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.

Flyers regroup behind Steve Mason for big win over Wild

Flyers regroup behind Steve Mason for big win over Wild

BOX SCORE

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- When Zach Parise scored for the Minnesota Wild just 2:07 into Thursday's game, the Flyers were in another difficult position on the road.

This time, they responded with the type of game they've needed on the road all season.

The Flyers scored three unanswered goals by Sean Couturier, Matt Read and Jakub Voracek to beat Minnesota, 3-1, and snap a four-game losing streak on the road (see Instant Replay).

"They're a tough team to handle in their transition," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said of Parise's goal. "It's quick and it's fast. The players on the bench were outstanding, talking, real calm. Just go out and push it the other way the next shift and I thought we were able to do that."

The Flyers responded with one of their best efforts on the road in nearly two months and pulled within six points of Boston for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference (see standings). The Bruins lost, 6-3, at home to Tampa Bay.

Steve Mason made 24 saves in goal for his 100th win with the Flyers as the team was rarely challenged thanks to an all-around performance that has been missing on the road. The Flyers entered the night tied for the second-fewest road wins in the conference this season.

"Certain things on the road, you've got to be a little more specific with your game and detailed, and I think we did a better job of that tonight," said Flyers defenseman Nick Schultz, who returned to the arena where he played 10 seasons with Minnesota. "Everybody throughout the lineup did that and that's why we got a big win."

The beginning looked all too familiar, though.

An innocent looking dump-in slid to Mason, who tried to cover the puck. The puck went off his stick and Parise quickly poked it past Mason. The Wild had four quality chances early before the Flyers took control.

"They came hard early on in the game and to be able to match that speed; that was a completely different pace of game compared to what we came from in Winnipeg," Mason said. "So, it almost took a second to get your bearings straight to get up to speed."

The Flyers weathered the early flurry by Minnesota, which is safely in playoff position in the West but is facing its own late-season issues. The Flyers killed off both Wild penalties, allowing just two shots on the penalty kill.

Couturier's 12th goal of the season was critical in tying the game with 2:01 left in the first (see feature highlight).

"Coming into the room after the period, I think it's important when you get a big goal like that," captain Claude Giroux said. "You feel like you have the momentum a little bit, so it definitely helped us a lot."

Read provided the lead in the second and the Flyers, who are now 15-2-2 when leading after two periods, pressured in the third. They outshot the Wild, 9-4, in the final period.

"We didn't sit back," Hakstol said. "I thought we were confident with the puck and made some plays and spent a good amount of time in the offensive zone. We played with real confidence in our game."

Mason had been critical after the Flyers lost in Winnipeg on Tuesday, saying the team needed to be more desperate. The Flyers responded Thursday in the difficult position of being on the road and allowing the first goal.

"We knew we had to be better," Schultz said of Mason's comments. "I think on the road, you've got to be at least a .500 team and take care of business at home, and we haven't done that this year. So, obviously, we've got to get better and I think we did respond tonight. Now we have to build on it."

Instant Replay: Flyers 3, Wild 1

Instant Replay: Flyers 3, Wild 1

BOX SCORE

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- A much-needed win for the Flyers came in an unlikely spot: on the road against one of the Western Conference's top teams.

Sean Couturier, Matt Read and Jakub Voracek scored for the Flyers, and Steve Mason made 24 saves in a 3-1 win over the Wild on Thursday. It snapped a four-game winless streak on the road and kept the Flyers' playoff hopes alive.

Mason allowed an early goal to Zach Parise but recovered, and Couturier tied the game in the first. The Flyers responded as a whole and Read scored for the second time in an as many games, while Voracek had his first goal in 11 games with his 18th of the season.

Goalie report
Playing for the 11th time in 12 games, Mason was a little shaky at the start after not covering the puck twice and then coming far out of the cage, leading to a wraparound opportunity for Minnesota. But after Parise's goal -- one of the times Mason thought he had the puck covered -- the netminder was very steady. He didn't get out of position and allowed less than two goals for the fourth time in 12 games.

The victory marked Mason's 100th in a Flyers uniform. He is third in franchise history behind Ron Hextall (240) and Bernie Parent (232).

Faceoffs
The Flyers were dominant in the faceoff circle on Thursday, winning 61 percent of the draws.

Power play
The Flyers didn't take advantage of their one opportunity in the game as defenseman Ivan Provorov was called for a hooking penalty halfway through their lone power play. The Flyers are now 3 for 40 on the power play over the past 12 games.
 
Penalty kill
The penalty kill had one of its better performances in recent games. The Flyers killed off both penalties and allowed just two Minnesota shots in the three minutes of penalty time. Entering the game, the Flyers had allowed 10 goals in 28 occasions on the penalty kill in the previous nine games.

A small move
With the win, the Flyers were able to pull closer to the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Boston lost, 6-3, at home to Tampa Bay, allowing the Flyers to close within six points with nine games left. The Bruins have only eight games remaining. Two of the teams between Boston and the Flyers -- the Lightning and Hurricanes -- did win Thursday, while the Islanders were idle (see wild-card standings).

Lines change
Looking for a spark, three of the four lines were changed for Thursday's game. Claude Giroux centered Read and Voracek. Valtteri Filppula was between Jordan Weal and Wayne Simmonds. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare teamed with Travis Konecny and Chris VandeVelde. Coach Dave Hakstol kept the line of Brayden Schenn, Couturier and Dale Weise together.

Blue line return
Defenseman Brandon Manning made his return after missing five games with a shoulder injury.
 
Scratches
Forwards Nick Cousins (upper body) and Roman Lyubimov (healthy), and defenseman Michael Del Zotto (healthy).
 
Up next
The third game of the four-game road trip is Saturday at Columbus. The Flyers are 0-1-1 against the Blue Jackets this season, including a 5-3 loss at home on March 13.