BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Sam Bennett and Mark Jankowski scored three minutes apart in the first period and the Calgary Flames snapped a four-game skid with a 5-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night.
Calgary improved to 1-3-1 in its last five games to gain ground in the tightly contested Western Conference playoff race. With 76 points, the Flames jumped into 10th place, a point ahead of idle St. Louis, and within one of Los Angeles and Colorado.
Mark Giordano also had a goal and assist, while Sean Monahan and Dougie Hamilton also scored.
The Flames won at Buffalo for just the second time in 14 trips (2-8-3 and a tie), and first time in regulation since a 3-1 win on March 15, 1996.
Rookie David Rittich stopped 25 shots before having his first career shutout bid spoiled when Casey Nelson scored with 18 seconds remaining.
The Sabres came out flat in a first period in which they were outshot 17-6 and outscored 2-0. The margin could have been even larger had goalie Chris Johnson not stopped Michael Ferland and Michael Frolik driving alone to the net on chances two minutes apart.
Johnson, who spent last season with the Flames, stopped 18 shots before being pulled after Monahan scored to put Calgary up 4-0 at the 6:01 mark of the second period. Robin Lehner allowed one goal on 19 shots (see full recap).
Stepan’s late goal helps Coyotes squeeze out win VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Derek Stepan scored with 58 seconds left in the third period, leading the Arizona Coyotes to a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night.
Clayton Keller assisted on the winning goal and also scored in the first period for the Coyotes, who are 8-2-1 in their last 11 games.
Backup Darcy Kuemper made 16 saves in place of starter Antti Raanta, who missed the game due to injury.
Jussi Jokinen scored for the Canucks, who have lost four of their past five games and will likely be without star rookie Brock Boeser for the rest of the regular season after he injured his back against the New York Islanders on Monday night. Jacob Markstrom stopped 32 shots.
Tyler Motte, alone at the side of the net, missed a chance to put Vancouver ahead early in the third period as Nick Cousins deflected his shot to keep it 1-1. Motte got another chance from the slot, but Kuemper made the save.
The Coyotes dominated the shot clock and finally solved Markstrom with less than a minute to play. Keller found Stepan in the slot and he buried it past Markstrom to avoid overtime (see full recap).
As we move onto Day 2, let's break down the night that was for the Flyers at the draft.
1. Going away to college
Pardon the Blink-182 reference, but with their first two draft picks Friday, the Flyers selected prospects headed to play college hockey.
The Flyers drafted Joel Farabee from the USA Hockey National Team Development Program with the 14th overall pick and then selected Jay O'Brien, a high school product from Thayer Academy, with the 19th pick.
Farabee is headed to Boston University and O'Brien is committed to play at Providence College, two storied programs. Under Hextall, the Flyers have now drafted nine prospects who chose the college route over major junior.
It's a testament to how far NCAA hockey has grown over the years. According to College Hockey Inc., 32 percent of NHL players played college hockey at some point, up from 23 percent in 2004.
The two newest Flyers prospects join Wade Allison, Wyatt Kalynuk, Tanner Laczynski, Noah Cates and Matej Tomek as current NCAAers drafted by the Flyers.
Outside of Shayne Gostisbehere (third round, 2012), the Flyers haven't had much success with college players. The last college player they drafted in the first round was James van Riemsdyk, who was also the last natural winger they've drafted in the first round and the last player from the USNTDP.
As college hockey becomes bigger in producing NHL players, the Flyers have to start hitting on their NCAA prospects. Other teams have already reaped the benefits such as the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Just look at the player Jake Guentzel, who played at the University of Nebraska Omaha. Interestingly enough, both Farabee and O'Brien brought up Guentzel as a comparison of themselves.
2. Expect defense-heavy Day 2
Coming into Friday's Round 1, many believed the Flyers would draft at least one defenseman with their two first-round picks and that thought came straight from the horse's mouth.
Turns out, Hextall opted for two forwards in the first round. It's a third straight draft the Flyers have gone forward in the first round — German Rubtsov (2016), Nolan Patrick and Morgan Frost (2017) and now Farabee and O'Brien.
Dating back to 2015, the Flyers' last six picks have been forwards, with Travis Konecny being the other. Their last defensemen drafted in the first round was Ivan Provorov.
While some may look at the Flyers' current situation and believe they're set at defense for the foreseeable future, they do need to restock — to borrow a Hextall term — on the blue line.
They need another wave of impact defensive prospects in the farm system now that the forwards have continued to be stockpiled.
Hextall has seven picks Saturday. We don't know how many he'll keep but we can bet that he'll come away with a few defensemen.
3. Hexy's swing
Haven't we gotten to a point where we stop doubting Hextall on draft night?
When the Flyers called O'Brien's name at No. 19, no one knew much about the kid.
I can't sit here and say that O'Brien will turn into another gem discovered by the Flyers' scouting staff — it's all projection and the Flyers' staff certainly knows a hell of a lot more than we do.
But given Hextall's draft history, Hextall earned the right to take a swing with one of these two first-round picks. He admitted there's risk with O'Brien but said he's "never been one to be safe." It creates for great draft theater for us.
4. The Wayne Simmonds dilemma
There had been speculation leading up to Round 1 that the Flyers could trade Wayne Simmonds. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported Thursday that Simmonds' 12-team no-trade list was due this week.
Some understanding here. As Hextall pointed out, the no-trade list is part of Simmonds' contract, which means he had to submit the list, so it's not as if Hextall went to Simmonds asking who he doesn't want to be traded to.
Friedman is as solid as you get in hockey media. His report left it open too — he simply reported that Simmonds' list was due this week.
Not many leaks with the Flyers anymore. Hextall runs a tight-lip operation and anything that does come out, it usually comes from agents or other teams. Of course, he's going to respond so hastily like he did Friday.
After making two first-round selections Friday night, the Flyers own seven picks Saturday for Rounds 2-7.
A lot happens on Day 2, so let's get you set with everything you need to know.
Essentials, Day 2
When: June 23 at 11:30 a.m. ET Where: American Airlines Center (Dallas) Network: NHL Network Live stream: NHL.com Social media: @NBCSPhilly
Round 2 32. Buffalo Sabres 33. Detroit Red Wings 34. Florida Panthers 35. Montreal Canadiens 36. Detroit Red Wings 37. Vancouver Canucks 38. Montreal Canadiens 39. New York Rangers 40. Edmonton Oilers 41. New York Islanders 42. Carolina Hurricanes 43. New York Islanders 44. Dallas Stars 45. St. Louis Blues 46. Washington Capitals 47. Washington Capitals 48. Ottawa Senators 49. Columbus Blue Jackets 50. Philadelphia Flyers 51. Los Angeles Kings 52. Toronto Maple Leafs 53. Pittsburgh Penguins 54. Anaheim Ducks 55. Arizona Coyotes 56. Montreal Canadiens 57. Boston Bruins 58. Colorado Avalanche 59. Tampa Bay Lightning 60. Winnipeg Jets 61. Vegas Golden Knights 62. Montreal Canadiens
Round 3 63. Minnesota Wild 64. Pittsburgh Penguins 65. Arizona Coyotes 66. Montreal Canadiens 67. Detroit Red Wings 68. Vancouver Canucks 69. Chicago Blackhawks 70. New York Rangers 71. Edmonton Oilers 72. New York Islanders 73. Arizona Coyotes 74. Arizona Coyotes 75. Dallas Stars 76. Toronto Maple Leafs 77. Boston Bruins 78. Colorado Avalanche 79. Anaheim Ducks 80. Columbus Blue Jackets 81. Detroit Red Wings 82. Los Angeles Kings 83. Toronto Maple Leafs 84. Detroit Red Wings 85. Anaheim Ducks 86. Minnesota Wild 87. Chicago Blackhawks 88. New York Rangers 89. Nashville Predators 90. Tampa Bay Lightning 91. Winnipeg Jets 92. Minnesota Wild 93. Washington Capitals
Round 4 94. Buffalo Sabres 95. Ottawa Senators 96. Carolina Hurricanes 97. Montreal Canadiens 98. Detroit Red Wings 99. Vegas Golden Knights 100. Dallas Stars 101. New York Rangers 102. Montreal Canadiens 103. New York Islanders 104. Carolina Hurricanes 105. Calgary Flames 106. Dallas Stars 107. St. Louis Blues 108. Calgary Flames 109. Colorado Avalanche 110. New Jersey Devils 111. Nashville Predators 112. Philadelphia Flyers 113. Los Angeles Kings 114. San Jose Sharks 115. Vegas Golden Knights 116. Anaheim Ducks 117. Buffalo Sabres 118. Toronto Maple Leafs 119. Boston Bruins 120. Chicago Blackhawks 121. Tampa Bay Lightning 122. Montreal Canadiens 123. San Jose Sharks 124. Washington Capitals
Round 5 125. Buffalo Sabres 126. Ottawa Senators 127. Philadelphia Flyers 128. Montreal Canadiens 129. Pittsburgh Penguins 130. Vancouver Canucks 131. Nashville Predators 132. New York Rangers 133. Edmonton Oilers 134. New York Islanders 135. Vegas Golden Knights 136. New Jersey Devils 137. Dallas Stars 138. St. Louis Blues 139. San Jose Sharks 140. Colorado Avalanche 141. New Jersey Devils 142. Chicago Blackhawks 143. Philadelphia Flyers 144. Los Angeles Kings 145. San Jose Sharks 146. Pittsburgh Penguins 147. Anaheim Ducks 148. Minnesota Wild 149. Toronto Maple Leafs 150. Winnipeg Jets 151. Nashville Predators 152. Tampa Bay Lightning 153. Winnipeg Jets 154. Vegas Golden Knights 155. Minnesota Wild
Round 6 156. Buffalo Sabres 157. Ottawa Senators 158. Arizona Coyotes 159. Detroit Red Wings 160. Detroit Red Wings 161. Vancouver Canucks 162. Chicago Blackhawks 163. New York Rangers 164. Edmonton Oilers 165. Los Angeles Kings 166. Carolina Hurricanes 167. Calgary Flames 168. Dallas Stars 169. St. Louis Blues 170. Florida Panthers 171. Colorado Avalanche 172. New Jersey Devils 173. Columbus Blue Jackets 174. Philadelphia Flyers 175. Los Angeles Kings 176. San Jose Sharks 177. Pittsburgh Penguins 178. Anaheim Ducks 179. Minnesota Wild 180. Vegas Golden Knights 181. Boston Bruins 182. San Jose Sharks 183. Tampa Bay Lightning 184. Winnipeg Jets 185. Vegas Golden Knights 186. Washington Capitals
Round 7 187. Buffalo Sabres 188. Ottawa Sabres 189. Arizona Coyotes 190. Philadelphia Flyers 191. Detroit Red Wings 192. Vancouver Canucks 193. Chicago Blackhawks 194. Ottawa Senators 195. Edmonton Oilers 196. New York Islanders 197. Carolina Hurricanes 198. Calgary Flames 199. Dallas Stars 200. St. Louis Blues 201. Florida Panthers 202. Colorado Avalanche 203. New Jersey Devils 204. Columbus Blue Jackets 205. Philadelphia Flyers 206. Tampa Bay Lightning 207. San Jose Sharks 208. Pittsburgh Penguins 209. Toronto Maple Leafs 210. Minnesota Wild 211. Toronto Maple Leafs 212. Boston Bruins 213. Nashville Predators 214. Tampa Bay Lightning 215. Winnipeg Jets 216. Carolina Hurricanes 217. Washington Capitals
After drafting a winger (Joel Farabee — No. 14) and center (Jay O'Brien — No. 19) in the first round Friday night, the Flyers will start to balance the scale Saturday.
It seems most plausible the Flyers will eye defensemen in the early rounds of Day 2. General manager Ron Hextall talked about the need to "restock" on the back end now that many of the organization's prized blue-line prospects are either with the big club or smelling the NHL roster.
"I would be shocked if we don't draft a couple of defensemen," Hextall said last week.
But don't think Hextall and company will focus solely on one position or need. The Flyers can still use more wingers in the system and the club will never shy away from adding versatile centers. The one area it may not touch is goalie.
And, with seven slots, Hextall will have options to move up or back. Last year on Day 2, he swapped picks twice.
Plenty can unfold.
One thing we're certain of is Hextall values all of his selections.
"We've got two seventh-round picks this year, they're friggin' important," he said last week. "We need to do our best to try to get the best guy and try to hit on a guy."
With that said, here are some recommended links ahead of Day 2.