Trial by Fire: Rangers, Penguins, Bruins on Flyers Slate This Week

Trial by Fire: Rangers, Penguins, Bruins on Flyers Slate This Week

The Flyers are more well-rested and arguably as healthy as
they’ve been at any point this season – good news ahead of back-to-back games
against two of their most bitter rivals, followed by a date with one of the
Eastern Conference’s toughest opponents.

With their victory over Ottawa on Saturday, the Flyers won consecutive
games for only the third time in 2013, finally pushing their record to .500 in
the process. It was also the club’s only tilt in a five-day span little more
than a week after finishing up a brutal span of 19 contests in 34 days.

They survived the early part of their slate, and are hanging
on tight to the playoff picture. Now they must prepare to run the gauntlet

The Flyers travel to New York for a clash at Madison Square Garden
on Tuesday, where the Rangers have posted an 8-4-1 record this season. That
will be followed by the much-anticipated return of the Pittsburgh Penguins to
the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday, with their Atlantic Division-leading 28
points in tow.

Both figure to be draining battles heading into Philly’s
first encounter of the season with the Bruins on Saturday, their .790 “winning
number one in the conference. To make matter worse, the trip to
Boston is the first part of a back-to-back, of which mercifully the second half
is at home versus the reeling Buffalo Sabres.

Philadelphia will be able to further shift the balance of
power in the Atlantic Division next week, playing a home-and-home with the New
Jersey Devils.

They’ll wrap all of that up with a game in Tampa Bay the following
Monday before receiving a five-day reprieve from hockey. Theoretically, the
time off should help them, although that amount of time is simultaneously unnerving.

Regardless, by the time the Flyers’ spring break is over,
their quickly-diminishing league lead in total games played will have evened
itself out. More importantly, between that and the caliber opponents the team
will have just got done playing, we’ll have a much better sense where this team
stands heading into the stretch run toward the postseason.

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Best of NHL: Oilers blank Jets to win outdoor Heritage Classic

Best of NHL: Oilers blank Jets to win outdoor Heritage Classic

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Cam Talbot made 31 saves and Mark Letestu scored the first of three second-period goals, lifting the Edmonton Oilers over the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday in an outdoor game delayed almost two hours by sunlight melting the ice.

The Heritage Classic victory extended Edmonton's winning streak to three in front of 33,240 at Investors Group Field. Fans wore both Jets and Oilers jerseys to the league's 19th outdoor game.

Zack Kassian had a goal and an assist and Darnell Nurse also scored for Edmonton.

Connor Hellebuyck, who had a tuque attached to his helmet, stopped 29 shots for Winnipeg.

The NHL said the start of the Heritage Classic game was delayed "due to intermittent sunlight on the playing surface" and "in the interest of player safety." (see full recap)

Girardi leads Rangers past Coyotes
NEW YORK -- Dan Girardi scored 1:55 into the third period and New York beat Arizona.

Josh Jooris and J.T. Miller also scored for New York, which has won consecutive games to improve to 4-2-0. Henrik Lundqvist made 27 stops.

Radim Vrbata had both of Arizona's goals, and Louis Domingue made 23 saves. The Coyotes have lost their first four games on a six-game trip since beating Philadelphia in overtime at home to start the season.

Girardi put the Rangers ahead with a slap shot from the right point. The veteran was paired with rookie Brady Skjei in his first game after missing New York's previous three with a strained groin, and Skjei assisted on the goal (see full recap).

Tavares' big night helps Isles defeat Wild
NEW YORK -- John Tavares had two goals and an assist, Johnny Boychuk scored for the second straight game and New York beat Minnesota.

Calvin de Haan, Alan Quine and Thomas Hickey also scored to help New York get its highest scoring total of the year and win for the third time in four home games after opening with two road losses. Thomas Greiss stopped 26 shots for his first win in two starts this season.

Islanders rookie Anthony Beauvillier had two assists, giving the 19-year-old at least a point in three straight games.

Zach Parise scored twice for Minnesota to top 300 goals for his career, and Nino Niederreiter also scored. Second-string goalie Darcy Kuemper made 27 saves (see full recap).

Ducks hand Canucks 1st regulation loss
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Nick Ritchie scored the tiebreaking goal on a rebound with 8:36 to play, captain Ryan Getzlaf had three assists and Anaheim finally opened its home schedule with a victory over Vancouver.

Andrew Cogliano, Cam Fowler and Corey Perry also scored for the Ducks, who have won two straight after a four-game winless start. John Gibson made 17 saves in the Western Conference's final home opener, thanks to a schedule that forced Anaheim to play in five teams' home debuts this month.

Henrik Sedin scored the tying goal early in the third period for the Canucks, who lost in regulation for the first time this season. Bo Horvat scored a short-handed goal, and Loui Eriksson had two assists (see full recap).

Source: Eagles CB Ron Brooks to have knee surgery

Source: Eagles CB Ron Brooks to have knee surgery

It sounds like the Eagles will be out without a member of their secondary for a while, perhaps the rest of the season.

A league source tells CSN's Derrick Gunn that Eagles cornerback Ron Brooks will require surgery to repair an injury to his right knee. The Philadelphia Daily News' Les Bowen is reporting the injury is a serious quadriceps rupture that will end Brooks's first season as an Eagle and put him on the shelf until next summer's training camp.

Brooks was carted off the field after attempting to make an open-field tackle during the first quarter of Sunday's 21-10 win over visiting Minnesota. Brooks stayed down on the field for several minutes before his leg was stabilized and he was placed on a cart.

Brooks, 28, is primarily the Eagles' slot corner, but he's also a standout on special teams. A free-agent who left Buffalo to sign a three-year deal with the Eagles this past offseason, Brooks has 12 total tackles and a pass deflection this season, the LSU grad's fifth in the league.

Malcolm Jenkins slid over to slot corner in Brooks' absence Sunday, which allowed Jaylen Watkins to come in and see more playing time.

If Brooks is placed on injured reserve, the Eagles will have an open roster spot, possibly for another corner.