Flyers

Voracek injured in Flyers' preseason loss to NJ

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Voracek injured in Flyers' preseason loss to NJ

On a night when the Flyers' top centerman, Claude Giroux, made his preseason debut coming off an injury, his top right wing went down with an injury of his own.

Jakub Voracek, the Flyers’ leading goal scorer last season with 22, sustained an “upper-body” injury during the second period of Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils at Wells Fargo Center.

“It’s not serious,” general manager Paul Holmgren said. “I don’t think he was going to play on Thursday anyway.”

Voracek was taken down hard from behind by Devils’ defenseman Mark Fayne during a second period breakaway.

The Czech winger slid awkwardly into the left post, appearing to injure the left side of his back. Though awarded a penalty shot, Voracek was in so much discomfort, he failed to get a decent shot off.

Even before taking the penalty shot, Voracek was in obvious pain after untangling himself from the net.

“You never want to see that,” coach Peter Laviolette said of the injury. “I love the move he made -- the power move to the net from the outside. It was a great play, a great attempt, but you don’t want to see anybody hurt.”

Voracek left the game and did not return, but was walking afterward without a limp. He was not, however, permitted to speak to the media.

Giroux made his preseason debut recovering from surgery to repair tendon damage to his right hand.

“I felt better as the game went on,” Giroux said. “I think the first period was just getting back in the game and making plays.”

He must be feeling pretty good, as Giroux won 9 of 11 faceoffs.

“He will continue to get to game speed and there is always a little bit of transition for guys coming in that … come off an injury and getting back into a game,” Laviolette said.

“Game speed and quickness, so I think that will get better for him as he plays and practices. Overall, he played a pretty good game.”

Injuries aside, early on this was another frustrating match against a Devils team that literally owns the Flyers.

What was unnerving about just another preseason game is that some of the things that presented themselves against the Devils, we’ve seen in the regular season.

Specifically, the Flyers' inability to handle the Devils' nasty forecheck. In fairness, once they found their skating legs in the second period, that was no longer an issue. However, the Flyers didn’t generate enough quality chances overall on goalie Corey Schneider.

In the first period, the Flyers couldn’t even generate shots, as they went over 11 minutes without a single one. When they finally did get one, it wasn’t from one of their high-octane forwards but rather enforcer Jay Rosehill.

New Jersey outshot the Flyers, 11-4, that period.

Second period? That was a completely different story, as the Flyers began moving their skates in unison.

“New guys playing with new guys and learning the system,” Giroux said. “You could see as the game went on we took control a little bit. New Jersey is always good defensively. We had our chances.”

Voracek’s breakaway represented the Flyers' best chance of the game.

The Flyers outplayed the Devils in the second period and had the better chances overall.

The Devils' first goal early in the game was a beauty in which Ryane Clowe hit Marek Zidlicky pinching down the slot from the point.

Zidlicky quickly scanned the Flyers' defense and put a stutter-step move on Erik Gustafsson. It was enough to allow him to swing very, very wide to the right circle, then cut behind Gustafsson to the net, switch hands and tuck the puck inside the right post.

The way Ray Emery was playing it, he obviously expected Zidlicky to go wide around the net and that didn’t happen.

“Yeah, it’s just a situation where you kind of get froze and you want to kind of challenge the shooter there, and he made a good play kind of coming back against it,” Emery said.

Mike Sislo’s backhander in the final period was weak. Not only did he get too much room in beating Andrej Meszaros, his shot found a hole between the post and Emery, as well.

Kimmo Timonen had a power-play goal late in the game.

The Flyers are now 1-3-1 with two exhibition games left to play -- Thursday in New Jersey and Friday in Washington.

Best of NHL: Jaden Schwartz hat trick lifts Blues over Blackhawks

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Best of NHL: Jaden Schwartz hat trick lifts Blues over Blackhawks

ST. LOUIS -- Jaden Schwartz had his third career hat trick to help the St. Louis Blues beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 on Wednesday night.

Schwartz has four goals and six assists this season and has at least one point in six of the Blues' first seven games. It was his 51st career multi-point game and fourth this season.

Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist, Kyle Brodziak also scored, and Jake Allen made 22 saves. The Blues snapped a two-game losing streak

Duncan Keith and Ryan Hartman had late goals for Blackhawks, and Corey Crawford made 28 saves (see full recap).

Maple Leafs ride big 1st period to win
TORONTO -- Curtis McElhinney made 29 saves in his season debut and the Toronto Maple Leafs scored four times in the first period in a 6-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night.

Starting in place of Frederik Andersen, McElhinney stopped 14 shots in the third period to hold off the Red Wings.

Nazem Kadri, Zach Hyman, Auston Matthews, Connor Brown, Morgan Rielly and William Nylander scored to help Toronto improve to an NHL-best 6-1-0. The Maple Leafs were coming off a 2-0 victory at Washington on Tuesday night.

Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Tatar, Jonathan Ericsson scored for the Red Wings, and Nick Jensen had three assists.

Jimmy Howard gave up three goals on four shots before getting yanked in favor of Petr Mrazek late in the first period (see full recap).

How Michal Neuvirth found fresh inspiration in being a dad

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USA Today Images

How Michal Neuvirth found fresh inspiration in being a dad

For the first time in his nine-year career, Michal Neuvirth knows when he gets home at night after a game, there will be someone waiting for him with a smile.

Win or lose, it doesn’t matter to Neuvirth, or especially to his one-month-old daughter, Emily Gudasová Carolina.

“When you come home, there’s a baby waiting and it's such an amazing feeling that someone is waiting for you at home,” Neuvirth said after Tuesday's 5-1 win over Florida. “Last year, I was mostly here by myself, so I definitely like it better having a family with me now.”

Family now consists of his newborn daughter, his fiancee Karolína Gudasová and uncle Radko Gudas, Gudasová’s older brother and Neuvirth’s Flyers teammate.

To those of us on the outside, the responsibility of fatherhood seemingly has altered Neuvirth’s disposition. He smiles more, cracks a few jokes and elaborates just a little more with his answers to the media. Perhaps, he can tolerate us because there’s a deeper purpose and a sense of providing that comes with fatherhood.  

“It’s an amazing feeling being a dad,” Neuvirth said. “For me, I just have another motivation to play for my family now.”

Of course, it also helps I’ve yet to see Neuvirth yawn or show up to practice with bags under his eyes. He has escaped any late-night drama with an eight-day road trip to start the season, and for now, he apparently has a rare lifetime pass for any early morning feedings.  

“I have an amazing fiancee. She takes care of her (Emily) as much as she needs to,” Neuvirth said. “I usually put her to bed at 10-10:30. During the night, Karolina goes and feeds her in the living room, and I’m a deep sleeper, so she doesn’t wake me up.”

As Gudasová has kept an eye on the cradle, Neuvirth has secured the crease. He’s allowed three goals in his two starts this season with a .956 save percentage, which has initiated the debate for more playing time.

Interestingly, adapting to a new addition is something Neuvirth has also discussed with teammate and fellow netminder, Brian Elliott, who went through a similar set of circumstances with his son, Owen, last season in Calgary. Elliott called that first month with the Flames “a huge adjustment” and his October numbers reflected that.

Six games into the season, Neuvirth apparently has it all figured out. 

Of course, a good night’s sleep has a way of bringing clarity to the situation.