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.

Nolan Patrick, Nico Hischier know Flyers by now, ready for anything at NHL draft

Nolan Patrick, Nico Hischier know Flyers by now, ready for anything at NHL draft

CHICAGO — Nico Hischier was nervous, swaying a bit as he spoke to the media, admitting he had some jitters as this NHL draft approaches on Friday.

About 60 feet away, Nolan Patrick leaned on a stick and said not only was he not nervous, he also really couldn't care less whether he's picked first overall Friday by New Jersey or second by the Flyers because his goal is just to get into the NHL.

"Doesn't matter to me," Patrick said Thursday. "A lot of guys will tell you what you want to hear. That they don't care, but deep down, they do.

"I don't care. It's not going to change my chances in the NHL if I go No. 1 or 4. I'm gonna take it. Where I go is not gonna help me any more. At the end of the day, I've got to work hard."

That said, Hischier is poised to become the highest-drafted Swiss player ever and if he went first overall …

"I would make history and that would make me proud," Hischier beamed. "Really happy, for sure."

Both players participated in Thursday's ball-hockey clinic in a parking lot just across the street from United Center where one of them will go to the Devils and one to the Flyers on Friday night.

"Yeah, I little bit nervous," Hischier admitted. "It's not up to me. I just have to enjoy it."

Flyers general manager Ron Hextall took both players out to dinner separately in Buffalo, New York, earlier this month at the NHL Scouting Combine to try and get a peek behind their personalities (see story).

"We talked about Philadelphia, talked about the club, the goals, what's important for them," Hischier said. "It was good dinner and went well."

Patrick, who is from Winnipeg, Manitoba, said he was impressed with the steakhouse and said what he liked best about the meal was getting into arguments with fellow Manitoban, Hextall, who is from Brandon.

"He's a really nice guy," Patrick said. "It was a fancy steakhouse. I'll take those dinners any day. He knows what he is doing in Philly. If I were lucky enough to go there, I'd be happy.

"I know all about him. He's a Brandon Wheat King. Us Manitobans always going at each other. We got into a few arguments about some of his guys. Manitoba is the best place in the world."

Right now, for a couple hundred hockey players, Chicago is the best place in the world because this is the NHL draft and what happens Friday and Saturday will impact their lives forever.

Which is why Hischier brought his older brother, Luca, here. He plays for Bern in Switzerland where Hischier also was before transferring to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League to play for Halifax this past season.

"My idol is my brother," Nico said. "He is playing pro in Bern. We have a good relationship. I'm happy he is here because I can ask him everything, on and off the ice."

Both players have some Flyers familiarity.

Hischier skated with Mark Streit last summer but hasn't talked to him since.

"Last summer, I skated with Streit, [Roman] Josi, [Shea] Weber and those guys," Hischier said. "It was fun."

Patrick played with Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov two years ago in Brandon.

"Talked to Provy two weeks ago," Patrick said. "I was talking to Brayden Schenn the last couple days. Provy works out 10 hours a day."

A few weeks from now, one of these guys will be at the Flyers' developmental camp working out in Skate Zone.

"It's not up to me," Hischier said. "I don't focus on expectations, I don't focus on teams. Everything can happen.

"I'm going to be open for everything and happy, for sure. If it's No. 2 or 3, I'm gonna be happy anyway."

Flyers begin 2017-18 season out West, face Vegas for 1st time in February

Flyers begin 2017-18 season out West, face Vegas for 1st time in February

For the second straight year, the Flyers are beginning the season out West.

The NHL on Thursday released its 2017-18 schedule and as reported Wednesday, the Flyers open the season in San Jose on Oct. 4 as part of a four-game road trip that includes games in Los Angeles, Anaheim and concludes in Nashville on Oct. 10.

They'll return home on Oct. 14 for their home opener against the Washington Capitals that kickstarts a five-game homestand (see story). The Flyers will host the Islanders on Black Friday.

Flyers fans will have to wait a while for their first taste of the Vegas Golden Knights. The Flyers will face the Golden Knights for the first time on Feb. 11 in Vegas.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and the Golden Knights come to Philadelphia on March 12

The Flyers will end the season at home against the New York Rangers.

You can see the Flyers' full schedule here (and buy tickets here).