Flyers

Penguins beat Rangers to tie season-high winning streak

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Penguins beat Rangers to tie season-high winning streak

PITTSBURGH -- Dominik Simon and Phil Kessel scored milestone goals to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-2 victory against the New York Rangers on Sunday night.

Simon got the first goal of his NHL career and Kessel scored his 20th of the season for his 700th point on back-to-back goals that put the Penguins ahead for good. Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist and Carl Hagelin also scored as the Penguins got their season high-tying fourth straight win and fifth in six games.

Rookie Tristan Jarry, making his fourth straight start, stopped 26 shots to pick up his career-best fourth straight win.

Michael Grabner and Brendan Smith scored for the Rangers, who were coming off a 7-2 loss at home to the Islanders the previous day. New York has lost four of five and seventh of their last 10 (3-5-2). Henrik Lundqvist had 42 saves.

After Smith gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead with his first goal of the season in the final minute of the first period, the Penguins took over from there.

Simon scored on a rebound from the slot to tie the score with 6:45 left in the second period. Kessel then put the Penguins ahead for good 1:15 later with a wrist shot from the faceoff dot, becoming the 26th American-born player to reach 700 career points and the 11th with 20 or more goals in 10 different seasons (see full recap).

Flames down Hurricanes for 7th straight win
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Dougie Hamilton scored twice, Mike Smith made 38 saves and the Calgary Flames ran their winning streak to seven straight games with a 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday.

Even with leading scorer Sean Monahan out with the flu, the Flames controlled the entire game.

Matt Stajan opened the scoring at 6:01 of the first period with his first goal of the season.

Hamilton made it 2-0 later in the first period. Hamilton scored again early in the third for his first multigoal game of the season.

Matthew Tkachuk added an insurance goal late and Johnny Gaudreau had two assists to extend his point streak to seven games in a row.

Scott Darling made 26 saves for Carolina, which has lost four of five. Lee Stempniak scored with 4:31 remaining to avoid a shutout.

The Flames were faster and physical from the start (see full recap).

Red Wings shut out sloppy Blackhawks
CHICAGO -- Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi each had a goal and an assist, and the Detroit Red Wings beat the sloppy Chicago Blackhawks 4-0 on Sunday.

Dylan Larkin and Mike Green also scored for Detroit, which had dropped two in a row after a four-game win streak. Petr Mrazek made 27 saves in his second shutout of the season and 12th of his career.

Bertuzzi, the nephew of former NHL forward Todd Bertuzzi, made it 4-0 when he punched in his first career goal on a rebound 13:37 into the third period. He also has five assists in 10 games this season.

The Red Wings (18-18-7) played without forwards Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm, who were sidelined by lower-body injuries after they got hurt during Saturday's 4-1 loss at Pittsburgh. Dominic Turgeon, the son of former NHL star Pierre Turgeon, made his NHL debut after he was promoted from Grand Rapids of the AHL.

Chicago (22-17-6) had won three of four, including a 2-1 victory against Central Division-leading Winnipeg on Friday night. But the Blackhawks looked sluggish for most of their final game before their bye week.

Detroit grabbed control with a pair of goals in a 2:10 span in the first period (see full recap).

Why Nolan Patrick is such a power-play fit

Why Nolan Patrick is such a power-play fit

Replacing Wayne Simmonds on the power play may be one of the toughest assignments in the NHL.

After all, the guy is second to only Alex Ovechkin with 85 man-advantage goals since the 2011-12 season.

So when the predicament actually faced Dave Hakstol this week, the Flyers' head coach turned to … a 19-year-old rookie.

Why Nolan Patrick?

Three components of the decision stand out:

Intelligence factor
Leading up the NHL draft, the overwhelming strength of Patrick's scouting report was his hockey sense.

Those close to him, as well draft experts, lauded Patrick for comprehending plays before they even happen and being above the ice in understanding spacing.

Those characteristics are crucial when having an extra man.

Patrick has two goals over two games filling in for the injured Simmonds on the Flyers' top power-play unit. Patrick exhibited his IQ with Thursday's game-winner, where he quickly planted himself right in front of the net, had the presence of mind to find the puck and then bury it past Sergei Bobrovsky.

"We told him, just stand in front, if you see a puck, bring it home," Shayne Gostisbehere said. "We tried to simplify it for him and he's going to take care of it himself, he's a great hockey player. It's paying off for him."

All about the touch
Patrick has excellent hands.

Put him around the net, and he'll know how to deflect pucks and find holes in a goalie. His vision, skill and finesse are why he's regarded as such an all-around playmaker.

In Tuesday's win, Patrick found immediate success with the first power-play group. Making his way to the middle, Patrick took a Claude Giroux pass and showed off that touch, adeptly going top shelf as Carey Price went low.

Studying Simmonds' net-front proficiency hasn't hurt, either.

"I watch him every game, he's unbelievable there and good at tipping pucks and making plays," Patrick said. "You learn from just watching every day."

Building up the kid
With time, Hakstol and the Flyers have allowed for Patrick to become comfortable instead of putting the world on his shoulders from the get-go.

That's part of Patrick's makeup.

"He almost always wants to be comfortable and then he really starts to exert himself," Patrick's uncle, James, said to NBC Sports Philadelphia last June

We're starting to see Patrick let loose.

As the Flyers have gradually upped his opportunity and responsibility, Patrick has eight points (five goals, three assists) in his last 12 games after putting up six (two goals, four assists) over his previous 34.

Placing Patrick among the team's best talent on the man advantage will only help with his confidence moving forward, in all situations.

The Flyers' power play entered Friday with the NHL's sixth-best percentage at 21.6.

It'll need more of Patrick — but the Flyers couldn't have asked for a much better start to life without Simmonds over the next two to three weeks.

Streaking Penguins move atop Metro Division

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Streaking Penguins move atop Metro Division

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin each had two goals and an assist and the Pittsburgh Penguins routed the Carolina Hurricanes 6-1 on Friday night for their season-best sixth straight victory.

Jake Guentzel had a goal and two assists, Sidney Crosby scored a late goal and Olli Maatta also scored. The Penguins took control with three goals -- two by Kessel -- in a 7:39 span in the second period.

Matt Murray made 27 saves for Pittsburgh, which has won 11 of 13 to overtake idle Washington for first place in the Metropolitan Division. Since the Penguins were shut out by Carolina on Jan. 4, they are 16-3-1.

They were just as busy off the ice, completing a mid-game trade in which they picked up center Derick Brassard from the Ottawa Senators. As part of the complicated three-team deal, they sent defenseman Ian Cole to Ottawa and forward Ryan Reaves to the Vegas Golden Knights.

Teuvo Teravainen scored and Cam Ward stopped 33 shots for the short-handed Hurricanes, who have gone 0-3-1 during a four-game slide that's keeping them outside the Eastern Conference playoff race (see full recap).

Wild dominate skidding Rangers for New York sweep
NEW YORK -- Mikael Granlund and Eric Staal each scored twice and Devan Dubnyk made 22 saves in the Minnesota Wild's 4-1 victory over the free-falling New York Rangers on Friday night.

The Wild completed a three-game sweep of New York-area teams after beating the Monday night and New Jersey on Thursday night.

The Rangers lost for the sixth straight time in regulation. New York is 6-17-0 since beating Buffalo in the Winter Classic on Jan. 1 (see full recap).

Blackhawks’ Berube dominant in 1st Chicago start
CHICAGO -- Jean-Francois Berube made 42 saves in his first start for Chicago to help the Blackhawks beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1 on Friday night.

Defenseman Jan Rutta, activated from injured reserve Friday, and Nick Schmaltz scored, and Artem Anisimov added an empty-netter with 30.5 seconds left.

Anthony Duclair had two assists for the Blackhawks. They won their second straight and third in four games following an eight-game losing streak that dropped them to last place in the Central Division.

Berube lost a bid for this first NHL shutout when Timo Meier scored his 15th goal on a screened shot with 7:51 left in the third period.

Martin Jones stopped 33 shots for the Sharks, coming off a 7-1 loss at Nashville on Thursday night (see full recap).