Flyers Notes: Sore foot doesn't slow Hartnell

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Flyers Notes: Sore foot doesn't slow Hartnell

Not that he could ever reprise Daniel Day-Lewis in “My Left Foot,” but Scott Hartnell’s personal woes in that department are worthy of mention.

He blocked a shot on Jan. 14 in Buffalo and had been wearing a walking boot on and off since.

Hartnell felt certain there was fracture, but a CT scan proved otherwise.

And while most would say his constant falling on the ice leading to the #Hartnelldown mantra is proof he really does have two left feet, it didn’t seem to bother him Tuesday during the Flyers’ 5-0 rout over the Detroit Red Wings (see game recap).

Hartnell had his first two-goal game of the season as the Flyers snapped a four-game losing skid (0-3-1).

Everyone had their legs moving in this one, Hartnell said.

“Our start was crucial,” he said. “We came out of the gates skating, hitting, we were on the puck. We created turnovers.

“We needed two points. They were ahead of us in the standings. We’re going on a really tough road trip out west. We needed to get our confidence back and high going into that trip. I think guys, first line through fourth line, played hard.”

Hartnell's line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek had seven points. Keep in mind Hartnell has been moved up and down the lineup this season.

“When we had a chance we buried it,” Voracek said of his unit. “That’s the biggest point out there because sometimes you get so many chances and you just can’t get a goal.

“I think today Hartsy did such a good job driving to the net. We got a couple of bounces and made some plays out offensively.”

Hartnell scored a power-play goal in the first period and one off the wing in the second period.

“Me, Jake and Hartsy played together before and you can see a little bit of the chemistry there, but we need to be a little better, too,” Giroux said.

“If we spend a little more time in the defensive zone, we’re going to be better.”

Milestone
Longtime Flyers trainer Jim McCrossin worked his 1,500th NHL game and was presented with a piece of engraved crystal from Tiffany & Co. before the game by the club.

“It's been great to be part of an organization like the Philadelphia Flyers all but one of those years [a season with the Hartford Whalers],” McCrossin said.

“I couldn't ask for anything better. I've met some phenomenal people and the fans have awesome. I feel truly blessed to be here today and to have 1,500 games under my belt. I'm hoping for another 1,500.”

Loose pucks
Wednesday's game was the eighth time the Flyers have beaten the Red Wings by five goals. That tied the second-most lopsided win over Detroit in Flyers history. … The Flyers won 12-2 over Detroit on Feb. 2, 1974. … The Flyers have scored on the power play in 10 of their last 13 games. They are 11 for 48 over that span for 22.9 percent efficiency. … The Flyers took the season series over Detroit, 2-1. The last time that happened was 1987-88 when they went 2-0-1 against the Red Wings. They also extended their regular-season home winning streak over Detroit to eight games. The last regular-season loss to the Wings here in Philadelphia came on Jan. 25, 1997. ... Steve Mason’s shutout was his 21st lifetime.

NHL Playoffs: Rangers ride Zuccarello to 3-1 win in series-clinching Game 6

NHL Playoffs: Rangers ride Zuccarello to 3-1 win in series-clinching Game 6

NEW YORK -- Mats Zuccarello scored twice in the second period and the New York Rangers beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 in Game 6 on Saturday night to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Derek Stepan also scored and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 27 shots to help New York get past the first round for the fifth time in six years. The Rangers won three straight after falling behind 2-1 to beat Montreal for the ninth time in 16 postseason series.

The Rangers will face the winner of the Ottawa-Boston series, which the Senators lead 3-2.

Alexei Emelin scored for Montreal and Carey Price finished with 20 saves. The Canadiens, winners of the Atlantic Division after missing the playoffs last year, were bounced from the postseason by the Rangers for the second time in four years. In 2014, it was in the conference finals (see full recap).

Paajarvi's OT goal gives Blues 4-3 win to oust Wild in 5
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Magnus Paajarvi scored at the 9:42 mark in overtime, giving the St. Louis Blues a 4-3 victory over Minnesota on Saturday in Game 5 of their playoff series, eliminating the Wild.

The Blues advanced to play Nashville in the second round.

Jake Allen made 34 saves for the Blues, who led 2-0 and 3-1 before a furious rally by the Wild to try to keep their season alive forced the extra frame.

Paajarvi's first career playoff goal gave Blues coach Mike Yeo the satisfaction of beating the team that fired him a little over a year ago.

Mikko Koivu and Jason Zucker scored to bring the Wild back from their second two-goal hole, a deficit that held past the midpoint of the third period (see full recap).

Flyers excited for full-season upgrade of Valtteri Filppula

Flyers excited for full-season upgrade of Valtteri Filppula

As the Flyers packed up for the offseason much earlier than they had hoped, the focus started shifting to the outlook for 2017-18.

There was some optimism provided by Valtteri Filppula.

It wasn't anything he said. Instead, it was what he did in 20 games.

Make that a full sample size and the Flyers are excited about the possibilities.

Filppula, a well-rounded, 33-year-old center, was acquired at the March 1 trade deadline in the Mark Streit deal. He added five goals and three assists in his 20 games.

"I felt like later in the year, we had more bullets in our gun," Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said last week as the team held exit interviews and cleanout day. "(Jordan) Weal comes in and does a good job. Filppula comes in and really gives us stability. Really upgraded our top nine. So when you're talking 5-on-5 play, just to depend on five or six guys, all of a sudden you have nine guys you can count on."

The Flyers were 27th in the NHL with 128 goals at 5-on-5 -- a significant factor in their postseason absence.

But Filppula should bring more than simply a 5-on-5 boost.

The Flyers desperately needed depth at the center position to relieve some pressure from Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier. Filppula, who came from the Lightning and played seven seasons with the Red Wings -- winning a Stanley Cup in 2008 -- is a sound matchup center and plays on the penalty kill, too.

"I think with Fil coming in this year, it really helped our depth," Giroux said. "He brings a lot to the team. He kills penalties, power plays, very good defensively and he's a smart player. When you bring a guy in like that, you kind of get excited a little bit."

From Filppula's first game on March 2 to the end of the regular season, the Flyers scored 56 goals, 12th most in the NHL over that span and 2.80 per game -- both improvements from their ranking of 21th on the full season and 2.59 per game.

"Now that we feel like we have nine guys that are legit top-nine forwards," Hextall said, "we've got good balance."

Couturier saw immediate benefits when the Flyers acquired Filppula. Couturier started playing with Dale Weise and Brayden Schenn, which turned out to be the team's best line combination to finish the regular season.

"I think it just brought some depth to our lineup," Couturier said of Filppula acquisition. "I had the chance to play after that with Schenn and Weiser and we just found chemistry right away and things went really well."

It provided head coach Dave Hakstol greater flexibility.

"The addition of Val Filppula to our group up front made our group of forwards better," Hakstol said. "Not just his presence, which I think he's an outstanding hockey player, a good hockey player and a real good veteran, but it just allowed some of the others to come together. I think there's real substance there."

The Flyers hope it shows with a full season of Filppula.

"I think when Filppula came in, the balance that seemed to come with him entering our lineup helped us both with and without the puck," Hakstol said. "Will that cohesion help us generate more offensively on an 82-game basis, not just a short-term basis? I think the answers to those things are yes."