Instant Replay: Flyers 3, Devils 2 (OT)

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Instant Replay: Flyers 3, Devils 2 (OT)

BOX SCORE

NEWARK, N.J. -- There is always the potential for a letdown when a team comes back from a long road trip out west.

After going 4-1 through Western Canada and the U.S., the Flyers snuck back into town early Sunday morning, had a brisk practice the following day at Skate Zone, then headed to New Jersey to face the Devils on Tuesday night at Prudential Center.

They looked lethargic for two periods. No energy.

Ah, but they discovered their legs and mojo in third period as the Flyers stunned the Devils, 3-2, in overtime on Brayden Schenn's goal. It was their sixth third-period comeback victory since Dec. 4.

Ray Emery got his second start over the last four games and played very well with quality saves on Adam Henrique and Ryane Clowe to keep the score 1-0 going into the final period.

The key moment for the Flyers came early in the third period during a power play and them trailing, 1-0.

Claude Giroux, snubbed for an Olympic berth with Team Canada, fired a wicked wrister from atop the left circle past Marty Brodeur to tie it.

Scott Hartnell lost an assist on the goal after initially being credited with one. No matter, at 9:49 he got it back with a shot off the rush from the circle to make it 2-1.

They were 29.6 seconds left from winning in regulation before Michael Ryder tied it and sent it to overtime with a shorthanded goal.

The Flyers return home Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Center to face Montreal, which has been lying in waiting.

The start
It was horrendous for the Flyers. In the opening seven minutes, they were scored upon, had one non-descript power play and had to defend on a five-on-three power play. Collectively, the Flyers were flat-footed all-around and Emery was slow to react in net. No effort and no energy, which is why Flyers coach Craig Berube juggled his lines.

Injuries
Schenn suffered a skate cut on his left side early in the second period after colliding with Dainius Zubrus. He returned to play. Nick Grossmann suffered a left hand injury that same period and missed some shifts. Giroux took a stick to the face late in the game from Travis Zajac.

Why Emery?
You can’t argue with Emery’s lifetime numbers against the Devils going into the game: 6-4-2, 1.91 goals-against average, a .930 save percentage and two shutouts.

Why Brodeur?
Marty Brodeur’s previous lifetime numbers against the Flyers are a tad on the terrific side: 2.38 GAA, .908 save percentage, 12 shutouts.

Ties Lemieux
That’s what Jaromir Jagr did in the opening minute of play. He tied Mario Lemieux for seventh all-time in career points (1,723). Jagr assisted on Henrique’s goal 57 seconds into the game. The Flyers got caught in an odd-man rush.

Special teams
The Devils had a brief five-on-three power play in the first period but did not get a quality chance out of it.

Power play
The Flyers seemed indecisive against the Devils on their power plays but that may have something to do with the shot blocking New Jersey does. Jakub Voracek had a stellar chance to tie the game late in the second period but Brodeur made a save at the right post. Earlier in the period, Steve Downie had Brodeur beaten from slightly farther away on the same side and his hesitation was enough to allow the goalie to make the save.

Power play revisited
On their fourth opportunity of the night, Giroux tied it 1-1 at 5:18 on the third period. That was his 13th goal and fourth power-play marker this season.

Point streak
Hartnell has a career-high eight-game point streak -- three goals, nine points over that span.

Leading after two periods
New Jersey was 10-0-1 going into the game.

Blocks
Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov had several quality blocks, including breaking up a Flyers shorthanded rush against Giroux in the second period.

Scratches
Defenseman Erik Gustafsson (knee sprain) and forward Matt Read (upper body) were both injured; forward Jay Rosehill was a healthy scratch.

2016-17 Flyers evaluation: Goaltending

2016-17 Flyers evaluation: Goaltending

We begin our series reviewing the Flyers' 2016-17 roster with a look at the goaltenders. This is the first part of a four-part series.

What should have been a genuine competition in net for two players to win the prize of a long-term contract never did pan out for the Flyers this season.

Coming out of training camp, general manager Ron Hextall said goaltending was going to be the club's biggest strength with two goalies -- Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth -- essentially being 1-A and 1-B.

Instead, they both failed terribly with inconsistent performances that mirrored the skaters in front of them.

With Neuvirth already locked up for next season, all signs point to Mason leaving via free agency. That means Hextall has to find a replacement for Mason.

"We'll use the best option that's realistic for us," Hextall said recently. "Obviously, you've got salary cap, you've got term. There's a lot of factors that go into this. It's not just one. It's not just OK, let's go out and get the best goalie, whoever that might be.

"If we can get him, there's more to it than that. We'll work through our process here and in the end, we'll figure out what's our best option for next year, and the following year and after. We do have kids coming, and I think everybody knows it. 

"I don't have a lot of interest in getting into a long, drawn-out deal with a goaltender, but again we'll look at our options and move when we feel is our best option at the appropriate time."

Here's our look at the goaltenders (alphabetically) this past season.

Steve Mason 
Age: Turns 29 on May 29
Record: 58 GP; 26-21-8
Stats: 2.66 GAA; .908 SV%
Cap hit: UFA who earned $4.1 million

We've got to give Mason this much credit: For a guy dealing from the bottom of the deck, he has a lot of guts. How else can you explain how he went into Hextall's office on breakup day and asked to know his status ASAP and oh, one more: I didn't like Dave Hakstol's goalie platoon idea, and if you want me back, that's a dealbreaker. This was Mason's poorest season among the four full ones in Philadelphia. He, like Neuvirth, was maddeningly inconsistent right from the get-go until the final 17 games, when he produced some impressive numbers as the club's true No. 1 -- 10-5-2 record, 2.14 goals-against average, .926 save percentage and two shutouts. In between, anything else was possible. There's a reason why the Flyers didn't re-sign him in-season like they did with Neuvirth. They feel he's going to want more term, more money and they have a slew of talent in the minors and Europe itching to get a chance to play in Philadelphia. At least one of the four goalie prospects will be NHL-ready within two years. Mason talked like a goalie going out the door down the stretch and yet, he played like one deserving of a new contract over the final month-plus. His unedited yet honest criticism of the team on a nightly basis earned him the respect of the media but did little to gather support within the room from teammates. Many felt he needed to shut his mouth. There are two kinds of goalies: those you play for and those you play in front of. The feeling was more than a few Flyers would choose the latter and those are not the type of goalies teams rally around to win Stanley Cups. It appears management realizes that could be a problem. He'll most likely go to free agency.

Michal Neuvirth 
Age: Turned 29 on March 23 
Record: 28 GP; 11-11-1
Stats: 2.82 GAA; .891 SV%
Cap hit: $2.5 million (re-signed in-season)

After a strong playoff performance in 2016 in which he showed he could be a No. 1 goalie again, Neuvirth came into the season much like Mason, knowing a good year would mean a new deal. Well, he got a two-year contract at a reduced price because of injury. A left knee strain caused him to miss 24 games this season. His start was poor -- e.g. four goals against on 16 shots vs. Chicago -- and despite a few wins, he continued to give up too many goals, showed some promise in February, but never really gained his footing in the crease. To his credit, he doesn't pout when he's not playing and he almost never criticizes the club in such a way as to offend his teammates. And teammates respect him for that. Near the end of the year, he collapsed in net from a sinus infection and dehydration and then concussed himself by passing out backward onto the ice. Hextall is convinced he'll have a bounce-back season next year, but the bottom line is that he'll never survive a full season and 30-32 games played is the most you can count on from him. Given the club chose him over Mason to re-sign, it's unlikely he'll be exposed in the expansion draft.

Anthony Stolarz
Age: Turns 24 on January 20 
Record: 7 GP; 2-1-0
Stats: 1.93 GAA; .936 SV%
Cap hit: RFA, who earned $753,333 (pro-rated)

Remember the movie There's Something About Mary? Well, if the Flyers produced such a movie, it might be titled, There's Something About Stolie. As in, there's something about this 6-foot-6 giant that the organization doesn't like. Maybe it's his mechanics, which seem awkward at times. Or maybe it's because some in the Flyers' organization feel he makes the tough saves but gives up the easy one down low, or whiffs with the glove hand. He only had seven appearances this season. Hakstol flatly refused to play him when Neuvirth was injured -- Mason got 22 starts -- and that showed a lack of confidence. That apparently extends to Hextall as well. When asked during his after-the-season press conference whether he would be comfortable with Neuvirth as his starter and Stolarz as his backup next season, Hextall didn't answer the question in affirmative fashion. With Alex Lyon, Carter Hart and Felix Sandstorm all vying for the same opportunity Stolarz got in limited doses, the position of backup on this club remains unsolved. The door is not shut on Stolarz yet, but it's not fully open either. Stolarz suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee at season's end with the Phantoms and will miss up to four months. All meniscus tears require surgery. This is worse than an MCL sprain. The 23-year-old needs to have a great training camp to change people's minds in the organization that he's the real deal. And that's complicated by the fact his injury now sets him back. Expect him to be exposed in the expansion draft.

Up next: A look back at the defense.

NHL Playoffs: Rangers ride Zuccarello to 3-1 win in series-clinching Game 6

NHL Playoffs: Rangers ride Zuccarello to 3-1 win in series-clinching Game 6

NEW YORK -- Mats Zuccarello scored twice in the second period and the New York Rangers beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 in Game 6 on Saturday night to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Derek Stepan also scored and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 27 shots to help New York get past the first round for the fifth time in six years. The Rangers won three straight after falling behind 2-1 to beat Montreal for the ninth time in 16 postseason series.

The Rangers will face the winner of the Ottawa-Boston series, which the Senators lead 3-2.

Alexei Emelin scored for Montreal and Carey Price finished with 20 saves. The Canadiens, winners of the Atlantic Division after missing the playoffs last year, were bounced from the postseason by the Rangers for the second time in four years. In 2014, it was in the conference finals (see full recap).

Paajarvi's OT goal gives Blues 4-3 win to oust Wild in 5
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Magnus Paajarvi scored at the 9:42 mark in overtime, giving the St. Louis Blues a 4-3 victory over Minnesota on Saturday in Game 5 of their playoff series, eliminating the Wild.

The Blues advanced to play Nashville in the second round.

Jake Allen made 34 saves for the Blues, who led 2-0 and 3-1 before a furious rally by the Wild to try to keep their season alive forced the extra frame.

Paajarvi's first career playoff goal gave Blues coach Mike Yeo the satisfaction of beating the team that fired him a little over a year ago.

Mikko Koivu and Jason Zucker scored to bring the Wild back from their second two-goal hole, a deficit that held past the midpoint of the third period (see full recap).