The Philadelphia Flyers and Edmonton Oilers, two teams outside the playoff picture, apparently weren’t too caught up on defensive details Saturday.
The Flyers, with Ray Emery in net for a surprise start, jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first period, only to cough it up. The Oilers allowed three straight goals after grabbing an early lead. It was back-and-forth with plenty of chances.
And both teams were able to capitalize off odd-man rushes, taking advantage of the opposing team’s mistakes.
First, Jordan Eberle’s goal, his 20th of the season, which gave Edmonton a 4-3 lead early in the second period. Nice pass from Benoit Pouliot, and even better finish.
Now, here’s a look at a sweet passing play from unlikely candidates Ryan White and Zac Rinaldo. White finishes the playoff, giving Philadelphia a 3-1 lead late in the first period.
Although there was some initial speculation that 22-year-old John Klingberg might be able to return tonight, the Dallas Stars defenseman will miss his third straight game, per the Dallas Morning News’ Steve Hunt.
He hurt his knee during Dallas’ game against Tampa Bay on March 7 when Ryan Callahan caught him in an awkward position. He still managed to play on Tuesday, but Philadelphia’s Zac Rinaldo leveled him during the contest and Klingberg’s shoulder was injured as a result.
Given Klingberg’s recent string of setbacks, being more conscious of his surroundings and position will be an increased focus of his going forward.
“Obviously, I’m not the biggest guy ever, so a team, if they can tackle me and make mistakes out of that, they will want to do that,” Klingberg told the Dallas Morning News. “That’s something I’ve had my whole career, but it’s more over here. Stuff happens faster, and it’s more physical, so I’m going to have to be even more aware.”
Klingberg leads all rookie defensemen with 36 points in 53 games. He also has a plus-five rating and has averaged 21:38 minutes per contest.
Ruff on when Klingberg will return: "John’s a good player and we’ll get him in as soon as he’s ready."
The Flyers acquired R.J. Umberger from the Columbus Blue Jackets along with a 2015 fourth-round draft pick in exchange for Scott Hartnell over the summer and so far that move hasn’t worked out for Philadelphia. If you want evidence of that, you need only watch tonight’s game against the Dallas Stars and notice the absence of Umberger, who will instead be in the press box.
Umberger, who initially broke into the NHL as a Flyer before spending six seasons with Columbus, has reached or surpassed the 50-point mark on three separate occasions, but he’s been limited to nine goals and 15 points in 67 games in 2014-15. Meanwhile, Hartnell has 43 points and 88 penalty minutes in 60 contests with Columbus.
“When things aren’t going well, that’s [the comparison to Hartnell] added pressure. You feel that,” Umberger told the Courier-Post. “I think the biggest thing that’s bothered me is that I feel like I’ve let (general manager Ron) Hextall down. He believed in me bringing me here and I feel like I just haven’t been the player for him that he needs.”
It’s worth noting that while he’s being regarded as a healthy scratch, he doesn’t appear to be 100 percent. He has been seen moving with a limp and has a somewhat bloodshot eye. Umberger, who has set an unwanted career-high by going 18 games without a goal, doesn’t want to use that as an excuse though.
“Everybody has injuries,” Umberger said.
Vinny Lecavalier will be inserted into the lineup as a fourth liner while Zac Rinaldo will move up to the third line due to Umberger’s absence.
Umberger comes with a $4.6 million annual cap hit and is signed through 2016-17.