Philadelphia Flyers

Instant Replay: Flyers 4, Canucks 3 (SO)

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Instant Replay: Flyers 4, Canucks 3 (SO)

BOX SCORE

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Early in the season, Steve Mason was the sole reason the Flyers weren’t losing games by four or five goals a night.

That was largely the case again Monday against the Canucks, as Mason kept the Flyers in a game they ought to have lost badly. Mason finished with 41 saves, added three more in the shootout, while Vinny Lecavalier scored the game-winner on the Flyers' first shootout attempt and the Flyers won, 4-3.

It’s only the second time the Flyers have won back-to-back shootouts in team history. The only other time was in March 2006 against Montreal and Carolina.

At the end of the first period, the Flyers trailed in shots, 13-7, despite leading 1-0. After two, they had been outshot 28-16, though they were tied 2-2. They finished the night with 27 shots compared to the Canucks’ 44.

It was the most shots they’ve given up in regulation all season, but Mason kept them in it the entire night.

The Flyers weren’t playing as poorly as they had been in October or early November, but the Canucks simply outplayed them. The Canucks put together strong chances. They exposed the Flyers’ sometimes-unreliable defense, and they shut down the Flyers’ red-hot power play.

But Mason, who’s had an up-and-down past few weeks, looked a lot like the goaltender he was to start the season. He stopped multiple Canucks scoring chances that likely would have beat most any other goaltender.

And thanks to him, they escaped Vancouver with two points they didn’t exactly deserve.

Lucky start
It’s not that the Flyers had a bad first period, but they were fortunate to be up 1-0 on Mark Streit’s goal after 20 minutes. They were outshot in the opening stanza and the Canucks had a few good chances on Mason, who, by the way, looked a lot sharper right at the start of this one than he did a couple days ago in Edmonton.

Which is it?
Just under three minutes into the opening period, Canucks winger Daniel Sedin was called for hooking Streit … but Streit was called too, for an unsportsmanlike penalty -- apparently, he dove on the play. An official shouldn’t be able to call a penalty on a player and accuse the player who was the target of the infraction for exaggerating. Either Sedin hooked Streit or he didn’t. Which was it?

The trouble with Coby
Braydon Coburn’s turnover early in the Flyers’ last game in Edmonton resulted in the goal that put the Oilers up 1-0. Monday night in Vancouver, he was guilty of a couple similar mistakes -- one of which would have been a goal, had Mason not laid out to make a staggering save on Chris Higgins.

Giroux’s new record
After his assist on Streit’s first-period goal, Claude Giroux extended his point streak to nine games -- just like eight and seven were, it’s a new career record for the Flyers’ captain. His second-period goal was pure Giroux -- he sure looks like a player who deserves to play in the Olympics.

Sestito? Really?
Tom Sestito – yes, that Tom Sestito -- scored the Canucks’ second-period goal that tied the game 1-1. The Canucks picked up Sestito, the former Flyers tough guy, after the Flyers waived him last year. He scored just two goals in parts of two seasons with the Flyers (and had just five, total, in his career heading into this year), but already has three this season alone in Vancouver playing on the team’s fourth line. 

Raffl’s success
Michael Raffl, who made public Monday that he had made the Austrian Olympic team (see story), had another strong night. Raffl had his third multi-point night in his last 10 games in Vancouver, and continued to solidify.

Tense third
The Canucks thought they'd locked it up in regulation when Sedin beat Mason on a rather soft goal. But Brayden Schenn secured the Flyers at least one point in the final minute of the game, beating Canucks goalie Eddie Lack to tie the game at 3. 

Shootout winner
Lecavalier, who didn’t score on his shootout attempt Saturday, scored the lone shootout goal tonight, beating Lack with a dazzling move.

The end
Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek both saw their point streaks end Monday night. Voracek's ended at nine games, while Simmonds' ended at five.

NHL Notes: Devils lose Travis Zajac for 4-6 months with pectoral injury

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NHL Notes: Devils lose Travis Zajac for 4-6 months with pectoral injury

NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils have lost top center Travis Zajac for four to six months with a pectoral injury.

Devils executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero announced that Zajac had surgery to repair the pectoral muscle on Thursday.

Shero said the Zajac was hurt last week during offseason training.

Dr. Jonathan L. Glashow performed the surgery and estimated that Zajac's recovery time could last until February. The season starts in October.

The 32-year-old Zajac had 14 goals and 31 assists last season. He has 155 career goals and 280 assists. He has played for the Devils since the 2006-07 season.

The 20th overall pick in the 2004 NHL Draft, Zajac signed an eight-year, $46 million contract in 2013.

Sabres sign Zemgus Girgensons to 2-year deal

Sabres: Team signs forward Girgensons to 2-year deal
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Sabres have signed forward Zemgus Girgensons to a two-year contract.

The team announced the deal Thursday that carries an average value of $1.6 million.

Girgensons, from Latvia, is the last of the Sabres' restricted free agents to sign with the team. Buffalo's first-round pick in 2012 has 37 goals and 49 assists in 277 career games over four seasons.

He skated in a career-best 75 games last season after signing a one-year extension last September.

NHL Notes: Oilers sign star Leon Draisaitl to mega 8-year contract

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NHL Notes: Oilers sign star Leon Draisaitl to mega 8-year contract

EDMONTON, Alberta -- The Edmonton Oilers have signed center Leon Draisaitl to an eight-year contract extension with an average annual value of $8.5 million.

The extension runs through the 2024-25 season, similar to the eight-year, $100-million extension superstar captain Connor McDavid signed with the team in July.

With the signings, the Oilers are banking on McDavid and Draisaitl providing a potent one-two punch for the team as it looks to build on last season's return to the playoffs after a decade of futility.

Draisaitl, a 21-year-old German, had 77 points (29 goals, 48 assists) last season, his third in the NHL.

He finished eighth among NHL scorers, and second on the Oilers behind McDavid.

He led the Oilers in scoring during the 2017 playoffs, posting 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in 13 games.

Draisaitl was selected third overall by the Oilers at the 2015 draft (see full story).

Avalanche: Hobey Baker winner Butcher now free agent
College hockey's top player is an NHL free agent after former University of Denver defenseman Will Butcher allowed a deadline to pass without signing with the Colorado Avalanche.

The Avalanche selected Butcher in the fifth round of the 2013 draft and had until Tuesday to sign the Hobey Baker Award winner who led Denver to a national championship in April.

A person with direct knowledge of the discussions told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Butcher already has had discussions with the Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils and NHL-expansion Vegas Golden Knights. The person said Butcher has not yet narrowed his list, and is also talking with other teams.

The person spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity because the talks are private.

The Denver Post first reported the three specific teams expressing interest in Butcher (see full story).

Wild: Cullen comes home for 21st NHL season
The Minnesota Wild and center Matt Cullen have agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract, bringing him back to his home state for a 21st season in the NHL.

The Wild announced the deal, which includes $700,000 in potential performance bonuses, on Wednesday.

Cullen played the last two years with Pittsburgh, winning consecutive Stanley Cups with the Penguins. He played three seasons for the Wild from 2010-13, his first return to Minnesota since launching his career at Moorhead High School and St. Cloud State.

Cullen, who will turn 41 on Nov. 2, had 13 goals and 18 assists in 72 games in 2016-17 for the Penguins, plus two goals and seven assists in 25 playoff games. He has played in 1,366 career regular season games, the sixth-most among active players (see full story).