Philadelphia Flyers

Instant Replay: Ducks 3, Flyers 2

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Instant Replay: Ducks 3, Flyers 2

BOX SCORE

Good teams take their game to the next level when it’s on the line.

That was what the Anaheim Ducks did to the Flyers in the third period of Tuesday’s 3-2 Ducks win.

Anaheim, the fourth seed in the Western Conference, is easily the best team the Flyers have faced thus far.

Kyle Palmieri scored two goals -- both off Flyer turnovers -- as Bruce Boudreau's club turned a one-goal deficit that period into a victory.

The Ducks made a strong push late in third period, and the Flyers failed miserably in trying to answer. They were outskated and outworked the entire stanza, while goalie Steve Mason faced numerous breakdowns.

The killer goal was Palmieri’s first, stealing the puck from Vinny Lecavalier during the first minute of the third period. He went on a breakaway with a nifty backhander, beating Mason to make it a 2-2 game.

The Ducks got a goal late in the second, plus another early in the third period. Palmieri’s second goal late in the game off another turnover was the ultimate difference.

Scoring
Matt Read has a three-game goal streak. Last Thursday, the 27-year-old winger recorded a goal and added an assist on home ice to help the Flyers defeat the Rangers.

Read then followed up Saturday night at Uniondale, N.Y. with another goal against the Isles.

His scoring streak continued in this game with a goal early against Jonas Hiller. It took him two shots after collecting a pass from Wayne Simmonds behind the net, then having to shoot twice on Hiller at the left post before scoring.

Injuries
Anaheim left wing Teemu Selanne suffered an injury late in the third period and did not return. Selanne took an accidental stick from Flyer defenseman Luke Schenn during a puck battle.

Close games
For the 11th time in as many games, the Flyers were either tied, ahead by one goal or trailing by one goal when the third period began.

Righties
Can’t even remember seeing this at a Flyers game that I have covered over these many years: Two right-handed catching goalies going head-to-head. Mason for the Flyers and Hiller for the Ducks.

No goal
Mathieu Perreault returned to the Ducks’ lineup after missing one game with a wrist sprained and had a goal wiped out late in the first period. Anaheim was trailing 1-0 when Perreault tipped a shot from Selanne that went past Mason. It was denied on the ice as a high-stick and went to video review where it was upheld.

Special teams
Lecavalier picked up his third power-play goal of the season, while the Flyers now have scored a power-play marker in three of their last four games. Lecavalier has five total goals this season, even though he missed two games injured. Nice goal, too, as Claude Giroux passed the puck from the left to right circle for Lecavalier’s blast.

“It was all G. He had the puck for 10-15 seconds and was drawing everybody toward him,” Lecavalier said. “He had a no-look pass, I mean, there aren't too many guys in this league who can do that. It was a great play by him. I just had to get the puck on net.”

Penalties
Giroux, working a puck behind the Anaheim goal in the second period, was called for diving into the backboards after being lightly cross-checked by Perreault. Given the way things are in the NHL right now with board hits and concussions, why would a player deliberately dive into the backboards and risk a neck/head injury?

Faceoffs
Through two periods, Sean Couturier had won 67 percent of his faceoff draws. His line with Read and Simmonds had to go up against Ryan Getzlaf’s unit with Corey Perry and Pat Maroon.

Caroms
Andrew Cogliano’s goal late in the second period came off a weird carom. Getzlaf’s shot high between the circles came off the backboards over Mason directly to Cogliano, who buried the rebound. That said, the goal never should have happened. Flyers defenseman Nick Grossmann fed the puck directly to Getzlaf at the blue line as if he were an outlet man in a Flyer uniform.

Scratches
Forward Adam Hall remained scratched. On defense, Erik Gustafsson joined Hal Gill. All are healthy.

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).

ESPN analyst ranks Flyers' farm system No. 1 in NHL

ESPN analyst ranks Flyers' farm system No. 1 in NHL

Ron Hextall never told fans to "trust the process," but apparently any faith in the Flyers' GM has been vindicated.

At least that's the case if you believe ESPN NHL writer Corey Pronman's latest farm system rankings (it's an Insider story, so apologies in advance). Pronman has the Flyers' farm ranked as No. 1 in the NHL. 

"The Flyers don't have as much game-breaking talent as our No. 2 team (Coyotes) does at the top of their system," Pronman writes, "but 2017 No. 2 overall pick Nolan Patrick is right up there; after Patrick, the Flyers have the cupboards lined with talent at every position."

Pronman credits the Flyers with nailing his first-round picks (Patrick, Ivan Provorov), grabbing middle-round prospects that have blossomed (Shayne Gostisbehere, Oskar Lindblom) and specifically mentions Phil Myers, an undrafted defenseman that has become "one of the very best defense prospects in hockey."

For so long, the Flyers' organization was perpetually in "win-now mode," but the late Ed Snider hired Hextall away from the Kings and eventually made him GM, knowing that Hexy was taking a broader view of the organization. Instead of trading away young talent and draft picks for aging veterans, Hextall restocked a dreadful farm system to get the team where it is today.

"Not too long ago, the Flyers' farm system was a laughingstock, with C-grade college free agents making it into their top five," Pronman said. "Today, they are in the best position of any NHL team in terms of adding young premium players to their roster."