Philadelphia Flyers

Flyers-Devils: 5 things you need to know

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Flyers-Devils: 5 things you need to know

The Flyers (33-24-7) will begin an important three-game stretch against Metropolitan Division foes when they take on the Devils (28-24-13) Tuesday evening.

Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. (CSN) at the Wells Fargo Center.

Here’s what you need to know for the game:

1. That’s a wrap
Tuesday marks the fourth and final meeting between these two clubs this season. The Flyers have won two of the three games, most recently a 3-2 overtime victory at the Prudential Center in New Jersey on Jan. 7.

Interestingly, the road team has won all three contests so far.

Brayden Schenn will likely be a marked man. He’s collected both game-winning goals for the Flyers against the Devils this year and has three points overall in the three meetings.

The Flyers, who will play six of their next seven at home, have gone 7-1-1 in their last nine games and are one point behind the Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Devils have also been playing well as of late. They’ve won four of six since the Olympic break and are still in the thick of the wild-card race in the Eastern Conference.

2. Salute
What more can be said about Devils forward Jaromir Jagr? The future Hall of Famer has exceeded expectations with New Jersey this season and has proven he still is a very valuable player in the NHL.

In fact, Jagr is leading the Devils in assists (35), points (55), plus/minus (plus-17) and shots on goal (168) this season. He also reached the 20-goal mark for the 18th time in his career in New Jersey’s 7-4 loss to the Red Wings on Friday.

Even more impressive, Jagr became the second-oldest player to reach the 20-goal plateau at 42 years and 20 days old. Only Gordie Howe has ever had 20 or more goals in a season later in life (42 years and 324 days old), per the Elias Sports Bureau.

“He loves hockey, he loves to be out there and he’s a great scorer and has always been,” Mark Streit said Monday (see story). “He protects the puck well. You got to keep him on the outside.”

Streit couldn’t be more correct. Jagr is utterly dominant when the puck is on his stick. Watch him closely in any game and you’ll see how much trouble opponents have trying to force a giveaway when he’s the puck carrier. It’s remarkable how much poise the veteran has, and it’s one of the many reasons why he’ll be able to play at a high level for as many more seasons as he chooses.

3. Who’s hot
Adam Henrique has been playing like a man possessed. The speedy forward was named one of the NHL’s Three Stars of the Week Monday after scoring five goals in three games.

Overall, Henrique has potted nine markers and 11 points since the Olympic break.

For the Flyers, Jakub Voracek has been on a tear. He’s collected three goals and four assists in his past three games and has looked at lot more confident in the offensive zone.

4. Injuries
Ray Emery returned to practice Monday. He said his pulled groin is feeling better, but he’s not ready to play yet and needs more time (see story).

Steve Downie missed Saturday’s overtime loss to the Maple Leafs with an illness, but will likely return to his usual spot on the Flyers’ third line with Sean Couturier and Matt Read on Tuesday.

New Jersey has no injuries to report.

5. This and that
• Steve Mason will make his sixth consecutive start Tuesday. He’s 26-15-6 with a .913 save percentage and 2.63 goals against average this season.

• Martin Brodeur will start for the Devils. In 91 career games (89 starts) against the Flyers, he is 49-31-10 with a .908 save percentage, 2.39 goals against average and 12 shutouts.

• Vinny Lecavalier needs three goals to reach 400 in his career. Voracek needs three to get to 100.

• New Jersey has gotten strong play from its special teams. The Devils’ power play (20.8 percent) and penalty kill (86.4 percent) both rank in the top 10 in the NHL.

• Claude Giroux was held pointless against Toronto, but has four goals and three assists in his last five games.

NHL Notes: Devils lose Travis Zajac for 4-6 months with pectoral injury

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NHL Notes: Devils lose Travis Zajac for 4-6 months with pectoral injury

NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils have lost top center Travis Zajac for four to six months with a pectoral injury.

Devils executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero announced that Zajac had surgery to repair the pectoral muscle on Thursday.

Shero said the Zajac was hurt last week during offseason training.

Dr. Jonathan L. Glashow performed the surgery and estimated that Zajac's recovery time could last until February. The season starts in October.

The 32-year-old Zajac had 14 goals and 31 assists last season. He has 155 career goals and 280 assists. He has played for the Devils since the 2006-07 season.

The 20th overall pick in the 2004 NHL Draft, Zajac signed an eight-year, $46 million contract in 2013.

Sabres sign Zemgus Girgensons to 2-year deal

Sabres: Team signs forward Girgensons to 2-year deal
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Sabres have signed forward Zemgus Girgensons to a two-year contract.

The team announced the deal Thursday that carries an average value of $1.6 million.

Girgensons, from Latvia, is the last of the Sabres' restricted free agents to sign with the team. Buffalo's first-round pick in 2012 has 37 goals and 49 assists in 277 career games over four seasons.

He skated in a career-best 75 games last season after signing a one-year extension last September.

NHL Notes: Oilers sign star Leon Draisaitl to mega 8-year contract

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NHL Notes: Oilers sign star Leon Draisaitl to mega 8-year contract

EDMONTON, Alberta -- The Edmonton Oilers have signed center Leon Draisaitl to an eight-year contract extension with an average annual value of $8.5 million.

The extension runs through the 2024-25 season, similar to the eight-year, $100-million extension superstar captain Connor McDavid signed with the team in July.

With the signings, the Oilers are banking on McDavid and Draisaitl providing a potent one-two punch for the team as it looks to build on last season's return to the playoffs after a decade of futility.

Draisaitl, a 21-year-old German, had 77 points (29 goals, 48 assists) last season, his third in the NHL.

He finished eighth among NHL scorers, and second on the Oilers behind McDavid.

He led the Oilers in scoring during the 2017 playoffs, posting 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in 13 games.

Draisaitl was selected third overall by the Oilers at the 2015 draft (see full story).

Avalanche: Hobey Baker winner Butcher now free agent
College hockey's top player is an NHL free agent after former University of Denver defenseman Will Butcher allowed a deadline to pass without signing with the Colorado Avalanche.

The Avalanche selected Butcher in the fifth round of the 2013 draft and had until Tuesday to sign the Hobey Baker Award winner who led Denver to a national championship in April.

A person with direct knowledge of the discussions told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Butcher already has had discussions with the Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils and NHL-expansion Vegas Golden Knights. The person said Butcher has not yet narrowed his list, and is also talking with other teams.

The person spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity because the talks are private.

The Denver Post first reported the three specific teams expressing interest in Butcher (see full story).

Wild: Cullen comes home for 21st NHL season
The Minnesota Wild and center Matt Cullen have agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract, bringing him back to his home state for a 21st season in the NHL.

The Wild announced the deal, which includes $700,000 in potential performance bonuses, on Wednesday.

Cullen played the last two years with Pittsburgh, winning consecutive Stanley Cups with the Penguins. He played three seasons for the Wild from 2010-13, his first return to Minnesota since launching his career at Moorhead High School and St. Cloud State.

Cullen, who will turn 41 on Nov. 2, had 13 goals and 18 assists in 72 games in 2016-17 for the Penguins, plus two goals and seven assists in 25 playoff games. He has played in 1,366 career regular season games, the sixth-most among active players (see full story).