A Night of Firsts for Flyers as They Steamroll the Panthers

A Night of Firsts for Flyers as They Steamroll the Panthers

Matt Read netted his first career hat trick, Tye McGinn scored
his first NHL goal, and Luke Schenn lit the lamp for the first time while wearing
Orange & Black in a Flyers’ rout over the Florida Panthers on Saturday night.
There was nothing fluky about their 7-1 victory on Saturday night, either – the switch is
officially flipped to the on position.

The Flyers took it to the Panthers from the moment the puck
dropped, and never let up. The pressure was so relentless it often appeared as
though they were on an extended power play. Philadelphia scored three times in
the first period, twice on a 4-on-4 to close out the second, and twice more in
the final frame to finish off their listless opponent.

Wayne Simmonds and Ruslan Fedotenko bookended the scoring.

Florida pulled netminder Jose Theodore for Scott Clemmensen
after the first intermission, but that accomplished little to stop the waves of
Flyers attackers. For what it’s worth, the Panthers are notably shorthanded
right now, and it certainly showed – but Philly could use the same excuse.

While the night belonged to the Flyers’ youth, it’s worth
noting that Ilya Bryzgalov was superb, and it was not as easy as the final
tally makes it look. Bryz made some absolutely incredible saves, stopping 30 of 31 shots on goal. The only one he left through came on a breakaway thanks to
some exert cherry picking by Florida’s Peter Mueller.

After a slow start, it seems the Flyers finally might be ready for NHL hockey. They’ll be right back at it tonight in Tampa Bay, where the Lightning currently lead the Southeast Division at 3-1.

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Ben Simmons, Robert Covington react to Ersan Ilyasova trade

Ben Simmons, Robert Covington react to Ersan Ilyasova trade

On Wednesday, the Sixers traded Ersan Ilyasova to the Hawks in exchange for Tiago Splitter and a 2017 second-round pick, as well as the option to swap 2017 second-round selections (see story).

"I want to thank Ersan Ilyasova for his positive contributions to this organization both on and off the basketball court," president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said in a statement. "Ersan is a true professional whose daily examples of hard work, focus and consistency have helped facilitate the ongoing growth of our program and culture."

The Sixers took to Instagram to express their appreciation for Ilyasova’s leadership. Ilyasova quickly embraced the role of a veteran go-to when he was traded to the Sixers in early November. Both posts below exemplify his team-first mentality.

✊🏼 A true Pro @ersanilyasova7

A post shared by Ben Simmons (@bensimmons) on

Thanks for being a great teammate @ersanilyasova7. Wishing you the best in ATL

A post shared by Rob Covington (@atf_33) on

Best of NHL: Rickard Rakell, Ducks snap Bruins' win streak at 4

Best of NHL: Rickard Rakell, Ducks snap Bruins' win streak at 4

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Rickard Rakell broke a tie with his second goal with 2:34 to play, and the Anaheim Ducks snapped Boston's four-game winning streak under new coach Bruce Cassidy with a 5-3 victory over the Bruins on Wednesday night.

Rakell also scored in the second period for the Ducks and has 24 goals in his outstanding season. Ondrej Kase, Josh Manson and Andrew Cogliano also scored for Anaheim, and Jonathan Bernier made 26 saves in his first victory since Jan. 23.

Frank Vatrano scored the tying goal in the third period for the Bruins, who hadn't lost since Cassidy replaced Claude Julien on Feb. 7. Defensemen Brandon Carlo and Zdeno Chara scored early goals, and Tuukka Rask stopped 20 shots.

Anaheim beat Boston for the seventh straight time (see full recap).

Rare goal from Russell lifts Oilers over Panthers
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Kris Russell's goal with 7:58 left was his first in more than a year and lifted the Edmonton Oilers over Florida 4-3 on Wednesday night to snap the Panthers' five-game winning streak.

Russell's goal was his first since Feb. 11, 2016, when he played for Calgary. He went goalless in his first 48 games with the Oilers.

Fellow defenseman Oscar Klefbom also scored for Edmonton, as did forwards Zack Kassian and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Connor McDavid, who came into the night leading the NHL scoring race, had an assist on Russell's goal.

Aleksander Barkov, Colton Sceviour and Jonathan Marchessault scored for Florida. Keith Yandle had two assists for the Panthers, giving him 400 points for his career.

Cam Talbot stopped 31 shots for the Oilers, who have won their last eight games at Florida -- last losing on the Panthers' ice in 2002. James Reimer made 31 saves for the Panthers, who just completed a 5-0-0 road trip (see full recap).