Flyers

Flyers-Devils: 5 things you need to know

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Flyers-Devils: 5 things you need to know

The Flyers (33-24-7) will begin an important three-game stretch against Metropolitan Division foes when they take on the Devils (28-24-13) Tuesday evening.

Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. (CSN) at the Wells Fargo Center.

Here’s what you need to know for the game:

1. That’s a wrap
Tuesday marks the fourth and final meeting between these two clubs this season. The Flyers have won two of the three games, most recently a 3-2 overtime victory at the Prudential Center in New Jersey on Jan. 7.

Interestingly, the road team has won all three contests so far.

Brayden Schenn will likely be a marked man. He’s collected both game-winning goals for the Flyers against the Devils this year and has three points overall in the three meetings.

The Flyers, who will play six of their next seven at home, have gone 7-1-1 in their last nine games and are one point behind the Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Devils have also been playing well as of late. They’ve won four of six since the Olympic break and are still in the thick of the wild-card race in the Eastern Conference.

2. Salute
What more can be said about Devils forward Jaromir Jagr? The future Hall of Famer has exceeded expectations with New Jersey this season and has proven he still is a very valuable player in the NHL.

In fact, Jagr is leading the Devils in assists (35), points (55), plus/minus (plus-17) and shots on goal (168) this season. He also reached the 20-goal mark for the 18th time in his career in New Jersey’s 7-4 loss to the Red Wings on Friday.

Even more impressive, Jagr became the second-oldest player to reach the 20-goal plateau at 42 years and 20 days old. Only Gordie Howe has ever had 20 or more goals in a season later in life (42 years and 324 days old), per the Elias Sports Bureau.

“He loves hockey, he loves to be out there and he’s a great scorer and has always been,” Mark Streit said Monday (see story). “He protects the puck well. You got to keep him on the outside.”

Streit couldn’t be more correct. Jagr is utterly dominant when the puck is on his stick. Watch him closely in any game and you’ll see how much trouble opponents have trying to force a giveaway when he’s the puck carrier. It’s remarkable how much poise the veteran has, and it’s one of the many reasons why he’ll be able to play at a high level for as many more seasons as he chooses.

3. Who’s hot
Adam Henrique has been playing like a man possessed. The speedy forward was named one of the NHL’s Three Stars of the Week Monday after scoring five goals in three games.

Overall, Henrique has potted nine markers and 11 points since the Olympic break.

For the Flyers, Jakub Voracek has been on a tear. He’s collected three goals and four assists in his past three games and has looked at lot more confident in the offensive zone.

4. Injuries
Ray Emery returned to practice Monday. He said his pulled groin is feeling better, but he’s not ready to play yet and needs more time (see story).

Steve Downie missed Saturday’s overtime loss to the Maple Leafs with an illness, but will likely return to his usual spot on the Flyers’ third line with Sean Couturier and Matt Read on Tuesday.

New Jersey has no injuries to report.

5. This and that
• Steve Mason will make his sixth consecutive start Tuesday. He’s 26-15-6 with a .913 save percentage and 2.63 goals against average this season.

• Martin Brodeur will start for the Devils. In 91 career games (89 starts) against the Flyers, he is 49-31-10 with a .908 save percentage, 2.39 goals against average and 12 shutouts.

• Vinny Lecavalier needs three goals to reach 400 in his career. Voracek needs three to get to 100.

• New Jersey has gotten strong play from its special teams. The Devils’ power play (20.8 percent) and penalty kill (86.4 percent) both rank in the top 10 in the NHL.

• Claude Giroux was held pointless against Toronto, but has four goals and three assists in his last five games.

Flyers notes, quotes and tidbits: Connor McDavid comes to town; Matt Read to play?

Flyers notes, quotes and tidbits: Connor McDavid comes to town; Matt Read to play?

VOORHEES, N.J. — Believe it or not, the Flyers are aware of 20-year-old Oilers phenom Connor McDavid. That doesn't make preparing for the 2017 Art Ross Trophy (most points in NHL) winner any easier, let alone slow him down.

“You have to be understated a little bit and say you're going to be aware when he's on the ice, but obviously there's more to it," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said Friday. "He's a heck of a player and a guy that can make something happen at any time.”

McDavid has picked up right where he left off last season when he led the NHL with 100 points and 70 assists. Six games into the 2017-18 campaign, the third-year centerman already has three goals and five assists, and he's doing it in style. His two helpers helped lift Edmonton over the Blackhawks on Thursday, one of which led to the game-winner in overtime, the other — a no-look, behind-the-back pass — making highlight reels everywhere.

So, yeah, the Flyers are well aware of McDavid and what he's capable of. That doesn't mean he'll be easy to stop.

"We just have to take time and space away from him," defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere said. "That's the biggest thing. You just can't give him space out there. He's going to wind it up and wheel.

“We're aware of it. We're going to stick to our game plan, nothing special, but obviously be aware when he's on the ice.”

The Flyers knew all about McDavid last season, too. He still managed to find the back of the net twice and rack up three assists in those two meetings.

McDavid has also experienced success against both of the Flyers netminders. As a member of the Flames, probable starter Brian Elliott posted an 0-3-1 record with a .870 save percentage in four appearances against the Oilers in 2016-17. Michal Neuvirth was 0-1 and allowed six goals in his only meeting.

It seems all the Flyers can do is be aware of the challenges McDavid presents.

"Probably everywhere they go, they have reporters asking the other team what their plan is against him," Elliott said.

“He's just a unique talent that you have to be aware of at all times. He's able to make plays that a lot of other guys aren't. You just have to be on your toes. You have to respect him, but you have to play your game and make sure you're tough no matter who it is out there.”

Laughton confident
Brandon Manning isn't the only member of the Flyers who has experience with McDavid. Scott Laughton has been up close and personal with the budding superstar, having played against him in junior and in some camps.

With Laughton centering the Flyers' fourth line, he should have some opportunities to put his familiarity of McDavid to the test. The Flyers are going to need any advantage they can get — no matter how small or insignificant it might seem.

"I went to a pro camp with McDavid in Toronto in the summer, and he's special," Laughton said. "He's got the best hands I've seen. He's a world-class talent.

“At the same time, tomorrow I'm going to try to limit his space, get in his face and make it hard for him to get going and get speed. I think I can try to keep up with him once I get my speed going.”

Laughton seemed confident about potentially matching up against McDavid. At least he has a plan, anyway.

“There's not much you can do," Laughton said. "You just have to be hard to play against, be in his face all night and kind of get him off his game that way.”

Injury report
Flyers forwards Wayne Simmonds and Taylor Leier both missed Friday's skate with what the club termed as maintenance days.

Simmonds was already dealing with a lower-body injury before he was clipped in the face by a stick during Thursday's 1-0 loss to the Predators. It doesn't sound like anything that should prevent the 10-year veteran from suiting up against the Oilers, but clearly, he's banged up right now.

Leier's absence was a bit more of a mystery, and given the 23-year-old rookie's inexperience, missing practice would seem to point to an injury of some kind.

In a bit of good news on the injury front, Jordan Weal returned to practice for the Flyers. However, he refused to let on as to whether he'll be on the ice Saturday.

“Just got out there, went for a twirl," Weal said. "It's day to day right now, so just taking it day by day.”

Matt Read replaced Simmonds during the skate and could be preparing to make his regular-season debut. Read joined Weal and Valtteri Filppula on Simmonds' unit, while Jori Lehtera took Leier's place on the fourth line.

Don't read too much into those combinations, however, as the availability of Simmonds, Weal and Leier will no doubt play a role.

Sanheim sticks in the lineup
Following his strong showing against Nashville on Thursday, it appears rookie defenseman Travis Sanheim will suit up for his second game in a row.

Sanheim was a healthy scratch for the Flyers' previous two contests but drew rave reviews for his performance against the Predators. He was paired with Radko Gudas at practice, while Gostisbehere and Robert Hagg continued their partnership.

Manning may be the odd man out Saturday, despite his history with McDavid. Ivan Provorov and Andrew MacDonald remained a unit at practice, with Manning getting some work in MacDonald's spot.

Manning was hopeful he would be in uniform. Hakstol, on the other hand, downplayed Manning's personal rivalry with McDavid as it pertains to any decision about which defensemen will skate.

“It's a situation for us every game where we have that tough decision," Hakstol said. "Regardless of whether it's one particular team, we'll look at it situationally and consider all of those factors as to who the six are that dress tomorrow. There's a lot of different factors involved."

Best of NHL: Red-hot Devils storm back to beat Senators in overtime

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Best of NHL: Red-hot Devils storm back to beat Senators in overtime

OTTAWA, Ontario -- John Moore scored 1:20 into overtime and the New Jersey Devils used three unanswered goals to beat the Ottawa Senators 5-4 in overtime Thursday night.

This year's No. 1 draft pick Nico Hischier scored twice for New Jersey. The Swiss center's opening goal was the first of his NHL career.

Kyle Palmieri and Marcus Johansson also scored for the Devils, who improved to 4-0-0 on the road and 6-1-0 overall. Cory Schneider allowed four goals on 24 shots before leaving with a lower-body injury. Keith Kinkaid started the third period and stopped nine shots. Taylor Hall chipped in with four assists.

Kyle Turris, Derick Brassard, Alex Burrows and Tom Pyatt scored for the Senators, and Craig Anderson made 41 saves (see full recap).

Bergeron sparks Bruins’ win over Canucks
BOSTON -- Patrice Bergeron had a goal and three assists in his season debut, moving up to seventh on Boston's career scoring list as the Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks 6-3 on Thursday night.

Anders Bjork scored twice for Boston, Brad Marchand had a goal and two assists and David Pastrnak added a goal and an assist for the Bruins, who scored five straight goals after falling behind 1-0 early in the first period.

Anton Khudobin made 26 saves for Boston while starting in place of Tuukka Rask, who is out indefinitely with a concussion he suffered in practice Wednesday.

Derek Dorsett, Bo Horvat and Thomas Vanek scored for the Canucks, and Michael Del Zotto had two assists (see full recap).

Sergachev, Vasilevskiy help Lightning blank Blue Jackets
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Mikhail Sergachev scored his first two NHL goals and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 43 saves for his fifth career shutout in the Tampa Bay Lightning's 2-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.

Nikita Kucherov assisted on both goals to push his NHL-leading points total to 14. His goals streak was stopped at seven games.

The Lightning took advantage of the few openings offered by Sergei Bobrovsky, who stopped 19 shots for the Blue Jackets and lost for the first time this season. Columbus had won four straight.

The Lightning, coming off an overtime loss to New Jersey on Tuesday night, improved to 6-1-1 for their best start opening 7-0-1 in their Stanley Cup-winning 2003-04 season.

Columbus dropped to 5-2-0, hurt by uncharacteristic sloppy passing and continued power-play problems in its first shutout loss of the season (see full recap).