Best of NHL: John Tavares notches hat trick in Islanders' win

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Best of NHL: John Tavares notches hat trick in Islanders' win

NEW YORK -- John Tavares completed his hat trick with a tiebreaking goal in the third period, lifting the New York Islanders over the winless Arizona Coyotes 5-3 on Tuesday night.

The Islanders won their third straight and improved to 5-3-1. Jaroslav Halak made 32 saves for New York.

Adam Pelech had three assists for the Islanders, and fellow defenseman Scott Mayfield cemented the win with his first goal of the season at 17:03.

The Coyotes -- starting a five-game road trip -- fell to 0-8-1 under new coach Rick Tocchet.

Tavares' seventh career three-goal game came on a night when he also moved past Islanders forward Bob Bourne into seventh place on the career franchise goals list. The 27-year-old Tavares has six goals this season and 241 career tallies. Bourne had 238 goals with the Islanders from 1974-86 (see full recap).

Kessel lifts Penguins to OT victory
PITTSBURGH -- Phil Kessel found a way to upstage Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid.

The Pittsburgh forward raced down the slot and beat goalie Cam Talbot 42 seconds into overtime to give the Penguins a 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night.

Ian Cole scored his first goal of the season for the Penguins, and Matt Murray stopped 29 shots. Crosby was held without a point in his showdown with McDavid, but the Penguins rode their depth to keep the struggling Oilers in check.

McDavid forced the extra period with his first goal in seven games, a wrist shot with 2:53 left in regulation that tied it. Talbot played brilliantly at times while making 42 saves but couldn't get a handle on Kessel's winner (see full recap).

Kempe gives Kings SO win over Senators
OTTAWA, Ontario -- Adrian Kempe scored the shootout winner to help the Los Angeles Kings beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Alec Martinez and Kempe scored for the Kings (7-1-1) in regulation and Darcy Kuemper stopped 29 shots.

Dion Phaneuf and Nate Thompson supplied the offense for the Senators (4-1-4). Mike Condon made 41 saves.

Condon nearly coughed up the winner with less than a minute remaining in overtime as he went to play Anze Kopitar, but Erik Karlsson was able to make a goal line save.

Trailing 2-1 with 1:46 remaining in the third period, the Kings tied the game as Kempe jumped on a Condon giveaway behind the net for an easy goal to force overtime (see full recap).

Flyers at Sabres: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers at Sabres: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

The Flyers (9-9-2) begin a stretch of three games in four days when they visit the Sabres (13-6-2) Wednesday night.

Let's look at the essentials:

When: 7:30 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 7 p.m.
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia+
Live stream: and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• Alex Lyon will make his season debut Wednesday.

With that, he'll become the Flyers' fourth netminder used this season. The team also used four last season.

Just how much instability is that in net? The Flyers haven't used four or more goalies in back-to-back regular seasons since the 1989-90 and 1990-91 campaigns.

The four goalies used in both of those seasons were Ron Hextall, Ken Wregget, Bruce Hoffort and Pete Peeters.

The Flyers missed the playoffs both years, going a combined 63-76-21 (ties).

• The Flyers have their work cut out for them.

This span of three games in four days consists of the Sabres, Rangers and Maple Leafs.

Buffalo has won six straight, rebuilding New York has won eight of its last 10 and Toronto has won seven of its last eight.

So the Flyers' next three games are against teams that are a combined 21-2-1 in their last 24 games.

• The six straight wins by the Sabres marks the longest active win streak in the NHL. However, Buffalo has outscored the opposition just 20-16 over the streak as all six victories have come by one goal and four of them after regulation.

The Sabres own the league's sixth-ranked penalty kill, which has allowed just one power-play goal during the six-game spree.

Jeff Skinner, who leads Buffalo with 14 goals, has 23 career points (13 goals, 10 assists) vs. the Flyers, his second most against any opponent.

• Can the Flyers build some power-play momentum after going 3 for 5 in last Saturday's 6-5 overtime loss to the Lightning?

The Flyers haven't scored man-advantage goals in back-to-back outings since Games 3 and 4 of the season.

James van Riemsdyk sure can make a difference.

Projected lineup

Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Travis Konecny 
Oskar Lindblom-Nolan Patrick-Jakub Voracek
James van Riemsdyk-Jordan Weal-Wayne Simmonds
Dale Weise-Scott Laughton-Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Ivan Provorov-Robert Hagg
Shayne Gostisbehere-Andrew MacDonald
Travis Sanheim-Radko Gudas

Alex Lyon
Calvin Pickard

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The shadow of last season starting to loom for Flyers

The shadow of last season starting to loom for Flyers

VOORHEES, N.J. — You don’t have to remind the Flyers that they’ve gone three straight games without a win — two of those losses at home to opponents (Panthers, Devils) who were last in their division at the time.

And the Flyers (9-9-2) certainly don’t need to be reminded this is the same exact point in the season a year ago when they went through a pummeling stretch of winless hockey with a 0-5-5 record from Nov. 11 to Dec. 2. 

The first 20 games of the season are a near carbon copy of what transpired a year ago when the team also had a .500 record at 8-8-4. The question moving forward is can the Flyers learn from last year’s mistakes and breakdowns that led to a 10-game winless stretch?

“We were in a big hole last year. We’re not in a big hole this year,” Jakub Voracek said Tuesday. “It could give us a little more confidence that we don’t have to chase as much as we did last year, but we have to find more consistency in our game.“

After taking the previous two days off — Sunday was the Flyers Wives Carnival and Monday was a designated day off — the Flyers returned to practice showing a little rust.

Dave Hakstol felt confident in what he’s seen over the past three games to keep the same line combinations during Tuesday's practice, including leaving James van Riemsdyk on the third line with Jordan Weal and Wayne Simmonds. Before Saturday’s five-goal performance, sparked by a remarkable four-goal outburst in the third period, the Flyers had gone 110:38 without a goal.

“We’ve generated more in those last three games than we have in the previous five games on average,” Hakstol said. “The opportunities are coming. We weren’t able to finish. We talked about different ways that we could do a little better, simple things, get guys to the net. Obviously, the most important thing is to finish on enough of those to put us in a good spot.”

In order to avoid the snowball from building and a potential fourth straight loss, the Flyers will have to derail a red-hot Buffalo Sabres team Wednesday that has won six straight games, all by one goal, during its longest winning streak in nine years. 

“They have a couple of new additions to their team and they’re working really well right now. It’s a dangerous group. It’s going to be tough for us,” Voracek said. “So far every game has been tough. It’s a 50/50 chance every single night. It’s been pretty even so far this year, but it’s going to start breaking down after about 45 games.

“You’re going to see a bigger picture of what’s going to happen down the road. It’s too early to judge right now.”

Lyon could see pair of starts

With three games compacted into four days over the Thanksgiving holiday, Alex Lyon is expected to receive one and possibly two starts this week. Lyon was the first goaltender off the ice during Tuesday’s practice as a sign that he could be called upon Wednesday night in Buffalo.

Lyon said there’s an NHL mindset he needs to work his way into whenever he receives the call up from Lehigh Valley.

“In the American League, you have from Sunday until Thursday typically to sit at your home and relax,” Lyon said. “Call a spade a spade, the stress level is a little bit less in the American League.” 

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