Brayden Schenn takes ugly hit in Flyers' victory

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Brayden Schenn takes ugly hit in Flyers' victory

Fifteen minutes into the second period, Brayden Schenn turned toward the back boards and was drilled by Caps winger Tom Wilson, who was accelerating from the blue line in.

The hit was so hard Schenn laid there, tried to get up, and couldn’t (see video), as Nick Grossmann jumped Wilson and a scrum ensued.

Schenn crawled out, got between the top of the faceoff circles and fell again before trainer Jim McCrossin came off the bench to help him off the ice.

Schenn fell three times to the ice (see 10 observations).

“Ugly hit and he kind of turned into it, too,” Jakub Voracek said. “He hit him full speed. It’s a hit the league is trying to take out of the game.”

Wilson got a five-minute major for charging and game misconduct. The Flyers scored twice on their ensuing five-minute power play and it changed the parameters of the game in their favor as they won 5-2 over Washington on Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center (see Instant Replay).

Though he appeared to have suffered a concussion, Schenn, according to coach Craig Berube, was “all right.”

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren would not address the media, only saying Schenn had an upper-body injury. Holmgren did tell CSNPhilly.com that he would “know more [Wednesday].”

If Schenn was concussed, it may take a full day for symptoms to manifest itself.

“It’s a reckless play, a hit from behind like that, but he’ll be all right,” Berube said. “Players are a lot faster, but I think taking interference out of the game where you can’t ride them or hold them off, they’re coming with a lot of speed.

“Guys go in there and they’re not protecting themselves very well. They turn and, basically, that is what happens 80 percent of the time. I don’t know if that was the issue tonight. I don’t think a lot of them are intentional, but guys are skating hard and fast and [someone] turns, you hit the guy, it’s a tough play. That’s the biggest reason.”

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety will review everything on Wednesday before "Lord of Discipline," Brendan Shanahan, makes a ruling -- if any.

Berube said he spoke to Schenn after the period and “he seemed OK,” though he could not determine whether Schenn underwent a concussion exam (baseline testing).

While the Internet exploded with people demanding Wilson get suspended, keep in mind that the NHL often overlooks suspensions if a player wasn’t concussed.

Caps general manager George McPhee told CSNPhilly.com he doesn’t expect a suspension for Wilson.

“It was a great hit,” McPhee said. “I don’t expect anything.”

Caps coach Adam Oates felt the same way.

“I thought it was a clean hit, I really do,” Oates said. “I watched it live, I saw it on the Jumbotron, I watched it again between periods.

“He had changed, he went across the ice, he slowed down, saw Schenn come out of the pile with the puck, took two quick strides.

“Schenn saw him at the last second and he hit him in the arm. He’s a big, strong guy. He hit him hard, yeah, to me it’s a clean hit. I don’t think it’s a penalty at all.”

Washington captain Alex Ovechkin said the same thing.

“To be honest with you, I don’t think it was a dirty play,” Ovechkin said. “He saw him coming. He turned and Willy’s a big boy. It’s always dangerous play out there, but it’s hockey.

“When you get a hit, you have to be ready, especially today. I don’t think [Schenn] was ready. Willy finished his check and I don’t think it was two minutes. It was a good hit.”

Flyers captain Claude Giroux said he didn’t see the hit live and had to go to replay.

“It’s a dangerous play and hopefully he’ll be fine,” Giroux said.

Goalie Steve Mason watched Schenn fall twice more to the ice trying to get to the bench.

“You don’t like to see that, especially when it’s your teammate,” Mason said. “We’re all hoping that it’s nothing serious for Brayden.

“He is obviously a key part to this team and when you see a guy struggling like that, you never know if it’s for his head.

“The way that this game is played now, injuries happen like that and nobody likes to see it, especially when it’s a guy on your own team.”

Best of NHL: Capitals blow lead, rebound for OT win over Bruins

Best of NHL: Capitals blow lead, rebound for OT win over Bruins

WASHINGTON -- Nicklas Backstrom scored 1:36 into overtime, helping the Washington Capitals beat the Boston Bruins 4-3 after blowing a three-goal lead Wednesday night.

Justin Williams scored twice and Daniel Winnik also had a goal to put Washington ahead 3-0 about six minutes into the second period.

After Winnik's tally, Washington went over 26 minutes without a shot on goal. Boston dominated the final five minutes of the second period, when Dominic Moore and David Pastrnak beat goaltender Braden Holtby. Colin Miller's power-play score 8:19 into third tied it at 3.

Boston arrived in Washington 4-0-1 over its last five games with three wins in a row, including a 4-3 overtime triumph against Florida on Monday night.

Evgeny Kuznetsov had two assists for the Capitals and Alex Ovechkin got his first point since Nov. 26.

Boston outshot Washington 34-20. The Capitals have won two straight following a three-game losing skid (see full recap).

Staal scores on Leafs again in Wild win
TORONTO -- Eric Staal scored yet another goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs, lifting the Minnesota Wild to a 3-2 victory on Wednesday night.

Staal has 47 points in 43 career games against Toronto, and three of his six goals this season have come against the Leafs.

Jason Zucker and Chris Stewart also scored for the Wild, who wrapped a five-game trip 2-1-2.

Ben Smith and Tyler Bozak had goals for the Maple Leafs, who dropped to 8-4-0 at Air Canada Centre.

Devan Dubnyk made 35 saves for Minnesota and Frederik Andersen stopped 17 shots for Toronto (see full recap).

Connor McDavid, Oilers' speed, skill present Flyers with 'real good challenge'

Connor McDavid, Oilers' speed, skill present Flyers with 'real good challenge'

VOORHEES, N.J. — They are among the very best – and highest scoring — lines in the NHL this season.
 
And they’re gunning for the Flyers on Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
 
Connor McDavid’s unit with Milan Lucic and Leon Draisaitl have a combined 30 goals and 78 points worth of offense. 
 
Among them, the lightning quick McDavid leads the NHL with 36 points. All 11 of his goals are even strength. 
 
He doesn’t have a single power-play goal, but is tied for the league lead with several players, including Claude Giroux, with 10 power-play assists.
 
You can expect to see Pierre-Edouard Bellemare’s unit with Chris VandeVelde and Dale Weise against this line with defenseman Ivan Provorov drawing McDavid for the first time this season.
 
“Speed and skill that Edmonton has up front presents a real good challenge for our team,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. “We have to be better with the puck tomorrow. 
 
“We didn’t do enough when we had the puck. Gave it up a little too easily and because of that, you end up playing defense a lot of the night and that’s what happened last night to us.”
 
Bellemare, who had his share of forward battles with Jaromir Jagr in Tuesday, likes to analyze the matchups against McDavid.
 
“He’s one of the best players in the world,” Bellemare said of the 19-year-old McDavid. “It’s tough not to be excited when playing against a guy who plays like this. He competes every second he is on the ice. That line is an impressive line.”
 
The Flyers better have some bad, choppy ice to slow McDavid down. Edmonton has some of the fastest ice in the league and the Oilers use it to their full advantage. 
 
Asked of McDavid’s tendencies, Bellemare said, “Is that a tendency? To be super fast?”
 
Yes it is. 
 
“When you play against them, he is a kid who is freaky fast right from the start,” Bellemare said. “Against that line, you saw [against Buffalo] that everyone knows how fast he is and he still had two breakaways.”
 
Which means the Flyers need to watch their turnovers, especially in the neutral zone where McDavid can go 60 feet in a flash.
 
“Even blue line to the top of the circle, you can’t turn the puck over,” Bellemare said. “Or he’s gone. This is a tendency we have to be careful of. All of the ice, you can’t give him any time or space. The less time you give him, the bigger chance you have to frustrate a player like this.”
 
Bellemare did some talking with Jagr a couple times in Tuesday’s game. So did Provorov. Bellemare says it helps to add psychology to the mix.
 
“You try to be in his face,” Bellemare said. “If you can win that battle against that line and our first line can win the battle against their fourth line, then it’s a win-win situation. I was trying to be in [Jagr’s] face.”
 
Jagr actually got angrier at Provorov and it showed with his hooking calls. But when Bellemare and Jagr went into the corner, Jagr got testy with his stick there as well.
 
“He was trying to give it to me a little harder,” Bellemare said. “Exactly what I need. If he is less focused on the puck, then maybe I have a chance to win that puck.”
 
McDavid’s focus will be solely on the puck.
 
“McDavid has been playing some pretty good hockey,” Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. “They’re a high-tempo team. A smart team. We’ve got to be ready.”
 
Loose pucks
Boyd Gordon came off long term injured reserve onto the active roster to give the Flyers 13 forwards. In doing that, Matt Read (oblique pull) went on injured reserve. … Defenseman Michael Del Zotto will sit against the Oilers while Radko Gudas returns from an illness. Gudas will be paired with Mark Streit, as Ivan Provorov remains with Andrew MacDonald for now. … Steve Mason, who did not practice Wednesday, will start in goal.