Flyers

Surging Lightning stay hot before hosting Flyers

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Surging Lightning stay hot before hosting Flyers

TAMPA, Fla. -- Steven Stamkos scored twice, and the NHL-leading Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 Thursday night for their 10th win in 11 games.

Brayden Point got the tiebreaking goal in the third and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 31 saves as Tampa Bay picked up its eighth consecutive victory at home.

Brendan Gallagher scored and Carey Price stopped 31 shots for Montreal, which has lost seven of 10.

Nikita Kucherov negated a potential icing by getting past Canadiens defenseman Karl Alzner and sent a backhand pass from behind the net to Stamkos, who tied it at 1 with 12 seconds left in the second.

Kucherov has seven assists and 12 points during an eight-game point streak.

Point put the Lightning up 2-1 during a goalmouth scramble 30 seconds into the third (see full recap).

Ovechkin powers Capitals to shootout win over Bruins
WASHINGTON -- Alex Ovechkin got his 24th goal of the season and then scored in the shootout to help the Washington Capitals beat the Boston Bruins 4-3 on Thursday night.

Lars Eller and Brett Connolly also scored for the Capitals, who snapped a three-game losing streak and won their 12th consecutive game over the Bruins. Washington also ended a scoring drought that had lasted almost nine full periods.

David Backes scored twice for the second time this season, but Boston lost for the third time in its last 12 games. Noel Acciari also scored for the Bruins.

Boston built a 2-0 lead before Washington registered its first shot of the game, and also led 3-2 in the third.

Washington's Braden Holtby and Boston's Anton Khudobin each made 31 saves.

Connolly tied it at 3 with 8:38 left in the third when he appeared to attempt a centering feed toward Tom Wilson at the crease. Instead, the puck caromed off a Boston player and over the line before Khudobin could stop it.

Ovechkin had the only successful shootout try, finishing into the top right corner (see full recap).

Auston Matthews scores for Leafs in Arizona homecoming
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Auston Matthews scored in Toronto's three-goal first period in his Arizona homecoming to help the Maple Leafs beat the Coyotes 7-4 on Thursday night.

Facing the Coyotes in Arizona for the second time in his career, the 20-year-old Matthews scored in his second straight game after missing six because of concussion-like symptoms.

With Toronto off since beating the Rangers on Saturday night in New York, Matthews spent the Christmas break with his family in Scottsdale. He feasted on mother Ema's cooking and played golf with father Brian and younger sister Breyana, an accomplished junior golfer.

The family was out in full force at Gila River Arena in the Maple Leafs' only Arizona visit of the season. Thousands of fans wore Toronto jerseys, with Matthews' No. 34 the most popular.

Patrick Marleau scored twice for Toronto, Zach Hyman, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and Connor Brown added goals, and Frederik Andersen made 30 saves.

Josh Archibald, Brendan Perlini, Jordan Martinook and Christian Fischer scored for the NHL-worst Coyotes. Arizona was coming off a 3-1 victory in Colorado on Wednesday night (see full recap).

Flyers re-sign restricted free agent Anthony Stolarz

Flyers re-sign restricted free agent Anthony Stolarz

General manager Ron Hextall is nearly finished wrapping up contracts for his restricted free agents.

And his goalie picture is now clear for 2018-19.

The Flyers on Wednesday re-signed netminder Anthony Stolarz to a one-year, two-way contract. The deal is worth $761,250, according to a report by hockey writer John Hoven.

With Stolarz back, defenseman Robert Hagg remains the Flyers' lone restricted free agent.

Stolarz, a 2012 second-round pick, underwent a nightmarish 2017-18 season just a year after he made his NHL debut and performed well in seven games with the Flyers. The 24-year-old tore the meniscus in his left knee during early September, the same injury he suffered at the end of 2016-17 with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

He played in just one AHL game and three ECHL contests as a result. In 2016-17, he made his way to the big club and put up a 2.07 goals-against average and .928 save percentage in a small sample. Then the injury occurred with the Phantoms and it's been an uphill battle ever since for the 6-foot-6, 210-pounder.

Stolarz will have his work cut out for him — if he hasn't already — as playing time will be earned at Lehigh Valley with Alex Lyon back in the fold and Carter Hart joining them.

"It's just competition. No one is going to go in there and hand you a job, so you have to earn it,” Stolarz said in June after an on-ice workout at Flyers Skate Zone. "I think the thing for me is to prove I'm healthy. I don't think I've skated since the end of January. I had the one flare up before one of my games and it had nothing to do with my knee injury. It was a separate injury. I think the biggest thing is proving I'm healthy and going out there and working to prove I'm still a high-caliber goalie."

The Flyers' goaltending tandem is set with Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth, both of whom are in the final year of their contracts. Things obviously can change this offseason, as Neuvirth and Stolarz seemed like realistic trade candidates.

But as of now, it's Elliott and Neuvirth with the younger trio pushing and competing.

"I'd rather have too many goalies than too few," Hextall said earlier this month. "If something makes sense and we can make something happen, we'd at least look at it. We saw it last year. All of a sudden, a couple goalies go down and you're scrambling for goalies. If we start with five, we start with five. Not a perfect situation, but again, I'd rather start with five than with three."

More on the Flyers' goalies

• Following 'gloomy' time, what's next for Elliott?

• Why Neuvirth's NHL career hinges on this offseason

• Hart says so long to Twitter, hello to pro life

• No arbitration needed for Flyers and Lyon

• Sandstrom hungry to prove he's not the 'other' goalie

Former Flyers goalie Ray Emery dies at 35

Former Flyers goalie Ray Emery dies at 35

Former Flyers goaltender Ray Emery died Sunday morning. First responders pulled his body out of Hamilton Harbour, where he had been swimming with friends. An investigation into the cause of death is still ongoing. 

Emery was 35.

According to local authorities, Emery was checking out a friend’s boat docked at Royal Hamilton Yacht Club when the group he was with decided to jump in the water around 6:30 a.m. Emery’s body never surfaced and was eventually recovered around 2:50 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Hamilton police say Emery’s body was recovered in close proximity to where he was last seen.

Emery was last seen publicly with a handful of his former teammates Saturday night as the goaltender participated in Zac Rinaldo’s charity hockey game in Hamilton. Emery can be seen standing during the playing of “O Canada.”

"The Philadelphia Flyers are stunned and extremely saddened to hear of the tragic passing of former Flyers goaltender Ray Emery," president Paul Holmgren said in a statement from the team. "Ray was an outstanding teammate and an extremely gifted goaltender. He had exceptional athleticism, was a fierce competitor and battled in every game he played with the Flyers.

"His performances through the 2009-10 season were a very big part of the team's success in making the playoffs and reaching the Stanley Cup Final. Ray's talent, work ethic and determination helped him enjoy a successful 11-year NHL career. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time."

Several of Emery’s former teammates over the years offered their condolences via Twitter after learning of the tragedy.

Former Flyer Daniel Carcillo shared the he was crushed by the news (NSFW).

Jakub Voracek also shared his condolences (NSFW).

Emery joined the Flyers in June 2009 on a one-year contract, shutting out the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0 in his Flyers debut. The goaltender’s first stint in Philadelphia was cut short when he suffered a muscle tear in his abdomen in December missing the remainder of the season. Emery was later diagnosed with avascular necrosis — a degenerative condition to the bone tissue in his hip.

After undergoing successful surgery, Emery eventually joined the Ducks before winning a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2013. Impressively, Emery finished the regular season with a 17-1-0 record. He re-signed with the Flyers that summer as a backup to Steve Mason.

Emery’s most infamous moment in Philadelphia came during an ugly 7-0 loss to the Washington Capitals on November 1, 2013, as the Flyers netminder pummeled Caps goalie Braden Holtby during a line brawl in the early stages of the third period.

Emery faced criminal charges over a handful of off-the-ice incidents and altercations. Most recently, he was arrested for assault with a weapon in 2017 against former fiancé Keshia Chanté. 

Emery played a total of 287 NHL games, 88 with the Flyers.