Flyers

Best of NHL: Bruins, Maple Leafs win to further dent Flyers' playoff hopes

Best of NHL: Bruins, Maple Leafs win to further dent Flyers' playoff hopes

BOSTON -- David Krejci scored after a poor clearing attempt by Florida goaltender Reto Berra, lifting the Boston Bruins over the Panthers 5-2 Saturday and helping them maintain an edge for a playoff spot heading into the regular season's final week.

Patrice Bergeron scored twice, Brad Marchand got his team-leading 39th goal and Noel Acciari also scored for the Bruins, who moved one point ahead of Toronto for third in the Atlantic Division. The Maple Leafs played later Saturday.

Boston entered the day with a three-point lead over Tampa Bay for the Eastern Conference's last wild-card spot.

Jaromir Jagr recorded his 765th career goal and Thomas Vanek also scored for the Panthers, who lost for the 11th time in 15 games and were eliminated from playoff contention earlier this week.

Krejci capitalized on the gaffe by Berra, moving Boston ahead 3-2 with 5:30 left in the second period. The goalie came far out of the crease, but his clearing pass from the right circle caromed off the boards directly to Krejci, who fired the puck into the empty net (see full recap).

Matthews leads Leafs past Red Wings
DETROIT -- Auston Matthews scored twice to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs past the Detroit Red Wings 5-4 on Saturday night.

Matthews' second goal of the night at 18:51 of the third period gave Toronto a 5-3 lead, but proved to be the winner when Detroit's Mike Green tallied with 44.2 seconds left in regulation.

With two goals and an assist, Matthews tied Peter Ihnacak's Leafs rookie points record of 66, set in 1982-83.

James Van Riemsdyk scored with 2:36 left in the third period to snap the 3-3 tie and put the Leafs ahead for good. Van Riemsdyk slipped a backhander past Detroit's Jimmy Howard.

Mitchell Marner and William Nylander also scored for the Leafs, who moved into a second-place tie in the Atlantic Division with Ottawa.

Gus Nyquist, Nick Jenson and Niklas Kronwall had the other goal for the Red Wings (see full recap).

Lightning fall to Habs in OT but earn critical point
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Alexander Radulov scored 51 seconds into overtime to lift the Montreal Canadiens to a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.

Phillip Danault also scored and Carey Price stopped 21 shots for the Atlantic Division-leading Canadiens.

Radulov scored from the right circle on the game-winner.

Yanni Gourde scored for the Lightning and Andrei Vasilevskiy had 34 saves.

Gourde got a goal in his third straight game, coming on a redirection of Victor Hedman's shot tying it at 1 at 11:38 of the third. The forward has four goals in 17 career games.

Danault put a back-hander past Vasilevskiy with 5:36 left in the second to open the scoring after Hedman lost the puck near the Lightning net. Max Pacioretty got his 200th assist with Montreal on Danault's goal (see full recap).  

Stars blank Hurricanes
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Jason Spezza scored, Kari Lehtonen earned his third shutout of the season and the Dallas Stars beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0 on Saturday night.

John Klingberg and Devin Shore added empty-netters and Lehtonen stopped 25 shots in his second shutout in six starts to help the Stars snap a two-game losing streak and deal a serious blow to the Hurricanes' already slim playoff chances.

Cam Ward stopped 21 shots for Carolina, which began four points behind Boston for the East's final playoff spot with six games left and Tampa Bay between the teams.

The Hurricanes failed to earn a point for the first time since losing at Colorado on March 7 -- a club-record stretch of 13 straight games with either a win or an overtime loss. They fell to 2-4-2 against the bottom four teams in the Western Conference: Dallas, Vancouver, Arizona and Colorado (see full recap).

Just shoot! Jakub Voracek quiets many with his heroics

Just shoot! Jakub Voracek quiets many with his heroics

BOX SCORE

Jakub Voracek had dead aim, at least that’s what the score sheet confirmed Tuesday following the Flyers' 3-2 overtime win over the Montreal Canadiens (see observations).

Two shots on net. Two shots that found a way past Carey Price.

Even though the NHL’s assist leader has more shots on net than Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos, Voracek hears the voices that say he passes up on quality scoring opportunities. 

One prime example came with 30 seconds remaining in the second period. Claude Giroux forced a takeaway and fed Voracek on a 2-on-0 prime scoring chance, but it resulted in Voracek sending a pass back to Giroux when perhaps he should have shot.

“It’s always easier to say we’re over-passing things,” Voracek said. “If you’re on the ice, the actual situation looks completely different. I hear ‘shoot the puck’ every single time I touch it. If I listened to all the people who say shoot the puck, I’d have 500 shots at the end of the season.”

However, Voracek shot the puck when it mattered most. With the Flyers trailing, 2-1, Dave Hakstol pulled goaltender Alex Lyon for the extra attacker Voracek, who took a shot from the top of the right circle that deflected off the stick of Max Pacioretty and past Price for the game-tying goal, and then buried the game-winner 1:26 into overtime (see highlights).

When asked if he caught Price by surprise on the equalizer, Voracek responded: “Me shooting? 100 percent. I just tried to hide behind the D and I got lucky and it went in.”

“It’s one of those nights when you had a lot of really good scoring opportunities and we weren’t able to cash in on them,” Hakstol said. “It’s nice to get a bounce like that with a minute and a half to go to tie it up.”

For the game, the Flyers had 79 shot attempts to Montreal’s 55. Thankfully for the Flyers, No. 79 was Voracek’s game-winner, which came at the end of his 56-second shift. Had he missed the net and been forced to play defense at the other end of the ice, there may not have been much left in the tank.     

“I was pretty tired,” Voracek said. “I’d rather have it like that. If I had missed the net, I’d have to stay on the ice and try to backcheck after, so I got lucky.”

Voracek became the second player in franchise history to score a game-tying goal in the final two minutes of regulation, and then follow it up with an overtime game-winner. Moving forward, the Flyers may need Voracek to shoot and score more with the recent injury to Wayne Simmonds, who will miss the next two to three weeks with an upper-body injury (see story).

To make matters worse, Flyers top-line winger Travis Konecny may have suffered a foot injury after taking a shot off his skate in the opening period (see video). Konecny never left the game but labored playing short, limited shifts, and wasn’t on the ice with Sean Couturier and Ivan Provorov to begin the overtime session.

“He obviously got hit with the puck there, but he finished the game and that’s part of the game,” Hakstol said. “He was obviously sore through the rest of the game, but I give him credit, he continued to battle through to do everything that he could.”

Less than 24 hours after the Flyers acquired Petr Mrazek from the Detroit Red Wings to solidify the goaltending position, Alex Lyon turned in another solid effort with 25 saves on 27 shots, beating perennial All-Stars Henrik Lundqvist and Carey Price in back-to-back victories.

“Yeah, it’s cool obviously to play against those guys,” Lyon said. “You watch them and you try to model your game after them. Obviously, they’re fantastic. In the same breath, you've got to go out there and say, ‘I’m coming out here to be better than you today.’”  

“It’s always nice to have some clarity,” Hakstol said. “I think Alex said it best after the game in New York the other day — it’s an ever-changing business. You just have to be ready and prepared for what the next day brings. He pretty much lived by his words.”

Notables
• Simmonds' streak of 223 consecutive games played ended Tuesday night. It marked the first game Simmonds has missed dating back to April 11, 2015.

• For the third straight game, the Flyers weren’t forced to utilize their penalty kill at any point, becoming the second team in NHL history to go three games without allowing a power-play opportunity.

• Forward Oskar Lindblom made his NHL debut Tuesday night, replacing the injured Simmonds in the Flyers' lineup. Lindblom finished the game with 15:11 of ice time and one shot on net.  

Blue Jackets snap skid on rare Harrington goal

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Blue Jackets snap skid on rare Harrington goal

NEWARK, N.J. -- Defenseman Scott Harrington broke a second-period tie with his second goal of the season, and the slumping Columbus Blue Jackets snapped a three-game losing streak and ended the New Jersey Devils' four-game winning streak with a 2-1 decision on Tuesday night.

Boone Jenner also scored as the Blue Jackets moved into the second wild-card position in the Eastern Conference with 65 points, one ahead of Carolina and the Islanders. Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves in helping the Blue Jackets win for the fifth time in 15 games (5-9-2).

Taylor Hall scored for the Devils to extend his point-scoring streak to 12 games, tying David Pastrnak of the Bruins for the league-high this season. He also pushed his personal point-scoring streak to 19 games. He missed three games with a thumb injury, so the league does not consider that to be part of his current streak.

Keith Kinkaid had 17 saves for New Jersey, which holds the first wild-card spot in the conference (see full recap).

Point helps Lightning beat Capitals in showdown
WASHINGTON -- Brayden Point scored two first-period goals, Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 35 shots to earn his NHL-leading 35th victory and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Washington Capitals 4-2 Tuesday night in a matchup between division leaders.

Chris Kunitz also scored in the opening period, which ended with Tampa Bay up 3-0. That was enough of a cushion for Vasilevskiy, an All-Star who came in with a 2.34 goals-against average.

After Alex Ovechkin notched his NHL-high 36th goal for Washington to make it 3-2 at 11:02 of the third period, Nikita Kucherov clinched it with a breakaway goal with 7:02 remaining.

The victory improved Tampa Bay's NHL-best record to 40-17-3 and kept the Lightning ahead of surging Boston in the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference.

Lars Eller scored a power-play goal for the Capitals, who lead Pittsburgh by one point in the Metropolitan Division (see full recap).

Andersen makes 40 saves in Maple Leafs’ shutout
TORONTO -- Frederik Andersen made 40 saves and James van Riemsdyk scored the only goal as the surging Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Florida Panthers 1-0 on Tuesday night.

The shutout was Andersen's career-best fifth of the season. The 28-year-old goalie has reached 30 wins for the third time.

Toronto (37-20-5) has won 11 of 12 and improved to 14-4-2 since Jan. 4.

The Panthers (26-25-6) have dropped back-to-back games after opening their five-game road trip with three straight wins. Florida entered the night six points out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Florida threatened in the third with goaltender Roberto Luongo pulled for an extra attacker, but Andersen managed to thwart the Panthers' best chance -- a point shot from Keith Yandle with 23 seconds remaining.

Luongo stopped 30 shots in the loss (see full recap).