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.

Best of NHL: Lightning capture OT win over Red Wings

Best of NHL: Lightning capture OT win over Red Wings

DETROIT -- Nikita Kucherov scored 3:28 into overtime to lift the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 on Friday night.

Situated on the edge of the crease, Kucherov redirected a hard pass from Brayden Point into the net.

The Lightning are one point behind the Boston Bruins and New York Islanders for the final Eastern Conference wild card.

Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg opened the scoring 8:03 into the second period. Taking a backhand pass from Gustav Nyquist, Zetterberg flipped a knuckling wrist shot toward the goal and over the stick-side shoulder of goalie Andrei Vasilievskiy, who struggled to find the puck through the screen of teammate Point (see full recap).

Islanders notch shootout win over Penguins
PITTSBURGH -- John Tavares and Anthony Beauvillier scored in the shootout to lead the New York Islanders over the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 on Friday night.

Beauvillier opened the shootout with a goal, and Tavares snapped a wrist shot past Marc-Andre Fleury in the next round. Sidney Crosby scored in the shootout for Pittsburgh, but Jaroslav Halak, making his first start since Dec. 29, stopped Phil Kessel and Nick Bonino.

Anders Lee scored his 28th goal of the season, while Brock Nelson got his 17th and Casey Cizikas his eighth for the Islanders, who moved into the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. New York is tied with Boston at 82 points, but the Islanders have a game in hand on the Bruins. The Islanders have 18 wins in 31 games since Doug Weight was named interim coach on Jan. 17, replacing Jack Capuano.

Halak, a former All-Star, made 37 saves (see full recap).

Cracknell nets first hat trick in Stars' win
DALLAS -- Adam Cracknell got his first hat trick in seven NHL seasons and the Dallas Stars handed the San Jose Sharks their fifth straight loss, 6-1 on Friday night.

Cracknell opened the scoring in the first period, capped a three-goal flurry in the second and beat goalie Aaron Dell on a short-handed breakaway in the third for his career-high 10th goal of the season.

The Sharks entered two points ahead of Anaheim and Edmonton in the Pacific Division despite their longest losing streak of the season. San Jose has been outscored 16-5 during the stretch.

Brett Ritchie, Jamie Benn and John Klingberg also scored for the Stars.

Joe Thornton scored for San Jose on the power play in the second period. Dell had 23 saves.

Dallas' Kari Lehtonen made 20 saves four nights after shutting out San Jose (see full recap).

Flyers-Wild 10 observations: Sean Couturier shows flash, Matt Read answers call & more

Flyers-Wild 10 observations: Sean Couturier shows flash, Matt Read answers call & more

You know Dave Hakstol has reached crisis measures when he takes a skill player in Travis Konecny and throws him onto the fourth line while promoting Matt Read to the top line.

This was risk-taking at its craziest to generate some enthusiasm and life into a Flyers squad that didn't show much of a pulse a few nights earlier in Winnipeg.

Guess what?

It worked during a 3-1 victory on Thursday, the Flyers' fifth straight win over the Wild going back a few years (see Instant Replay).

Their playoff hopes still flicker.

As much as the fan base hated the lineup moves, consider this: general manager Ron Hextall was very explicit this week in saying that the roster Hakstol has right now is what it is. Hextall is not going to promote any young Phantoms into a bad situation when they are headed for what could be a decent playoff run in the AHL.

Therefore, as my former colleague Bill Lyon would say, here are 10 things I think, I think …

1. The Flyers began the game as they have so often this season with yet another turnover and scoring chance against them. Rinse and repeat. The Flyers had three turnovers in less than five minutes to start the game.

2. Minutes later, Steve Mason coughed up a bad rebound off his stick and Zach Parise burned him with a gimme goal for a 1-0 lead. Mason had issues in this one with rebounds that were looking like grenades, but he settled down with a strong final two periods with 24 saves. This was Mason's 100th win as a Flyer (see game story).

3. You had to see it to believe it. Sean Couturier with a nice backhand shot through Devan Dubnyk's five-hole to make it a 1-1 game near the end of the opening period (see feature highlight). I haven't seen that kind of offensive move from Couturier in quite some time. Question is, why can't he do that nightly instead of semiannually? That's the offensive spark you know Couturier is capable of providing.

4. The Wild were very aggressive in this one as they were trying to clinch a playoff spot, so the Flyers had to match that intensity. The Flyers more than matched it. This was far, far better than what Hakstol's team brought to the ice in Winnipeg. Not even close, as the Flyers dominated.

5. Matt Read had a quick stick -- no other way to explain it -- on his goal in the second period off a series of Wild turnovers that came about because of a play set up by Jakub Voracek. That goal seemingly stunned Dubnyk. It was Read's second goal in the last two games. He was all over the ice in this one. Many nights this season, Read was invisible. Not this game.

6. The Flyers had some genuine scoring chances in this game. You had to wonder where this desire to skate, create and score was all through the month of February and into March. The Flyers had strong forecheck pressure and a rebound-attack mentality the entire second period. If that had happened with regularity down the stretch, this team would be sitting in the wild card right now.

7. While the shake-up of the lines obviously benefited Read, it did little for Konecny and actually set him back. He was invisible. No shots. No hits. Invisible with little ice time. Really can't figure this move out but obviously, Hakstol is upset with him for some reason.

8. Minnesota went all in at the NHL trade deadline to get Martin Hanzal and Ryan White, forking over four draft picks, including a first-rounder. The Wild were leading the Central Division before losing six straight (and eight of nine) that allowed Chicago to regain the top spot in the division. The Wild don't look like the same confident, surging team it was a month ago in the Western Conference.

9. Minnesota had a strong push in the final five minutes and the Flyers had some initial difficulty answering that until the final minute when Wayne Simmonds picked up his 300th point as a Flyer on Voracek's empty-net goal to seal the deal. A nice way to finish off a complete effort by everyone involved.

10. The Flyers picked up two points on Boston, which lost to Tampa Bay, and are six behind the Bruins in the wild card. They still remain a l-o-n-g shot to make the playoffs, given the sheer number of teams ahead of them that they need to climb over.