A one-goal lead on the road heading into the third period? Not a bad position to be in.
That’s the situation the Philadelphia Flyers found themselves in Friday, facing the Toronto Maple Leafs. But things quickly spiraled from good to bad for the Flyers in the final period, leading to another disappointing loss.
Yes, the Leafs have a team with young players that have shown they’re capable of scoring and they can do so in bunches.
But the Flyers fell apart in the final period. Their starting goalie, Steve Mason, could now be the focal point for criticism from Philadelphia fans, especially given how goaltending has been an issue for that team.
The Leafs scored four times in the third period. On nine shots. The result of the Flyers’ collapse? A 6-3 win for Toronto, which had only 23 shots on goal.
Scoring hasn’t been an issue for the Flyers.
The same can’t be said for keeping the puck out of their own net, allowing 3.33 goals-against per game while deploying Mason and Michal Neuvirth as their goalies. At five-on-five, they have a league-worst 88.82 save percentage. (The Leafs are 29th in that category.)
“Yeah, I mean we’ve talked about it so much honestly back in Philadelphia, it’s kind of tiring,” Mason told the National Post. “But the goalies just haven’t been good enough. We realize that. We have to get better. It’s simple.”
Friday’s result isn’t likely to quiet the talk about Philadelphia’s goaltending situation.
The long wait is about to be over.
Jacob Trouba is expected to be in the lineup for the Winnipeg Jets when they face the Colorado Avalanche on Friday, marking the season debut of the right-shooting blue liner. According to Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun, it’s not really known exactly who his defense partner will be.
After months of speculation about the future of the restricted free agent in Winnipeg, contract talks and a trade request, the 22-year-old Trouba re-signed with the Jets on Monday for two years and $6 million. He re-joined the team on Tuesday.
Finally getting into game action well after the beginning of the season, Trouba may display some rust tonight, which seems like it would only be natural.
But going forward, he could be a huge boost for the Jets, who have won two in a row and three of their last four games.
“He needs to get into a game,” head coach Paul Maurice told reporters. “The game’s different this year than in (the) past. It is faster. You can do a lot of video, you can do a lot of short-area drills, but eventually you’ve got to get on the ice and play a game.”
The New Jersey Devils are looking for their third straight win, but they’ll do so Friday without forward Mike Cammalleri.
The Devils, who can move into a Wild Card position with a win tonight, announced less than an hour before puck drop against the Buffalo Sabres that Cammalleri will miss this road game due to personal reasons.
In 12 games this season, the 34-year-old Cammalleri has three goals and six points.
While goals had been hard to come by for the veteran forward earlier on, he recorded a hat trick against Carolina last weekend.
The Devils and Sabres also face each other Saturday in New Jersey.
The Nashville Predators have now extended their point streak to five games, beating teams like the Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators along the way.
On Thursday, they faced their most difficult test so far this month, taking on their Central Division rivals from St. Louis. Despite falling behind by a goal in the first period, the Predators rallied to win 3-1.
James Neal and Calle Jarnkrok scored 1:06 apart in the third period and Pekka Rinne was solid in goal.
After making it within a single win of the Western Conference Final in the 2016 playoffs, and the acquisition of the dynamic P.K. Subban to bolster their offensive attack from the blue line, the Predators started this season slow, despite heightened expectations.
The Avalanche share a spot at the bottom of the Western Conference standings. The Senators are in a Wild Card spot in the East.
But the Blues represent a possible Stanley Cup contender in the highly competitive Central. This recent run and victory against St. Louis could signal a turnaround for the Predators after that difficult start, with players maintaining this team can still get better.
“We’re just starting to play the way we know we can play. We’re just playing a lot better,” said Predators captain Mike Fisher, per NHL.com.
“We still feel there’s room to improve in a lot of areas, but there’s definitely good signs. We’re finding ways to get points. It’s nice to get a couple in a row and a big one tonight, and we’ve got to keep rolling because we’ve got some ground to catch up.”
The Predators conclude their four-game home stand on Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks.
PITTSBURGH (AP) Eric Staal‘s third-period goal proved to be the game-winner as the Minnesota Wild defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2 on Thursday night.
Staal had two assists, giving him 51 points in 50 career games against Pittsburgh. Charlie Coyle scored his fourth of the season on the power play, while Nino Niederreiter added his third and Jared Spurgeon his second into an empty net for the Wild, who won for the fourth time in six games.
Minnesota, playing its first game since a one-goal loss against Colorado on Saturday, defeated the Penguins for the first time in five games, including four straight in Pittsburgh.
Related: Staal ready to ‘hit the refresh button’ after disappointing stint in New York
Devan Dubnyk, who made 39 saves, allowed fewer than three goals for the eighth straight game, which includes a streak of three straight shutouts.
Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist both scored power-play goals for Pittsburgh, which lost in regulation for the first time in eight games. It was Pittsburgh’s first regulation home loss this season.
Crosby has nine goals and 11 points in eight games since returning from a concussion that sidelined him for the first six games of the season. Crosby opened the season with a six-game point streak. Phil Kessel had two assists for Pittsburgh, which allowed a season-high 43 shots.
Marc-Andre Fleury made his first start in a week on Thursday and stopped 40 shots. He backed up Matt Murray the previous two games.
Staal put Minnesota in front 3-2 early in the third period. Coyle put a shot on net following a Penguins’ turnover behind the goal and Staal backhanded the rebound behind Fleury.
Crosby and Coyle scored power-play goals in the first period.
Pittsburgh scored its power-play goals against the top penalty killing unit, while Minnesota entered with five goals in its previous 34 chances with the man advantage.