PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 15: Danny Briere #48 of the Philadelphia Flyers faces off with Travis Zajac #19 of the New Jersey Devils on March 15, 2013 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers went on to defeat the Devils 2-1 in a shoot-out. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHL on NBCSN: Flyers, Devils battle for pride


NBCSN’s ongoing coverage of the 2013 campaign will continue tonight when the Philadelphia Flyers host the New Jersey Devils at the Wells Fargo Center at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

Just under a year ago, the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils battled in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, with the Devils winning that series in five games.

Barring a miracle, neither team will make the playoffs in 2013, so this will almost certainly be their final opportunity to face each other before the summer.

The Devils have dominated the season series, winning three games over the Flyers before narrowing losing a shootout to Philadelphia on March 15.

Those games against Philadelphia must seem so long ago in New Jersey. At the time, they looked like a good bet to make the playoffs. Then Ilya Kovalchuk suffered a shoulder injury and they haven’t won since.

That’s 10 straight defeats for the Devils. To make matters worse, they have played 120:37 minutes without scoring a single goal.

“Absurd is a good word for it,” DeBoer said after a 2-0 loss to Toronto on Monday. “I don’t have an answer. I know the guys are emptying the tank.”

Kovalchuk won’t be able to come back and save them tonight. He might not return at all this season.

“I don’t know. I’m taking this day to day, literally,” coach Pete DeBoer told the Star-Ledger. “I’m not looking beyond. He’s not ready for Philly. Let’s look at Florida (Saturday afternoon at Prudential Center).”

With or without him, the Devils need this win. Not for the sake of keeping their bleak playoff hopes alive, just to simply put themselves in a position where maybe they can enter the summer with some kind of silver lining.

The Flyers likely want the same thing. They’ve won their last two games and while their chances of advancing to the postseason are equally bleak, they still have their pride. So these teams will fight and hope that 2013-14 will go differently.

Probable goaltenders: NJD – Martin Brodeur (10-8-7, 2.25 GAA, .901 SV%) | PHI – Steve Mason (4-8-1, 2.70 GAA, .908 SV%)

Top scorers: NJD – Patrik Elias (11-20-31, 42 GP) | PHI – Claude Giroux (13-31-44, 43 GP)

Notable Injuries:
New Jersey – Forwards: Kovalchuk Defensemen: Bryce Salvador (wrist)
Philadelphia – Forwards: Zac Rinaldo (ankle), Maxime Talbot (leg), Jody Shelley (hip), Ruslan Fedotenko (upper body) Defensemen: Bruno Gervais (stomach), Kent Huskins (concussion), Nicklas Grossmann (concussion), Braydon Coburn (shoulder), Andrej Meszaros (shoulder), Marc-Andre Bourdon (concussion), Chris Pronger (concussion)

Sens demote former first-rounder Puempel

Matt Puempel
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Looks like Matt Puempel won’t be making the leap after all.

Puempel, the subject of Ottawa’s “looking to make the leap” profile during our Team of the Day series, has been sent down to AHL Binghamton one day prior to the Sens’ opener against Buffalo.

Puempel, taken by Ottawa in the first round (24th overall) at the ’11 draft, made his big-league debut last season and looked as though he’d stick around — only to suffer a high ankle sprain after 13 games, and miss the rest of the season.

The 22-year-old came into this year’s camp looking to secure a full-time position at the big league level, but was beaten out by Shane Prince for the final forward spot on the roster.

To be fair, contract status probably played a role. Prince would’ve had to clear waivers to get down to Bingo, whereas Puempel didn’t.

A former 30-goal scorer in the American League, Puempel is expected to get another look with Ottawa this season.

Report: Torres won’t appeal 41-game suspension


Sounds like Raffi Torres is accepting his punishment.

Per Sportsnet, Torres won’t appeal his 41-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The report comes just days after the NHL’s Department of Player Safety levied one of the longest disciplinary rulings in league history, citing both the severity of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ lengthy history of suspensions, fines and warnings.

There was some thought, however, that Torres would try to challenge the ruling.


He does have a history of success in that department. In 2012,Torres successfully appealed his suspension for a headshot on Chicago’s Marian Hossa, and had his punishment reduced from 25 games to 21.

Torres also isn’t considered a “repeat offender” under the current collective bargaining agreement, as his last suspension came in 2013.

Of course, part of that clean record is due to the fact he hasn’t played much. Torres has largely been sidelined by injury for the last two seasons, missing all of last year with knee problems.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman delved further into the repeat offender thing in his latest 30 Thoughts column:

If you read the relevant sections of the CBA, the league takes the position that the repeat offender status is only applicable to fines. Repeaters are fined on a per-game basis, non-repeaters on a per-day basis. (The former is more expensive, because there are fewer games than days in an NHL season.) However, if you go to Section 18.2, among the factors taken into account are, “the status of the offender and, specifically, whether the Player has a history of being subject to Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct.”

So, in the NHL’s view, a player’s history is relevant, even if longer than 18 months ago.

Should the report prove accurate and Torres doesn’t appeal, he will be eligible to return to action on Jan. 14, when the Sharks take on the Oilers.