Instant Replay: Devils 6, Flyers 2

Instant Replay: Devils 6, Flyers 2

BOX SCORE

NEWARK, N.J. -- Once again for the Flyers, another brutal deal with the Devils.

With their playoff hopes already on life support, the Flyers inexcusably lost to New Jersey on Thursday night at the Prudential Center, 6-2.

The Devils came in freefalling, having lost 10 straight games. But, somehow, the unpredictable Flyers have now lost all three meetings so far with New Jersey this season, being outscored 14-3 in the process.

And salt in the Flyers' wound: Steve Mason was forced out of action with a third-period injury on a breakaway goal against (see story).

With 12 regular-season games left, the Flyers (32-30-8), at 72 points, are six points out of the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot. The Maple Leafs (78 points) on Thursday blew out the Lightning (77), leapfrogging them and the Islanders (77), who lost to the Jets.

The loss comes a day after the Flyers blanked the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins, 4-0, at the Wells Fargo Center.

Meanwhile, the banged-up Devils (26-31-12) halted their dreadful slide.

Both teams meet twice more: April 1 in Philadelphia and April 4 in Newark.

Notable goals
Once the Flyers snared a 1-0 advantage, Kyle Palmieri, Adam Henrique and Joseph Blandisi all scored for New Jersey to emphatically flip the game.

Palmieri pounced on a puck right off a faceoff and laced a shot past Mason with 1:49 left in the opening period.

The Devils took a 2-1 lead 5:50 into the second frame when Ivan Provorov turned over the puck and Henrique capitalized on a snap shot.

The wheels started falling off when Blandisi deflected a bouncing shot right at Mason's doorstep for a 3-1 advantage.

The Flyers got on the board with three minutes remaining in the first period off some nice puck movement. Claude Giroux made a beautiful move into the circle and backhanded a pass to Jakub Voracek, who hit a streaking Michael Del Zotto for an easy 1-0 advantage.

Del Zotto also tallied an assist, giving him a pair of two-point efforts over his last six games.

After the Devils countered with three goals in succession, Brayden Schenn got one back for the Flyers about midway through the second stanza.

Taylor Hall and Henrique iced the game with third-period markers as things quickly went south for the Flyers. Hall added an empty-netter for good measure near the end of regulation.

Goalie report
Just like the Flyers this season, Mason has not been able to solve New Jersey throughout his career.

It got worse Thursday and ended with injury.

Oddly, the Devils are the only team Mason has never beaten. He entered 0-8-0 with a 3.77 goals-against average and .854 save percentage in 10 lifetime matchups with New Jersey.

Mason did not look particularly quick or sharp prior to exiting. He finished with 19 saves.

Devils backup goalie Keith Kinkaid made 16 stops.

Power play
To the Flyers' credit, they created some decent looks on the power play.

Both Wayne Simmonds and Schenn had juicy looks in front during the second period but Kinkaid turned them away.

The Flyers went 0 for 3 and are now 3 for 33 in March.

New Jersey went 1 for 3.

Penalty kill
The Flyers allowed a costly goal to Blandisi and killed 2 of 3.

The Devils were perfect.

Fights
The last time the Flyers visited the Prudential Center, an all-out fiasco unfolded.

On Thursday, there was a scrum at the final buzzer as the Flyers' frustrations boiled over.

Scratches
For the Flyers: Forwards Nick Cousins (upper body) and Roman Lyubimov (healthy), and defenseman Brandon Manning (upper body).

Jordan Weal returned to the lineup (see story).

For the Devils: Forwards Michael Cammalleri (upper body), Jacob Josefson (upper body), Devante Smith-Pelly (lower body) and Blake Coleman (healthy), and defenseman Steven Santini (healthy).

Next up
The Flyers head home to face the Hurricanes on Sunday for a 7 p.m. puck drop. Then it's back to the road for a four-game trip that includes the Jets, Wild, Blue Jackets and Penguins.

NHL Playoffs: Penguins chase Holtby, beat Capitals to take 2-0 series lead

NHL Playoffs: Penguins chase Holtby, beat Capitals to take 2-0 series lead

WASHINGTON -- Phil Kessel scored twice, Sidney Crosby set up more goals and the Pittsburgh Penguins chased Braden Holtby on the way to a 6-2 victory over the Washington Capitals in Game 2 Saturday night that gave them a commanding 2-0 lead in their second-round series.

Marc-Andre Fleury was brilliant again in stopping 34 of the 36 shots he faced for Pittsburgh, which also got goals by Matt Cullen, Jake Guentzel and Evgeni Malkin. The Penguins scored three goals on 14 shots on Holtby, who was pulled in favor of Philipp Grubauer after the second period.

Grubauer didn't fare much better, allowing two goals on nine shots. Matt Niskanen and Nicklas Backstrom scored for the Capitals, who outshot the Penguins 36-23 but still face an uphill task of trying to become just the 19th team to win a series after losing the first two games at home.

Guentzel added an empty-net goal to seal it for the Penguins, his playoff-best seventh (see full recap).

Pageau gets 4th goal in 2OT to lift Sens over Rangers
OTTAWA, Ontario -- Jean-Gabriel Pageau got his fourth goal of the game in the second overtime after scoring twice late in regulation, lifting the Ottawa Senators over the New York Rangers 6-5 Saturday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Ottawa leads the series 2-0 despite trailing by two goals after Brady Skjei's score with 14:50 left in the third. Pageau cut it to 5-4 with 3:19 left in the period, then tied it with 1:02 remaining.

Pageau scored again 2:54 into the second OT, snapping in a shot during a 2-on-1 rush alongside Tommy Wingels. Pageau is the first Senator ever with four goals in a playoff game.

Marc Methot and Mark Stone also scored for Ottawa, and Craig Anderson had 43 saves.

Skjei had two goals for New York and Michael Grabner, Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan also scored. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 28 shots.

The series heads to New York for Game 3 on Tuesday night (see full recap).

Ron Hextall on landing No. 2 overall pick: 'This is a big day for our franchise'

Ron Hextall on landing No. 2 overall pick: 'This is a big day for our franchise'

You remember the 2007 NHL draft?

The Flyers were robbed that year in the draft lottery and were forced to settle for the No. 2 overall pick later that June.

They chose James van Riemsdyk and the Chicago Blackhawks — drafting first — tabbed Patrick Kane.

Well, the Flyers got some needed payback Saturday night in Toronto at the 2017 draft lottery.
 
While the Flyers didn't win the top overall pick in this year's draft, they pretty much won the lottery just the same, moving from 13th overall to the No. 2 selection (see story).

"This is a big day for our franchise," said general manager Ron Hextall, who was an assistant general manager with Los Angeles in 2007 when it was Paul Holmgren's team in Philadelphia.

"When the 13th pick went by there and we knew we were one, two or three, that was a huge move for our franchise. We couldn't be more excited."

New Jersey will pick No. 1 and Dallas will pick third. Neither Colorado, the worst team in the NHL, nor Vegas, the newcomer to the NHL, made the top three.

The Flyers bucked enormous odds to advance from 13th to No. 2. They had a 2.4 percent chance of pulling it off. They were nearly 89 percent certain to remain at 13.

Maybe their luck is changing.

"We had a lot of bad luck this year," Hextall said. "I'm hoping this is a turning point for some of that to be turned around. This is a big point for our franchise. We're obviously going to get a very good player and hopefully in years, we'll look back on this as a turning point for us."

Depending on what the Devils do, the Flyers, who need offensive pop, are expected to select either Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier, both promising forwards who are considered impact players.

While this draft is nowhere near as deep as last year's with Auston Matthews or Patrik Laine, it still holds quality in the first round and the Flyers are guaranteed a player who should make a difference.

"This isn't as bad as a draft as people say it is," Hextall said. "We felt with the 13th pick, we would get a good player. It's probably an average draft.

"The last couple drafts have been bumper but this is a good draft. Obviously, moving up to No. 2, we're going to get an even better player."

Patrick, from Winnipeg, Manitoba, played for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League and was named the top skater by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau despite missing parts of the season with a lingering groin/abdominal injury.

The 6-foot-2, 198-pound center had 20 goals and 46 points in 33 games and still was a consensus No. 1 or 2 player by most scouts. His lineage is excellent, as his uncle, James Patrick, played 1,280 games.

Hischier is trying to become the highest-drafted Swiss player in NHL history. Nino Niederreiter was taken fifth overall by the New York Islanders in 2010.

The 6-foot, 176-pound Hischier led the QMJHL rookie class with 38 goals and 86 points in 57 games this season.

Can either Patrick or Hischier play right now?

"I don't know who that player is going to be," Hextall said. "Any player, as you know from my history, they've got to come in and earn it.

"If we draft a player at No. 2 and he comes in and earns it, then he'll be on our team. If he needs more time, he needs more time."

That said, Hextall admitted his scouting staff had paid attention to pick anywhere from No. 1 to 13th or worse, especially after things started going south for the Flyers in late winter and the playoffs began slipping away.

Hextall would not compare this year's draft-eligible players, talk about them individually or indicate which player he felt might be available at No. 2.

For now, Hextall envisions keeping the second pick but wouldn't rule out trading down if the right offer was there.

"You can't say no to anything because you don't know what will come your way," Hextall said.

The Avalanche, who had the best shot at winning the No. 1 pick, will draft fourth. Vancouver is fifth and Vegas will pick sixth.

Hextall watched the draft lottery on TV after returning home from Finland.

"Sometimes you get some good luck and sometimes you get some bad luck," Hextall said. "This was a fortunate day for our franchise. This was a big one."