Flyers Notes: Team not giving up on playoff dreams

slideshow-041613-flyers-timonen-giroux-uspresswire.jpg

Flyers Notes: Team not giving up on playoff dreams

Five points out of a playoff spot.

Five games to go for the Flyers.

Mathematically, the Flyers are alive to gain the No. 8 playoff spot currently occupied by the New York Rangers but … the Rangers' schedule favors them considerably.

Two games against Florida. Two against the fading New Jersey Devils. One against Carolina.

It’s a far easier road than the Flyers, who have Boston and Ottawa among their remaining games.

“We never give up,” Kimmo Timonen said. “If the team gives up, you won’t get that kind of game. That’s a good sign. We obviously need some help around the league, but at the same time every time you step on the ice there has to be pride and passion.

“That’s your job. To me it’s not that hard. If it’s game number 10 or 48, you still have to do your job and go out there and play for the Philadelphia Flyers. The game yesterday was great. Today there was a lot of passionate good hockey.”

Team captain Claude Giroux still believes.

“It’s the same story, we can’t be focusing on that. We have to be focused on what we have to do every game.

“Of course we’d love to have help from the other teams, but games like tonight are the games you have to win. Teams that are in the same race. We just have to focus on us and just try to get better.”

The Flyers need help all-around.

“Anything can happen,” Brayden Schenn said. “We are not going to quit, whether we are five points back or three points back.

“We are going to fight until the end and there are still 10 points up for grabs for us. A lot can happen, so we’re going to keep on fighting until the end.”

Pregame tribute
The Flyers held a nice pregame tribute to the victims and heroes in Boston following Monday’s terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon.

During a video tribute on the Jumbotron, Lauren Hart and Kate Smith sang, “God Bless America.”

Flyers president Peter Luukko, a native New Englander, very much wanted to do this.

Loose pucks
Luukko wasn’t sure what to make out of various media reports concerning the NHL having six -- yes, six -- Winter Classics next season. Talk about ruining a good thing. The Flyers are not involved, which is likely why he was unaware. He said the procedure involves the league coming to the club and asking if it is interested in hosting the event. … Rookie defenseman Brandon Manning notched his first NHL point -- an assist on Brayden Schenn’s goal. He logged 11:56 of playing time for the concussed Kent Huskins. … Oliver Lauridsen led the Flyers in hits with six, while fellow defenseman Luke Schenn led the club with six blocked shots.

Best of NHL: Bryan Rust notches hat trick as Pens score 8 in win

Best of NHL: Bryan Rust notches hat trick as Pens score 8 in win

PITTSBURGH -- Bryan Rust had his first career hat trick, Sidney Crosby added his NHL-leading 17th goal and the Pittsburgh Penguins raced by the Ottawa Senators 8-5 on Monday night.

Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel each had a goal and two assists for Pittsburgh, and Matt Cullen and Justin Schultz also scored. The Penguins poured in six goals over the final 32 minutes after spotting the Senators a 4-2 lead. Matt Murray made 17 saves after coming in for an ineffective Marc-Andre Fleury in the second period.

Pittsburgh has won three straight overall and improved to 7-0-2 in its last nine against the Senators.

Matt Stone had a goal and two assists for Ottawa. Erik Karlsson, Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone and Dion Phaneuf also scored for Ottawa, which lost in regulation for just the second time in its last eight games (see full recap).

Capitals rally late for OT win over Sabres
WASHINGTON -- Marcus Johansson scored the tying goal late in the third period and got the winner midway through overtime to lift the Washington Capitals to a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night.

The goals were Johansson's third and fourth in his last five games. He has 11 for the season.

Jay Beagle added the Capitals' first even-strength goal in three games, as Washington snapped a three-game losing skid. Braden Holtby made 31 saves in the victory, the Capitals second over the Sabres in an 11-day stretch.

Kyle Okposo scored his team-leading eighth goal of the season to give the Sabres the lead in the second period. Zemgus Girgensons also scored early for Buffalo, and Robin Lehner made 30 stops for the visitors (see full recap).

Blue Jackets sweep series from Coyotes
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Sam Gagner had two goals and two assists to help the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Arizona Coyotes for the second time in three days, 4-1 on Monday night.

Nick Foligno and Zach Werensky also scored for the Blue Jackets, who won for the fourth straight time and ninth of their last 12. Columbus picked up its 500th win in franchise history in sweeping the two-game season series with the Coyotes.

Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 17 shots for Columbus.

Arizona backup goaltender Louis Domingue had 30 saves, two days after the Blue Jackets hammered starter Mike Smith with a franchise-record 60 shots in a 3-2 shootout victory in Phoenix.

Arizona struck first 9:28 into the game when Alex Goligoski fed a pass on a power play to Tobias Reider, who slammed it past Bobrovsky's glove side from between the circles (see full recap).

Matt Read out approximately a month; Flyers recall Taylor Leier, send down Scott Laughton

Matt Read out approximately a month; Flyers recall Taylor Leier, send down Scott Laughton

Updated: 7 p.m.

Flyers winger Matt Read will miss approximately a month with an upper-body injury suffered in Sunday's 4-2 win over the Predators when he was checked by Filip Forsberg. Sources tell CSNPhilly.com's Tim Panaccio the injury is an oblique muscle pull in Read's upper torso.

The 30-year-old has six goals and four assists for 10 points through 27 games. Five of those goals came in the Flyers' first five games.

To replace Read's roster spot, the Flyers recalled Taylor Leier and sent Scott Laughton to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. That likely means penalty-kill specialist Boyd Gordon (back), who is eligible to come off long-term injury reserve, will be activated.

Leier, 22, has been playing well with the Phantoms, posting six goals and 14 assists in 22 games (see Future Flyers Report). This is Leier's second stint of the season with the Flyers, albeit his first was short — one game on Oct. 25 in which he was a healthy scratch. He made his NHL debut last season and played six games.

Laughton was a healthy scratch the past five games.

If for some reason Gordon is not activated, the Flyers can call up another forward from Lehigh Valley. Jordan Weal is tied for second in the AHL with 24 points (nine goals, 15 assists) in 20 games, while veteran winger Colin McDonald is an experienced, bottom-six option.