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.

Flyers free-agent goalie fits: Jonathan Bernier

Flyers free-agent goalie fits: Jonathan Bernier

Each day this week until July 1, the day free agency begins, Tom Dougherty, Jordan Hall and Greg Paone will profile the five best goalie options for the Flyers on the open market and project their likelihood of signing.

Jonathan Bernier
Age: 28
Height: 6-0
Weight: 184
Last team: Anaheim Ducks
2016-17 cap hit: $4.15 million

Scouting report
After being drafted 11th overall in 2006, Bernier was a highly-touted goaltender coming up in the Los Angeles Kings system and performed well in a backup role for five seasons in L.A.

But with Jonathan Quick in Los Angeles, Bernier was blocked from getting a viable opportunity to be a No. 1 with the Kings. In June 2013, they shipped him to Toronto.

Bernier did not capitalize on his opportunity with the Maple Leafs, however. He never established himself as a high-end starting goalie in three seasons despite a strong first year.

In 2013-14, Bernier was 26-19-7 with a 2.68 goals-against average and .923 save percentage with the Leafs but that save percentage continually dropped the next two years.

Toronto decided to cut ties with Bernier after the 2015-16 season and traded him to the Anaheim Ducks for a conditional draft pick. He spent last season backing up John Gibson.

Appearing in 39 games last season for the Ducks, Bernier posted a 21-7-4 record with a 2.50 goals-against average, .915 save percentage and two shutouts.

One note about Bernier: Flyers general manager Ron Hextall was an assistant GM in Los Angeles when the Kings drafted him in 2006, so there is a connection there.

Dougherty's projection
I don’t think Bernier is the best option available for the Flyers but the most likely. Maybe I’m putting too much weight on the Hextall connection here, maybe not. We’ll see.

Bernier fits what the Flyers appear to want in a goalie going forward: a short-term veteran option who can share the net with Michal Neuvirth in a platoon situation.

Hextall isn’t looking for the Flyers’ goalie of the future this summer. He believes he has that in the system already but needs to bide time for Carter Hart and Felix Sandstrom.

But he will be looking for a goalie who he can trust playing around 40 games or more next season and give the team quality in net. In that role, Bernier would be a solid fit.

He hasn’t panned out as projected and we could use him as one example of why we don’t see many goaltenders drafted high in the first round. They’re tough to project.

With that said, Bernier has found success in the past, including last season in Anaheim, in either a platoon or backup situation. He’ll come at a reasonable price, too.

A tandem of Neuvirth-Bernier would not be the worst thing in the world for the Flyers; it wouldn’t be the best, either. I think it would give them enough in net to compete.

If I had to predict which goaltender on the market will be here next season, it is Bernier.

Hall's projection
I see Bernier as one of the least realistic options for the Flyers.
 
The 2006 11th overall pick hasn't quite lived up to the hype, but he still has some cachet, probably too much for the Flyers in this spot.
 
He turns only 29 in August and in a backup role last season, his 2.50 goals-against average and .915 save percentage still ranked in the top 15 among NHL goalies that played 39 games or more.
 
The role and price in which the Flyers will offer shouldn't attract Bernier much. From the sound of Hextall, I expect him to be judicious in adding a goalie. This sounds much more like a stopgap, temporary position than anything future oriented.
 
There's a connection with the Flyers' GM here, but that might be it when it comes to the Bernier scenario.

Paone's projection
I find Bernier to be an intriguing option for the Flyers.

First and foremost, there is plenty of familiarity with Bernier within the Flyers' organization. Hextall and current Flyers goalie coach Kim Dillabaugh were both parts of the Kings' organization when Bernier was drafted in 2006 and worked with him during his development into an NHL goaltender. They not only know the type of player and competitor they'd be getting, they also know the type of person they'd be getting and that plays a role, too.

Bernier had a very strong campaign for the Ducks last season. That certainly makes him an attractive option for the Flyers. He did his best to prove he can be a reliable option again after things soured for him in Toronto. But, hey, a lot of things went sour in Toronto during those times.

But that strong campaign with Anaheim last season will have Bernier wanting opportunity and more of it. With Neuvirth entrenched here, how much opportunity would there actually be for Bernier here? Would the Flyers present the type of opportunity he's looking for after last year's showing with the Ducks? My guess is no. He'll likely want an opportunity to take on much more of a workload.

So while the option is intriguing for many reasons and it certainly isn't out of the realm of possibility, I ultimately feel this is an option both he and the Flyers pass on.

Flyers re-sign defenseman Mark Alt to 1-year, 2-way deal

Flyers re-sign defenseman Mark Alt to 1-year, 2-way deal

One day after extending qualifying offers to seven restricted free agents (see story), the Flyers re-signed Mark Alt, who was unrestricted.

The Phantoms' defenseman agreed to a one-year, two-way deal on Tuesday that will play him $125,000 in the AHL and $650,000 in the NHL.

The 25-year-old has played four years with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. 

He had one goal and 11 points last season in 40 AHL games.

Alt's only NHL appearance was his debut as a Flyer on March 28, 2015, at San Jose.

Alt has 68 points (12 goals) in 237 AHL games.