Philadelphia Flyers

Instant Replay: Flyers 5, Senators 2

slideshow-flyers-sean-couturier-ap.jpg

Instant Replay: Flyers 5, Senators 2

BOX SCORE

They may have lost their win streak, but there’s still one left that counts.

The Flyers stretched their point streak to five games Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Center with a 5-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators.

Sean Couturier broke a 25-game goal skid (going back to last season) early in the game and Kimmo Timonen broke a 21-game overall slide late, as the Flyers scored two goals just 23 seconds apart to break a 2-2 tie.

One-goal games heading into the third period have become the norm for the Flyers most of the season. A goal up or a goal behind most of the time.

Ill-timed penalties have killed them. Like Steve Downie’s penalty that tied the game in the third period at Winnipeg last week.

And like Zac Rinaldo’s hook between the legs of Zack Smith that allowed the Senators to tie the game, 2-2. It was only close because of goalie Steve Mason, who was again spectacular with 34 saves.

Soon after, Nick Grossmann had a skate save on Kyle Turris in the paint. The Flyers then came out and scored twice to take the edge off the game.

The Mason
He had a number of terrific saves in this game, including a highlight reel one on Clarke MacArthur in the final minute of the second period with the Flyers clutching a shaky 2-1 lead.

The entire sequence began as a turnover from Jakub Voracek went to MacArthur. He dished to Bobby Ryan, who gave him a spinarama return pass in the slot for a tip-in attempt.

Mason stopped Turris on a penalty shot in the final minutes, as well.

Over .500
With the win, the Flyers improved to 8-7-2 under coach Craig Berube. Overall, the Flyers sit at 8-10-2.

Poor start
The Flyers, besides looking a tad lethargic, took a penalty in the first minute of play and more or less waded into the game instead of diving into it. They were fortunate that Mason was on his game. He has solid kicks save on Cory Conacher during that power play and got help from the post on Jason Spezza’s slapper. Later, Mason stopped Ryan, who simply snail-darted around Sean Couturier for a lane to the net.

Where’s the juice?
The opening period was frightfully dull, unlike the three-goal, quick-skating first period at Winnipeg last Friday night when the Flyers last played.

Open net
Couturier had the puck on his stick and stared down an open net in the first period. The net won. His shot was wide of the far post. Couturier came into the game without a goal this season but …

He got it … finally
Couturier scored along the left goal line near the corner from a ridiculous angle shortside on goalie Robin Lehner to make it 2-0 in the second period. That was his first goal in 20 games this season.

Penalties
Thanks to back-to-back Flyer delay of game penalties, the Senators enjoyed a brief two-man advantage that the Flyers were able to survive.

They say your best penalty killer should be your goalie, and Mason looked sharp that first period. Ottawa’s crisp puck movement during the end of that five-on-four saw Mason make a nice cradle save on Turris’ shot from the left circle. The Flyers had three delay of game penalties on the night.

Power play
Four straight games now the Flyers have scored on the power play. Claude Giroux ripped a shot off some fine passing from Voracek to the captain in the left circle for the only goal of the opening period. Giroux is on pace for just 20 power-play points this season, well below his career-high of 38 two years ago. He has to pick it up if the power play is going to get its act together.

Penalty kill
Things are different on the penalty kill. Ottawa’s MacArthur scored a power-play goal to make it 2-1 in the second period off a screen shot (Luke Schenn). Ottawa also got a power-play goal from Turris in the third period. The Flyers’ PK units have now given up five power-play goals in the last three games.

Fights
Colin Greening and Schenn threw down with 1:02 left in the second period. A lot of throws in a draw.

Scratches
Defensemen Hal Gill and Andrej Meszaros and forward Michael Raffl.

Loose pucks
Did we mention this marked the first time all season the Flyers gave up two power-play goals in consecutive games? ... There was a nifty takeaway at the blue line off Couturier by Spezza in the second period for an excellent scoring chance by Milan Michalek, whose backhander was wide of the right post, ... Luke Schenn has three fights this season … TSN’s Darren Dreger reported that the Flyers have quietly let it be known that Brayden Schenn could be available in a trade involving larger pieces. The Flyers denied it. ... Adam Hall’s shorthanded goal ended his goal drought, as well.

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

usa-travis-zajac-devils.jpg
USA Today Images

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

usa-leon-draisaitl.jpg
USA Today Images

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).