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Michal Neuvirth of Flyers collapses, leaves game

Goalie taken from ice on stretcher after first-period stoppage in play

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Michal Neuvirth was taken to the hospital for observation after collapsing during a stoppage in play 7:37 into the first period of a 3-0 win against the New Jersey Devils at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday.

Neuvirth was awake and alert before going to the hospital, Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said. Neuvirth left the ice on a stretcher after a delay of about 10 minutes.

"We sent him over to the hospital for precautionary reasons," Hextall said. "Everything so far has been good. Things are positive."

Hextall said Neuvirth would not accompany the Flyers for their game at the New York Rangers on Sunday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV).

"We're going to leave him here," Hextall said. "The plan right now is we'll have him checked out again by the doctor on Monday just to make sure. So he won't be available [Sunday]."

Video: NJD@PHI: Neuvirth falls to the ice, leaves game early

The Flyers and Devils were lining up for a faceoff outside the Philadelphia blue line when Neuvirth fell to his back in his crease. Flyers center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare was one of the first to see Neuvirth fall and immediately jumped on the ice and started yelling to bring attention to him.

"I ended up looking towards him as he was falling, so you get scared," Bellemare said. "I just wanted help to come as fast as possible. I got worried too."

Other Flyers jumped off the bench and helped trainer Jim McCrossin get on the ice. Neuvirth initially appeared to be unconscious but eventually opened his eyes and spoke with members of the medical staff before sitting up and being helped onto the stretcher.

Multiple Flyers said a bug has been going around and Neuvirth was among those who wasn't feeling well Saturday. Steve Mason was going to back up Neuvirth, but Mason was ill. Anthony Stolarz was an emergency call-up from Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League, and he replaced Neuvirth.

Video: NJD@PHI: Stolarz, Neuvirth combine to shut out Devils

"Sometimes those colds really get to you and dehydrate you and maybe it could have been something like that," Flyers forward Jordan Weal said of Neuvirth collapsing. "I am glad that he is OK. It was a scary moment when you see something like that happen to one of your teammates."

Hextall said Neuvirth has been dealing with "a little bit of a chest cold" but didn't want to speculate whether that was a factor in the 29-year-old goaltender passing out.

"We had no concerns about [Neuvirth] before the game," Hextall said. "I got a call at 3:40 or 4 o' clock that [Mason] was very sick. The Phantoms were on the way to Wilkes-Barre, so they had to get there. Then, we had a car waiting and we expected [Stolarz] to be here around 7 o' clock, which is almost exactly when he got here."

Stolarz made it to the Flyers bench during a stoppage 28 seconds into the game and was playing shortly afterward.

Coach Dave Hakstol said they got a brief update on Neuvirth after the first period, "but not a whole lot of information."

"Probably the best information we got, as you see on the ice, he's responding and he's moving and communicating with everybody out there," Hakstol said. "So I think that was the most important update we got right there while he was still on the ice."

The Flyers had called Eric Semborski, a former Temple University club team goaltender, and had him come to Wells Fargo Center in case Stolarz was unable to make it in time.

Video: NJD@PHI: Semborski gets called back, gets ovation

Semborski served as the emergency goalie for the Chicago Blackhawks in Philadelphia on Dec. 3 after Corey Crawford had an appendectomy leaving no one to back up Scott Darling.

"We had Eric come just in case [there was] traffic or an accident," Hextall said.

Sembroski wound up in uniform as the emergency backup and took the ice with 25 seconds left in the third period but immediately returned to the bench. Stolarz made 26 saves, and Neuvirth got the win by making six before he left with the Flyers leading 1-0.

It is uncertain if Mason will be available to play against the Rangers. Hextall said the Flyers might bring Lehigh Valley goaltender Alex Lyon with them to New York.

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