PHILADELPHIA — Taylor Hall, Nail Yakupov, Patrick Maroon and Lauri Korpikoski all scored, and Cam Talbot made 35 saves to lead Edmonton to its third straight victory, 4-0 over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.
Talbot, in his ninth straight start, was at his best in the first two periods on his way to his second shutout of the season and 10th of his career.
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Top rookie Connor McDavid had an assist in his first game versus the Flyers since being injured against them in Philadelphia’s 4-2 win at Edmonton on Nov. 3. The 2015 No. 1 overall pick missed 37 games after breaking his clavicle when he was ridden hard into the boards by Philadelphia’s Brandon Manning, who watched from the press box as a healthy scratch.
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The loss to the Western Conference’s worst team was a blow to Philadelphia’s playoff chances. The Flyers entered play three games behind Pittsburgh, which beat the New York Rangers on Thursday night, for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot.
They had won their previous three games on a six-game homestand that continues Saturday against Columbus. Philadelphia was shut out for the fourth time this season, including three at home.
McDavid showed off his speed when he blew past defenceman Evgeny Medvedev to set up Edmonton’s opening goal with 8:40 left in the first period. McDavid got in alone on goal and Yakupov poked home the rebound after Michal Neuvirth made the initial stop on McDavid.
McDavid, the NHL’s rookie of the month for February, has 20 points in his last 16 games.
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Philadelphia dominated the second period everywhere but the scoreboard.
Edmonton took advantage of a miscommunication between Flyers defensemen Shayne Gostisbehere and Andrew MacDonald at Philadelphia’s blue line. Hall pounced on the puck and got ahead of Gostisbehere, eventually beating Neuvirth on a breakaway to give Edmonton a two-goal lead with 5:38 left in the period. It was Hall’s team-leading 21st goal.
And the Oilers went up 3-0 a little under two minutes later when Maroon notched his fifth goal of the season in his debut with Edmonton after being traded earlier this week from Anaheim for Martin Gernat and a fourth-round draft pick.
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The Flyers had a plethora of chances in the period but couldn’t convert despite outshooting Edmonton 16-9. Philadelphia’s best opportunity may have been with nine-and-a-half minutes left in the period when Sean Couturier fired at a wide-open net, only to have the puck deflect off Korpikoski before Talbot pounced on the puck just as it was about to cross the blue line.
Four minutes earlier, Mark Streit’s slap shot on a power play caromed off the post. Medvedev hit the post later in the period, following Gostisbehere’s first-period blast from the point that also ricocheted off the post.
Gostisbehere’s turnover led to Edmonton’s fourth goal, Korpikoski’s short-handed tally with 8:01 left in the third period.
Neuvirth made his fifth straight start in front of healthy No. 1 goalie Steve Mason and had 27 saves.