Instant Replay: Flyers 5, Red Wings 0

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Instant Replay: Flyers 5, Red Wings 0

BOX SCORE

After getting beat up pretty bad over the weekend, the Flyers enacted a little payback on unsuspecting Detroit on Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Center with a 5-0 rout over the Red Wings.

They also restored a little bit of normalcy Tuesday night to their infrastructure.

Goalie Steve Mason bounced back from his recent struggles to stop 33 shots in recording his second shutout of the season.

It was a strong offensive game from a number of players, including Scott Hartnell, who had two early goals.

Now comes the real hard part -- a six-day, three-game road trip to California where the Flyers will face the top three clubs in the Pacific Division.

Mason badly needed to have a good game after being yanked twice in his last three starts and he turned in a pretty good one against the Red Wings.

It snapped a six-game streak in which Mason had given up at least three goals in a game.

There was, however, potentially real bad news for the Flyers. Kimmo Timonen, who has had his share of foot injuries as a Flyer, took a shot early in the game, left after the mid-point of the second period, and did not return. Timonen will be reevaluated on Wednesday, but coach Craig Berube said the defenseman should be fine.

Timonen's exit forced Berube to rotate his remaining five defensemen the rest of the night.

Despite a slow start, the Flyers actually scored first and held the lead, even fattening up on it in the second period.

Hartnell, bothered by an aching left foot that isn’t fractured but it still causing him pain, didn’t seem too bothered as he scored twice for the Flyers for a 2-0 lead.

It was 3-0 after two period before Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier really put it away in the third period.

The Flyers, who beat a depleted Red Wings team earlier this season at Joe Louis Arena, got the same break in this one.

Pavel Datsyuk (lower body), Henrik Zetterberg (back) and Johan Franzen (concussion) all missed the game with injuries.

Injuries
Timonen blocked a shot in the first period and skated gingerly to the bench. He missed the final 8:46 of the second period and did not return. The last thing this club needs is to be missing one of its few defensemen who can move the puck.

Banged up
The Red Wings came into the game with a stunning 230 man games lost due to injury. Nineteen different players have missed games this season. Only Drew Miller and Kyle Quincey have played in every game for them.

Big line
Hartnell and linemates Giroux and Jakub Voracek had a very good game together, combining for three goals and four assists for seven points.

First whistle
Who would have guessed it came at 6:44? Pretty good given the state of things with the Flyers.

Breakout
It’s been a huge problem for the Flyers, of late, and might be why they dropped all three forwards back into the zone to help the defense. It didn’t help but only congested things even worse.

Best chances
Wayne Simmonds had a gift rebound from goalie Jonas Gustavsson early in the game with an open net but the puck appeared to jump past his stick. Matt Read flubbed a pass into the slot on another scoring chance as the Flyers seemed skittish early in the game.

Penalties
All the talk about eliminating them … the Flyers had three in succession late in the first period, including back to back four-on-four situations.

Special teams
As bad as the Flyers were in the opening period, they grabbed the lead at 13:42 with a power-play backhand tip from Hartnell for a 1-0 lead. The Flyers were 1 for 2 on the power play in the game, while Detroit was 0 for 4.

Four-on-three
Detroit had one late in the opening period and Mason made a terrific glove save on Gustav Nyquist.

Saved by the post
Detroit had a shot hit the left post in the second period that dangled dangerously on the goal line before Mason tied it up for a faceoff.

Tricky shot
Adam Hall’s turnaround backhander in the slot with 8:58 left in the second period gave the Flyers a 3-0 and forced Wings coach Mike Babcock to call his timeout. Hall has two goals in January and just three all season. His shot seemed like a curveball the way it wrapped around Gustavsson inside the post.

Stone cold
Mason was sharp in the final seven minutes of the second period with a point blank save on Luke Glendening, then while sitting on his fanny. Now he appeared to block Quincey’s follow shot into the netting above, but replays showed it hit the crossbar first. He had several fine saves in the game and faced 33 shots.

Scratches
Defensemen Hal Gill and Andrej Meszaros; forward Jay Rosehill. All were healthy. Zac Rinaldo (left ankle sprain) missed his 10th straight game.

Best of NHL: Before visiting Flyers, Devils fall to Canadiens

Best of NHL: Before visiting Flyers, Devils fall to Canadiens

NEWARK, N.J. -- The toughest thing Montreal Canadiens goalie Al Montoya had to do against the New Jersey Devils was stay awake.

The Canadiens limited the Devils to a season-low 17 shots, and Shea Weber and Max Pacioretty each scored a power-play goal during a major penalty early in the third period of Montreal's 3-1 victory Friday night.

"I'd take this any night," Montoya said after the Canadiens snapped a two-game skid. "Your team is playing fantastic in front of you. Halfway through the game it's 1-1 and all I'm really focused on is making that next save. These guys did a phenomenal job and I just wanted to make that next save, and the power play was terrific. The guys were mainly terrific all night."

Alex Galchenyuk added a goal and two assists, and Alexander Radulov had three assists as Montreal ended the Devils' three-game winning streak (see full recap).

Big 2nd period helps Penguins roll Hurricanes
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Pittsburgh Penguins have been beatable away from home this season. Good thing for them this felt nothing like a road game.

Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist during Pittsburgh's four-goal second period, and the Penguins routed the Carolina Hurricanes 7-1 on Friday night.

Conor Sheary scored twice, and Evgeni Malkin had a late goal and an assist. Carl Hagelin and Chris Kunitz joined Sheary in scoring during the second for Pittsburgh.

"In a win like that, I think it was a really complete effort from all the guys," said Sheary, who has four goals in three games. "It's fun to win on the road,” (see full recap).

Blackhawks beat Bruins on Hossa's late goal
BOSTON -- Blackhawks backup Scott Darling insists he isn't trying to take playing time away from No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford.

"I don't know if you guys know who my goalie partner is," Darling said with a smile after beating the Boston Bruins 1-0 on Friday night. "He's one of the best goalies in the world, hands down, no arguments. So I'm just pretty happy to get any games I can."

Marian Hossa scored with 1:26 left to break a scoreless tie, and Darling stopped 30 shots to post his second shutout of the season. Darling is 12-4 and he brought a 2.34 goals-against average into the game, even better than Crawford's 2.54 (see full recap).

Okposo gives Sabres OT win over Red Wings
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Kyle Okposo scored a power-play goal 4:34 into overtime and the Buffalo Sabres rallied to beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 on Friday night.

Ryan O'Reilly had a goal and an assist, and Sam Reinhart also scored to help the Sabres overcome a pair of one-goal deficits. Anders Nilsson made 32 saves for Buffalo, which has won two straight against Detroit in one season for the first time since 1989-90.

Darren Helm and Frans Nielsen scored for the Red Wings, and Petr Mrazek was sharp in stopping 33 shots.

The Red Wings had their three-game winning streak snapped and took a rare loss to Buffalo. They fell to 8-0-2 in their past 10 meetings with the Sabres and 31-4-3 with a tie in their past 39 (see full recap).

Flyers look to limit goals against, improve 5-on-5 play in second half

Flyers look to limit goals against, improve 5-on-5 play in second half

VOORHEES, N.J. — As bad as things have been for the Flyers — just three wins in their last 14 games — there was no massive shakeup during their mandatory five-day bye week.
 
General manager Ron Hextall didn’t make a trade, nor did he make any roster moves involving a call-up from the Phantoms.
 
Coach Dave Hakstol took one day off, then got back to watching video and live games, almost in a scout mode.
 
When the players hit the ice Friday afternoon at Skate Zone, Hakstol’s lineup was pretty much the same.
 
The only change saw Matt Read re-enter the lineup on the top line with Claude Giroux and Michael Raffl after missing two games with a skate cut.
 
The lines and defensive pairs remained the same. Goalie Michal Neuvirth will start Saturday against New Jersey at the Wells Fargo Center.
 
“For me, the biggest thing is our overall performance,” Hakstol said. “Coming out of a break, that may be a tough thing to do — to put it all together. But I think the energy will be there both mentally and physically. That’s important. The overall performance.
 
“The results are important on a different level when you start looking at the playoff picture and the race. At the end of the day, two points are going to be important, as well.”
 
The Flyers begin anew (see story) with back-to-back games against New Jersey here on Saturday and then the Islanders on Sunday in Brooklyn.
 
They will play four Eastern Conference opponents between Saturday and next Thursday before they begin the three-day All-Star break.
 
Three of these games are against Metropolitan Division opponents while the fourth is against Toronto. The Maple Leafs happen to hold the second wild-card spot that the Flyers previously had going into the bye week.
 
“Guys realize the situation we are in,” Brayden Schenn said. “We know the circumstances. The break came at a good time, mentally ... guys know what we’re coming into there with the back-to-backs.
 
“You were kind of scoreboard watching. We know where we’re at. We’re in a dogfight battle with teams for those wild-card spots. There’s a lot of hockey left. It’s no secret. Everyone pays attention where we’re at.”
 
Hakstol said after his one-day off, he went right back to work in evaluating where this team is. That the team remains intact without any kind of moves seems to send a message to the players.
 
That message is: it’s on you at this point. Don’t count on getting help from the outside. It has to come from within the current roster.
 
“Anything we’ve talked about is us as a group doing things we do well,” Hakstol said. “We’ve had a rough couple weeks where we haven’t been able to do the things we need to and want to consistently.
 
“I’m very confident in this group and this team. For us, what the players said is true. It was a real good time to have a mental and physical break. Now it’s time to get back to work.”
 
What has to improve right from the get-go is the Flyers' 5-on-5 play. Forget for a moment they have scored 75 goals and are 13th in the NHL averaging 2.76 goals a game.
 
The critical factor is 5-on-5 goals against. The Flyers have allowed 98 goals in that situation — only Colorado (100 GA) has allowed more. The Flyers' 3.13 goals-against number is 28th worst in the league.
 
Unless those numbers improve significantly, the Flyers won’t be in the playoffs.
 
“We have to stay within our system,” defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere said. “We give up too many odd-man rushes. Especially in those final games before the break. That’s a big thing.
 
“When we’re giving up that many, it’s not going to be in our favor. It’s not fair to judge our goalies in those games because we didn’t give them too much help out there.”
 
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, who plays on a checking line, said the 5-on-5 goals against is a telling stat.
 
“You have it right there,” he said. “You don’t have to say much more than that. You cannot be a consistently good team in the league if you are that low in goals against. It’s something we have to all work together at, as players.”
 
Hakstol said the Flyers enjoyed success 5-on-5 when they were winning because their team play was “consistent” game to game.
 
That hasn’t been the case during this 3-8-3 stretch.
 
“Our 5-on-5 game hasn’t necessarily regressed, but the consistency of it has,” Hakstol said. “That’s when you see the holes defensively. That’s when you see some of the problems you run into.
 
“We’ve got to get back to it. Back to a full 60 minutes of good 5-on-5 play. That’s up to each and every one of us, taking that responsibility and making the push to do that.”