Philadelphia Flyers

Flyers Notes: Lecavalier 'unlucky' on 3-post shot

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Flyers Notes: Lecavalier 'unlucky' on 3-post shot

Vinny Lecavalier had never seen anything like it.

Jeff Carter had just scored to give the Los Angeles Kings a 1-0 second-period lead. But seconds later, Lecavalier felt the puck on his stick and sent it in on goalie Jonathan Quick. It wasn’t a perfect shot -- Lecavalier was a little off balance -- but it seemed destined to go in.

The puck clattered off one post, then the crossbar, then the other post. The goal light lit up. The horn sounded. The crowd rose to its feet.

But the official review deemed the puck to have never crossed the goal line. Play never stopped.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Lecavalier said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen three posts -- I’ve seen two. But three, I guess it happens. Nothing we can do about it.”

Another former Flyer, Justin Williams, scored moments later to give the Kings a 2-0 lead on the way to their eventual 3-2 victory that snapped the Flyers’ five-game winning streak (see story). But Lecavalier couldn’t help think that things could have turned out differently had he scored.

He had no choice but to chalk it up to “bad luck.”

“Obviously, I would have liked to tie it up and it might be a different game,” he said. “I’ve got to move on. If it didn’t go in, it didn’t go in. Whether it was three posts or one post, it’s still a post and it’s still not a goal. It was a great opportunity, a great play by my teammates, and I got unlucky.”

Ready for the Rangers
The way Jakub Voracek sees it, the Flyers can actually build off of some elements of Monday’s game as they prepare to take on the New York Rangers on Wednesday. The Rangers surpassed them in the Metropolitan Division after their loss to the Kings, taking over second place by one point.

The Flyers are in agreement that they played poorly for the first 40 minutes of Monday’s loss. However, they did come alive in the third period, tying the game at two and coming close to winning in spite of their ugly start.

“It’s a good sign we got back on the horse in the third period,” Voracek said. “But we’ve got to make sure that we’re ready in New York, because [the Kings] were up only two goals. If we play the way we did for 40 minutes at the Garden, we could be down 5-0. We need to make sure that we’re ready to play.”

And while the Flyers have struggled in recent years at Madison Square Garden, coach Craig Berube isn’t concerned. To him, those struggles are ancient history.

“We’re a different team,” Berube said. “I don’t even think about that. We’re going to go up there and give them our best game. That’s what I believe.”

So long, streak
The Flyers came within striking distance of winning a sixth consecutive game on Monday, it just wasn’t to be.

And, predictably, it was a disappointment to the team, which felt it had been on a roll.

“Yeah, it is,” Matt Read said. “But we have 11 games left. Our main focus is to keep winning games, as many as we can here and find a playoff berth. Every game’s important, every 60 minutes is a huge two points. It’s do or die.”

Loose pucks
Claude Giroux’s six-game scoring streak came to an end Monday. He had posted a goal and nine assists for 10 points during those six games. … The Flyers had 21 shots blocks, the third consecutive game in which they’ve had 20 or more attempts blocked. … Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn were each credited with six hits against their former team, the most on the Flyers.

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).