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-Oilers 5 things: Winning streak meets Connor McDavid

Flyers-Oilers 5 things: Winning streak meets Connor McDavid

Flyers (15-10-3) vs. Oilers (14-10-4)
7 p.m. on CSN and CSNPhilly.com, Pregame Live at 6:30

The hottest team in the NHL will meet the hottest young star on Thursday night when the Flyers host the Edmonton Oilers at the Wells Fargo Center.

Here are five things you need to know for the matchup:

1. McDavid and Co.
The Flyers are going for their seventh consecutive victory, which would tie their longest winning streak since Dec. 2-15, 2011, when they also won seven in a row.

In order to do so, they’ll have to slow down transcendent talent Connor McDavid and the prolific but streaky Oilers.

McDavid, a generational player, has thus far lived up to all the hype surrounding him as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft. In just his second NHL season — and first with a healthy start after an injured-shortened rookie year (45 games) — the 19-year-old leads all of hockey in points with 36, while no other player has yet to eclipse 30.

His 25 assists also rank atop the NHL, while his 11 goals are among the top 22 and his plus-8 rating is tied for ninth best between all centers.

“He’s one of the best players in the world,” Pierre-Edouard Bellemare said Wednesday. “It’s tough not to be excited when playing against a guy who plays like this. He competes every second he is on the ice.”

And he has help.

Linemates Leon Draisaitl (11 goals, 11 assists) and Milan Lucic (eight goals, 12 assists) can do damage, as can Jordan Eberle (eight goals, 13 assists).

2. Defense wins games
The Flyers are playing better and cleaner in front of their goaltender — who has been great (see below) — and the results are showing.

The orange and black have gone five straight games of allowing two or fewer goals.

Why were they so up and down before this run? Well, they had surrendered two or fewer goals in just five of their previous 23 games.

“That’s unbelievable for us,” Wayne Simmonds said after Tuesday’s 3-2 win over the Panthers. “At the beginning of the year, to say we’d have five straight without giving up more than two would be a stretch.

“We’ve locked it down defensively and Mase has played unbelievable. We’ve been pretty good as five-man units.”

3. Mase the man
A confident Steve Mason is a dangerous Steve Mason.

Right now, Mason has the net and is gaining steam by the game.

Over his past five outings, the 28-year-old is 5-0-0 with a 1.74 goals-against average and .947 save percentage.

Just as impressive, since Nov. 12, Mason is 8-3-1 with a 2.11 goals-against average and .930 save percentage.

“I've said it numerous times, I want to be playing lots of hockey,” Mason said Tuesday. “This is a position that I'm used to being in and where I'm most comfortable. So just have to keep continuing to put my work in and whenever [head coach Dave Hakstol] calls my name, be ready."

4. Keep an eye on ...
Flyers: You always have to watch Simmonds, but especially now with the winger coming off back-to-back two-goal games. Simmonds leads the NHL with eight power-play goals and is second in man-advantage points (13) to only teammate Claude Giroux (14).

Oilers: With all the attention zeroed in on McDavid, we’ll go with the 21-year-old Draisaitl, who has seven goals in his last nine games and 14 points in his past 12. The No. 3 overall pick in 2014 is an intelligent playmaker capable of hurting you.

5. This and that
• Mason is 8-4-0 with just a 3.49 goals-against average and .872 save percentage in 13 career games against Edmonton.

• Oilers goalie Jonas Gustavsson will make his fourth start of the season. He’s 1-1-1 on the year with 84 saves on 91 shots faced, but is 0-4-1 lifetime against the Flyers with a 3.57 goals-against average and .865 save percentage.

• The Flyers are fourth in the NHL in goals per game (3.11), while Edmonton is seventh (2.93).

• The Oilers have lost 10 of their last 15 games (5-7-3).

Wayne Simmonds, power play key to Flyers beating Oilers

Wayne Simmonds, power play key to Flyers beating Oilers

Todd McLellan saw a lot of Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov as a junior player in the Western Hockey League whenever the Brandon Wheat Kings would turn up in Edmonton.

“I watched him play in junior and had a chance to see that Brandon team play in Edmonton twice last year,” said the Edmonton Oilers coach.

“Obviously, a smooth, confident [player] with great vision. He has patience with the puck. Those are his offensive assets. 

“But he also positions himself well, defensively. He accepts that responsibility. For a young d-man, he is ahead of a lot of others because he can play on both sides of the puck.”

Provorov rattled Jaromir Jagr Tuesday when Florida was here (see story). Tonight he gets his first NHL taste of Connor McDavid.

McLellan said the Oilers' biggest challenge against the Flyers will be stopping the NHL’s second-ranked power play. Edmonton has the 11th best penalty kill.

His concern is Wayne Simmonds (8 power play goals) and Claude Giroux (14 power play points). 

“That power play is deadly and it really hasn’t changed — it’s just clicking,” McLellan said. “It has a couple trigger points. Obviously, Simmonds has the most goals in the league  and Giroux has the most points. But there’s other pieces to that power play, which are exceptional. 

“Our penalty kill has been taking it on the chin and I had to ask our guys today, 'Is it the penalty kill or the penalties?' In my opinion, it’s as much the penalties as the penalty kill. We have to stay out of the box.  

“This is a confident Flyers team. They feel very good in the offensive zone and make things happen. Their goaltender [Steve Mason] has been making saves for them that keeps them confident going the other way. It’s a team on the rise.”

The Streak
The Flyers are looking to make it seven straight wins tonight against the Oilers. The last time they won seven in arrow was Dec. 2-15 in 2011. They did not have a morning skate.

On Mason
Tuesday’s win against Florida was Steve Mason’s 88th as a Flyer, moving him past Pelle Lindbergh into sixth in franchise history. Mason needs six wins to move into third place in franchise history. 

Debut
Defenseman Dillon Simpson will make his Oilers debut tonight in Philadelphia. He is the son of former Oiler Craig Simpson. 

The oddity? Last year, Keegan Lowe made his Oilers' debut here in Philadelphia. He is the son of Kevin Lowe, longtime coach and front office executive for the Oilers. 

Colors
The Oilers wear three colors during their morning skate. Their defensemen dress in orange; their third and fourth lines dress in white and their top six skaters dress in blue. Now that’s an NHL hierarchy.