Flyers

NHL Notes: Jets, Nikolaj Ehlers agree to 7-year, $42 million extension

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NHL Notes: Jets, Nikolaj Ehlers agree to 7-year, $42 million extension

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- The Winnipeg Jets agreed to terms on a $42 million, seven-year contract extension with forward Nikolaj Ehlers on Wednesday.

The extension begins a year from now and carries an average annual value of $6 million, the Jets said in a statement.

"This team, this organization, this city ... from Day 1 I was happy here," Ehlers said before the Jets opened their season against the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

"It's amazing playing in front of all these fans. Winnipeg as a city is amazing, they love their hockey, so I could not see any reason to not want to stay here long term."

The 21-year-old Ehlers had 64 points (25 goals, 39 assists) in 82 games for the Jets last season (see full story).

Flames: Team signs 45-year-old Jagr to 1-year deal
CALGARY, Alberta -- Jaromir Jagr has signed with the Calgary Flames.

The 45-year-old Jagr agreed to a one-year, $1 million deal Wednesday for his 24th NHL season -- and first with a Canadian team.

"I already said in a Czech newspaper it's 99.9 percent that his will be my last season, so I want to get the experience to one day say I played for a Canadian team," Jagr said.

The five-time NHL scoring champion is second behind Wayne Gretzky in NHL history with 1,914 points (765 goals, 1,149 assists).

Jagr has played 1,711 NHL games with Pittsburgh, Washington, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Dallas, Boston, New Jersey and Florida and is 57 games from passing Gordie Howe for the most NHL games played (1,767).

"If I can reach it, especially with a Calgary Flames jersey on, it's going to be special," Jagr said. "I don't want to look that far" (see full story).

Wild: Winnik signs 1-year deal after successful camp tryout
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild have signed left wing Daniel Winnik to a one-year, $660,000 contract.

Winnik was in training camp on a tryout basis. He was a free agent after a career-high 12 goals in 72 games last season for Washington.

The 32-year-old Winnik became more valuable to the Wild with a back injury limiting left wing Zach Parise, and Winnik was rewarded Wednesday with a contract. He's been on the fourth line with center Matt Cullen and right wing Tyler Ennis.

The Wild will be his eighth NHL team. He played two seasons for Wild coach Bruce Boudreau when they were both with Anaheim. Winnik has 76 goals and 152 assists in 717 games, plus 58 games in the playoffs (see full story).

Sabres: Redmond acquired from Canadiens
BUFFALO, N.Y.  -- The Buffalo Sabres have acquired defenseman Zach Redmond in a trade that sent forward Nicolas Deslauriers to the Montreal Canadiens.

The move involving two minor leaguers was made on Wednesday, a day before Buffalo opens the season by hosting Montreal.

Redmond is listed at 6-foot-2 and 212 pounds and was selected in the seventh round of 2008 draft by the then-Atlanta Thrashers. He has nine goals and 29 assists in 130 NHL games split between Montreal, Colorado and Winnipeg.

The Sabres announced Redmond will report to Rochester, their American Hockey League affiliate (see full story).

Blackhawks: Bickell signs 1-day contract to retire with Chicago
CHICAGO -- Bryan Bickell has signed a one-day contract so he can retire with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Bickell was selected by Chicago in the second round of the 2004 draft and spent his first nine seasons with the Blackhawks, winning three Stanley Cup championships. He was traded to Carolina in June 2016.

The 31-year-old Bickell was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last November and played in just 11 games with the Hurricanes. He announced his retirement in April and scored a memorable shootout goal in his final game.

The Blackhawks also placed forward Marian Hossa on long-term injured reserve and signed defenseman Cody Franson to a one-year contract. Forward Alex DeBrincat and defenseman Gustav Forsling were recalled from Rockford of the American Hockey League (see full story).

Predators: Former Flyer Zolnierczyk signs 1-year, 2-way deal
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Nashville Predators have signed Harry Zolnierczyk to a one-year, two-way contract keeping the 30-year-old forward with the franchise.

The Predators announced the deal Wednesday. Zolnierczyk will be paid based on a $650,000 contract when on the Predators' roster and $150,000 when assigned to Milwaukee in the AHL.

Zolnierczyk played 24 games and scored four points for Nashville last season. He had a goal and two assists in 11 playoff games as Nashville reached the Stanley Cup Final.

Undrafted, Zolnierczyk played at Brown, and his NHL career includes 84 games with Nashville, Anaheim, the Islanders, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia with 13 points.

Capitals: High goal-scoring expectations for Ovechkin at 32
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Alex Ovechkin has scored 50 goals so regularly that finishing with 30-something was a disappointment.

Ovechkin is responsible for seven of the 20 times any player has scored 50 goals in a season since he entered the league in 2005. As Washington Capitals teammate T.J. Oshie pointed out, Ovechkin is "a pure goal-scorer, the best of our time," and his 558 career goals are well ahead of everyone else in the NHL in that time.

The challenge now is for Ovechkin to keep it up going into his 13th season at age 32. His 33 goals last season were his fewest in an 82-game season since 2010-11, and now the Capitals need him to up the ante after several key offseason losses.

"Last year's the minimum," general manager Brian MacLellan said Tuesday. "I think he can get more goals than that."

But how many goals are realistic? Coach Barry Trotz thinks "you keep the bar at 50" until Ovechkin doesn't get there (see full story).

Best of NHL: Vladimir Tarasenko records 4 points as Blues rip Oilers

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Best of NHL: Vladimir Tarasenko records 4 points as Blues rip Oilers

ST. LOUIS -- Vladimir Tarasenko had two goals and two assists and got in a rare fight Tuesday night, helping the St. Louis Blues to an 8-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.

Brayden Schenn also had two goals and two assists, and Jake Allen stopped 26 shots for the NHL-leading Blues.

Tarasenko's fight came in the second period. In just the third scrap of his six-year career, Tarasenko tangled with Matt Benning and landed a solid right hand much to the crowd's delight.

Tarasenko was reacting to Benning's near-collision with Schenn that was almost a knee-on-knee hit.

It was Tarasenko's second career Gordie Howe hat trick -- a goal, an assist and a fight in the same game. The other one came on Nov. 13, 2014, against Nashville.

St. Louis (16-5-1) scored two goals in each of the first two periods before adding four in a wide-open third.

Tarasenko got his 11th goal 3:16 into the first period on two deflections. Shooting from the slot, he scored when his shot hit Connor McDavid's stick and then Adam Larsson's stick for a 1-0 lead.

Tarasenko has 14 points in his last 13 games (nine goals, five assists) against the Oilers (see full recap).

Stars rally for home win over Canadiens
DALLAS -- Devin Shore and Jason Spezza scored 59 seconds apart late in the second period to lift the Dallas Stars over the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Shore had no goals in the first 19 games this season, but scored for the second straight game to tie it 1-all at 18:22 of the second. Spezza, who also has scored in consecutive games after netting only one goal in the first 19, put in a rebound just less than a minute later.

Shore had an assist on Spezza's goal. So did Tyler Seguin, who scored into an empty net with 27 seconds to play.

Ben Bishop made 29 saves for Dallas on his 31st birthday. He allowed only a power-play goal by Brendan Gallagher at 12:04 of the second. Gallagher scored on a rebound after Charles Hudon sent a slap shot from the blue line.

After that, the Stars killed off all three Montreal power plays in the third period.

Canadiens goalie Charlie Lindgren had 26 saves.

Neither team scored in the first period. The best chance came with 2:15 remaining, when Mattias Janmark skated in alone on Lindgren, who stopped the shot with his glove and smothered the puck on the ice.

Montreal had a 4-on-3 power play to end the first period and start the second. The Stars killed off that penalty and finished 4 for 5 on the penalty kill.

The Canadiens had a scoring chance 4 minutes into the second when Brandon Davidson's wrist shot trickled past Bishop. Gemel Smith knocked the loose puck out of the crease for the Stars.

Gallagher had two close-in chances on rebounds after Hudon's shot and poked the second into the net for the game's first goal (see full recap).

Flyers blitzed by Canucks as losing skid extends to 5 straight games

Flyers blitzed by Canucks as losing skid extends to 5 straight games

BOX SCORE

There were so many mistakes to be found in the Flyers’ 5-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday night that head coach Dave Hakstol surprisingly admitted even he could have done things differently by pulling Michal Neuvirth after the goalie gave up a third goal in the opening minutes of the second period.

“That one was on me,” Hakstol said. “I should have done that after the third goal to give our team the best opportunity. Once it got to four (4-1), it’s tough to dig out of that hole. The change after three may have been the spark that our team would have needed, but hindsight is 20/20.”

Starting for the first time in 17 days, Neuvirth was pulled with 5:20 remaining in the second period after making 18 of 22 stops. He wasn’t nearly a sharp as he’s been in his previous outings.

“Obviously, I need to be better than I showed today,” Neuvirth said. “It was difficult not skating. I had three days off over the weekend and I had one practice (Monday), so it was difficult. I need to be better.”

With Radko Gudas serving the second game of a 10-game suspension, the Flyers turned in one of the worst defensive games of the season as they allowed the Canucks a handful of prime opportunities based on turnovers, missed assignments and even a poor line change (see observations).

“We had a tough time starting in the neutral zone,” Jake Voracek said. “A couple of times, the defense tried to skate it through. We just didn’t generate enough speed. On the odd-man rush we had a couple of good looks in the second [period]. It is always more open in the second.”

The pairing of Brandon Manning and Shayne Gostisbehere had an especially tough time and it started when Daniel Sedin snuck behind Gostisbehere for an early, first-period breakaway goal.

“That first goal is probably preventable,” Manning said. “Me and Ghost talked about it and we can probably sniff that one out a little bit better. The second one is tough with the young guys trying to get off for a matchup.”

Canucks leading scorer Brock Boeser capitalized on a bad change from the Flyers’ defense when he rifled the first of his two goals far post over Neuvirth’s blocker.

“We gave up two easy goals that we didn’t make our opponent work for,” Hakstol said. “You’ve got to have one defenseman out there. You can’t have two D going. That’s the reality of it.”

“It’s just little details that are costing us games right now, and I think the PK needs to be better,” Sean Couturier said. “On the defensive side, we need to be sharper. Little details, whether that’s picking up your guy or chipping it out or line change. It’s all those little things that add up.” 

For a team that has been in every game at some point of the third period this season, that simply was not the case Tuesday night. Forward Wayne Simmonds admitted some bad habits are creeping into the Flyers’ game.

“I would agree with that,” Simmonds said. “We have to find a way to break those habits. We have to find a way to get a win here, no matter what it takes. We can’t be leaving them for 2-on-1s, 3-on-1s, 3-on-2s or whatever it may be. That’s going to hurt and it did.”

After winning their season opener in San Jose, the Flyers’ abysmal record against the Western Conference dropped to 5-8-4. They’re currently the only team in the Metropolitan Division with more regulation losses than regulation wins. 

“You’ve got to own it,” Hakstol said. “We’ve got to do better. You can’t sit back and rest on a lack of confidence. You give yourself confidence by preparation, work ethic, togetherness and those are things we have to put back into our game tomorrow night.” 

On Wednesday, the Flyers will travel to Brooklyn to face the Islanders for just the second divisional game of the season after blowing out the Washington Capitals, 8-2, in the home opener at the Wells Fargo Center.

Changes coming?
While the rest of the team loaded up for Wednesday night’s game on Long Island, Flyers defenseman Mark Alt took his equipment with him as he’ll rejoin the Phantoms. With Matt Read clearing waivers, general manager Ron Hextall could quite possibly make a couple of call-ups from Lehigh Valley.

“You evaluate everything on a daily basis depending on what happens,” Hextall  said. “You just don’t know. Someone gets hurt, we just can’t put them on IR. We need the flexibility for tomorrow.”

Don’t expect defenseman Andrew MacDonald to be available until Friday at the earliest. MacDonald’s skating still isn’t 100 percent even though he has practiced with the team since last Thursday. 

“It’s kind of a progression thing and we’ll see where it goes and we’ll see how he progresses,” Hextall said.