Rink to Rink: Looking at Friday's Games

Before we discuss an exciting weekend of NHL hockey, let’s review last night’s games.

Tim Connolly continues to have a quietly inspiring season of health and productivity (hopefully this won’t jinx him), scoring the overtime GWG. The Flyers wasted a great night in net from Michael Leighton, who had 32 saves in a losing effort.
Someone must have fooled Darren Helm into thinking that the playoffs started already. The speedy, energetic winger managed 2 goals in the game (he’s only had 10 all season). Nicklas Lidstrom managed his 800th career assist in the game.
This game was more or less over after the first period. Chicago chased Roberto Luongo out of the net by scoring 5 goals on 14 shots. After that, it was all over but the crying fighting.
More games reviewed after the jump

If the Oilers were ever going to win (only 5 victories since Dec. 15), they might as well have done it on Fan Appreciation Night. Another rarity: a night of relevance for Mike Comrie that didn’t involve Hillary Duff. Comrie scored in regulation and had the shootout winner to boot.
So much for the Devils getting revenge against Brent Sutter. It was quite the outburst for the Flames considering the fact that they are ranked 29th in the NHL in scoring. Olympic hero Zach Parise reached the 30 goal mark with 2 in a losing cause.

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    Slump busters: Simmonds, Couturier end long scoring droughts in win over Rangers

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    It’s been a good few days to be a fan of the Philadelphia Flyers, as their team delivered not once, but twice during Thanksgiving weekend.

    The Flyers picked up a 3-2 OT win over the Predators on Friday before shutting out the New York Rangers, 3-0, on Saturday.

    It was a good afternoon for three players in particular.

    Both Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier ended long scoring slumps.

    Simmonds’ two goals were his first in seven games, while Couturier scored for the first time in his last 13 contests.

    Goaltender Steve Mason also had a solid outing against the Rangers.

    The 27-year-old turned aside all 24 shots he faced including this great save on Dominic Moore:

    The Flyers lost defenseman Nick Schultz to an upper-body injury in the first period after he took a big hit from Dylan McIlrath.

    Luke Schenn defended his fallen teammate by dropping the gloves with McIlrath, which didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates.

    The Rangers are now on a season-high three-game losing streak. Their lack of effort has to be concerning for their head coach Alain Vigneault.

    The Flyers outshot the Rangers 30-14 over the final 40 minutes.

    Video: Flyers lose Schultz after big hit from McIlrath

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    It looks like the injury bug has taken another chunk out of the Philadelphia Flyers.

    The Flyers, who are already without Mark Streit, Ryan White and R.J. Umberger, have now lost Nick Schultz to injury.

    Schultz left Saturday’s game against the Rangers in the first period after taking a hit from Rangers defenseman Dylan McIlrath.

    Luke Schenn went after McIlrath right after he delivered the hit and both players dropped the gloves.

    Schultz did not return.

    You can watch the entire sequence by clicking on the video at the top of the page.

    The 33-year-old has just one assist in 23 games, but he leads the Flyers in blocked shots with 54.

    Goalie nods: Bernier has a ‘huge’ opportunity to prove himself vs. Caps

    Jonathan Bernier
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    Jonathan Bernier hasn’t been very good in ’15-16, but he’ll have a great opportunity to right the ship on Saturday night.

    Facing the Washington Capitals is never an easy task if you’re a goaltender, of course, but Bernier can’t afford to be picky with his chances.

    The 27-year-old is still looking for his first win of the season, as he has an overall record of 0-7-1. His 3.17 goals-against-average and a .895 save percentage are just as bad as his record.

    Starter James Reimer is out tonight after suffering an injury in practice and although Bernier probably can’t win the starting job with just one good game, a solid performance would go a long way.

    He’ll go head-to-head with Capitals goalie Braden Holtby.


    Cory Schneider will face the Habs for the second time in two nights. The Canadiens will do the same with Mike Condon. Montreal beat New Jersey, 3-2, in a shootout on Friday.

    -The Islanders have yet to confirm a starter, but they’ll likely go up against Ben Bishop on Saturday night.

    -Expect Linus Ullmark to go up against Pekka Rinne when the Sabres and Predators clash in Nashville. Rinne is on a season-high four-game losing streak.

    -The Oilers may turn to Anders Nilsson against the Penguins. Pittsburgh will decide between giving Marc-Andre Fleury two starts in two nights or going with Jeff Zatkoff.

    -The Stars, like Pittsburgh, will have to decide if they want to give Antti Niemi a second game in two nights. They will be going up against Darcy Kuemper, who will be making just his second start of the season.

    Sergei Bobrovsky will get the start in Saturday’s game against the St. Louis Blues. He was solid in a 2-1 OT win over the Penguins on Friday night. The Blues will counter with starter Jake Allen.

    -The Jets have yet to confirm a starter in Denver. They’ll be going up against Semyon Varlamov, who was pulled in Wednesday’s game against Ottawa after he allowed three goals on 15 shots.

    Craig Anderson will look to win his fifth straight game when the Senators take on Arizona. The ‘Yotes still haven’t named a starter.

    Jonas Hiller is likely to get the start against San Jose, while the Sharks will definitely be countering with starter Martin Jones. The Sharks goaltender is coming off a loss to the ‘Hawks, but previously won five in a row.

    Scott Darling will put his 2-2-1 record on the line against the Kings. Jonathan Quick will probably be between the pipes for the Kings. Quick has a 7-15-1 record against the ‘Hawks in his career.

    The verdict is in: Dubinsky gets one game for cross-checking Crosby


    Brandon Dubinsky has been suspended one game for his cross-check to the back of Sidney Crosby‘s neck.

    The incident took place during the second period of Friday’s game.

    Crosby did head to the locker room after the play, but he was able to return.

    When deciding on the number of games to give Dubinsky, here’s what the NHL took into account:

    1. Dubinsky delivered a clear cross-check.
    2. Dubinsky has been fined before, but never suspended.
    3. Crosby wasn’t seriously injured on the play.

    “In this case, while Dubinsky’s cross-check isn’t overly violent or forceful, it is an intentional strike to an opponent’s head using his stick,” the NHL said in their explanation of the play. “This is not a case where the head contact was caused by a sudden movement by Crosby or by a stick riding up a player’s back or shoulders and making subsequent contact with the head.”

    Click on the video at the top of the page to watch the NHL’s full explanation.

    The Blue Jackets take on the Blues in St. Louis tonight.