Flyers

Best of NHL: Connor McDavid scores quickly in OT, Oilers beat Islanders

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Best of NHL: Connor McDavid scores quickly in OT, Oilers beat Islanders

NEW YORK — Connor McDavid stormed down the ice with Leon Draisaitl trailing a step behind. Two slick passes and a one-timer later, and the game was over.

McDavid scored 38 seconds into overtime to lead the Edmonton Oilers over the New York Islanders 2-1 on Tuesday night.

McDavid intercepted an off-target pass by John Tavares to start a 2-on-1. McDavid carried the puck into the New York end of the ice dropping the puck to Draisaitl, who flipped a behind-the-back pass to McDavid at the circle to set up a one-timer.

The goal was the sixth of the year for McDavid.

"Our two big guns took it down the ice and got us a win," said Cam Talbot, who made 36 saves. "That's what we look to them for in situations like that, and we got it tonight" (see full recap).

Penguins spoil Tocchet's return in victory over Coyotes
PITTSBURGH — Penguins coach Mike Sullivan understands the risk/reward when he pairs Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel.

When fully engaged and focused on the finer points of the game, they are as dynamic as any second-line duo in the NHL. When they're not, things can get sloppy. Really sloppy. So Sullivan will occasionally split them up, as he did with Pittsburgh's offense languishing at the end of a road trip out West.

Yet Sullivan almost always puts them back together, confident the good will outweigh whatever baggage might come along with it. The evidence was on display during a workmanlike 3-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night. Malkin and Kessel both had a goal and two assists as the Penguins put together a clinical performance to take some of the sting out of an uneven five-game swing through Western Canada (see full recap)

Tarasenko, Schwartz score in 1:35 span, Blues beat Devils
NEWARK, N.J. — The St. Louis Blues got back in the game against the New Jersey Devils with a lucky bounce, and then their talent took over.

Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz scored in a 1:35 span bridging the second and third periods and the Blues beat New Jersey 3-1 on Tuesday night, sending the Devils to their season-high third straight loss.

The big goal was Tarasenko's eighth of the season. With the Blues trailing 1-0 late in the second period, his shot from high in the slot hit off the shin of Devils defenseman Mirco Mueller and tied it with 63 seconds left in the period.

"I think that was big for us," said Blues goaltender Jake Allen, who made 21 saves. "It could have been a different game if we didn't get that goal in the second there, and I thought we played well in the third. We didn't give them anything" (see full recap).

Jarnkrok, Rinne power Predators past Blue Jackets​
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Nashville Predators finished off a successful early-season trip with a win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Predators won a couple in California before beating Columbus 3-1, with the only loss coming in the first game of the swing at San Jose on Nov. 1.

"We did what we had to do on the road here, so it was good," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "(We) walk away with six points out of eight on a road trip this early. For me, it's good to be in the spot we're in."

Calle Jarnkrok scored in the third period and Pekka Rinne stopped 35 shots for the Predators, who dealt Columbus its third straight loss (see full recap).

Flyers sign Brian Elliott to 1-year contract extension

Flyers sign Brian Elliott to 1-year contract extension

VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers have their backup for Carter Hart.

Brian Elliott on Wednesday signed a one-year, $2 million contract extension with the Flyers. The 34-year-old was set to become an unrestricted free agent after two seasons with the Flyers in which he went 34-22-8 with a 2.77 goals-against average and .908 save percentage over 69 games (65 starts). He has battled injuries each year, missing a 40-game stretch last season because of a lower-body injury and significant time in 2017-18 following core muscle surgery he underwent on Feb. 13.

The backup to Hart will be crucial in 2019-20. Not only will Hart be just 21 years old and facing his first full NHL season, but the Flyers also play 17 back-to-back sets, which is four more than they did a year ago. Thirteen of those sets will be a part of stretches in which the Flyers play three games in four nights.

"Brian has played well for us the last two seasons," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said in a release by the team. "He is a proven, quality goaltender who competes and battles hard every time he has the net. We are excited to have him rejoin our team."

The Flyers had Elliott and Cam Talbot, two soon-to-be unrestricted free agents, as No. 2 options. They also could have gone the trade or free-agent market route. Fletcher, though, had more pressing areas to address like signing Kevin Hayes to bolster the forwards, reshaping the defense and creating as much cap flexibility as possible. Elliott was a veteran, cost-effective, internal option, but was he the best option?

While Elliott doesn't appear as the most reliable backup given his age and recent injury history, he's played in a tandem for most his career, is familiar with the Flyers and has at least been productive when healthy. He'll have to prove he can stay healthy enough to spell Hart from time to time. If he can't, the Flyers could be in trouble — again — and scrambling for somebody that can be trusted.

At his end-of-the season press conference, you could sense Elliott's competitiveness.

"The mentor thing gets kind of caught up. It's a tough word choice," Elliott said. "I think [Hart] needs someone that is going to help him along the way and push him to be better. Hartsy is a great young goalie and is going to be good in this league for a long time. The Philly fans have a lot to look forward to."

The Flyers have around $16 million in cap space if Philippe Myers is on the roster over David Schlemko. Fletcher has to re-sign restricted free agents Travis Konecny, Ivan Provorov, Scott Laughton and Nicolas Aube-Kubel.

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Flyers hire Nick Schultz as player development coach

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Flyers hire Nick Schultz as player development coach

VOORHEES, N.J. — Nick Schultz, a former Flyer who also played for general manager Chuck Fletcher in Minnesota, has been hired by the club as a player development coach.

Schultz, 36, suited up for the Flyers in his final three NHL seasons from 2014-17 and appeared in 743 games with the Wild. The former defenseman was a smart, role-oriented, team-first guy throughout his 15-year career.

"We're happy to have Nick come aboard and help develop the prospects in our system," Fletcher said Wednesday in a release by the team. "Having enjoyed a lengthy career in which he played over 1,000 games as a defenseman in the NHL, Nick brings a wealth of experience and knowledge on what it takes to be a pro."

Jakub Voracek provided a classic quote about Schultz during the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. It was after a 2-0 loss in Game 1 to the Capitals in which Schultz blocked three shots and was putting his body in front of blasts off the stick of Alex Ovechkin.

"It takes some big balls to go into that shooting lane," Voracek said then. "When you look at Schultz blocking shots, it's pretty impressive. That's what you've got to do to win a game."

Schultz has been at Flyers development camp this week.

"It's exciting," Schultz said in the release by the team. "I'm looking forward to working with the guys, helping Kjell Samuelsson with the defensemen, and getting to know the kids and their game a little bit. I'm looking forward to working with them throughout the year, watching them play and helping them make it to the next step, and ultimately one day become a Flyer."

The Flyers did not subtract at all from their staff. Fletcher mentioned the growing importance of player development and all that it requires.

"I know he's coaching his son's hockey team and enjoying life, but at some point, I think he thought he wanted to get back in the game and this gives him an entry point to come in, share his expertise and work with our young defenseman," Fletcher said. "We'll start a little slower and build and just see what he wants to do. My assumption is at some point, I could see him being a great coach in this league."

In addition to the Schultz news, the Flyers have brought on Andy Rannells as an assistant equipment manager and Dan Warnke as an assistant strength and conditioning coach. Both previously worked for AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

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