NHL Extra: Breaking down Flyers vs. Rangers

Looking for the numbers breakdown for how these two teams stack up? Look no further as we’ve got you covered as the Rangers take on the Flyers at 12:30 p.m. ET from Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

Insider’s Preview

CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio wonders which Flyers team will show up against the Rangers this afternoon.

Team scoring

Overall this year, the Rangers have scored 220 goals, a mark that puts them 15th in the NHL. Their average is… well, rather average at 2.72 goals per game  – a number that puts them 17th overall in the NHL. Brandon Dubinsky is their leading scorer with 52 points (23 goals, 29 assists). Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan each have 23 goals this year leading the charge there. The Rangers have five players with 20+ goals (Dubinsky, Callahan, Marian Gaborik, Brian Boyle, and Derek Stepan).

Philadelphia’s offense is a bit better. They’ve scored 245 goals this season, a mark that puts them fourth overall in the NHL. They goals per game average is a stellar 3.10, a mark that only trails Detroit, Vancouver, and Chicago in the league. Claude Giroux is leading the team in scoring with 72 points (25 goals, 47 assists) while Jeff Carter and Daniel Briere are the top goal scorers with 36 and 32 respectively. Unfortunately for Philly, Briere is out of today’s game.

Goaltending

There’s a stark difference between these two teams and it comes in goal. The Rangers come at you with all-world superstar Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist is 33-26-5 this season with a 2.26 goals against average and a .923 save percentage. Add in the 11 shutouts he’s got this year and you’ve got yourself a potential Vezina Trophy finalist. Lundqvist has been the biggest reason for the Rangers success this year. Now if they can just get him the goals to support him…

Philadelphia has been working an effective two-headed monster approach in goal with Brian Boucher and rookie Sergei Bobrovsky. Boucher this season is 17-10-4 with a 2.45 goals against average and a .914 save percentage. Meanwhile, Sergei Bobrovsky’s record is 28-12-6 with a 2.49 goals against average and a .918 save percentage. Bobrovsky gets the call to start this afternoon.

Special teams

The Rangers penalty kill runs at 83.2% efficiency, good for 13th in the NHL. Their power play, while still average, has improved a bit since Bryan McCabe arrived. The Rangers score 17.2% with the man advantage. A rate like that is good for 15th in the league. Acquiring McCabe didn’t make huge headlines, but it’s made a difference on the man advantage.

Philadelphia;s power play has been a bit more inept since we last saw them. The Flyers score 16.4% of the time, good for 21st in the league. The Flyers PK is outstanding killing 83.8% of the power plays they face, a mark good for eighth in the league. If you can’t score on the man advantage, you’d better be able to stop the opponents and the Flyers can do that.

Streaks and standings

The Flyers are the top team in the Atlantic Division with 102 points. After Washington’s overtime win over Buffalo last night, the Flyers are out of the Eastern Conference’s top spot for the first time in a long time this year. They’re three better than Boston in second place in the East. Meanwhile, the Penguins are lurking behind them in the Atlantic  by two points. A win for the Flyers today would get them back into first in the East and pad their lead on Pittsburgh. The Flyers have lost six of their last nine games to help put themselves in this precarious position.

New York is eighth in the Eastern Conference with 87 points. Their lead on ninth place Carolina is just one point and tenth place Toronto lurks behind them by three points. With the Rangers struggles of late losing three of their last four, Carolina and Toronto both have crept back into the picture. A Rangers win today would be destructive to both of their causes as it would then put Buffalo in eighth with 88 points and put both Toronto and Carolina another point further behind in the race for the playoffs.

NHL Extra

If you’d like to ask James and I questions and get our thoughts on today’s game, you can join us for NHL Extra online and follow along with the action that way. To join us for NHL Extra click here. We’ll be kicking things off at 12:30 p.m.

The Buzzer: McElhinney with the McShutout, Schenn scores again

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Players of the Night: 

Curtis McElhinney, Toronto Maple Leafs:

McElhinney turned aside all 41 shots that came his way as the Leafs shutout the Edmonton Oilers 1-0. The Leafs backup improved to 3-2-0 on the season and his save percentage jumped from .900 to 9.25. Toronto has now won three straight and six of their past 10.

Brayden Schenn, St. Louis Blues:

Schenn notched his sixth goal in his past four games and extended his goal-scoring streak to four games with a goal 40 seconds into the game. The Blues are now winners of four straight and six of their past 10.

Eric Stall, Minnesota Wild & Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks: 

Both scored twice for their respective teams in an entertaining 4-3 win for the Wild in overtime.

Highlight of the Night: 

Vladimir Tarasenko catches the Sabres defense sleeping in overtime, scoring his first non-empty net goal in nine games:

Factoid of the Night: 

Patrick Kane didn’t score, but his two assists were instrumental in giving the Chicago Blackhawks a victory on Sunday.

Scores: 

Blackhawks 3, Coyotes 1

Blues 3, Sabres 2 (OT)

Maple Leafs 1, Oilers 0

Wild 4, Sharks 3


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Alex Burrows fined $5,000 for roughing

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Alex Burrows won’t be on Dylan DeMelo‘s Christmas card list this year.

Not after Burrows swiped DeMelo in the face with the butt-end of his stick on Saturday night.

Burrows got slapped with a $5,000 fine for roughing on Sunday night, the maximum permissible under the CBA. The money is one thing, but Burrows and the Senators have bigger issues at the moment.

It didn’t help the little incident happened in the third period and the game all but over for the Senators. Here’s the slow-mo shot of the infraction:

DeMelo suffered a scratch cornea and narrowly missed a major eye injury, according to Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer. 

DeMelo was in the lineup for the Sharks on Sunday against the Minnesota Wild.

Burrows’ $5,000 goes to the player’s Emergency Assistance Fund.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Is it a slump or is regression setting in for the Winnipeg Jets?

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Might regression be hitting the Winnipeg Jets at the moment?

It’s a question Jets fans are asking themselves after a three-game road trip that produced just a single point and a goose egg in the win column.

It’s the first time the Jets have lost three straight all season. In year’s past, this wouldn’t have come as much surprise, but the Jets have thrown the status quo out the window this season and have sung a different tune.

The analytics would suggest the Jets were due for a fall back to earth.

For most of the season, they’ve been near the bottom of the league in terms of Corsi, with only recently climbing up that ladder with a help of a very lopsided game against the Ottawa Senators.

Regression in goal is also starting to happen, and a lot of Winnipeg’s early-season success had to do with how well Connor Hellebuyck had been playing.

Hellebuyck has been sensational most of the season and his 15-3-4  record supports that. But his save percentage has been trending in the wrong direction lately. In five of his past six starts, Hellebuyck has only achieved a .900 save percentage or better once, and that came in that 5-0 shutout against the Senators.

Nov. 27 vs MIN: .895
Nov. 29 vs COL: .885
Dec. 1 vs VGK: .871
Dec. 3 vs. OTT: 1.000
Dec. 5 vs DET: .844
Dec. 9 vs TBL: .857

The Jets give up a lot of shots, so the odds that Hellebuyck’s early season numbers would survive throughout the year were low.

The sky is by no means falling in Winnipeg. The Jets showed they can go toe-to-toe with the league’s best on Saturday. Overtime has just been the bane of their existence this season with a 0-5 record in free hockey.

The Jets touched the summit of the Western Conference last week, a pipe dream around these parts in recent times. They also possess two of the league’s top point-producers (Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler) and one of the league’s top goal scorers (Patrik Laine), not to mention having a rookie just outside top 10 in rookie scoring (Kyle Connor).

Prior to the road trip, Winnipeg’s power play had scored eight times in 19 attempts.

The Jets have also been largely healthy. Defenseman Toby Enstrom is the midst of an eight-week spell in the press box — and there’s a pending diagnosis coming for Dustin Byfuglien after he left Saturday’s game in Tampa Bay with a lower-body injury — but the Jets gotten by relatively unscathed thus far and managed well when Mathieu Perreault and Adam Lowry missed several games.

The Jets have made too many strides this season to regress too far away from where they are right now. Asking a team to go from outside the playoff line to tops in the division might be asking a tad too much. But with that said, the Jets are simply a good team these days and stacked with high-level talent.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Calgary Hitmen fans make 24K stuffed animals fly during Teddy Bear Toss (Video)

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Congratulations, Vladislav Yeryomenko, you were this year’s Teddy Bear Toss goal scorer for the Western Hockey League’s Calgary Hitmen.

Yeryomenko’s goal at 9:36 of the first period during their game Sunday vs. the Moose Jaw Warriors was the sign for Hitmen fans to launch their teddy bears inside the Saddledome. Boy, it sure did rain plenty of fur.

Here’s what it looked like:

And here’s a fan’s eye view:

After a clean up delay of approximately 40 minutes , the game resumed but the Hitmen would fall to the Warriors 6-3. The counting, as you would imagine, took some time, but when they were finished it was announced that an astounding 24,605 stuffed animals were collected, which will go to 60 local charities.

“It’s an unforgettable moment,” Yeryomenko said via the Hitmen website. “It’s possible it can only happen once in your life and it happened to me. I enjoyed the moment of it all.”

There were 23,924 stuffed animals tossed during last year’s game, and the Hitmen hold the record of 28,815 bears, which was set in 2015.

The Hitmen have been holding this event since 1995 and are their fans are the true leaders in tossing those bears. Including this Sunday’s total, the team has collected 347,948 stuffed animals for local charities. Just last weekend the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears held their Toss event and fans there set a team record with an impressive 25,017 stuffed animals hitting the ice.

This once again proves that the Teddy Bear Toss is the greatest promotion in all of sports.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.