Flyers

The see-saw Metro tilts to Penguins with Capitals idle

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The see-saw Metro tilts to Penguins with Capitals idle

PITTSBURGH -- Jamie Oleksiak scored a goal against his former team to help the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Dallas Stars 3-1 on Sunday night.

Oleksiak scored his fifth of the season, while Evgeni Malkin got his 39th and added an assist. Patric Hornqvist scored a power-play goal, his 20th, to help the Penguins win for the fourth in five games.

Malkin, now with 919 points, moved past Pavel Datsyuk for fifth on the NHL's all-time points list among Russian-born players. He also equaled a season-high six-game points streak.

Pittsburgh, which rebounded from a 5-2 loss at Toronto one night earlier, jumped past Washington for first place in a tight Metropolitan Division. The Penguins, who lost six of their previous seven against Dallas, have won 14 of their last 15 overall at home (see full recap).

Gibson makes 50 saves, Islanders beat Flames to end skid
CALGARY, Alberta -- Rookie goalie Christopher Gibson made 50 saves as the New York Islanders beat the Calgary Flames 5-2 on Sunday to snap an eight-game losing streak.

Anders Lee scored twice, while Johnny Boychuk had a goal and two assists for New York, which was 0-4-4 since winning at Carolina on Feb. 16. Nick Leddy and Jordan Eberle also scored for the Islanders, and Casey Cizikas and John Tavares had two assists each.

Gibson improved his record this season to 1-0-2 and got his second NHL win. He was 1-1-1 for the Islanders in the 2015-16 season.

Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and an assist for the Flames, who kicked off a three-game homestand after going 2-0-1 on the road last week. Mark Giordano also scored, while goalie Mike Smith made 22 saves in his return after missing 13 games with a lower-body injury (see full recap).

Kane's late PP goal lifts Blackhawks past Bruins
CHICAGO -- Patrick Kane scored a tie-breaking power-play goal with 3:16 left in the third period and had an assist, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Boston Bruins 3-1 on Sunday afternoon.

Kane scored on a screened shot from just inside the left point to put Chicago ahead 2-1 with Boston's Zdeno Chara off for high-sticking Brandon Saad, getting a double-minor for drawing blood. Brent Seabrook added a goal from the right circle on a screened shot with 1:05 remaining as the Blackhawks ended Boston's six-game winning streak and their own two-game slide.

Chicago's Artem Anisimov scored his 20th goal, reaching that mark for the third straight season since the Blackhawks acquired him from Columbus. Anton Forsberg made 31 saves, and Jonathan Toews had three assists.

Chara scored his seventh goal, tying the game 1-1 midway through the third period. Boston back-up Anton Khudobin stopped 36 shots (see full recap).

Flyers' Danick Martel accepts qualifying offer; team re-signs Taylor Leier and Tyrell Goulbourne

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Flyers' Danick Martel accepts qualifying offer; team re-signs Taylor Leier and Tyrell Goulbourne

Three young forwards will all be staying in the Flyers organization, at least for one more year.

Sunday, the team announced that Danick Martel accepted his qualifying offer on a one-year contract, and that restricted free agents Taylor Leier and Tyrell Goulbourne signed one-year deals.

Though the team didn't include any salary details, Martel's deal is reportedly a two-way contract worth $715,000.

The 23-year-old Martel made his NHL debut last season, finishing with no points and six shots over four games. He scored a career-best 25 goals for Lehigh Valley.

With Leier, the Flyers avoided a possible arbitration hearing. According to CapFriendly, Leier's contract is a one-way deal for $720,000. Leier's hearing was scheduled for Aug. 3. The team also earlier avoided a hearing with Alex Lyon, their other player who filed for arbitration, signing the goalie to a two-year deal.

A fourth-round selection in 2012, Leier had one goal and four assists in 39 regular-season games with the Flyers as a rookie.

Goulbourne, who made his NHL debut on Jan. 6, appeared in nine regular-season contests, with 15 hits.

Robert Hagg and Anthony Stolarz are now the team's two remaining restricted free agents. 

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Flyers prospect Isaac Ratcliffe throwing everyone a surprise party

Flyers prospect Isaac Ratcliffe throwing everyone a surprise party

Ron Hextall looked on from his perch at Flyers Skate Zone.

He then looked over at some of his staff.

They essentially shook their heads watching this lean, 6-foot-6 winger.

The physical stature was only part of the phenomenon.

"We're standing out there, going a guy that big shouldn't have that good of hands," the general manager said two weeks ago at Flyers development camp. "He's got good hands. He moves really well for his size and his age. You look at a 19-year-old kid who's as tall as he is and as coordinated as he is, it's not the norm."

Isaac Ratcliffe has made it his norm.

In his earlier hockey days, he didn't want to stand out for just his sheer size. 

Now, he is much more than a towering presence. When he hits the ice, he turns heads with his soft touch and dexterous hands — puck skills you wouldn't expect to come out of a 6-6, 210-pound teenager.

Surprised? Good.

"When I was younger, it was a big thing that I used to work on at the end of practice or the end of a skill session," Ratcliffe said. "A guy my size, you don't usually see that and I wanted to prove guys wrong. I can bring any sorts of items to the table and I really wanted to show that I could bring my hands, as well."

In the 2017 draft, the Flyers wanted Ratcliffe so much, they traded three selections to move up and snatch him at 35th overall. Hextall and company liked Ratcliffe's ability and upside, so they're not shocked to see his progression, but they are super pleased.

Ratcliffe, wiry and mobile, jumped from 28 goals and 54 points with the OHL's Guelph Storm in 2016-17 to 41 goals and 68 points in 2017-18.

"To be that linked up at that age is amazing," Hextall said. "He's come a long ways in a year. His all-around game needs work. His wall play and things like that, which most guys at that age do. But his hands, his patience, his poise with the puck — he's got some scoring touch. He's got a reach. To have that poise and reach, developed to put it around the goalie you've seen this week. … We're excited about the prospects for him."

If Ratcliffe was ever viewed as a project, he no longer looks like one. At 19, he's also astutely aware of the NHL trends, which fuels his motivation to be different.

"I still have to get stronger. The size is there, I just need to put on that weight — really build up that core strength, build up my leg strength and definitely work on my speed a lot, too," he said. "It's a fast game and it's a game that's decreasing in size, too. I have to show that I can bring both speed and size to the game, and my skill set, as well."

For Ratcliffe, it's all about mindset. When you're 6-6 and frequently misperceived, it has to be.

"If you're going to go into a battle and you think you're going to lose it, you're going to lose that battle. If you go in and think you're going to win, you have a big chance of coming out on top," Ratcliffe said. "When you get that confidence in there and when you get that strength, pair those two together and you're going to be unstoppable. And that's what I've been trying to do — keep my confidence high and keep my strength high over the past couple of years. That's really gotten me where I am today and that's going to push me forward."

Ratcliffe's fourth junior season is ahead of him in 2018-19. He should have everyone's attention, and not just for his height.

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