Zac Rinaldo Welcomes James van Riemsdyk Back to Philadelphia, but Toronto Escapes Town with Win

Zac Rinaldo Welcomes James van Riemsdyk Back to Philadelphia, but Toronto Escapes Town with Win

The Flyers continued spinning their wheels on Monday night,
failing again to restore their record to .500 in a 4-2 loss to the Toronto
Maple Leafs. There was an erratic pace to the action, with both sides enduring
lengthy droughts in their offensive end, and the Bullies simply suffered one
breakdown too many.

But if nothing else, at least clubhouse hits leader Zac
Rinaldo rolled out the red carpet for the return of James van Riemsdyk.

Rinaldo chased down van Riemsdyk during a 2-on-1 Toronto
break late in the second period, ramming his ex-Flyer teammate upon catching up
to the play developing at the net. The force sent JVR hurtling into the cage
violently, prompting a whistle… not to mention a few choice words from the
assailant’s victim.

If the score hadn’t been 2-0 Maple Leafs already, Rinaldo
may have wound up serving two. He got away with this one though.

Perhaps the best part of all was Rinaldo speaking to reporters
afterwards. The fact that the impressionable collision came at van Riemsdyk’s
expense seemed of no additional significance for Rinaldo. That kid just has a
target on anything that moves.

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Scott Hartnell lit the lamp for the first time in 2013,
while Jakub Voracek took over as the team leader in goals with number eight. Jake extended his point streak to six games, picking up an assist as well.

Toronto’s defense did a good job frustrating the Flyers the
rest of the time, allowing the mistakes to accumulate at the other end. Ilya
Bryzgalov surrendered a soft goal in the first period, while the Leafs caught
their opponent on a shift change in the second.

They picked up the game winner while Max Talbot sat in the
box for hooking, and an empty netter in the closing seconds was the cherry on

Ugly loss for a Flyers team looking to build some momentum
now that the grueling portion of their schedule is out of the way, but nobody
said they were going to win them all from here on out. It will be back to the
drawing board on Wednesday versus the Washington Capitals.

Game Highlights:

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Ben Simmons, Robert Covington react to Ersan Ilyasova trade

Ben Simmons, Robert Covington react to Ersan Ilyasova trade

On Wednesday, the Sixers traded Ersan Ilyasova to the Hawks in exchange for Tiago Splitter and a 2017 second-round pick, as well as the option to swap 2017 second-round selections (see story).

"I want to thank Ersan Ilyasova for his positive contributions to this organization both on and off the basketball court," president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said in a statement. "Ersan is a true professional whose daily examples of hard work, focus and consistency have helped facilitate the ongoing growth of our program and culture."

The Sixers took to Instagram to express their appreciation for Ilyasova’s leadership. Ilyasova quickly embraced the role of a veteran go-to when he was traded to the Sixers in early November. Both posts below exemplify his team-first mentality.

✊🏼 A true Pro @ersanilyasova7

A post shared by Ben Simmons (@bensimmons) on

Thanks for being a great teammate @ersanilyasova7. Wishing you the best in ATL

A post shared by Rob Covington (@atf_33) on

Best of NHL: Rickard Rakell, Ducks snap Bruins' win streak at 4

Best of NHL: Rickard Rakell, Ducks snap Bruins' win streak at 4

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Rickard Rakell broke a tie with his second goal with 2:34 to play, and the Anaheim Ducks snapped Boston's four-game winning streak under new coach Bruce Cassidy with a 5-3 victory over the Bruins on Wednesday night.

Rakell also scored in the second period for the Ducks and has 24 goals in his outstanding season. Ondrej Kase, Josh Manson and Andrew Cogliano also scored for Anaheim, and Jonathan Bernier made 26 saves in his first victory since Jan. 23.

Frank Vatrano scored the tying goal in the third period for the Bruins, who hadn't lost since Cassidy replaced Claude Julien on Feb. 7. Defensemen Brandon Carlo and Zdeno Chara scored early goals, and Tuukka Rask stopped 20 shots.

Anaheim beat Boston for the seventh straight time (see full recap).

Rare goal from Russell lifts Oilers over Panthers
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Kris Russell's goal with 7:58 left was his first in more than a year and lifted the Edmonton Oilers over Florida 4-3 on Wednesday night to snap the Panthers' five-game winning streak.

Russell's goal was his first since Feb. 11, 2016, when he played for Calgary. He went goalless in his first 48 games with the Oilers.

Fellow defenseman Oscar Klefbom also scored for Edmonton, as did forwards Zack Kassian and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Connor McDavid, who came into the night leading the NHL scoring race, had an assist on Russell's goal.

Aleksander Barkov, Colton Sceviour and Jonathan Marchessault scored for Florida. Keith Yandle had two assists for the Panthers, giving him 400 points for his career.

Cam Talbot stopped 31 shots for the Oilers, who have won their last eight games at Florida -- last losing on the Panthers' ice in 2002. James Reimer made 31 saves for the Panthers, who just completed a 5-0-0 road trip (see full recap).