game on fire and is one of the top scoring lines in hockey over the past few weeks. 

Robert Hagg finds himself the odd man out vs. Rangers

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Robert Hagg finds himself the odd man out vs. Rangers

Rookie Robert Hagg will be a healthy scratch for the first time in his career following his performance Tuesday in Detroit, where the defenseman played just 12:39 and finished with a minus-2 rating, including just four shifts and 2:28 during the Flyers' third-period comeback.

Hagg missed four games with a lower-body injury, and when he returned he played on the left side, paired with Radko Gudas. For most of the second half of the season, Hagg has played the right side with Andrew MacDonald as the team’s second pairing.

“It’s not always about the individual,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “The pair (Hagg and Gudas) didn’t have easy chemistry there. We ended up in some situations with and against the speed and ended up with some bad gaps. The pair and combination wasn’t as effective as we needed it to be.”

Lyon in the crease
If Hakstol wanted to be a very unconventional think-outside-the-box coach, he would start Petr Mrazek for a period and then bring in Alex Lyon for the remaining two periods and beyond.

Lyon will start tonight’s game against the Rangers, the same team he earned his first career win against after replacing Michal Neuvirth following the first period. 

Some of Lyon’s best work this season has been coming in cold off the bench. He owns a .970 save percentage in games he has entered in relief, and a pedestrian .890 save percentage in five games he has started.

“It’s not just based on one performance, it never is,” Hakstol said. “ It’s always based on situation and a player’s body of work. Alex’s body of work has been good. He came in the other night and did an excellent job and that’s part of the decision.”

Shorthanded shortcomings
The Red Wings scored the tenth shorthanded goal against the Flyers Tuesday, matching the Colorado Avalanche for the most 5-on-4 goals allowed this season. 

This season, the Flyers are 4-4-2 in games in which they’ve given up a shorthanded goal, but more importantly, many of those goals have been momentum killers — the difference between tying a game or facing a two-goal deficit.

In the Flyers' 5-1 loss to the Rangers on Jan. 16, New York forward Paul Carey scored shorthanded with ten seconds remaining in the first period that extended the Rangers lead to 3-1, and took away any hope for a Flyers' comeback.    

“The Rangers are going to come with the kitchen sink on their penalty kill and they’re playing without a lot of pressure,” Hakstol said. “At times, you’re going to see two, three and four guys on their PK come up the ice offensively, so we’re going to have to do a very good job of that tonight.” 

Much of the blame can be attributed to the power play’s 1-3-1 setup — Shayne Gostisbehere serving as the only player on the point with Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek in the circles, Sean Couturier in the high slot and Wayne Simmonds down low.

When a turnover or giveaway is committed between the circles and the blue line, typically only Gostisbehere or the player taking his spot at the point is the only player back to defend, leaving the Flyers wide open for a two-on-one shorthanded chance against.   

“We starting off taking a chance with one defenseman out there,” Gostisbehere said. “That’s just the name of the game. I don’t think there’s too many power play units with two D out there right now. I think for us, it’s staying within ourselves and keeping it simple.”