Checking in on the Flyers’ goalie search

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With Steve Mason their only NHL-tested netminder under contract for next season, the Philadelphia Flyers have been busy trying to address their goaltending situation ahead of tomorrow’s official start to free agency.

The list of potential candidates isn’t a particularly long one, though there are some intriguing names to be sure.

First things first — according to CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio, the club is “out” on Tim Thomas.

There is, however, interest in pending unrestricted free agent Ray Emery, who went a remarkable 17-1-0 (.922 save percentage) with the Blackhawks during the regular season before watching Corey Crawford help the team win the Stanley Cup.

Emery hasn’t been a full-time starter in the NHL since undergoing surgery for avascular necrosis in 2010, but according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, the 30-year-old is likely moving on from Chicago to compete for a starting job elsewhere.

LeBrun believes Philadelphia is the front-runner to land Emery, who already knows the market well, seeing as he started 29 games for the Flyers in 2009-10.

Another candidate is Jaroslav Halak in St. Louis. The Flyers tell Panaccio a trade for the 28-year-old is possible.

Halak has just one year remaining on his contract, with a cap hit of $3.75 million, before he can become unrestricted. And remember, the Blues also have veteran Brian Elliott under contract for next season, while promising Jake Allen is a restricted free agent and should end up re-signing.

UFAs Evgeni Nabokov and Johan Hedberg are two more names that have been mentioned in Flyers-related rumors, though their respective ages, 37 and 40, may give Philly general manager Paul Holmgren reason to hesitate.

Video: Ovechkin rocks custom skates for Russian Heritage Night

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As promised, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin rocked a pair of custom skates in honor of Russian Heritage Night on Thursday.

On his right skate, he paid tribute to the United States with a custom design, and paid tribute to his home nation on his left skate while taking the pre-game warm-up prior to facing the Columbus Blue Jackets.

He’ll be auctioning off the skates, as well.

From CSN Mid-Atlantic:

The skates were painted by noted custom shoe artists Nick Avery and Polo Kerber, whom Ovechkin personally selected. The skates feature the U.S. and Russia flags as well as the Capitol Building and Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral.

Video: Crosby slash leaves Methot’s finger bloodied and injured (Updated)

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Sidney Crosby has made news lately for his goal scoring and his use of the stick.

He speared Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly below the belt the other night, and on Thursday he delivered a slash to Senators defenseman Marc Methot, who has since not returned to the game.

The slash rendered a finger on Methot’s left hand bloodied and injured. It certainly didn’t look good as Method (calmly) skated to the bench.

There was no call on the play.

Updated: Methot won’t return to this game.

Show me the money! Nylander sets Leafs rookie record with latest assist

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Toronto’s talented rookies were back at it again Thursday, as William Nylander and Auston Matthews combined to set up the Maple Leafs’ first goal versus the New Jersey Devils.

Nylander added the second assist on the power play goal, giving him 35 helpers on the season.

That’s significant for a couple of reasons: He extends his point streak to 10 games, which sets a new Leafs rookie record. And the assist reportedly secured him another entry-level bonus:

Not bad.

Gibson (lower-body injury) will play again this regular season, says Carlyle

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The Anaheim Ducks have been without goalie John Gibson for almost two full weeks because of injury, but head coach Randy Carlyle provided reason for optimism on Thursday.

Per reports, Gibson took part in practice and Carlyle has said that his No. 1 netminder will play again during the regular season. Anaheim has nine games remaining on its schedule.

That’s good news for Anaheim heading into the post-season.

While Gibson has been out, Jonathan Bernier has stepped beyond his back-up role and provided solid goaltending for the Ducks during the stretch drive — which should also be a bonus for this club with the playoffs quickly approaching.

Bernier has wins in six of his last seven starts. In nine games this month, he has only twice allowed three goals or more.

The Ducks have fought their way back into contention for the Pacific Division with a recent surge that has coincided with San Jose’s current skid — only four wins in their last 10 games and four straight losses.

Related: Career back on track, Bernier hopes he can re-sign in Anaheim