LecavalierPhilly

Can Vinny get Giroux going?

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Vincent Lecavalier was sounding pretty happy about getting to play with Claude Giroux tonight when the goal-starved Philadelphia Flyers host the New York Rangers.

“I love it,” Lecavalier said, per CSN Philly. “[Giroux’s] a great player, a great passer. Very, very smart, quick little plays. Kind of easy to play with. It’s been going really good in practices. I’ve always played against him and he was a great player, but to be with him, you look at the way he thinks out there, he’s a very special player.”

Normally a center, Lecavalier will be on the right wing against the Rangers (his first game after missing three with a lower-body injury), while Giroux is in the middle, with Michael Raffl on the left side.

Flyers head coach Craig Berube is hopeful Lecavalier can stir Giroux, who has just three assists in eight games.

“I just think Claude, he’ll be very excited to play with a guy of Vinny’s caliber and experience that he’s had over the years, Stanley Cup champion and all those things,” Berube said. “Vinny’s a great goal-scorer, shoots the puck real well. We all know how Claude can pass the puck. So it could be a good combination.”

The Flyers (1-7-0) have scored just 11 goals in eight games.

The Rangers, meanwhile, have the worst goals-against average (4.14) in the NHL, and will have a rookie making his NHL debut in goal tonight.

Related: Giroux remains confident Flyers will make playoffs

McDavid accuses ‘classless’ Manning of injuring him on purpose

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Connor McDavid is usually as bland in interviews as he is exhilarating on the ice. Maybe you just need to rattle his cage like Brandon Manning apparently did during Thursday’s eventual Flyers win.

The accusation is serious: McDavid believes that Manning injured him on purpose during that memorable crash into the boards from last season. (You can try to give it the Zapruder treatment in the video above.)

Basically, McDavid claims that Manning essentially said that he intended to hurt the Edmonton Oilers star.

Some key quotes in case you’d rather just read them:

“I did all I could defending him last year in the media,” McDavid said. “Everyone wanted to make a big deal saying he did it on purpose. And he made some comments today about what went on last year and I thought it was one of the most classless things I’ve ever seen on the ice.

” … I guess we can put the whole if he did it on purpose thing to rest because what he said out there kinda confirmed that.”

Wow.

Manning, for his part, denied the accusation:

Could it be trash talk to get under McDavid’s skin? No. 97 certainly looked a little extra motivated during this celebration.

(Apparently McDavid was “chirping” the Flyers all night.)

Whether the truth is on McDavid’s side, Manning’s side or somewhere in between, there’s clearly some bad blood. In case you’re wondering, yes, the two teams play one more time this season (on Feb. 16).

Islanders continue uplifting (and well-timed) hot streak

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08:  Anders Lee #27 of the New York Islanders celebrates his second goal of the game at 12:42 of the third period against the St. Louis Blues at the Barclays Center on December 8, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK (AP) The New York Islanders have started winning with regularity and Anders Lee‘s sudden scoring touch is a major reason why.

Lee’s second goal of the game with just over seven minutes remaining lifted the Islanders to a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.

Lee’s go-ahead score on a slap shot came after Casey Cizikas won a faceoff in the Blues zone and sent the puck back to Lee, who rifled it past Allen with 7:18 left for his eighth of the season.

“It was a great job by Casey. That one found its way,” said Lee, who now has seven goals in his last eight games. “What makes this little run special is they’ve all been team wins.”

John Tavares also scored and Thomas Greiss stopped 24 shots to help the Islanders improve their season-best stretch to 5-0-1 in their last six games.

“We’re playing with resiliency and emotion,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. “We have that `no quit’ attitude.”

Robby Fabbri and Kyle Brodziak had goals for the Blues, who fell to 3-7-1 away from home while going 12-1-3 at Scottrade Center. Jake Allen, who came in with eight straight wins, finished with 24 saves.

Fabbri opened the scoring for the Blues at 4:36 of the first, knocking the puck past Greiss for his sixth of the season.

Lee answered for the Islanders at 6:51, just 12 seconds after Blues forward Jori Lehtera was penalized for high-sticking. Lee tipped Nick Leddy‘s shot from the point past Allen.

Tavares then scored his eighth goal with a shot from the high slot at 8:31 to put the Islanders ahead 2-1.

“We were pushing the whole game, it was intense until the end,” Fabbri said. “They are getting pucks in and playing hard.”

Tavares, who also has 13 assists this season and leads the Islanders with 21 points, has 492 career points. The 26-year-old center needs eight points to become the 10th player in franchise history to reach the 500-point mark.

Brodziak scored the only goal of the second at 3:33 to knot the score at 2. Fabbri and defenseman Joel Edmundson had assists on Brodziak’s third goal this season.

The Islanders came into the game off an emotional 4-2 win over the Rangers on Tuesday night at Barclays Center. They also defeated Pittsburgh and Washington last week.

“We’re playing hard and figuring it out. It takes time,” Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck said of this team’s recent surge. “The effort is there. We’re eliminated confusion and mental errors. It’s a sign of team maturity. ”

St. Louis also lost both meetings with the Islanders last season. The Islanders hadn’t won three straight from the Blues since a five-game winning streak from Feb. 23, 1984, to Oct. 26, 1985.

“They are a good team and they’re on a roll,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “We need more from our top-end guys. We had a chance to win, we were it perfect position and didn’t take advantage of it.”

The Islanders are in a stretch where they will play 10 out of 14 games at home. By the time they host the Capitals on Dec. 27, they will have played 22 of their first 34 games at home.

They know they’ll have to made good use of playing at their home rink in Brooklyn, where they are 9-4-4 this season. Last year, they won 25 times at home and finished with 100 points.

“We have to compete, making sure we’re winning battles,” Capuano added. “It’s our work ethic and determination. That’s how we have to play.”

St. Louis opened a four-game, six-day road trip after a 4-0-1 homestand, capped by a 3-2 overtime win over Montreal on Tuesday night after the Blues rallied from two goals down.

NOTES: Forwards Nail Yakupov and Ty Rattie were healthy scratches for the Blues. … Islanders D Johnny Boychuk was back after missing the win against the Rangers on Tuesday because of the flu. … The Islanders scratched F Ryan Strome (flu) and D Scott Mayfield.

UP NEXT

Blues: At New Jersey on Friday night.

Islanders: At Columbus on Saturday night.

Optimism won’t come as easily for Lightning after ugly loss to Canucks

TAMPA, FL - MARCH 17:  Ben Bishop #30 of the Tampa Bay Lightning makes a save in front of Alex Burrows #14 of the Vancouver Canucks at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on March 17, 2014 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
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Maybe the Tampa Bay Lightning aren’t “figuring things out” after all.

They were able to find the bright side of recent troubles, but what do you really say after a 5-1 loss to the struggling Vancouver Canucks?

The Lightning have lost two straight, six of seven and seven of nine during a deeply worrisome run. While they did generate more shots on goal tonight, they’ve now given up at least 30 in all but three of their contests since the start of November.

If the playoffs began today, the Lightning would easily miss them.

“It’s time for us to step up here,” Ben Bishop said after a game in which he was pulled heading into the third period. “Nobody is going to feel bad for us.”

Blame it on injuries if you’d like, but Steven Stamkos isn’t coming back anytime soon. If they don’t get things back together, they won’t be playing for much once he can return.

Flyers wouldn’t give up in seventh straight win; Oilers couldn’t protect a lead

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 08:  Claude Giroux #28 of the Philadelphia Flyers celebrates after scoring a second period goal against the Edmonton Oilers at Wells Fargo Center on December 8, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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One team just can’t be denied. At times, the other team just can’t seem to defend.

It was a pretty wild one between the Edmonton Oilers and the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night, with the ultimate result being a 6-5 win for the Flyers.

The ride was bumpy, dramatic and will probably provide Oilers head coach Todd McLellan with a lot of “teaching moments” (or, let’s be honest, reasons to yell really loud).

Things started promising enough for the Oilers, who built an early 2-0 lead thanks to a goal and an assist by Leon Draisaitl. You could then cue the horror music, as the Flyers scored three goals in a minute and 12 seconds to grab a brief 3-2 lead:

There might be some concern about a young team like the Oilers cratering from such a letdown, yet they bounced back … to an extent.

Edmonton rattled off three unanswered goals, giving them a 5-3 lead about five minutes into the third period. It seemed like it would be a redemptive moment after that three-goal blunder.

Then there was another three-goal blunder.

Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux and Michael Raffl helped the Flyers rattling off another three unanswered goals, giving Philly a seventh consecutive win.

The Oilers? They didn’t even get what sometimes feels like a customary “charity point” by getting to overtime. Three isn’t a magical number for Edmonton lately, as they’ve now lost three in a row. It’s probably safe to say that this one will burn the most.