When the Flyers invited Michael Nylander to training camp to compete for a job with the team and potentially play alongside Jaromir Jagr once again, it was seen as a shock since Nylander hadn’t played in the NHL since the 2008-2009 season with the Capitals. A mix of a bad contract and a terrifying neck injury kept him out of action with the Capitals while his contract ran out, but the shot at coming back to the NHL beckoned him back from Europe.
That shot at the NHL, however, is taking a hit in preseason as he’s yet to suit up in a game for the Flyers to show if he’s still got the skills needed to play in the league. Without playing there’s no shot for Nylander to sign a deal with the Flyers in the first place. So what gives for the former point scorer? CSNPhilly.com’s Tim Panaccio finds out that Nylander’s health is keeping him idle.
General manager Paul Holmgren said late Friday that Nylander has a minor injury that is unrelated to the neck surgery he underwent last season.
Nylander, who did not make the trip to Motown, could be available to play Monday night against the Rangers, Holmgren said.
It would make for an ironic twist for Nylander to make his debut against the Rangers as it was in New York that he saw his best season in the NHL playing alongside Jagr. Nylander had 83 points that season while Jagr piled up 96 of his own. Nylander will be 39 years-old soon so his window for playing again in the NHL is closing and fast. If he can play soon and show he belongs, the chemistry he and Jagr had in New York could, potentially, happen again.
That said, Nylander has his work cut out for himself in winning a starting spot in Philadelphia. The jobs are few and far between to compete for in Philly so if Nylander is going to make the cut, he’s going to have to be even more impressive with his play to win a spot. Time is running out, however, for Nylander to show what he’s got.
Raanta rewards Rangers for starts over Lundqvist by blanking Blackhawks
If someone told you that the New York Rangers started a goalie on back-to-back nights, and that goalie wasn’t Henrik Lundqvist, you’d probably wonder if he was hurt or retired.
Nope. It just so happens that Antti Raanta is playing at an incredibly high level, Alain Vigneault noticed, and that decision paid dividends on Friday night. Raanta won both nights of a back-to-back, allowing a single goal (with the Rangers protecting him, being that he only needed to stop 43 of 44 shots during that span).
Raanta and the Rangers blanked the Chicago Blackhawks with a 1-0 overtime win, at least briefly climbing to first place in the massively competitive Metro Division:
1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP
Nick Holden ended up scoring the only goal of the game:
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks lost but at least salvaged a standings point and it seems like Patrick Kane is OK after this injury scare:
Raanta improved to 7-1-0 on the season, allowing two goals or less in all but one of his appearances so far this season. That’s the kind of work you’d expect to see if you’re going sit a guy who’s, you know, a living legend.
Blue Jackets remain in thick of things in Metro on tough night for Red Wings
As the Columbus Blue Jackets keep rolling, the Detroit Red Wings are probably just happy to get Friday behind them.
For the second straight game, the Blue Jackets beat their opponent 4-1.
They’re now on a five-game winning streak, and like the climbing St. Louis Blues, things look great if you go back a little further. They’re 10-1-2 in their last 13 games and 13-2-3 since November began.
The New Jersey Devils have been incredibly difficult to beat at home. Lately, the St. Louis Blues have been on a roll just about anywhere.
On Friday night, the Blues were the hotter team, handing the Devils their first home loss in regulation in 2016-17. And it wasn’t particularly close, with St. Louis winning 4-1.
It’s a convenient time to note that the Blues rank among the hottest teams in the NHL. Most recently, they’re 5-1-1 in their last seven games, but they’ve been especially impressive since they flirted with .500 at 7-6-3. Beginning with a 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 15, the Blues are on a 8-2-1 tear.
This leaves them second in the Central with a 16-8-4 record.
That’s impressive stuff.
This 4-1 win was quite the showcase for Robby Fabbri and Vladimir Tarasenko, in particular. Tarasenko collected three assists while Fabbri scored two goals on Friday night. His second goal was particularly slick:
The Blues are right in saying that this was a pretty fitting opportunity to drop a “Holy Jumpin.”
Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”
Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).
Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.