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.

Best of NHL: Nikita Kucherov hat trick lifts Lightning over Bruins

Best of NHL: Nikita Kucherov hat trick lifts Lightning over Bruins

BOSTON -- Nikita Kucherov had his third career hat trick to lead Tampa Bay to a 6-3 victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night, snapping the Lightning's three-game losing streak.

Jonathan Drouin had a goal and two assists, Brayden Point had a goal and an assist and Anton Stralman also scored to help the Lightning pull three points behind the Bruins for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.

Peter Budaj finished with 28 saves for the Lightning to earn his 29th win of the season. Ondrej Palat had three assists, and Jake Dotchin and Victor Hedman added two each.

Riley Nashy had a goal and an assist for Boston, and David Pastrnak and Zdeno Chara also scored. Tuukka Rask stopped 23 shots as Boston, which won seven of the first eight games under interim coach Bruce Cassidy, has now lost four straight and six of 11 (see full recap).

Oshie beats Bobrovsky to give Caps SO win
WASHINGTON -- T.J. Oshie scored the shootout winner as the Washington Capitals overcame a stellar performance from Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to beat the Blue Jackets 2-1 Thursday night.

Despite 44 saves from Bobrovsky, the Capitals reached 104 points and extended their lead atop the Metropolitan Division and NHL standings. Oshie engendered memories of his Sochi Olympic shootout performance by again beating Bobrovsky, the goalie he scored on four times in six chances that day.

Dmitry Orlov finally cracked Bobrovsky early in the third period on Washington's 35th shot of the game. Orlov's goal tied the score after Seth Jones beat Braden Holtby on a wild scramble early in the third for his first goal since Feb. 7.

Holtby had 29 saves in regulation and overtime and three more in the shootout to pick up his 38th victory of the season, one shy of Bobrovsky for the league lead (see full recap).

Senators take down Penguins in shootout
OTTAWA, Ontario -- Kyle Turris and Bobby Ryan scored in the shootout to lift the Ottawa Senators to a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night.

Mike Hoffman scored in regulation for the Senators and Mike Condon finished with 34 saves, including two incredible point-blank stops in overtime to keep the game going.

Nick Bonino had the goal in regulation for the Penguins and Matt Murray stopped 29 shots.

After being outplayed for much of the first two periods, the Senators were much better in the third and tied the score 1-1 on the power play at 9:43 as Hoffman beat Murray over the shoulder with a wrist shot just 14 seconds after Matt Cullen was penalized for holding (see full recap).

Flyers regroup behind Steve Mason for big win over Wild

Flyers regroup behind Steve Mason for big win over Wild

BOX SCORE

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- When Zach Parise scored for the Minnesota Wild just 2:07 into Thursday's game, the Flyers were in another difficult position on the road.

This time, they responded with the type of game they've needed on the road all season.

The Flyers scored three unanswered goals by Sean Couturier, Matt Read and Jakub Voracek to beat Minnesota, 3-1, and snap a four-game losing streak on the road (see Instant Replay).

"They're a tough team to handle in their transition," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said of Parise's goal. "It's quick and it's fast. The players on the bench were outstanding, talking, real calm. Just go out and push it the other way the next shift and I thought we were able to do that."

The Flyers responded with one of their best efforts on the road in nearly two months and pulled within six points of Boston for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference (see standings). The Bruins lost, 6-3, at home to Tampa Bay.

Steve Mason made 24 saves in goal for his 100th win with the Flyers as the team was rarely challenged thanks to an all-around performance that has been missing on the road. The Flyers entered the night tied for the second-fewest road wins in the conference this season.

"Certain things on the road, you've got to be a little more specific with your game and detailed, and I think we did a better job of that tonight," said Flyers defenseman Nick Schultz, who returned to the arena where he played 10 seasons with Minnesota. "Everybody throughout the lineup did that and that's why we got a big win."

The beginning looked all too familiar, though.

An innocent looking dump-in slid to Mason, who tried to cover the puck. The puck went off his stick and Parise quickly poked it past Mason. The Wild had four quality chances early before the Flyers took control.

"They came hard early on in the game and to be able to match that speed; that was a completely different pace of game compared to what we came from in Winnipeg," Mason said. "So, it almost took a second to get your bearings straight to get up to speed."

The Flyers weathered the early flurry by Minnesota, which is safely in playoff position in the West but is facing its own late-season issues. The Flyers killed off both Wild penalties, allowing just two shots on the penalty kill.

Couturier's 12th goal of the season was critical in tying the game with 2:01 left in the first (see feature highlight).

"Coming into the room after the period, I think it's important when you get a big goal like that," captain Claude Giroux said. "You feel like you have the momentum a little bit, so it definitely helped us a lot."

Read provided the lead in the second and the Flyers, who are now 15-2-2 when leading after two periods, pressured in the third. They outshot the Wild, 9-4, in the final period.

"We didn't sit back," Hakstol said. "I thought we were confident with the puck and made some plays and spent a good amount of time in the offensive zone. We played with real confidence in our game."

Mason had been critical after the Flyers lost in Winnipeg on Tuesday, saying the team needed to be more desperate. The Flyers responded Thursday in the difficult position of being on the road and allowing the first goal.

"We knew we had to be better," Schultz said of Mason's comments. "I think on the road, you've got to be at least a .500 team and take care of business at home, and we haven't done that this year. So, obviously, we've got to get better and I think we did respond tonight. Now we have to build on it."