Trial by Fire: Rangers, Penguins, Bruins on Flyers Slate This Week

Trial by Fire: Rangers, Penguins, Bruins on Flyers Slate This Week

The Flyers are more well-rested and arguably as healthy as
they’ve been at any point this season – good news ahead of back-to-back games
against two of their most bitter rivals, followed by a date with one of the
Eastern Conference’s toughest opponents.

With their victory over Ottawa on Saturday, the Flyers won consecutive
games for only the third time in 2013, finally pushing their record to .500 in
the process. It was also the club’s only tilt in a five-day span little more
than a week after finishing up a brutal span of 19 contests in 34 days.

They survived the early part of their slate, and are hanging
on tight to the playoff picture. Now they must prepare to run the gauntlet
again.

The Flyers travel to New York for a clash at Madison Square Garden
on Tuesday, where the Rangers have posted an 8-4-1 record this season. That
will be followed by the much-anticipated return of the Pittsburgh Penguins to
the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday, with their Atlantic Division-leading 28
points in tow.

Both figure to be draining battles heading into Philly’s
first encounter of the season with the Bruins on Saturday, their .790 “winning
percentage”
number one in the conference. To make matter worse, the trip to
Boston is the first part of a back-to-back, of which mercifully the second half
is at home versus the reeling Buffalo Sabres.

Philadelphia will be able to further shift the balance of
power in the Atlantic Division next week, playing a home-and-home with the New
Jersey Devils.

They’ll wrap all of that up with a game in Tampa Bay the following
Monday before receiving a five-day reprieve from hockey. Theoretically, the
time off should help them, although that amount of time is simultaneously unnerving.

Regardless, by the time the Flyers’ spring break is over,
their quickly-diminishing league lead in total games played will have evened
itself out. More importantly, between that and the caliber opponents the team
will have just got done playing, we’ll have a much better sense where this team
stands heading into the stretch run toward the postseason.

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CSN, TCN to air 25 of Union's 34 games in 2017

CSN, TCN to air 25 of Union's 34 games in 2017

Twenty-five of the Union’s 34 games in 2017 will be featured on CSN and TCN, as Jim Curtin’s club vies for a second straight playoff berth.

Twenty matches will air on TCN, while five can be seen on CSN. The nine others will be appear across 6ABC, ESPN and FOX Sports 1.

The Union’s season opener on March 5 at the Vancouver Whitecaps will broadcast on TCN and the team’s home opener on March 11 against Toronto FC will air on CSN. The next three games — March 18 at Orlando City SC, April 1 at D.C. United and April 8 vs. the Portland Timbers — will be shown on TCN.

The Union are coming off an 11-14-9 season and their second-ever trip to the MLS playoffs in which they suffered a first-round exit to Toronto FC.

For the Union’s full 2017 schedule, click here.

Best of NHL: Toews nets hat trick in Blackhawks' win over Wild

Best of NHL: Toews nets hat trick in Blackhawks' win over Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Jonathan Toews had three goals and two assists and the Chicago Blackhawks beat rival Minnesota 5-3 on Tuesday night for their second win over the Western Conference-leading Wild in less than two weeks.

Toews notched his fourth career hat trick on an empty-netter with 1:02 left to stave off a spirited rally by the Wild, who began a franchise-record eight-game homestand on Feb. 8 with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Blackhawks. Toews had a goal and two assists in that one and has 37 points in 35 career games against Minnesota.

Chicago's captain has been chewing up almost everyone else, too, with 20 points in his last 12 games. Toews' wing men Nick Schmaltz and Richard Panik had the other goals, giving the Blackhawks 34 goals in their last eight games. Their first line totaled nine points.

Mikael Granlund's second power-play goal for the Wild brought them within 4-3, before Ryan Suter hit the crossbar with a shot that nearly tied it (see full recap).

Islanders open 9-game road trip with win
DETROIT -- Calvin de Haan was credited with a go-ahead goal that caromed off an opponent late in the second period and the New York Islanders went on to beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 Tuesday night.

De Haan's shot from above the left circle was stopped by Petr Mrazek, but the rebound went off Detroit defenseman Xavier Ouellet and the back of the goaltender's left leg and into the net. John Tavares scored early in the third period to give the Islanders a two-goal lead and they coasted to the victory.

Josh Bailey had a goal and an assist, and Thomas Greiss stopped 26 shots for New York.

Henrik Zetterberg scored for Detroit and Mrazek finished with 19 saves.

The Islanders, in contention for a wild-card spot, began a stretch of nine straight road games by winning for the third time in four games and improved to 8-13-4 away from home (see full recap).

Crosby, Penguins take care of Hurricanes
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Sidney Crosby scored the go-ahead goal on a deflection in the second period, and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Evgeni Malkin and Scott Wilson also scored to help the reigning Stanley Cup champions bounce back from their only loss since the All-Star break. Pittsburgh moved three points behind East-leading Washington and is 7-1-3 since the break.

Jeff Skinner scored for the last-place Hurricanes, who have their second five-game losing streak in the past five weeks. They have been outscored 19-4 during the current slide.

Matt Murray made 29 saves for the Penguins while Cam Ward stopped 19 shots for Carolina (see full recap).