Flyers

Penalty shot puts Maple Leafs over the top in OT

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Penalty shot puts Maple Leafs over the top in OT

CHICAGO -- William Nylander scored on a penalty shot 6 seconds into overtime to lift the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-2 win over the sagging Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night.

Nylander was awarded the attempt after he broke in alone on Jeff Glass from the opening faceoff in the extra period, but was hooked from behind by Chicago's Duncan Keith. Nylander scored the game-winner and his 10th goal by faking Glass and then burying a high backhander to send the Blackhawks to their fourth straight defeat.

Toronto's Nazem Kadri connected for his 15th goal, a power-play score that snapped a seven-game scoring drought and was just his second goal in 20 games. Mitch Marner also scored for the Maple Leafs, who won the second time in seven games.

Brent Seabrook and Nick Schmaltz scored power-play goals for Chicago, which snapped an 0-for-16 drought with the man advantage. Schmaltz's goal, at 7:55 of the third period, tied it at 2.

Seabrook's first-period score was the Blackhawks' first power-play goal at home since Dec. 8 against Buffalo, ending a span of 33 failed chances over 10 games.

Toronto's Frederik Andersen made 34 saves. Glass finished with 33 (see full recap).

Eriksson, Boeser lead way as Canucks thump Kings
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Hammered from behind on a cross-check that set up a 5-on-3 power play, Vancouver Canucks rookie Brock Boeser waited patiently on the bench to get back in the action.

It took him precisely 12 seconds to exact his revenge.

Boeser scored twice in the second period -- including on that two-man advantage -- and the Canucks cruised to a 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night.

Loui Eriksson led Vancouver's early flurry with two goals and an assist in the first six minutes. Thomas Vanek, with a goal and two assists, and Sven Baertschi provided the rest of the offense for Vancouver, which got 30 saves from Jacob Markstrom.

Bo Horvat and Alexander Edler each added two assists.

With the Canucks up 5-2 in the second, Boeser, who came in with one goal and two assists in nine games after racking up eight goals and five assists in his previous 10, was hooked on a breakaway before Trevor Lewis crumpled him into the boards moments later to set up the 5-on-3.

The 20-year-old Boeser emphatically buried his second goal of the night and 24th of the season, which leads both the Canucks and all NHL rookies (see full recap).

Pekka Rinne notches milestone in Predators' rout

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Pekka Rinne notches milestone in Predators' rout

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Pekka Rinne made 33 saves in his 300th career win and the Nashville Predators routed the San Jose Sharks 7-1 on Thursday night.

Nick Bonino, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson each had a goal and an assist, and Scott Hartnell, Kevin Fiala and Mattias Ekholm also scored for Nashville, which has won three straight. The Predators moved within one point of expansion Vegas for the Western Conference lead.

Nashville defensemen Roman Josi and P.K. Subban each had two assists.

All of Rinne's wins have come with Nashville. He tied former Predators goalie Tomas Vokoun for 33rd place in NHL history.

Logan Couture had the San Jose goal. The loss snapped the Sharks' three-game winning streak (see full recap).

Wild use big 2nd period to top Devils
NEWARK, N.J. -- Joel Eriksson Ek and Chris Stewart scored in a 39-second span during Minnesota's three-goal second period, and the Wild rallied from two down to beat the New Jersey Devils 4-2 on Thursday night.

Wild defenseman Mike Reilly also scored in the second period and Eric Staal iced the game with an empty-net goal, his 900th NHL point. Backup goalie Alex Stalock made 38 saves as the Wild moved into third place in the Central Division after winning for the 11th time in 17 games (11-3-3).

Taylor Hall and Stefan Noesen scored for the Devils, who have lost two in a row after a four-game winning streak. Eddie Lack made 21 saves.

Hall's 13-game point streak is the longest in NHL this season, one more than David Pastrnak of Boston.

Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau made the right moves in this one, inserting Reilly and Stewart into the lineup and electing to give No. 1 goaltender Devan Dubnyk a night off (see full recap).

Matthews exits Maple Leafs’ SO victory with injury
TORONTO -- Tyler Bozak scored the shootout winner and the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the New York Islanders 4-3 on Thursday night.

Auston Matthews tipped in Jake Gardiner's shot to tie it 3-all with 3:29 remaining in the third period, but later left the game favoring his right side after taking a hit from Cal Clutterbuck and did not return. The 20-year-old Toronto star missed six games in December with a concussion and another four games with an undisclosed upper-body injury.

Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly had the other Maple Leafs goals, and Frederik Andersen made 32 saves. Toronto (38-20-5) has won eight straight at home.

Ryan Pulock, Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle scored for the Islanders (29-26-7), and Jaroslav Halak turned aside 28 shots. New York, one point out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, dropped to 4-6-2 since the All-Star break and 13-15-3 on the road this season.

With his three points, Barzal has a team-leading 65 and a 14-point lead over Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL's rookie scoring race (see full recap).

Here comes Nolan Patrick, just in time for Flyers

Here comes Nolan Patrick, just in time for Flyers

BOX SCORE

When Dave Hakstol was hired on May 18, 2015, to become the 19th head coach of the Flyers, there was an underlying belief that given his collegiate pedigree, Hakstol was the perfect bench boss to handle the team's homegrown prospects.

However, as we’ve seen over the course of three seasons, the progression of a young player doesn’t always continue on an upward trajectory from the moment they start their NHL career.

As he juggles a roster that is now the youngest in the Eastern Conference following injuries to Brian Elliott and Wayne Simmonds, Hakstol appears to be pushing all of the right buttons, including those connected with the organization’s most prized prospect, Nolan Patrick.

Thursday night’s 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets further exemplified that as Patrick scored a power-play goal in his second straight game (see observations). With the injury to Simmonds, Hakstol believed Patrick could slide seamlessly into Simmonds' net-front role on the top unit, and the rookie has yet to disappoint his coach or teammates.

“I think there’s a little less pressure,” Patrick said. “You don’t have the puck on your stick as much. I think my shots are something I need to improve on. It’s kind of nice for me to be there and not try and beat goalies with my shots. I like it there.”

Hakstol recognized early in the opening month of the season that Patrick wasn’t quite ready to handle the role of being a top-six forward, but over the course of an 82-game season, he has gradually given the 19-year-old center more responsibility and Patrick has proved he’s deserving of the coach’s trust.

“His approach, his hockey sense and his intelligence is what gives him an opportunity to be successful in any situation,” Hakstol said. “Each time we’ve been able to give him more of an opportunity, he’s taken advantage of that. Nolan is doing a lot of those little things on a nightly basis — up and down the middle of the rink, playing a good 200-foot game, and the fact he’s taken pride in that is the foundation of his game.”

“He’s been great,” Patrick said of Hakstol. “When I first got here, they made me work for everything. They didn’t put me in situations I wasn’t ready for. Even now, when I’m not playing great, he does what’s best for the team. He’ll hold me back or not put me out there when I’m struggling on faceoffs. He notices that and he’s been huge for me.”

And Patrick has been huge for the Flyers. He’s now scored a goal in three straight games. 

You’re never quite sure when the future will eventually catch up to the present, but with the help of his head coach, it’s coming at just the right time for Nolan Patrick.