Flyers Notes: Some celebration in order?


Flyers Notes: Some celebration in order?

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Claude Giroux was almost being sheepish in admitting it happened.
The Flyers actually allowed themselves a bit of celebration after clinching a playoff berth Tuesday night with a 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center (see recap).
“A little bit [of celebrating] to be honest,” Giroux said of the postgame atmosphere in the Flyers’ dressing room.
The Flyers almost looked like they were celebrating on ice after making it 4-0 heading into the final period. They got a little too lax, and Florida scored twice to make it a bit hairy.
“We were playing pretty good to get into playoff position right now,” Giroux said. “We played well. The third period tonight wasn’t acceptable. We let [Steve] Mason playing by himself and we need to do a better job playing in the third period and get dialed in at the end of games like this.
“We kind of took our foot off the gas. It was unacceptable. ... We only have three games [left] to work on our game and get ready for the playoffs.”
The Flyers will practice Wednesday in Tampa before meeting the Lightning on Thursday night.
The goalie
For Mason, this will be only his second taste of playoff hockey. He dined five years ago in Columbus, where he won the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year, but admits it was so long ago it doesn’t matter.
“You see what the Flyers' fan base brings every single game, and it’s an exciting thing to be part of,” said Mason, who had 38 saves in the win. “I haven’t been part of a playoff series with this team.
“But watching on TV, there’s a great atmosphere within the Wells Fargo Center. Come the first game, it’s going to be rocking.”
Two goals
Giroux had his 11th career two-goal game as the Flyers improved to 20-2-1 when he scores a goal.
Both scores came less than three minutes apart in the second period to make it a 3-0 game.
“Obviously, those goals were huge for us to get the lead,” Giroux said.
Third period
Coach Craig Berube wasn’t happy with it.
“They made it closer than it should have been,” he said, adding that the first period wasn’t great, either.
“For me, it was turnovers and just sloppy play. Sloppy hockey more than anything. We didn’t execute very well. Too soft and we weren’t doing what we talked about in the game plan.”
The Flyers let their focus slip, then got it back.
The Flyers qualified  for the playoffs for the 37th time in their 45 years of play and the 17th time in the last 19 seasons.

Loose pucks
• The Flyers committed just one penalty in the game and killed off the ensuing Florida power play. It was their 20th consecutive successful kill on the road. They haven’t allowed a power-play goal on the road since Feb. 3 at San Jose.

• The Flyers scored four goals in the second period. That’s nine goals in the second period of the last three games. Prior to that, they had scored 65 second-period goals in 76 games this season (0.86 per game).

• The Panthers had 40 shots, marking only the fourth time Florida has ever recorded 40 or more shots in a game against the Flyers.

• Adam Hall had two assists for his 14th career multi-point game and first with the Flyers.

• Defenseman Nick Grossmann was a plus-4, which is the second-highest single-game rating of his career. He was plus-5 for Dallas in a 5-2 win over Calgary on Oct. 9, 2009.

Best of NHL: Oilers blank Jets to win outdoor Heritage Classic

Best of NHL: Oilers blank Jets to win outdoor Heritage Classic

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Cam Talbot made 31 saves and Mark Letestu scored the first of three second-period goals, lifting the Edmonton Oilers over the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday in an outdoor game delayed almost two hours by sunlight melting the ice.

The Heritage Classic victory extended Edmonton's winning streak to three in front of 33,240 at Investors Group Field. Fans wore both Jets and Oilers jerseys to the league's 19th outdoor game.

Zack Kassian had a goal and an assist and Darnell Nurse also scored for Edmonton.

Connor Hellebuyck, who had a tuque attached to his helmet, stopped 29 shots for Winnipeg.

The NHL said the start of the Heritage Classic game was delayed "due to intermittent sunlight on the playing surface" and "in the interest of player safety." (see full recap)

Girardi leads Rangers past Coyotes
NEW YORK -- Dan Girardi scored 1:55 into the third period and New York beat Arizona.

Josh Jooris and J.T. Miller also scored for New York, which has won consecutive games to improve to 4-2-0. Henrik Lundqvist made 27 stops.

Radim Vrbata had both of Arizona's goals, and Louis Domingue made 23 saves. The Coyotes have lost their first four games on a six-game trip since beating Philadelphia in overtime at home to start the season.

Girardi put the Rangers ahead with a slap shot from the right point. The veteran was paired with rookie Brady Skjei in his first game after missing New York's previous three with a strained groin, and Skjei assisted on the goal (see full recap).

Tavares' big night helps Isles defeat Wild
NEW YORK -- John Tavares had two goals and an assist, Johnny Boychuk scored for the second straight game and New York beat Minnesota.

Calvin de Haan, Alan Quine and Thomas Hickey also scored to help New York get its highest scoring total of the year and win for the third time in four home games after opening with two road losses. Thomas Greiss stopped 26 shots for his first win in two starts this season.

Islanders rookie Anthony Beauvillier had two assists, giving the 19-year-old at least a point in three straight games.

Zach Parise scored twice for Minnesota to top 300 goals for his career, and Nino Niederreiter also scored. Second-string goalie Darcy Kuemper made 27 saves (see full recap).

Ducks hand Canucks 1st regulation loss
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Nick Ritchie scored the tiebreaking goal on a rebound with 8:36 to play, captain Ryan Getzlaf had three assists and Anaheim finally opened its home schedule with a victory over Vancouver.

Andrew Cogliano, Cam Fowler and Corey Perry also scored for the Ducks, who have won two straight after a four-game winless start. John Gibson made 17 saves in the Western Conference's final home opener, thanks to a schedule that forced Anaheim to play in five teams' home debuts this month.

Henrik Sedin scored the tying goal early in the third period for the Canucks, who lost in regulation for the first time this season. Bo Horvat scored a short-handed goal, and Loui Eriksson had two assists (see full recap).

Michael Del Zotto, Scott Laughton return to practice

Michael Del Zotto, Scott Laughton return to practice

VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers welcomed two more players out on to the rink for their practice following Saturday’s 6-3 win over Carolina. 

Michael Del Zotto (lower body) and Scott Laughton (lower body) returned to the ice for the first time since suffering injuries within days of each other. Before Sunday’s light practice, Del Zotto and Laughton had skated two consecutive days prior to work on their conditioning. 

“It’s nice to see them back with the group,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. 

Laughton, who injured himself during a training camp practice after losing an edge, was a bit more forward than Del Zotto on when he hopes to return. 

“I would say within the next five to seven days,” Laughton said.

The 22-year-old pointed to Saturday’s game with Pittsburgh as his target to return. 

As for Del Zotto, the defenseman didn’t want to jinx anything, saying it’s a “day-by-day” situation. He would like to think he’s working on the same timetable as Laughton. If that’s the case, he would be back either a few days before or right on cue with the projected four to five weeks he was scheduled to miss after suffering an injury to his left knee in the preseason against the New York Rangers on Oct. 6. 

“It’s kind of trial and error,” Del Zotto said. 

Above all else, though, the two were just happy to be back with their teammates. Del Zotto said that being around everyone really rejuvenated his spirits. 

“Just being back around the guys and having that team chemistry and camaraderie and being able to joke with the guys,” Del Zotto said, “it’s probably been the best thing for me.”

This past month has especially been hard on the two because of the timing and how last season ended for them. 

While there’s never an ideal time to suffer an injury, the pair saw training camp and the approaching start of the regular season in a different light than most of their teammates.

It was supposed to be their new start. Last season, Del Zotto missed the final few months, including the postseason, after ligament damage to his left wrist. He was having a strong preseason, arguably the top defenseman in camp at the time before suffering his setback.

“Being out so long last year and having to sit and watch playoffs than having six months of grueling rehab to get back into it … that made it sting that much more,” Del Zotto said. “That’s part of the game. It’s a contact sport. I signed up for this.”

The same can be said for Laughton, who experienced a scary injury in Game 4 against Washington after being dumped head first into the boards. 

“I was really excited to have camp and start the year here,” Laughton said. 

The two will be traveling to Montreal with the rest of the Flyers for Monday’s contest. They will each do the morning skate with another bag skate afterward.