- Image 1 of 3
- Image 2 of 3
- Image 3 of 3
PHILADELPHIA – Flyers rookie goalie Anthony Stolarz made the best of a scary situation.
Stolarz stopped 26 shots after replacing Michael Neuvirth early in the first period and the Philadelphia Flyers beat the New Jersey Devils 3-0 Saturday night.
Stolarz, who arrived at the Wells Fargo Center just five minutes before the opening faceoff as an injury replacement for Steve Mason, entered the game 7 1/2 minutes into the first period after Neuvirth collapsed in his crease.
"I never experienced anything like that," Stolarz said. "It was a whirlwind of emotions and I'm glad Neuvy's OK and we were able to get a win for him."
Neuvirth was carted off the ice on a stretch and later taken to Pennsylvania Hospital, where he was "awake and alert," according to Flyers general manager Ron Hextall. Neuvirth stopped all six shots he faced.
"We sent him to the hospital for precautionary reasons and everything so far has been good," Hextall said, adding that Neuvirth will not make the team's trip to New York for Sunday night's game against the Rangers.
Brayden Schenn, Colin McDonald and Jordan Weal scored for the Flyers, who won their fourth straight game to remain in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt. Philadelphia remained six points behind Boston for the second wild card playoff spot in the East with four games remaining for each team.
Cory Schneider stopped 38 shots for the Devils, who lost their sixth straight (0-4-2) and are now 2-14-4 in their last 20 games. New Jersey has been shut out eight times this season.
"It's a theme we're not proud of but it's happened more than once," Devils right wing Mike Cammalleri said.
"Obviously, we are all incredibly frustrated but there's no excuses," New Jersey center Blake Coleman said. "There's just wins and losses in this game. We picked up another loss and there's no excuse for it."
The Flyers took an early lead at the 7:28 mark on Schenn's 24th goal of the season and team-high 17th on the power play. Schenn was at the side of the Devils net when Claude Giroux's errant shot caromed off the end boards onto his stick for an open netter.
Nine seconds later, on a faceoff in the Devils' zone, Neuvirth collapsed in his goal crease and lay motionless on the ice for close to 2 minutes.
"It's obviously pretty scary when you see your goaltender just collapse like that," Flyers left wing Chris VandeVelde said. "I'm not sure really what happened, if he fainted or got lightheaded or what, but it was pretty scary and I'm glad to see he was moving and functioning when he was rolled off the ice."
Stolarz entered the game for Neuvirth at the 7:37 mark.
"He showed real good poise," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. "He didn't get to the rink and probably have his gear on until the drop of the puck so shows his maturity and like I said just real good solid poise going in there in that situation especially under those circumstances."
McDonald, who was recalled by the Flyers on Friday as an injury replacement for Matt Read, gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead with his first NHL goal since Nov. 27, 2015. McDonald, 32, raced past Devils defenseman Andy Greene, eluded a poke check by Schneider, and scored his 20th career NHL goal and first as a Flyer.
The Flyers made it 3-0 midway through the second period on Weal's eighth goal of the season and first career power-play goal.
Hakstol tried getting amateur goalie Eric Semborski, watching the game from the Flyers locker room as an emergency backup, into the game with 24 seconds remaining in the third period but was told he could not unless Stolarz was injured.
NOTES: Flyers RW Read is sidelined 4-6 weeks with an upper body injury. ... Newly signed F Mike Vecchione practiced with the Flyers on Saturday and is expected to make his NHL debut Sunday against the New York Rangers. ... Devils C Jacob Josefsen sat out his 16th game with an upper body injury. He has begun skating with the team. RW Devante Smith-Pelly missed his 11th straight game with a lower body injury and is day-to-day.
Devils: Host the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.
Flyers: Visit the New York Rangers on Sunday night.