Brandon Manning hopes fight signals end to dispute with Connor McDavid, Oilers

Brandon Manning hopes fight signals end to dispute with Connor McDavid, Oilers

EDMONTON, Alberta — They slashed at him, poked him, even chided him from the bench when he was on the ice.

At some point, you knew Brandon Manning was going to have to do something. Patrick Maroon became his date with destiny.

The 230-pound Maroon, who has 25 pounds and two inches on the 6-1 Manning, jumped on him after a second-period faceoff.

To his credit, Manning took a beating but never went down, answering the many blows he endured (see video).

All of this a final crescendo to the entire Connor McDavid fiasco which began over a year ago, when McDavid fractured his clavicle against the Flyers. The 2015 No. 1 overall pick carried the puck past Manning when he lost a skate edge and fell, crashing into the boards with the Flyers' defenseman on top of him. As a result, McDavid missed 37 games and a chance at Rookie of the Year, while the chirping and nastiness over the hit all continued right into this week.

“It didn’t bother me,” Manning said of his ordeal during the Flyers' 6-3 loss to the Oilers on Thursday night (see game story). “I’m not scared of fighting. It’s just a matter of time. I picked my spot. I wasn’t too worried.”

Manning said he didn’t want to fight at the wrong time. It was a close game early, then Edmonton blew it open at 4-1 (see feature highlight).

Manning and Maroon were talking in the circle when they dropped gloves.

“To go out and fight just for the sake of fighting is not what I’m about,” Manning said. “We’re down 4-1, there’s an opportunity there and Maroon was willing, [so] you take it.”

Is this the end of the McDavid flap?

“Let’s hope so,” Manning laughed. “I’d love that. No, Connor didn’t say a word on the ice today. Even their guys, Patrick said ‘good job’ afterward. We would do the same thing if one our superstars got hurt. I understand it.”

Manning’s teammates gave him praise.

“It happens sometimes,” Wayne Simmonds said. “The way Manning plays, he plays hard. He finishes his checks, he’s a tough player.”

Added Jakub Voracek: “To fight a guy like Maroon, he’s a big boy and [Manning] did a great job.”

Players said the team intentionally did not speak about it before the game. Why? The focus was how important this trip is in terms of playoff standings and getting points, not appeasing the Oilers for a pound of flesh.

From the points standpoint, it’s been a dismal failure as the Islanders pulled ahead of the Flyers, dropping them further out of the wild-card chase. The Flyers only hope to salvage two points Sunday night in Vancouver.

Incidentally, McDavid quietly had a three-point game (one goal), giving him six points in four games against the Flyers.

Power play
Dave Hakstol promised “adjustments” to the power play after Wednesday’s disastrous five-minute power-play meltdown.

Ivan Provorov replaced Voracek on the first unit during one power play but Voracek was on the first unit again for the third power play in which he assisted on Brayden Schenn’s goal.

Matt Read replaced Jordan Weal on the second-unit power play once Weal was injured (see Instant Replay).

NHL Playoffs: Cam Talbot, Pat Maroon lead Oilers to 2-0 series lead over Ducks

NHL Playoffs: Cam Talbot, Pat Maroon lead Oilers to 2-0 series lead over Ducks

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Cam Talbot made 39 saves, Patrick Maroon scored a power-play goal and the Edmonton Oilers moved halfway to the Western Conference finals with a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in Game 2 of their second-round series Friday night.

Andrej Sekera scored an early goal for the Oilers, who took the first two games on Pacific Division champion Anaheim's home ice. Talbot was the difference in Game 2, making all manner of impressive saves while Anaheim dominated the last 30 minutes.

Jakob Silfverberg scored and John Gibson stopped 21 shots for the Ducks, who had gone 18 games without a regulation defeat before this series. Anaheim has never recovered from an 0-2 series deficit, losing all seven series after digging that early hole.

Game 3 is Sunday in Edmonton (see full recap).

Tarasenko scores twice as Blues beat Predators
ST. LOUIS -- Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice, including the tiebreaking goal with 3:51 left to give the St. Louis Blues a 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators in Game 2 on Friday night to tie the Western Conference semifinal series.

Jori Lehtera also scored for the Blues, and Jake Allen stopped 22 shots -- including 14 in the third period.

Ryan Ellis had a goal and an assist and James Neal also scored for the Predators, who had their franchise-high five-game postseason winning streak snapped. Pekka Rinne finished with 17 saves.

Game 3 is Sunday at Nashville, Tennessee.

Tarasenko's game-winner came on a lucky bounce. Jaden Schwartz led the rush and initially tried to pass it to Carl Gunnarsson, but the pass was off the mark and bounced off of Gunnarsson's foot right to Tarasenko's stick.

It was the first lead for St. Louis in 116:09 of the series (see full recap).

NHL Playoffs: Crosby, Bonino lead Penguins to Game 1 win over Caps

NHL Playoffs: Crosby, Bonino lead Penguins to Game 1 win over Caps

WASHINGTON -- Sidney Crosby scored two goals in 52 seconds, Nick Bonino had the winner in the third period and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Washington Capitals 3-2 in Game 1 of their second-round playoff series on Thursday night.

In a high-profile showdown of Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, Washington's captain also scored and Evgeny Kuznetsov had the goal that tied it in the third. But Marc-Andre Fleury made 15 of his 32 saves in the third period to help Pittsburgh to the win.

Crosby was a threat to score just about every time he touched the puck. He beat Braden Holtby with his first two shots of the second period.

Holtby stopped 18 of the 21 shots he faced but allowed Bonino's goal with 7:24 left.

Game 2 is Saturday night (see full recap).

Karlsson helps Senators edge Rangers 2-1 in Game 1
OTTAWA, Ontario -- Erik Karlsson scored on a bad-angle shot with 4:11 left in the third period, sending the Ottawa Senators to a 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers in the opener of their second-round playoff series on Thursday night.

The Senators captain beat fellow Swede Henrik Lundqvist from just above the goal line. The shot pinged off Rangers center Derek Stepan before going into the net.

It was Karlsson's first goal and seventh point of the playoffs. The 26-year-old defenseman, who has been playing with a foot injury, also logged more than 28 minutes in the win.

Game 2 is Saturday.

Ryan McDonagh scored for New York, and Lundqvist finished with 41 saves.

Craig Anderson stopped 33 shots and Ryan Dzingel scored for Ottawa, which eliminated Boston in six games in the first round (see full recap).