Flyers top Devils in overtime to cap road trip

ap-flyers-brayden-schenn.jpg

Flyers top Devils in overtime to cap road trip

BOX SCORE

NEWARK, N.J. -- Dainius Zubrus’ skate came up under Brayden Schenn’s jersey and touched bare skin, cutting the Flyers’ forward laterally down his left side.

He could easily have been a sliced fish.

“I got lucky there, obviously,” Schenn said. “I don’t wear a shirt underneath my gear. I should probably change that. I went to go hit Zubrus and the skate rode up and hit me in the stomach. It could have been a lot worse. Just a little scrape.”

Enough to keep the Flyers forward in the game and good thing, too, because his goal in overtime gave his club a 3-2 victory over the Devils at Prudential Center on Tuesday night (see Instant Replay). Schenn's game-winner was his fourth goal in the last five games.

Ray Emery picked up his fifth win in net and was outstanding in keeping the score 1-0 into the third period when the Devils could have easily had four goals.

Officially, the Flyers return home 5-1 off their extended road trip in which they won four games by coming from behind. In fact, nine of their last 12 wins overall have been comeback victories.

“It’s confidence,” coach Craig Berube said. “They know they can win games. Whether down or tied or leading, they’ve done a good job either way. We’re down a goal or two, they come out and know they got to give a little extra, try a little more to get back in the game.

“We got the lead, doing a good job holding it, doing the right things offensively and defensively. But it’s more confidence knowing we can win the game.”

The Flyers needed it, too, because they gave up an early goal to Adam Henrique in the first minute but didn’t panic. They stayed with the game plan, though lacking energy, tied the game in the third period, then lost the lead late and still didn’t panic going into overtime.

“It’s been a long road trip,” Jakub Voracek said. “We played pretty well since the second periods and tonight was another. It’s a tough building to play in. They are a very tough team here. We stayed patient. It paid off in the end.

“When you start winning, you get confidence in yourself. The attitude on the bench is if we are down or up or we are tied, we always have a winning attitude. That is what a winning team has to have, a winning attitude, and we showed that the last two months.”

The victory increased the Flyers' lead over others as the second team in the Metropolitan Division. The Flyers now have 48 points -- two more than Washington in third place and five ahead of the Devils who are sixth in the division.

The start was brutal and Berube said he spoke to his club between periods about competing harder which the Flyers did.

Henrique’s goal held until Claude Giroux’s tied it early in the third and then Scott Hartnell gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead, which they would lose at period’s end with the Devils shorthanded and attacking with an extra skater anyway.

“We should have had [Marek Zidlicky's pass] covered, but we came up with a huge two points in the overtime,” Voracek said.

Indeed, the Flyers won with Schenn’s goal off the rush at 3:10 of OT against Devils goalie Marty Brodeur.

“I came off the bench and Simmer [Wayne Simmonds] was doing some hard work down in the corner,” Schenn said. “We got it up to [Nick] Grossmann who snuck in behind the guys and made a nice slap pass [to me], and I was looking at an empty cage.”

Flyers-Wild 5 things: Road trip about to become a horror story?

Flyers-Wild 5 things: Road trip about to become a horror story?

Flyers (33-31-8) at Wild (44-22-6)
8 p.m. on CSN, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App; Pregame Live at 7:30

A four-game road trip takes a daunting turn Thursday night when the Flyers play the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.

Here are five things to know for the matchup:

1. Hazardous road
You thought things were already ugly?

It looks like it could get much, much worse.

The Flyers now visit three of the NHL's top five clubs, starting with the Wild, followed by the Blue Jackets and the Penguins.

Those three are a combined 137-58-21 overall and 79-24-5 at home.

And it's safe to say the Flyers don't have any momentum heading into this gauntlet. They're coming off a 3-2 loss to the Jets, a non-contender decimated by injuries, and are 4-15-3 on the road since Dec. 19 with a minus-36 goal differential.

"We need to have a better effort," Steve Mason said postgame Tuesday. "We keep playing like this and we'll be mathematically eliminated before we know it."

2. Hole gets deeper
With a win over the Blue Jackets on Wednesday, the Maple Leafs moved past the Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division, making Boston the current leader for the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot at 82 points.

The Flyers, with 74 points, trail the Bruins, Islanders (80), Lightning (77) and Hurricanes (75), who have a game in hand, as well. Oh, and the Panthers are just one point behind the Flyers.

Ten regular-season games remain and Dave Hakstol's group needs a miracle.

In search of some type of spark, the Flyers will strut out a different look against the Wild.

"We're running out of time here, so hopefully a couple line changes here gives us a little spark offensively," Matt Read said Wednesday. "We've still got to play better defensively, but you know it's kind of do-or-die right now. So hopefully chemistry clicks right away and things can start going off the bat."

3. A look at the Wild
Minnesota, which went 30-6-3 from the start of December to the end of February, has cooled off a bit but is still one of the most well-rounded teams in the NHL.

The Wild are 3-8-0 in March. For the season, however, they rank among the league's top 10 in goals per game (3.22 -- second), goals against per game (2.47 -- tied for sixth), power-play percentage (21.3 -- ninth) and penalty-kill percentage (83.8 -- seventh).

Mikael Granlund, Eric Staal, Nino Niederreiter and Jason Zucker all have 20 or more goals, while netminder Devan Dubnyk has been a top-five goalie at 37-18-3 with a 2.17 goals-against average and .927 save percentage.

4. Keep an eye on ...
Flyers: Jakub Voracek has no goals and an assist in his last six games for a minus-5 rating. When he's not providing offense, the Flyers predictably struggle. The good thing: Voracek owns 16 points in 18 career games against Minnesota.

Wild: Ryan Suter has been a stud for the Wild. The defenseman leads the NHL as a plus-34 and is third with 27:07 of ice time per game. The 32-year-old is Minnesota's backbone and the Wild are 21-6-1 in games that he has at least one point.

5. This and that
• Mason will make his 11th start in the last 12 games. He is 7-6-1 lifetime against Minnesota with a 2.59 goals-against average and .911 save percentage.

• Dubnyk is 2-4-1 with a 2.72 goals-against average and .917 save percentage in seven career games against the Flyers.

• Brandon Manning is back in the lineup for Michael Del Zotto (see Skate Update). Manning missed the last fives games with a shoulder injury.

• Former Flyer Ryan White is out for the Wild with an illness.

Flyers Skate Update: Brandon Manning back in lineup vs. Wild

Flyers Skate Update: Brandon Manning back in lineup vs. Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Facing a critical road game in Minnesota on Thursday night, the Flyers will welcome back a key defenseman to their lineup.

Brandon Manning, who has missed the past five games with a shoulder injury, will return and pair with Radko Gudas on the blue line.

“We’re playing a heavy team tonight,” coach Dave Hakstol said. “They’ve got some size up front. They’re a heavy team down low. So, we’ll need that pair to play that way. They’ve got to be an abrasive pair and they have to be on the heavy side defensively.”

Michael Del Zotto will be the odd man out as the Flyers have seven healthy defensemen again. Manning, with three goals and seven assists in 57 games this season, said he’s not worried about conditioning or the injury.

“I’m not too worried about that,” Manning said. “I’m feeling good, I’m feeling strong. Did some contact a few days ago and not even thinking about it.”

Toronto’s win in Columbus on Tuesday night allowed the Maple Leafs to surpass Boston in the Atlantic Division. The Bruins now hold the No. 8 spot in the playoff race with 82 points with nine games remaining. The Flyers are eight points back, with three teams in between, and 10 games left in the season.

Their play on the road is one big reason why the Flyers are out of a playoff spot. They are 12-20-4 on the road this season, tied for the second-fewest road wins among Eastern Conference teams. They’re winless in their last six road games (0-5-1) as they play the second game of a four-game trip.

“I don’t think there’s panic,” Manning said. “I think the focus is on each and every night, not really looking too far down the road. Obviously, the last couple weeks, we’ve probably given up points we don’t want to give up and put ourselves in a pretty tough spot. But we got a good group of guys in here, and guys that have played pro hockey long enough that know what it’s like.”

With Del Zotto's being scratched for Manning, Nick Schultz will play what could be his final game in the Xcel Energy Center, where he spent 10 seasons with the Wild. Schultz, a second-round draft pick by Minnesota in 2000, ranks second in franchise history with 743 games played.

Hakstol said Schultz’s history wasn’t a factor in keeping the defenseman in the lineup.

“He’s filled his role well the last few games,” Hakstol said. “He’s been good in that role with Ghost. So, he’s staying in for that reason.”

Goaltender Steve Mason will start for the 11th time in 12 games. He has a 2.25 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in his last 10 games.

Lineup
F: Read-Giroux-Voracek
Weal-Filppula-Simmons
Schenn-Couturier-Weise
Konecny-Bellemare-VandeVelde

D: Provorov-MacDonald
Schultz-Gostisbehere
Manning-Gudas

G: Mason