Philadelphia Flyers

Flyers rally past Sharks to cap California trip

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Flyers rally past Sharks to cap California trip

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- There was a common thread to the Flyers' three-game road trip to the West Coast.

They skated with all three clubs -- Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose. They were competitive in the one-on-one battles. And they had solid goaltending from Steve Mason.

All of that was evident in Monday’s 5-2 Flyers' victory over the Sharks that gave them four points in three games, a terrific road trip for Craig Berube’s club.

“A good trip,” Berube said. “We battled hard against all three teams. We got results.”

It was the Flyers first win here since Nov. 5, 1999, snapping a 13-game winless streak. Berube was a player on that Eric Lindros-led team back then.

“Feels pretty good,” Berube said. “I might have scored [in that one].”

He didn’t.

But the Flyers did in this one.

They trailed 2-1 going into the third period and you could feel they were on the upswing against goalie Antti Niemi, barely missing on two great scoring chances in the middle period.

When the final period began, the Flyers scored three goals over a 2:45 span to blow it open at 4-2.

It was a franchise-record 10th third-period comeback win for the Flyers this season, breaking their previous record of nine set in 1996-97.

“We stayed calm. It was awesome,” Wayne Simmonds said. “We knew we had ‘em. We were playing great. Tonight was one of our best games of the year, start to finish. Everyone was going, lines one through four.

“Our defensemen were going, Mase [Mason] played great. The third period we had a little outburst there, but that was because we stuck with the program.”

Matt Read, Michael Raffl and Claude Giroux scored quickly to open the period and chase Niemi from the game for backup Alex Stalock.

Raffl’s goal became the game-winner on a rebound in the slot off Erik Gustafsson’s point shot.

“This is a really good hockey team and to come back in the third period is huge for us,” Raffl said. “We played well the whole game.

“Sooner or later the goals were going to come. We kept putting pucks on the net. It worked out for us.”

Giroux posted his third multi-point effort in the last four games and fifth in the last nine games.

He had two goals and three assists for five points in the last two games (including Los Angeles) of the trip -- both Flyer wins.

“This was our best game,” said Giroux, who tied Simmonds with 18 goals as the club leaders. “We were down 2-1 pretty much the whole game, but we liked the way we played.

“We had chances and when we had them in the third, it went in. Our defense was coming in and we had chances to score. This was one of our best games that our defense played.

“When they broke out of the zone, going D to D, they were skating and it made our job easier. We weren’t spending time in our zone. We were breaking out as five guys.”

Indeed, Gustafsson and Luke Schenn -- who were a defensive pair on the trip -- were a combined plus-6. Mark Streit had a key goal early on to jump start the Flyers, as well.

“I didn't really see how it went in,” Streit said of his hard laser from the point that gave them a 1-0 first-period lead. “Simmer made a great screen in front and that definitely made a difference.

“Everything is so tight, and it was three tough games. We won two. We can be pretty happy with ourselves. Gives us a lot of confidence for the next two games before the Olympic break.

“Defensively, we have been playing pretty well. We close faster on guys in the corner and were getting help from second and third guys. And we were able to break the puck out, which makes a huge difference.

“We got to skate, got to skate. As long as we’re skating, we’re OK. Sometimes we were too passive in the past. We didn’t initiate games and we did that tonight.”

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).