Carolina Hurricanes

Greiss catches Islanders' goalie wave

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USA Today Images

Greiss catches Islanders' goalie wave

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Thomas Greiss stopped 44 shots for his first shutout of the season, and the New York Islanders beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0 on Friday night.

Johnny Boychuk, Anthony Beauvillier and John Tavares scored for the Islanders, who moved past the Hurricanes into the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Greiss got his eighth career shutout one night after Jaroslav Halak had 50 saves in a 3-0 home win against the crosstown-rival Rangers.

Cam Ward finished with 20 saves for the Hurricanes, who lost their second straight and fell into a tie with Columbus one point behind the Islanders for the conference's last playoff spot.

Jeff Skinner had his game-tying goal in the third period waved off after a replay review ruled he was offside when he entered the zone. Carolina failed to get a better scoring chance the rest of the night despite getting nearly twice as many shots as the Islanders (see full recap).

Wheeler, Scheifele help Jets rout Avalanche
WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Blake Wheeler had two goals and assists and Mark Scheifele assisted on three goals as the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Colorado Avalanche 6-1 on Friday night.

Wheeler ended a 15-game goal drought and Scheifele now has seven points in his last three games.

Kyle Connor, Andrew Copp, Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers also scored for Winnipeg, which is 5-2-1 during its 10-game homestand. Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers each had two assists and Laine added one.

Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves to pick up his 30th win of the season. It was the most wins by a Jets goalie since the franchise moved to Winnipeg from Atlanta prior to the 2011-12 season. Ondrej Pavelec had 29 wins the first season.

Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen nixed Hellebuyck's shutout bid when he scored unassisted on a wraparound with 5:56 left in the third period.

Colorado goalie Jonathan Bernier was pulled following the second period after Winnipeg went up 4-0 on 20 shots. Semyon Varlamov stopped six of the eight shots he faced in relief for the Avalanche (see full recap).

Bishop, Stars hold off Blues to make division move
DALLAS -- Ben Bishop stopped 27 shots and the Dallas Stars held on to beat St. Louis 2-1 on Friday night, moving past the Blues into third place in the Central Division.

Mattias Janmark and Stephen Johns scored for Dallas, which had a season-low 16 shots on goal while winning for the sixth time in seven games. The Stars, who had not been this high in the standings since Nov. 5, are tied with the Blues with 72 points, but have two games in hand.

Brayden Schenn spoiled Bishop's shutout bid with a power-play goal with 1:14 remaining, and Jake Allen finished with 14 saves for St. Louis. The Blues have lost three straight (0-2-1).

Neither team scored in the first period, when the Blues outshot Dallas 8-3. St. Louis failed to score on two power plays, and the Stars were unsuccessful on their only man-advantage of the period.

Janmark scored on the power play at 2:42 of the second, getting his 16th of the season to top his total from his rookie season two years ago. It was also his fourth on power-play goal of the season.

Bishop preserved the Stars' lead early in the third as he turned away Schenn's backhand attempt in front of the net (see full recap).

Minus a goalie, Flyers treading murky water

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AP Images

Minus a goalie, Flyers treading murky water

We are flooded by so many good Philadelphia sports vibes these days, it’s almost kind of weird. We’re not used to this. We don’t know what to do with it. It’s like this unheard of fog we never want to shake.

And the Flyers did their part last week to make sure the fog didn’t lift and that the good vibes kept rolling into town.

The Flyers went 3-0 last week with a frantic 2-1 OT win over the Hurricanes in Carolina on Tuesday night, a sound 5-3 victory back home over the Montreal Canadiens to cap parade day and then finished things up with a hard-fought 4-3 shootout victory in Arizona over the Coyotes on Saturday night.

Let’s continue to express our feelings in a deeper manner with this week’s Flyers observations.

• On Saturday night, the Flyers got over whatever it is about the lowly Coyotes that brings out the worst in them as they topped Arizona for the first time in four tries. And in a shootout no less. But the obvious black mark is how Brian Elliott skated gingerly off the ice during the shootout with what GM Ron Hextall is calling a lower-body injury.

A big reason for the Flyers’ success this week was the play of Elliot, a rock-solid presence in net who was clearly sorely missed in the four-game losing streak that extended across the All-Star break. He was excellent in Carolina on Tuesday with 27 saves. And then he gave the Flyers what they needed against Montreal and Arizona. Simply put, he’s been very reliable and the results have shown for the Flyers.

Conversely, Michal Neuvirth hasn’t been all that reliable this season Again, injuries have played a role, as his career arc continues to dictate. But when he’s been healthy in net, the consistency just hasn’t been there. And as the Flyers head into an important stretch with four of the next six games against teams nipping at their heels in the Metropolitan Division, they need consistency in net.

With as jumbled as things are, if Neuvirth can’t provide that this time around as Elliott is on the shelf, the Flyers could be looking up again in the standings.

• What a beautiful mess that OT was in Carolina on Tuesday night. The Flyers had no business coming out on top in that overtime session as the Hurricanes carried play, controlled the puck, skated circles around the sloppy Flyers and fired six shots on Elliott in the 4:56 played.

That sequence late where Elliott made a save and then Claude Giroux batted the puck out of the air to prevent the winner from going in behind Elliott was a wacky as it gets, but it worked.

Jordan Weal then scooted down the wing and slipped a softie past Cam Ward for the winner.

The 3-on-3 is designed to be fast-paced and action-packed, but that was a disaster that you just couldn’t take your eyes off of. And it worked.

• Remember how discombobulated the Flyers’ power play seemed prior to Thursday’s game vs. the Habs? The power play was just 3 for 30 in the previous 10 games prior to Thursday and things were not smooth, to say the least.

Enter a scoop of the perfect medicine, the Montreal PK, a unit that entered Sunday ranked 25th in the league and surrendered power-play goals to Giroux, in his office at the dot, and Jake Voracek, who whistled one off Carey Price’s ear on Thursday.

The power play struck two more times in the desert on Saturday courtesy of Giroux and Wayne Simmonds.

When this power play is clicking, it can carry the Flyers. With questions looming in net, the power play is going to come more in focus as the Flyers may find themselves in offensive barnburners more often than not. If the last two games are any indication, that’ll be just fine. But we know how streaky this power play is and things can turn sour again in the blink of an eye.

• Ok, so maybe I’m thinking too much into this, but I was watching the shootout in Arizona on Saturday night and it just seems like most of the Flyers’ shootout attempts are missing something. It’s like they struggle to get the goalie moving and then have no option but to shoot right into him.

I watch other teams’ shootouts and their shooters are getting the goalies shifting around the crease. So many times, the Flyers have nothing to shoot at because the goalie isn’t moving.

Am I crazy?

• Seriously, though… let’s take a peek at the Metropolitan Division standings. There are so many cooks in the kitchen right now. Washington is ahead of the pack with 69 points. After Pittsburgh won Sunday afternoon, the Penguins are second in line with 66 points. Prior to Sunday night’s contest in Vegas, the Flyers check in at third with 63 points. And then there’s New Jersey (62 points) and Carolina (61 points) in the wild-card spots. And Columbus and both New York teams are lurking just behind.

The Flyers just happen to play the Devils, Blue Jackets and Rangers in four of the next six games. Those are eight critical points on the table for all those teams.

Yes, these games have incredible importance and the pressure is on because heading south could happen quickly. But on the other hand, destiny is in your hands. And that’s true for the Flyers here.

Coming up this week: Sunday at Vegas (8 p.m. on NBCSP), Tuesday vs. New Jersey (7 p.m. on NBCSP), Friday at Columbus (7 p.m. on NBCSP), Sunday at the New York Rangers (12 p.m. on NBC).

Crazy OT sequence ends in Flyers' favor ... barely

Crazy OT sequence ends in Flyers' favor ... barely

BOX SCORE

RALEIGH, N.C. — Brian Elliott should have been an easy No. 1 star for the Flyers on Tuesday night.

But that was before Jordan Weal scored with 3.1 seconds left in overtime to beat the Carolina Hurricanes, 2-1 (see observations).

The result ended the Flyers’ four-game losing streak, while Carolina’s slide is now at three.

Elliott, who had missed the previous four games, had dodged a bullet just a few seconds earlier as he knocked down a shot from Jordan Staal and then Claude Giroux tapped away a Jeff Skinner attempt before the Flyers' last trip down the ice.

“I got it with the tip of my stick, and then it was kind of pinballing and [Giroux] got it,” Elliott said. “I don’t really know. We’ll have to watch it again, too. I have a short memory. It’s a goalie memory."

And Weal took advantage of it, scoring the winner after making a play off a stretch pass from Shayne Gostisbehere (see highlights).

For Weal, it was the first overtime game-winner of his career. It also marked the third-latest OT goal in franchise history, according to the NHL stats bureau, behind Scott Hartnell (0.9 seconds in March 2012 vs. Penguins) and Mike Richards (3.0 seconds in December 2010 vs. Bruins).

"Weathered the storm, and that's the 3-on-3," Weal said. "If you can weather the storm at one end, that’s when the fast break happens and you get another chance at the other end."

Elliott said he didn’t need much time to regain his rhythm after the absence.

“There’s always a little rust,” he said. “I haven’t seen that many shots in the last little bit. You’re in a groove in the middle of the season. It’s not like the beginning of the season. I was feeling confident.”

Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said he liked his team’s play almost throughout.

“I liked our start,” Hakstol said. “There were so many specialty units, but later there was so much 5-on-5 (one Carolina penalty and none against the Flyers over the final 33 minutes).

“We had a good last 30 minutes of the game. I was really happy with us playing a good road game. This is a good extra point for our team. In the overtime, Moose (Elliott) is our best player, plain and simple. You need that in order to win sometimes in overtime.”

The captain Giroux agreed.

“In the second and third, we played a pretty solid game,” Giroux said. “We really played our game.”

Of note
Hurricanes winger Justin Williams spent a portion of his career as a Flyer and is in his second stint with Carolina. … Former Flyers star Rod Brind’Amour is Carolina’s assistant coach, with responsibility for the Hurricanes’ power play.