Flames finally wake up to get back in playoff mix

AP Images

Flames finally wake up to get back in playoff mix

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).

4 thoughts from Day 1 of 2018 NHL draft

4 thoughts from Day 1 of 2018 NHL draft

With the first round of the 2018 NHL draft now complete, we move toward a busy Saturday afternoon at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

The Flyers have seven selections left with one in the second round, fourth and sixth rounds and two in the fifth and seventh rounds.

On Friday night, Flyers general manager Ron Hextall did something he's never done before and something he's done quite often with his two first-round picks.

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.

After the draft, Hextall was asked by reporters about it and confirmed he did not specifically ask for Simmonds' no-trade list. Hextall said reports that he asked for a no-trade list are "erroneous."

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.

More on the 2018 NHL draft

• By drafting O'Brien, Hextall shows he's 'never been one to be safe'

• With Philly ties, Joel Farabee can't wait to help Flyers

• Flyers need to find needle in haystack on Day 2

Philly fans will already love Farabee

NHL draft 2018: Preview, start time, pick order, live stream and how to watch Rounds 2-7

NHL draft 2018: Preview, start time, pick order, live stream and how to watch Rounds 2-7

Day 1 of the 2018 NHL draft is in the books.

Now it's time for Day 2.

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:
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

Recommended reading

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.

• Farabee always wanted the Flyers and here's why

• With O'Brien, Hextall shows he's 'never' one to be safe

4 thoughts on Day 1: Flyers earned right to take swing

Flyers need to find needle in haystack on Day 2

• Profile: C Jack McBain

• Profile: RW Serron Noel