Flyers

Best of NHL: Oilers score goal in own net to gift win to Maple Leafs

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USA Today Images

Best of NHL: Oilers score goal in own net to gift win to Maple Leafs

EDMONTON, Alberta -- Oilers defenseman Kris Russell fired the puck into his own net while trying to clear it late in the third period, handing the Toronto Maple Leafs the go-ahead goal Thursday night in a 6-4 victory over Edmonton.

William Nylander had a goal and two assists for Toronto. Auston Matthews, Dominic Moore, Matt Martin, Patrick Marleau and Nazem Kadri also scored for the Maple Leafs (17-9-1). Frederik Andersen stopped 41 shots for the win.

Marleau was credited with the winner after Russell sent the puck into his own net with 1:05 remaining.

Russell had tied the score for Edmonton early in the third. Mark Letestu, Zack Kassian and Connor McDavid also scored for the Oilers (10-14-2), who won their previous two games.

Laurent Brossoit started in place of injured goalie Cam Talbot, expected to miss at least the next two weeks. Brossoit made 30 saves (see full recap).

Janmark lifts Stars to overtime win
CHICAGO -- Mattias Janmark scored his second goal of the game 51 seconds into overtime and the Dallas Stars beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 on Thursday night.

Radek Faksa had a goal and an assist and Remi Elie also scored for Dallas, which has won three straight and five of six. Ben Bishop made 19 saves.

Janmark skated in and beat Corey Crawford over the goaltender's right shoulder for his sixth of the season, giving the Stars the opener of the home-and-home series between division rivals. Dallas hosts Chicago on Saturday night.

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks, who dropped to 1-1-1 in a seven-day stretch with five games. Alex DeBrincat and Artem Anisimov also scored, and Nick Schmaltz had two assists.

Chicago trailed 3-2 before Kane redirected defenseman Gustav Forsling's shot past Bishop at 4:34 of the third. Kane has at least one point in eight of his last nine games.

Elie, who replaced an ailing Martin Hanzal in the lineup, had three good looks at a potential go-ahead score with about 5 1/2 minutes left, but Crawford turned him away each time. Crawford finished with 31 saves (see full recap).

Flames’ Smith helps blank former team
CALGARY, Alberta -- Mike Smith stopped 28 shots to blank his former team, Mark Jankowski scored twice and the Calgary Flames beat the Arizona Coyotes 3-0 on Thursday night.

Smith picked up his second shutout of the season and 35th of his career. The 35-year-old was making his first start against Arizona since being acquired by Calgary via trade in June.

Mikael Backlund also scored for Calgary. The Flames bounced back after opening their four-game homestand with a 4-1 loss to Toronto on Tuesday night.

Scott Wedgewood made 41 saves for the Coyotes.

Jankowski opened the scoring 2:48 into the second by showing an elite set of hands. Set up in front on a tic-tac-toe passing sequence with linemates Sam Bennett and Jaromir Jagr, Jankowski was stopped on his first try but put his stick between his legs to zip the rebound over Wedgewood's glove.

Calgary extended its lead to 2-0 at 10:19 of the third when Matthew Tkachuk neatly set up Backlund in front.

Jankowski added his second of the night and fifth of the season less than two minutes later. Right off a faceoff, he went to the net and scored on a forehand-to-backhand deke (see full recap).

Samuel Morin's future with Flyers grows murkier with torn ACL

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Samuel Morin's future with Flyers grows murkier with torn ACL

Samuel Morin is taking the long and winding road to the NHL, one that’s now more rugged and elongated than ever.

The Flyers confirmed Thursday that Morin tore the ACL in his right knee when his skate caught a rut on the ice in Charlotte while he was attempting to check an opponent. The injury took place in the first period of the Phantoms' epic five-overtime game against the Checkers two weeks ago.

General manager Ron Hextall told the Courier-Post's Dave Isaac that Morin is facing a nine-month recovery process and that the 6-7 defenseman is “probably out until February” as he recovers from surgery — which Morin will undergo sometime in the near future.

Morin’s 2018-19 season will now be spent rehabbing from injury and utilizing what’s left of the regular season working his way back with the Phantoms.   

The Flyers' 2013 first-round pick is also a restricted free agent after playing out the final year of his three-year entry-level contract. In the five years since he was drafted, Morin has suited up for just three NHL games. 

Expect the two sides to reach an agreement on a one- or- two-year extension rather easily since Morin doesn’t have much leverage in negotiations at this point. Since Morin signed his rookie deal at the age of 18, he also had a five-year (or 160-game) waiver exemption that has now expired.

In other words, the Flyers will no longer have the luxury of shuttling Morin back and forth from Lehigh Valley without exposing him to the rest of the league if they attempt to send him back to the minors.

The Flyers have no choice but to give Morin the necessary time to ensure he’s not only ready physically, but also that his game can be trusted at the NHL level.  

Hextall has preached patience in the deliberate development of the organization’s prospects.

Right now, Samuel Morin is the poster child for that process.

Phantoms' Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers pairing can't be trusted with Flyers ... yet

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Phantoms' Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers pairing can't be trusted with Flyers ... yet

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — The Flyers' general manager who was able to construct an entire blue line through trades and free-agent signings was once asked, "What's the number one trait you look for out of a defenseman?"

Paul Holmgren’s response was decisive and to the point. Paraphrasing, Holmgren said, "The one who can get the puck out of his zone as quickly as possible."

As much as the game of hockey has been broken down into advanced metrics and analytics, it’s rather simple at its core. The more time a team spends in its end of the ice, the greater likelihood it'll be on the wrong side of the scoreboard.

The AHL playoffs have served as an ideal test site for Travis Sanheim and Philippe Myers, who have been stalwarts throughout the Phantoms' postseason run. 

However, Game 3 at the PPL Center Wednesday night further exemplified the necessary strides the Flyers' defensive prospects must take in order to develop into reliable, everyday NHL blueliners.  

Oftentimes, less is more when you have the puck in the defensive end of the ice, and it took roughly 62 seconds into the game on Sanheim’s opening shift for the 22-year-old to make a major gaffe that gave the Toronto Marlies a 1-0 lead. 

Instead of making the simple play of a quick pass up the boards, Sanheim elected to keep it, reversing his field and was suddenly stripped with the attacking forward trailing. Roughly two seconds elapsed from the moment Sanheim lost the puck to when it was behind goalie Alex Lyon in the net. 

“On that particular play, we have full possession of the puck and the opportunity to advance it," Phantoms head coach Scott Gordon said. "Instead, we go back behind the net to where their guy is. That’s just playing into their hands. In that situation, and in a few of our breakouts, there were opportunities to move forward with the puck and we didn’t.”   

However, the gaffes involving the Sanheim-Myers pairing didn’t stop there. Sanheim was stripped of the puck at his own blue line during the first Phantoms' power play. Myers inexcusably lost his edge skating with the puck through the neutral zone. Toronto’s Andreas Johnsson muscled his way around Sanheim to generate a quality scoring chance, and then another terrible pass and turnover inside the Phantoms' zone.

And that all came in the first seven minutes of the game. 

If Dave Hakstol had been behind the bench (he was actually watching from the PPL Center press box), Sanheim is likely sitting in front of him for the remainder of the game. That’s essentially what transpired in mid-January at the Prudential Center in New Jersey when Sanheim’s play landed him back in the minors for a month and a half. 

Chalk this up as one bad game. Game 3 of the AHL’s Eastern Conference Finals was simply another teaching moment as the Phantoms were blown out, 5-0, falling behind 3-0 in the series. Both players will be back there together logging close to 25 minutes as the Phantoms try to avoid elimination Friday night.    

As exciting as it is to watch Sanheim and Myers generate offense within the Phantoms' system with their size and skating ability, there’s no way Hakstol and the Flyers can depend on that pairing defensively next season. Together, they’re still young, inexperienced and unreliable. 

If anything, expect the competition between Myers and Sanheim as something worth watching when Flyers camp opens in September. Myers has closed the gap in his first full season in the AHL. 

And the guy who can clean up their play defensively will likely be the one that starts next season with the Flyers.