Instant Replay: Oilers 6, Flyers 3

Instant Replay: Oilers 6, Flyers 3

BOX SCORE

EDMONTON, Alberta — Things went from bad to worse for the Flyers on their Western Canada road swing.
 
After a competitive loss in Calgary, the Flyers were steamrolled by the Oilers, 6-3, on Thursday night at Rogers Place. Edmonton led 5-1 at one point.
 
What hurts the Flyers even more is that the Islanders moved ahead of them in the Metropolitan Division standings.
 
Defenseman Michael Del Zotto returned to the lineup after missing 10 games with a bone bruise in his leg. He rotated as a seventh defenseman. He had a tough first period, as did the Flyers, who trailed 2-0 early.
 
The Oilers scored twice in 1:15 to make it 4-1 in the second period.
 
Connor McDavid had a three-point effort, giving him six points in four games against the Flyers in his short career.
 
Back-to-backs
This was the 14th set of back-to-back games for the Flyers this season. They are now 8-4-2 in the second game of back-to-back sets.
 
Mr. Softee
Goes to Michal Neuvirth for the Matt Hendricks goal just 2:14 into the game.
 
Upheld
The Flyers challenged that Mark Letestu was offside on Hendricks’ goal. Upon review, the goal was upheld even though Letestu entered the zone well ahead of the puck. Even with review, the NHL can’t get it right often enough.
 
Notable goals
The Oilers’ fourth goal hit Brandon Manning, then Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and went into the net. It began as a point shot from Adam Larsson.
 
Goalie report
Neuvirth was making his sixth start in seven games. He gave up two goals on just eight shots to start the game and gave up four on 12 shots. Not a very sharp outing, eh? The last time the Flyers gave up six goals was Jan. 14 in a 6-3 loss in Boston.
 
Power play
Does it matter? The Flyers got a score in the third period from Brayden Schenn for their first power-play goal in three games. 

Ivan Provorov replaced Jakub Voracek on the first unit on one of those power plays, but Voracek assisted on the goal the Flyers scored. 

The Flyers were 1 for 3 on the power play in the game.
 
Penalty kill
None.
 
Injuries
Jordan Weal suffered an upper-body injury late in the first period. The Flyers went with 10 forwards for the rest of the game.
 
Fights
Scrums early and often. The Oilers seemed to be targeting Manning and Patrick Maroon tuned him up pretty good in a second-period fight. Props to Manning for standing in there and not going down.
 
Scratches
Defenseman Nick Schultz (healthy) and forwards Dale Weise and Roman Lyubimov (both healthy).
 
Up next
The Flyers are off on Friday. They will practice Saturday in the outskirts of Vancouver and meet the Canucks on Sunday night.

NHL Playoffs: Rangers ride Zuccarello to 3-1 win in series-clinching Game 6

NHL Playoffs: Rangers ride Zuccarello to 3-1 win in series-clinching Game 6

NEW YORK -- Mats Zuccarello scored twice in the second period and the New York Rangers beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 in Game 6 on Saturday night to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Derek Stepan also scored and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 27 shots to help New York get past the first round for the fifth time in six years. The Rangers won three straight after falling behind 2-1 to beat Montreal for the ninth time in 16 postseason series.

The Rangers will face the winner of the Ottawa-Boston series, which the Senators lead 3-2.

Alexei Emelin scored for Montreal and Carey Price finished with 20 saves. The Canadiens, winners of the Atlantic Division after missing the playoffs last year, were bounced from the postseason by the Rangers for the second time in four years. In 2014, it was in the conference finals (see full recap).

Paajarvi's OT goal gives Blues 4-3 win to oust Wild in 5
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Magnus Paajarvi scored at the 9:42 mark in overtime, giving the St. Louis Blues a 4-3 victory over Minnesota on Saturday in Game 5 of their playoff series, eliminating the Wild.

The Blues advanced to play Nashville in the second round.

Jake Allen made 34 saves for the Blues, who led 2-0 and 3-1 before a furious rally by the Wild to try to keep their season alive forced the extra frame.

Paajarvi's first career playoff goal gave Blues coach Mike Yeo the satisfaction of beating the team that fired him a little over a year ago.

Mikko Koivu and Jason Zucker scored to bring the Wild back from their second two-goal hole, a deficit that held past the midpoint of the third period (see full recap).

Flyers excited for full-season upgrade of Valtteri Filppula

Flyers excited for full-season upgrade of Valtteri Filppula

As the Flyers packed up for the offseason much earlier than they had hoped, the focus started shifting to the outlook for 2017-18.

There was some optimism provided by Valtteri Filppula.

It wasn't anything he said. Instead, it was what he did in 20 games.

Make that a full sample size and the Flyers are excited about the possibilities.

Filppula, a well-rounded, 33-year-old center, was acquired at the March 1 trade deadline in the Mark Streit deal. He added five goals and three assists in his 20 games.

"I felt like later in the year, we had more bullets in our gun," Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said last week as the team held exit interviews and cleanout day. "(Jordan) Weal comes in and does a good job. Filppula comes in and really gives us stability. Really upgraded our top nine. So when you're talking 5-on-5 play, just to depend on five or six guys, all of a sudden you have nine guys you can count on."

The Flyers were 27th in the NHL with 128 goals at 5-on-5 -- a significant factor in their postseason absence.

But Filppula should bring more than simply a 5-on-5 boost.

The Flyers desperately needed depth at the center position to relieve some pressure from Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier. Filppula, who came from the Lightning and played seven seasons with the Red Wings -- winning a Stanley Cup in 2008 -- is a sound matchup center and plays on the penalty kill, too.

"I think with Fil coming in this year, it really helped our depth," Giroux said. "He brings a lot to the team. He kills penalties, power plays, very good defensively and he's a smart player. When you bring a guy in like that, you kind of get excited a little bit."

From Filppula's first game on March 2 to the end of the regular season, the Flyers scored 56 goals, 12th most in the NHL over that span and 2.80 per game -- both improvements from their ranking of 21th on the full season and 2.59 per game.

"Now that we feel like we have nine guys that are legit top-nine forwards," Hextall said, "we've got good balance."

Couturier saw immediate benefits when the Flyers acquired Filppula. Couturier started playing with Dale Weise and Brayden Schenn, which turned out to be the team's best line combination to finish the regular season.

"I think it just brought some depth to our lineup," Couturier said of Filppula acquisition. "I had the chance to play after that with Schenn and Weiser and we just found chemistry right away and things went really well."

It provided head coach Dave Hakstol greater flexibility.

"The addition of Val Filppula to our group up front made our group of forwards better," Hakstol said. "Not just his presence, which I think he's an outstanding hockey player, a good hockey player and a real good veteran, but it just allowed some of the others to come together. I think there's real substance there."

The Flyers hope it shows with a full season of Filppula.

"I think when Filppula came in, the balance that seemed to come with him entering our lineup helped us both with and without the puck," Hakstol said. "Will that cohesion help us generate more offensively on an 82-game basis, not just a short-term basis? I think the answers to those things are yes."