Edmonton Oilers

Flyers 5, Oilers 4 (OT): Another comeback punctuates 7th straight win for NHL's hottest team

Flyers 5, Oilers 4 (OT): Another comeback punctuates 7th straight win for NHL's hottest team

BOX SCORE

The NHL's hottest team is having some fun working overtime.

The Flyers rallied again for a second straight game to pick up an OT victory, this time a 5-4 decision over the Oilers on Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center.

Nolan Patrick delivered the game-winner for the Flyers (23-23-6), who have won seven straight games, the longest active winning streak in the NHL. 

The Flyers have won eight of their last nine and entered the day nine points out of the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot.

The Oilers (23-24-4), on the other hand, have lost 13 of their last 18.

• Four of the Flyers' goals were off the power play, a major positive for a team that came in with the league's 29th-ranked unit. The Flyers need their man advantage if they're serious about making a push for the playoffs.

Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux, Travis Konecny and Wayne Simmonds all cashed in. The tallies by Konecny and Simmonds were particularly huge. Konecny's goal was 27 seconds after the Flyers fell behind, 4-2, on a shorthanded goal in the third period, while Simmonds' marker was the equalizer with 8:58 left in regulation.

Here's a look at all four:

The Flyers' power play now has six goals over the last two games. Prior to this stretch, the man advantage went 2 for 25 over the previous nine contests.

• Connor McDavid is a can't-miss attraction when the Oilers make their one and only trip to the Wells Fargo Center each season. He's the fastest player in the NHL and showed why when he hit another gear to hand the Flyers a 2-1 deficit during the first period.

Fourth-liner Phil Varone tried to keep up (God bless him) but simply didn't have a chance, along with Radko Gudas.

The Flyers couldn't exactly hold the 22-year-old superstar in check as McDavid finished with a goal, an assist and a plus-2 mark.

• Giroux (goal, two assists), Jakub Voracek (three assists) and Couturier (goal, assist) all had multi-point games. Couturier has been over a point-per-game player (40 points in last 39 games) since Oct. 30.

• The Oilers, having not played since Jan. 22 because of the All-Star break and bye week, looked fresh and spry, coming at Carter Hart from all angles.

The 20-year-old, who has won six straight starts, was not the main culprit for any of the four goals allowed. The first and fourth came off breakaways (one shorthanded), the second was off McDavid's nasty play, while the third was the Flyers giving Adam Larrson a wide-open shooting lane from the circle.

Hart was good and made some really tough saves. He finished with a career-high 40.

• Shayne Gostisbehere returned after missing the past three games with a lower-body injury. He looked fine, rejoining the top power-play unit, notching an assist and playing 21:27. He also had a costly turnover on the Oilers' 4-2 shorthanded goal.

However, we shouldn't forget how important he is to this team's future (see story).

• The Flyers practice Sunday in Voorhees, New Jersey, before hosting the Canucks Monday (7 p.m./NBCSP) for Game 2 of their five-game homestand.

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Flyers vs. Oilers: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers vs. Oilers: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

The NHL's hottest team returns to the Wells Fargo Center with a chance to gain more ground.

The Flyers (22-23-6), winners of six straight, open a five-game homestand Saturday when they welcome the Oilers (23-24-3).

Let's look at the essentials:

 When: 1 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 12:30 p.m.
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• Over the six-game winning streak, the Flyers have scored the NHL's second-most goals with 23, while allowing only 12. 

Before winning seven of their last eight games by a combined score of 27-16, the Flyers dropped their previous eight (0-6-2) and were outscored 31-15.

• Carter Hart has been arguably the biggest reason for the team's streak and climb to within nine points of a playoff spot.

Since Jan. 5, the 20-year-old has gone 6-2-1 with a 2.33 goals-against average, .931 save percentage and a league-most 283 saves, en route to winning NHL Rookie of the Month honors.

Not only is he looking for his sixth straight win Saturday, but he'll also be facing two friends. In the opposite crease will be Cam Talbot, who has helped Hart.

"He's actually the guy that I called the night before my first game," Hart said Friday, "just to ask him a couple questions a little bit, get some knowledge from him.

"He's been a guy who has texted me every now and then throughout the season to see how I'm doing and he's a really good guy."

Hart has also worked with Oilers goaltending coach Dustin Schwartz since he was 13 years old.

• After beating the Flyers, 4-1, on Dec. 14, the Oilers have really struggled, going 5-12-0 since with a minus-20 goal differential.

Edmonton had its bye week after the All-Star break, so it hasn't played since Jan. 22.

While the Oilers have fallen on hard times, Connor McDavid hasn't. The 22-year-old superstar has gone scoreless just three times in his last 25 games, a stretch in which he has 40 points (16 goals, 24 assists). Overall, he has 73 points (29 goals, 44 assists) in 49 games.

Projected lineup

Forwards
James van Riemsdyk-Claude Giroux-Travis Konecny
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Scott Laughton-Nolan Patrick-Wayne Simmonds
Michael Raffl-Mikhail Vorobyev-Phil Varone

Defensemen
Ivan Provorov-Travis Sanheim
Shayne Gostisbehere-Robert Hagg
Andrew MacDonald-Radko Gudas

Goalies
Carter Hart
Anthony Stolarz

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Flyers are a hot mess — and everyone should be feeling the heat

Flyers are a hot mess — and everyone should be feeling the heat

EDMONTON, Alberta — Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher believes the answers for the team’s countless problems have to come in-house.

Right now, that house is on fire and nobody can find the hydrant to connect the hose. 

Friday in Edmonton, the Oilers poured more gas on the Flyers' blazing inferno of a season that continues to go up in smoke, winning easily, 4-1, at Rogers Place (see observations).

“It’s tiring to say we didn’t play that bad and maybe we deserve better,” Jakub Voracek said. “In the end, it doesn’t really matter. It sucks. It sucks for everyone here. There are no excuses. Nobody cares. Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us. You can fight whatever feeling you want. It doesn’t matter.”

To be clear, Voracek’s not saying that the Flyers don’t care, but rather the league doesn’t care about how poorly the Flyers are struggling.

Yet, here’s the disturbing part: opposing teams don’t need to bring their A-game to produce a "W" when a B-minus effort will get the job done. The Oilers were a tired bunch, having played the previous night in Winnipeg. They were also down two key defensemen and resorted to calling up a 21-year-old rookie making his NHL debut.

On a night when three different NHL teams rallied from three goals down to win, the Flyers once again looked deflated falling behind 1-0, which is pretty much all it takes these days — and their 6-12-2 record (23rd in NHL) when the opponent scores first reflects a spiritless attitude.

“When we get down, I don’t know what it is, but we get really down on ourselves and turn into a negative bunch,” Shayne Gostisbehere said. 

Edmonton tried to inspire the Flyers. Oilers center Drake Caggiula gifted the Flyers a four-minute power play with a high-stick to the chin of Nolan Patrick that could have swung the game in the Flyers' direction. Then again, an eight-minute man advantage against the 23rd-ranked penalty kill probably wouldn’t have changed the outcome.

No goals. No momentum. No chance.

“Lately, our power play — I mean all year — we’ve been doing nothing,” Sean Couturier said. “It’s horrible. Right now, we’re just passing it around and we’re not doing anything and it’s killing the momentum.”

Even Connor McDavid had a superstar night on the scoresheet without actually dominating the game on the ice. McDavid mustered just two shots on net — a bank shot off Anthony Stolarz from behind the goal line and a tap-in putt into an empty net. His first goal came off a hard forechecking play that made Gostisbehere look rather silly (see highlights)

“I should’ve made a better play,” Gostisbehere said. “I was at the puck first and should have gone D-to-D, but he picked my pocket to their guy and then shot from the corner. Best player in the world made a good play, but I should have made a stronger play.”

Flyers hockey is one hot mess with too many fires to put out right now.

And everyone should be feeling the heat.

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