NHL Wrap: Devils beat Kings on Jagr's OT goal

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NHL Wrap: Devils beat Kings on Jagr's OT goal

LOS ANGELES -- Jaromir Jagr tied Gordie Howe's NHL record of 121 game-winning goals, scoring 2:30 into overtime, and Cory Schneider made 34 saves Thursday night to lead the New Jersey Devils over the Los Angeles Kings 2-1.

It was the second overtime win in two nights for the Devils, who beat the Anaheim Ducks 4-3 Wednesday night. Jagr scored the tying goal with 61 seconds left in regulation.

The Devils made their first visit to Staples Center since June 11, 2012, the night the Kings beat them 6-1 in the sixth and final game of the Stanley Cup finals.

Jagr received a holding penalty 17 seconds into OT, but Kings captain Dustin Brown also was sent off for diving on the play -- leaving the teams to skate 3-on-3. Just 13 seconds after the penalties expired, Jagr got a cross-ice pass in the low slot from Marek Zidlicky and tucked his ninth goal of the season past Ben Scrivens (see full recap).

Blues top Bruins in shootout
BOSTON -- Derek Roy scored once in regulation and again in the fourth round of the shootout on Thursday night as the St. Louis Blues beat the Boston Bruins 3-2.

Jaroslav Halak stopped 27 shots in regulation, two more in the overtime and three in the shootout as St. Louis won for the fourth time in five games and continued the hottest start in its history. David Backes also scored for the Blues, and NHL points-leader Alexander Steen converted their other shootout goal after going the entire game without a shot.

Gregory Campbell and Carl Soderberg scored for Boston. Tuukka Rask made 24 saves and forced Roy to put one off the post on a breakaway in the first minute of the overtime (see full recap).

Hawks beat Jets in Hossa's return
WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Marian Hossa returned to the lineup and put the Blackhawks ahead for good with a third-period goal as Chicago beat the Winnipeg Jets 6-3 Thursday night.

Patrick Kane, Brandon Saad, Jonathan Toews and Ben Smith each scored for Chicago (15-4-4). Patrick Sharp had an empty-netter, helping the Blackhawks beat the Jets for the third time in three tries this season.

Andrew Ladd, Keaton Ellerby and Dustin Byfuglien scored for the Jets (10-11-3).

The first period was all Blackhawks, who controlled possession of the puck and outshot Winnipeg 12-2.

Hossa had missed three games with a lower-body injury. He gave Chicago a 4-3 lead at 3:11 of the third period (see full recap).

Flyers in familiar spot in standings as critical games before break await

Flyers in familiar spot in standings as critical games before break await

While many people believe the Flyers are in far better shape right now than where they were a year ago, the fact is, they are pretty much the same.
 
After 48 games played, the Flyers have the same number of points now as they did last season – 52.
 
The critical difference – and this is why fans say they’re better off – is that a year ago at this juncture, the Flyers were five points behind Pittsburgh in the wild-card chase.
 
Right now, they own the second wild-card spot, but there are five teams behind them within four points or less of catching them, two of which have games in hand.
 
Earlier this week, Toronto was ahead of them and the Maple Leafs have three games in hand, which makes Thursday’s showdown against the upstart Leafs at Wells Fargo Center a very critical game.
 
That game represents the back end of the Flyers' 13th back-to-back set, which starts Wednesday with a date at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers.
 
If ever two games in a short week prior to the All-Star break were of prime significance, these next two seem to qualify.
 
“A hundred percent,” said Jakub Voracek, the Flyers' leading scorer with 42 points. “It’s the same for every game. Practice and come to the rink with a win in your head.”
 
To a man, the Flyers go into the nationally televised showdown with the Rangers feeling great about themselves because of the extraordinary effort they showed in Sunday’s 3-2 comeback victory against the Islanders in OT.
 
“I felt like we won the Stanley Cup with that overtime goal,” Voracek kidded. “That’s how happy we were. There was a lot of relief. Now we have to keep going.”
 
Just five points separate nine teams from the second wild-card position right now. The Eastern Conference is just as tight as it’s always been. Within the Metropolitan Division, just five points separate the Flyers from the three times tied for last in the conference - the Islanders, Sabres and Lightning.  
 
“It’s been that way,” said coach Dave Hakstol. “Right from the drop of the puck in October, it was going to be a battle. You can’t get too distracted by it. You worry about the job in hand and that’s tomorrow.”
 
The focus this week is rather narrow: two games left before the All-Star break begins on Friday.
 
“Yeah, both these games have implications directed to us in the standings,” said goalie Steve Mason, who will start against the Rangers. “Both being Eastern Conference teams and they are right with one another.
 
“We have to have a short mindset. We have the Rangers and that’s going to be a tough game going into MSG. Once that game is over, we focus on the Leafs.”
 
The Rangers have beaten the Flyers twice this season already – both in South Philly. While the games were mostly competitive, there remains a huge disparity in one critical area for both teams this season: goal differential.
 
The Rangers have a plus-40 differential while the Flyers check in at minus-18. As poor as Henrik Lundqvist (2.75 goals against average) has been this season – although his recent performances are trending upward – he still owns the Flyers.
 
In his last 15 games against the Flyers, going back to Jan. 1, 2013, Lundqvist is 11-3-0 with a 1.91 GAA and .938 save percentage.
 
“This is huge, especially in MSG,” Voracek said. “We lost two games in a row to them at home. Hopefully, we get points.”
 
In his last three starts this month, Lundqvist is 3-0, with a 1.32 GAA and .952 save percentage. In other words, the “old” King Henrik appears to have regained his throne just in time to face the Flyers.
 
“Their goaltender has been outstanding over this past stretch for them,” Hakstol said. “Their team is playing well.
 
“We have to worry more about our team. We’re not going to control what their side is going to do. We can control what we do.”

By the numbers: Inside the Flyers' maddening inconsistency

By the numbers: Inside the Flyers' maddening inconsistency

VOORHEES, N.J. — As the Flyers go into the final two games of the schedule before the All-Star break Wednesday night at MSG against the New York Rangers and Thursday night at home against the upstart Toronto Maple Leafs, here are some rather stunning numbers to consider.
 
Most glaring is the Flyers' power play, which is 0 for 14 over the last three games. The power play hit its season high in December as No. 1 in the NHL. It has since dropped to 10th.

Tuesday morning at practice, Claude Giroux and power-play coach Joey Mullen worked on some strategy on the chalk board at Skate Zone.
 
“The power play, we’re kind of a streaky team,” Giroux said. “When we start scoring, we begin believing more in what we do. We just hesitate a bit too much.
 
“We have all the tools. The power play has won us some games and lost us some games. It’s important that we stick with it. We know it can help us. We can’t get discouraged.”
 
0: The number of Flyers who are on the plus side of the ledger when it comes to plus/minus
 
3.06: The Flyers' goals-against average
 
3-10: Flyers' record in three-goal games
 
5 for 25: Flyers' power play in January so far
 
5-6-1: Flyers' record vs. Metropolitan Division
 
10-6: Flyers' overtime record
 
-18: Shayne Gostisbehere’s plus/minus this season
 
11: Brayden Schenn’s power-play goals total — first in NHL
 
21: Claude Giroux’s power-play points total — first in NHL
 
42: Jakub Voracek’s point total
 
102: Flyers 5-on-5 goals against total — 29th in NHL