Instant Replay: Ducks 5, Flyers 3

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Instant Replay: Ducks 5, Flyers 3

BOX SCORE

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The drive to the Olympic break began in earnest Thursday night at Honda Center as the Flyers played a fiercely-competitive game against the Ducks yet still lost, 5-3.

It was the first of three games against the top three clubs in the Pacific Division.

This one had all elements you want -- physical, even chippy hockey, with skating, scoring and even a Gordie Howe Hat Trick from Ryan Getzlaf.

The Flyers didn’t help themselves, either.

Trailing 3-2 in the final period and working on the power play, they allowed their ninth shorthanded goal of this season at 12:26 to ruin any chance of tying the game after Kimmo Timonen turned the puck over.

The Ducks had two big goals in this one.

They scored in the final 35 seconds of the opening period to go into the dressing room ahead 2-1 and then added a goal in the second period.

The Flyers drew to within 3-2 in the third period off Matt Read’s deflection of a shot from Mark Streit.

Flyers coach Craig Berube talked about skating hard and his team did that, but the Ducks move rather quickly on the breakout thanks to defensive pairing of Hampus Lindholm and Francois Beauchemin. They were each plus-3 going into the third period.

Shorthanded goal
Timonen’s pass was picked up by Saku Koivu for a two-on-one break that resulted in Daniel Winnik’s shorthanded goal. The Flyers and Edmonton lead the NHL with nine shorthanded goals allowed this season. Timonen was minus-3 in the game.

Up next
The Flyers meet the L.A. Kings in a rare Saturday afternoon game at Staples Center. This will be the first time Brayden Schenn has played against the Kings as a Flyer. It will also be the first time the Flyers have met the Kings with both Jeff Carter and Mike Richards in the lineup. Carter was still a Blue Jacket the last time these two clubs met.

First shot
It took 3:21 before Scott Hartnell put one on net for either team.The Flyers were moving their legs that first period but not generating shots.

Double deflection
Remember Patrick Maroon? A guy who quickly fell out of favor with the Flyers. He scored on a double deflection at 10:38 of the first period as Anaheim scored first in the game, even though the Flyers pretty much dominated the first half of the period.

The puck deflected first off Wayne Simmonds, taking a sharp righthand turn on goalie Steve Mason, before Maroon deflected it for his fifth goal this season.

Big hit
It was only a matter of time before Zac Rinaldo lined up someone and delivered a big hit after sitting out 10 games with a sprained ankle. It was a clean hit, too, on Nick Bonino, who went off the ice immediately to the dressing room in the first period. Rinaldo actually drew two penalties that period while the Flyers scored a power-play goal on the first one. Bonino came back briefly in the second period, then left the game for good.

Wow pass
Erik Gustafsson split a couple of Ducks to somehow locate Vinny Lecavalier, who beat goalie Frederik Andersen from the right circle to tie the game at 1-1 on the power play. Lecavalier has two goals in his last four games.

Wow save
Andersen’s mid-air grab of Lecavalier’s rebound in the paint during the Flyers' second power play.

Wow save II
Mason on Winnik in the third period.

Bad goal
Getzlaf’s deflection of Lindholm’s point shot in the final 35.1 seconds of the first period to regain the lead for Anaheim, 2-1. The Flyers have given up a goal in the final seconds of the first period twice in the last three games.

Gordie Howe
Getzlaf had a goal, an assist and a fight. Weird thing is, his only other fight was against Steve Downie in the season opener when the latter was with Colorado.

Milestone
Downie has been waiting since mid-December to get his 100th NHL assist. He got it on the Lecavalier power-play goal.

Let ‘em play
Officials allowed both teams to settle things on the ice and have a go at it. The game was very chippy game -- the way most NHL clubs would prefer to play rather than go to the penalty box.

Corey Perry
He had consecutive scoring chances in the second period. Mason swiped away one shot but was helpless to do anything on the next rush up ice with Perry and Getzlaf, who gave his right wing a perfect pass off an odd-man rush. Perry made it 3-1 with his 29th goal.

Special teams
The Flyers were a disappointing 1 for 4 on the power play. Anaheim was 0 for 1.

Fights
Downie and Getzlaf fought to a draw in the second period. It was Downie’s first fight since suffering a concussion during a fight against Aaron Volpatti on Nov. 1.

Scratches
Defensemen Hal Gill and Andrej Meszaros; forward Jay Rosehill. All were healthy.

Empty net
The Flyers pulled Mason with three minutes left and Koivu scored.

There's a new game in town: The Philadelphia Rebels

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John Boruk/CSNPhilly.com

There's a new game in town: The Philadelphia Rebels

The opportunity to watch a Briere play again in Philadelphia will be an exciting reality for hockey fans this season.

No, Danny Briere isn’t coming out of retirement as the former Flyers forward has committed to handling the day-to-day operations of the organization’s newest ECHL team.  

However, Briere will be keeping close tabs on his younger son, Carson, who’s currently on the Philadelphia Rebels' 30-man roster and is setting his sights on making the team’s final cuts during training camp.

“It’s great,” Briere said Monday. “Growing up here for most of my life, I love Philly. It’s fun getting to play in the same city that [my dad] did. Whenever I think of him playing, I always think of that playoff run [in 2010] for the Flyers.”

After spending the past two seasons at IceWorks in Aston, Pennsylvania, the NAHL’s (North American Hockey League) Rebels are moving their operation to the Penn Ice Rink at the Class of 1923 Arena, where they made the formal announcement on Monday. It will be the organization’s third different home rink in the past four seasons after relocating from the Rio Grande Valley in 2015.

“It was a no-brainer,” team owner Marko Dundovich said. “When the opportunity presented itself, it was very easy. I think it will give the boys a better opportunity to play, get them seen and I think it’s going to continue to grow here, and our business and organization will do much better here.”

The Rebels and junior hockey simply didn’t attract a broad appeal in the Philadelphia suburbs like ownership had hoped, and as a result, attendance lagged as the team typically averaged around 125 fans a game.

“It was the first time we tried Junior A hockey here,” Dundovich said. “If we had a 300-, 400- or 500-person fan base, we would have been OK in Aston, but I think it was tough to sell a junior hockey ticket in Aston. It’s a difficult sell in a small town.”   

Conversely, hockey fans in Philadelphia haven’t had much of an alternative to the Flyers since the Phantoms left the city in 2009 for Glens Falls, New York. Rebels forward Aaron Maguyon, who stays with former Flyers captain Keith Primeau throughout the season, feels the team cannot only fill the 2,500-seat ice rink, but the players will greatly benefit from the college vibe.  

“I think it prepares us for the future and playing college hockey, for sure, so in that way, it’s like a sneak peek for what’s to come," Maguyon said. "I think it helps pull guys closer together. We have restaurants we can go to or just activities we can do in the city."

According to the league website, the NAHL set a new single-season NCAA record with 280-plus commitments, and the Rebels had 12 commit to Divison I programs. Head coach Joe Coombs has built a tier-II junior hockey powerhouse over the past two years. Last season, the Rebels finished with the NAHL’s best regular-season record, advancing to the championship game of the Robertson Cup in Duluth, Minnesota, where they came up short in a 2-0 loss to the Lone Star Brahmas. 

“This is business,” Coombs said. “Let’s bring the game to the people. Over the last two years, we struggled with our attendance. I didn’t even know this place was here — UPenn hockey rink — and we couldn’t think of a better venue right here in University City to try and market our brand of hockey and bring our game to the people.”  

And who knows? You might just see a few former Flyers in the seats, as well.  

NHL Notes: Penguins sign defenseman Brian Dumoulin to 6-year contract

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USA Today Images

NHL Notes: Penguins sign defenseman Brian Dumoulin to 6-year contract

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin has turned his steady play for the Stanley Cup champions into a new contract.

Dumoulin and the team agreed to a six-year deal on Monday that will run through the 2022-23 season and will pay him an average of $4.1 million per year.

The 25-year-old Dumoulin had three goals and 11 assists during Pittsburgh's run to the Cup this spring and hasn't missed a playoff game during the team's sprint to back-to-back titles.

Dumoulin averaged a team-high 21:59 of ice time this postseason, and his plus-9 rating was best among Penguins defensemen. Dumoulin was forced to take on a larger roll this spring after injuries forced Kris Letang to miss the playoffs.

Predators: Watson signs 3-year, $3.3 million deal
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Nashville Predators have signed forward Austin Watson to a three-year $3.3 million deal keeping him under contract through 2019-20.

The Predators announced the deal Monday.

Watson will earn $1 million this season, $1.1 million in 2018-19 and $1.2 million in the third year.

The 25-year-old forward is coming off his best season yet with Nashville. The 6-foot-4, 204-pound Watson had a career high with five goals and seven assists in 77 games this past season. Watson scored four goals and had nine points in 22 playoff games helping Nashville reach the Stanley Cup Final.

The 18th pick overall in the 2010 draft, Watson had three goals and 10 points in 57 games during the 2015-16 season.

Now, center Ryan Johansen is Nashville's lone restricted free agent awaiting a new deal.

Sabres: Okposo says he’s healthy after concussion
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Sabres winger Kyle Okposo said he is fully healthy after a concussion led to sleeping trouble, significant weight loss and a trip to intensive care last March.

Okposo missed the final few weeks of Buffalo's season with a previously undisclosed illness. In a letter posted on the team's website Monday, Okposo said a routine hit in practice caused his mood to change and other problems that required hospitalization.

The 29-year-old said he lost his appetite, had a negative reaction to sleep medications and that at one point he weighed less than 200 pounds. He spent time in the Neuro Surgical ICU at Buffalo General Hospital to be stabilized. Okposo's playing weight is listed at 218 pounds.

Okposo played in a 4-on-4 summer league game in Minnesota with other NHL players last week and reported feeling great. New general manager Jason Botterill said Okposo was on track to be ready for training camp.

"I've worked with a lot of different people -- concussion experts and people who have dealt with concussions themselves -- and I feel confident in the fact that I can play hockey again," Okposo said in the letter. "In fact, I know I can play again. I know I can play and not worry about hitting my head, which is a major hurdle for someone who's dealt with this. If I didn't feel 100 percent right now, that probably wouldn't be the case."

Okposo's last NHL game was March 27 against Florida. He had 19 goals and 26 assists for 45 points in 65 games during his first season with Buffalo. He signed a $42 million, seven-year contract with the Sabres last summer.

NHL: Gamble to get back Hall of Fame ring
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- A scuba-diving treasure hunter who found an American Hockey League Hall of Fame ring in one of New York's Finger Lakes is returning it to its owner.

Gary Gavurnik, of Auburn, New York, plans to return the prized ring to former AHL star Dick Gamble on Monday. Gavurnik found it with a metal detector in Canandaigua Lake over the Fourth of July weekend.

The 88-year-old Canadian-born Gamble starred for the AHL's Rochester Americans and retired early in the 1969-70 season. He was inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame in 2007.

Instead of wearing the ring, though, he gave it to his son, Craig, who wore it every day for seven years before losing it in the lake. He never told his dad and ordered a replacement.