Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sharks Edge Flyers in Shootout

Nine shooters down with the score even at two and the shootout even at one, Brett Burns came down the ice and went forehand to back hand beating Mason giving the San Jose Sharks a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers in the shootout. 

More to come... 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Fans Bid Farewell to Timonen, Beat Blackhawks

Kimmo Timonen Thanking the Flyers Fans
"Kimmo, Kimmo, Kimmo," chanted the Flyers faithful as the clock ran down to zero. The Philadelphia Flyers had just defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1, but the fans chose to cheer their beloved, former defenseman Kimmo Timonen as this would be the last time they would see him in Philadelphia. 

Kimmo Timonen suffered from multiple blood clots in the off-season that would shut him down for over eight months. About a month ago, Timonen was cleared to play and began preparing himself for the season. However, with the Flyers playoff hopes diminishing, GM Ron Hextall and Timonen agreed that a trade was in both parties best interest. So Timonen, who has stated vehemently that he will retire at the end of the season, was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks. 

The Blackhawks have picked up a solid 7-1-1 record in the nine games since Timonen, who has been averaging 12:27 minutes of ice time, was traded to Chicago.

Prior to the game, when asked how he would feel if given a nice ovation, Timonen choked up and struggled to get through the answer, finally just saying, "It would be great."

Giroux scoring his 
In a classy move, Chicago's head coach Joel Quenneville choose Kimmo Timonen to be in the starting lineup. And as soon as he took to the ice, every fan in the building stood up and gave him a respectful, long and loud ovation.

After Timonen waved to the fans in thanks and mutual appreciation, the game got underway, and the Flyers showed a glimpse of what the season could have been if they had they played the way they did tonight, all season. 

For inexplicable reasons, the Flyers have played very well against good teams, especially of late, picking up an 8-2-5 record versus teams currently in playoff position. Tonight, that anomaly continued. 

Philadelphia scored the game's first goal 7:20 minutes into the opening period and never looked back. Nick Shultz made a nice play creating a turnover in the offensive zone, which led to Matt Read setting up Wayne Simmonds for his 28th of the season. 

Ryan White added to the Flyers lead in the middle stanza on a deflection off Carlo Colaiacovo's shot from the point for his fifth goal of the year. Prior to this season, White had scored just five total goals in his whole career, which consisted of parts of five seasons with the Montreal Canadiens. 

Less than seven minutes after White's tally, it was Claude Giroux's turn to light the lamp. Jake Voracek made a perfect pass to Giroux, who simply redirected his pass past Chicago goalie Corey Crawford giving the Flyers a commanding 3-0 lead. 

Andrew Shaw reduced the lead to 3-1 early in the third period on a deflection on the PowerPlay; however, the Flyers would respond with a PowerPlay goal of their own on Michael Raffl's 19th of the season. Matt Read sent Raffl up the ice with a nice pass springing him on a 2 on 1. Raffl made a subtle fake pass then wristed a shot that made its way past Crawford for a PowerPlay, giving the Flyers their three goal cushion back.  

Steve Mason took care of the rest stopping 9 of ten shots in the third period and 34 of 35 overall for his 15th victory of the season. 

"I've gone through a lot of games and won a lot of medals and all star games, but that was one the coolest things you can experience as a player," Timonen told reporters after the game referring to the standing ovation. "I just want to say thanks to the fans, that was awesome."

Game Notes:
  • Despite Kimmo Timonen not picking up any points and ultimately losing 4-1, the writers who select the three stars of the game, choose Kimmo Timonen as their third star of the game.
  • The Flyers lost Wayne Simmonds (lower body injury) and Andrew MacDonald (upper body) to injuries tonight. They are both out for the remainder of the season (seven games). 
  • Claude Giroux's goal tonight was incredibly his first even strength goal at home.
  • Both the Blackhawks and the Flyers went 1 for 2 on their respective PowerPlays. 
  • Wayne Simmonds' goal tonight was his 100th as a Flyer. 
Drop The Puck:
The Flyers get back into action on Saturday when they host the San Jose Sharks. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Nugent Hopkins Scores Twice as Oilers Defeat Flyers

Ryan Nugent Hopkins scored in overtime giving the Edmonton Oilers a 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers tonight.

The loss is Philadelphia's fourth straight and eighth in their last nine games. The Flyers finish their four game road trip without a win going 0-2-2. 

Goals were aplenty tonight, especially in the first period when six total goals were scored, three by each team. The scoring started almost immediately. Ryan Nugent Hopkins got Edmonton on the board just 51 seconds in with his 21st of the season. 

The Flyers responded by scoring three straight goals in 10 minutes. Claude Giroux tallied twice, the first coming on a nice shot from the high slot while the second came from inside the circle on the PowerPlay. 

Ryan White scored the Flyers third goal on a give go play with Zac Rinaldo on a 2 on 1. 

Teddy Purcell stole the momentum swinging it back into Edmonton's favor when he beat Ray Emery from the slot just two minutes after White's fourth of the season. And with only 31 seconds remaining in the first Matt Hendricks found a loose rebound and deposited it into the net tying the game up at three. 

In all three periods tonight, a goal was scored in the first two minutes. Jordan Eberle lit the lamp 71 seconds into the second putting the Oilers up 4-3. Then Michael Raffl scored just 45 seconds into the start of the third tying the game up for the third time tonight. 

After 60 minutes could not determine a winner, overtime was needed. In the extra session, Nugent Hopkins, who began the scoring tonight, ended it with his game winner after Emery mishandled Nikita Nikitin's initial shot. Nugent Hopkins found the rebound and backhanded it past Emery, giving the Flyers their 16th loss after regulation, the most in the league. 

Game Notes:
  • Steve Mason was scheduled to get the start tonight; however, he pulled himself out due to an illness. 
  • Claude Giroux scored two goals tonight. It was only his third multi-goal game this season and first since December 20th. 
  • Jake Voracek registered three assists tonight. It was his first three assist game since December 20th when he picked up four assists. It was also Voracek's first multipoint game in his last 14 and just his second in his last 26 games.
  • The Flyers went 1 for 4 on the PowerPlay and 4 for 4 on the penalty kill. 
  • Emery made 29 saves on 34 shots. 
Drop The Puck:
Kimmo Timonen returns to Philadelphia when the Flyers host the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Gaudreau's Three Points Leads Flames Past Slumping Flyers

Johnny Gaudreau scored three points tonight helping the Calgary Flames defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 tonight. 

Gaudreau, the South Jersey native, picked up a goal and two assists and now leads all rookies in the NHL with 56 points. 

The loss for the Flyers is their third straight and seventh in their last eight games. It's also the third straight game the Flyers failed to score more than one goal. 

After a scoreless first 36 minutes, three goals were scored in the next four minutes. Luke Schenn turned the puck over in the neutral zone leading to a Flames rush up the ice resulting in Dennis Wideman's 13th of the season. 1:42 minutes later TJ Brodie added to the lead beating Steve Mason on a long shot from the point.

Steve Mason, who allowed two goals on 16 shots, was pulled after the second tally in favor of Ray Emery in an attempt to spark the Flyers. Under two minutes after the change, with just eight seconds remaining in the middle period, Jake Voracek made a great pass through the slot to Claude Giroux, who snapped his 10 game goalless drought.

The momentum was cut short in the third period due to penalties. The Flyers played undisciplined hockey taking four penalties in the first nine minutes of the period. Calgary took full advantage, striking twice. Sean Monahan scored the first, while Johnny Gaudreau scored the second, on a two man advantage.

"At the end of the day it comes down to pride and we didn't have much of that tonight," Luke Schenn told reporters after the game. "We didn't put enough on the line tonight. It's embarrassing for all of us. Unacceptable."

Game Notes:
  • Voracek's assist was his 70th point of the season. It is Jake's first 70 point season of his career. 
  • Ray Emery allowed two goals on 10 shots after replacing Mason. 
  • Karri Ramo made 26 saves on 27 shots against the Flyers tonight. 
  • The Flames went 2 for 4 on the PowerPlay while the Flyers were 0 for 2. 
  • Michael Del Zotto returned to action tonight after missing the last six games with an upper body injury. The Flyers went 1-3-2 without Del Zotto in the lineup. 
Drop The Puck:
The Flyers will head to Edmonton on Saturday to face the Oilers.

Around the NHL:
Hockey fans around the world were saddened to hear the news of the loss of Matthew Wuest, who passed away after a two and a half year battle with colon cancer. Wuest created one of, if not the greatest non affiliated NHL website, CapGeek. CapGeek was a favorite of all fans, writers and analysts around the NHL. He and his tremendous work will truly be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family at this difficult time. You will be missed. 
RIP Matthew Wuest. 
For more...

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Canucks Score Three In Third To Drop Flyers

On the night when Vancouver honored the late great Pat Quinn, the Canucks defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1.

Vancouver scored two goals in the span of 17 seconds in the third period snapping the 1-1 tie leading to their 40th victory of the season. 

Before the game, the organization honored Pat Quinn, who coached both the Flyers and Canucks, by bringing out ex players Quinn suited up with, others he coached and even those he drafted as a general manager. Bagpipes played and Mark Donnelly sang When Irish Eyes Are Smiling as a montage of pictures were shown and his wife, daughter and granddaughter came on the ice for the ceremonial puck drop. Quinn played in the NHL from 1968-1977, then coached/managed from 1977-2010. Quinn passed away at the age of 71 on November of 2014. 

The Flyers and Canucks played a scoreless first period, then traded goals in the second. Michael Raffl scored the lone goal for the Flyers when Claude Giroux set him up in front for his 17th of the season. Alex Edler responded for the Canucks beating Steve Mason on a rebound tying the game at one. 

In the third period it was the Alex Burrows show. Burrows scored twice in 17 seconds both assisted by Daniel Sedin shocking the Flyers, who instantly found themselves down by two. 

Philadelphia pulled their goalie in an attempt to comeback; however, Radim Vrbata closed the door with his empty net goal. 

Game Notes:
  • Nick Cousins made his NHL debut for the Flyers tonight. 
  • Cousins went scoreless, was even and took 1 shot in 10:04 minutes of ice time. 
  • Matt Read missed the game because he was back at home awaiting the birth of his first child. 
  • Jake Voracek fought Dan Hamhuis tonight. Voracek easily came away with the decision. 
  • The Flyers went 0-2 on the PowerPlay while the Canucks were 0-1. 
Drop The Puck:
The Flyers will travel to Calgary to face the Flames on Thursday.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Senators Remain Hot, Top Flyers in Shootout

The Ottawa Senators won for the 11th time in their last 13 games with tonight's 2-1 shootout victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.

Both teams played an extremely close hockey game tonight scoring the same amount of goals (1), taking the same number of shots (28) and receiving the same amount of penalty minutes (8). And after two shootout rounds, both teams were scoreless. Bobby Ryan's shot was the only thing that separated the two squads.

Ray Emery, who made 27 saves in his first start since February 19th, went for the poke check on Ryan and failed to catch him off guard. Ryan had his head up and took the quick shot scoring the game winning shootout goal. 

Ray Emery and Andrew Hammond both played very well surrendering just one goal each in the second period. Jean Gabriel Pageau beat Emery first for the Senators by batting a rebound out of the air into the back of the net for his fourth of the season. 

Jake Voracek responded for the Flyers about seven minutes later. While double shifting on a line with Chris VandeVelde and Pierre Edouard Bellemare, Voracek found the puck at the top of the circle and blasted it past Hammond, who is an incredible 10-0-1 in his first 11 career games. 

Philadelphia lost in a game that needed an extra session for the 15th time this season. The Flyers are just 8-15 in games that went to either overtime or a shootout. 

Game Notes:
  • Both the Flyers and Senators went 0-3 on their respective PowerPlays. 
  • Jake Voracek scored his first even strength goal in 38 games. 
  • Flyers fall to 3-9 in shootouts this year. 
  • Giroux is 1 for 10 in shootouts this year. 
  • The Flyers recalled Nick Cousins from the AHL last night; however, he was a healthy scratch today after playing games in three of the last four nights for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. He will most likely make his NHL debut on Thursday.
  • After the win, a Senators fan threw a hamburger on the ice for goalie Andrew Hammond, who's nickname is The Hamburglar.  
Drop The Puck:
The Flyers will travel to Vancouver to face the Canucks on Thursday night.  

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Flyers Explode For Seven, Destroy Red Wings

The Philadelphia Flyers tied their season high for most goals in a game when they defeated the Detroit Red Wings 7-2 this afternoon, snapping their four game losing streak. 

The seven goals scored tonight by Philadelphia was more than they scored in the previous four games combined. Since giving up the goal with 14 seconds left against Boston last Saturday, the Flyers have lost four straight, while scoring only five goals. Today was the start of a new week for the Flyers who, despite being back 10 points of the Bruins and likely out of the playoff race, played a solid team game.

Brayden Schenn led the way today scoring two goals and an assist; however, the victory came in a full team effort. 15 of the 18 Flyers skaters picked up at least one point against the Wings, while Steve Mason stopped 31 shots on 33 attempts. 

Wayne Simmonds got the Flyers on the board first on a tip while on the PowerPlay, before Nicklas Grossmann made it 2-0 after receiving a nice feed from Sean Couturier. 

Detroit stole some momentum in the second taking 18 shots in the period, including Justin Abdelkader's goal. Brayden Schenn, however, swung it back in the Flyers favor later in the stanza with his first of the game on the PowerPlay.

Schenn struck again just 11 seconds into the third starting what turned out to be a four goal period for the Flyers. Pierre Edouard Bellemare snapped his 26 game goalless drought when Zac Rinaldo found him opened in the slot for his fifth of the season. 

Erik Cole cut the lead to 5-2 while Detroit was on the PowerPlay, but the Flyers answered again. Matt Read and Rinaldo joined in on the fun scoring goals just 38 seconds apart. 

The 7-2 victory extends the Flyers winning streak over the Red Wings in Philadelphia to 10 games, dating back to 1997. 

Game Notes:
  • Brayden Schenn was originally credited with the first goal before it was changed to Wayne Simmonds; however, this was not announced to the fans. Therefore, when Schenn scored in the third period, all the fans thought it was a hat trick as they littered the ice with their lids. 
  • Today was only the second time in the last 20 games that the Flyers scored four goals or more in a game. 
  • The Flyers went 3 for 4 on the PowerPlay tonight. Philadelphia had scored three PowerPlay goals in their last nine games combined.
  • Schenn and Simmonds led the flyers with three points each today. Schenn had two goals and and assist, while Simmonds had one goal and two assists. 
  • Rinaldo's goal was his first of the season, he also added an assist. It was Rinaldo's first multipoint game since March of 2013. 
  • Claude Giroux picked up two assists. It was the first time in his last eight games, that Giroux registered more than one point in a game. 
Drop The Puck:
The Flyers will go on the road for their next four games starting in Ottawa tomorrow night.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Hitchcock Earns 700th Career Win as Blues Defeat Flyers

The St. Louis Blues defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 1-0 in a shootout, giving their head coach Ken Hitchcock his 700th career NHL win.

Both the Blues and the Flyers played a defensively tight game tonight keeping each other scoreless after regulation and overtime. Blues goalie Brian Elliot and Flyers' Steve Mason both stood tall making 28 and 35 saves respectively. 

Steve Mason had to stop much better chances than Elliot and made 17 saves in the third period keeping the Flyers alive. 

In the shootout, both Jake Voracek and Wayne Simmonds failed to score while TJ Oshie and Vladimir Tarasenko both beat Mason handing the Flyers their fourth straight defeat. 

With the victory, St. Louis head coach and ex Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock earns his 700th win becoming only the fourth coach in NHL history to reach this feet. 

Game Notes:
  • Last time the Flyers and Blues played in St. Louis, they also played in a scoreless game that needed a shootout. 
  • Per Sam Carchidi, it was the first time in franchise history they played consecutive games in a road building where neither team scored in regulation or overtime. 
  • Despite the loss, Mason still earned a shutout. He now has more road shutouts (2) than he has road wins (1). 
  • The Flyers have scored just five goals during their four game losing streak. 
Drop The Puck:
The Flyers host the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday afternoon.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Stars Hand Flyers Their Third Straight Loss

The Philadelphia Flyers dropped their third straight contest after falling to the Dallas Stars 2-1 tonight. 

Vernon Fiddler snapped the 1-1 tie in the third period with just 6:10 minutes remaining scoring the game winning goal off a 2 on 1 against Steve Mason.

"There's no desperation. I don't know about everyone else but I'm embarrassed," Mason said in the post game interview. "We're not in the playoff picture and we've gotta be a lot better."

Three games ago, Philadelphia was four points back of Boston for the final playoff spot with a chance to be just two if they beat the Bruins. However, the Flyers lost on a late goal to the Bruins, then followed that up with two more defeats. Therefore, instead of having a chance to be just two points back, Philadelphia finds themselves nine behind the Bruins tonight. 

Steve Mason played well tonight stopping 37 shots on 39 attempts, but despite his efforts to keep the Flyers alive, they just could not come out on top. 

Philadelphia got off to a solid start tonight scoring on their second shot of the game. Luke Schenn's shot from the point snuck through traffic beating Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen just 1:13 minutes into the game. The Flyers continued to play well in the period outshooting the Stars 14-9, however, were unable to keep the Stars off the board. 

Brett Ritchie got behind the defense on a rush and Curtis McKenzie found him for his fifth of the season. 

After the first period, the Stars began to turn up the heat. Dallas outshot Philadelphia 30-12 in the final two periods, while scoring the only other goal on Fiddler's tally. 

"We had a pretty decent first period but in the second and third period they were the better team," Mason said. "We needed to have a much better effort and it just wasn't there." 

When asked where the Flyers have to be better, Mason honestly stated, "We have to improve in all areas."

Game Notes:
  • Kari Lehtonen won his first career game versus Philadelphia. He had been 0-10-3 in his previous 13 attempts. 
  • Both the Flyers and Stars went 0-3 on their respective PowerPlays. 
  • RJ Umberger, who is currently riding an 18 game scoreless streak, was a healthy scratch tonight. He was replaced by Vincent Lecavalier, who hasn't scored in 21 games. 
  • Jake Voracek picked up an assist on Schenn's goal. It was just his second point in his last five games. 
Drop The Puck:
The Flyers go on the road to face the St. Louis Blues Thursday night. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Henrique Scores Twice to Lift Devils Over Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers followed up their heartbreaking loss to the Boston Bruins yesterday with a regulation loss to the New Jersey Devils 5-2 today. 

Down 4-1 in the final period, the Flyers mounted a brief comeback when Michael Raffl scored while shorthanded, cutting the lead to two. Moments later, Sean Couturier found himself on a breakaway cleanly beating Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid. Couturier, however, missed the wide open net. Immediately after Couturier's failed attempt, Patrick Elias sprung Stephen Gionta on a breakaway and he beat Mason through the five-hole. Instead of cutting the lead to one, it was now three; a microcosm of their attempted playoff run.  

Yesterday the Flyers were 14 seconds away from being within two points out of a playoff spot. However, the overtime loss compiled with today's defeat and Boston's victory over Detroit, Philadelphia finds themselves seven points back, with only 15 games to play. 

The Flyers and Devils were tied at one early in the second period when the Flyers were given a PowerPlay and the opportunity to take a lead in a game that they had played well. Instead, it was New Jersey who scored while shorthanded and the wheels came off for the Flyers. 

They played like a defeated team and were just unable to pull themselves together after the shorthanded goal, which was their sixth against this season, 21st in the NHL. 

Gionta came away with the puck and skated it out of the zone on the kill. He took a shot that Steve Mason stopped and Jacob Josefson, left uncovered, collected the rebound scoring his fourth goal of the season. 

New Jersey extended their lead to 3-1 late in the period on a long blast from the point from Eric Gelinas on the PowerPlay. The Devils then made it 4-1 early in the third when Steve Bernier set up Adam Henrique on a two on zero, for his second of the game. Henrique's first goal came in the opening period when Mark Streit lost the puck in the slot. Henrique scooped it up and beat Mason on the backhand. 

Ryan White, who was one of the few Flyers to play a solid game, scored the Flyers first goal after tipping in Luke Schenn's shot from the point for his third of the season. 

"Not good enough, today was awful," Wayne Simmonds said after the game. "We left Mason out to dry and it killed us. We'll probably have to run the table and get some help [to make the playoffs.]" 

Game Notes:
  • Mason allowed five goals on 21 shots against today. 
  • Flyers went 0 for 3 on the PowerPlay including some time on a two man advantage. The Devils went 1 for 4. 
  • Both teams scored shorthanded goals, Josefson for the Devils and Raffl for the Flyers. 
  • Michael Del Zotto missed today's game with an injury suffered in yesterday's game. Del Zotto is expected to miss 7-10 days with an upper body injury.  
  • Brandon Manning, who replaced Del Zotto, logged 15:36 minutes and was a plus 1. 
  • Ryan White, one goal and one assist, registered his first multipoint game as a Flyer. 
Drop The Puck:
The Flyers will host the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Marchand Scores With 14 Seconds Remaining to Force Overtime, Then Wins It For Bruins

"They found a way to win, and we found a way to lose it," Steve Mason said after the Philadelphia Flyers lost to the Boston Bruins 3-2 in overtime this afternoon. "And that hurts."

It hurt so much more, because the Flyers lost their 2-1 lead with just 14 seconds remaining in the game. Boston, who came into today's game four points ahead of the Flyers, had their goalie pulled while on the PowerPlay for a face off with under 20 to play. Claude Giroux and Patrice Bergeron, two of the top face off centers in the league, tied each other up on the draw. Loui Eriksson was the first to the puck sending it back to Dougie Hamilton, who threw it on goal and Brad Marchand deflected it past Mason with only 14 seconds left on the clock tying the game at two apiece. 

Philadelphia desperately needed to steal two points from Boston, who has two games in hand, but were just unable to do so in the end. The Flyers had two prime scoring opportunities in overtime failing to score on both their three on one chance and then Jake Voracek's breakaway. Instead it was Marchand once again. 

Sean Couturier lost the puck in the neutral zone leading to a Bruins rush the other way. Marchand cut to the middle and put the puck on goal which redirected off Michael Del Zotto's skate and over Mason for the game winner. 

"That goal made a three point difference," Voracek said noticeably frustrated to reporters after the game. "It's a tough pill to swallow."

The three point difference Voracek is referring to is the fact that had the Flyers held their 2-1 lead to the end they would have picked up two points on the Bruins and only be back two in the standings. Instead, the Flyers lose in overtime surrendering two points against while only picking up one. This means the Flyers now trail the Bruins by five points while the Bruins still have two games more to play in their season. 

"What do you want me to tell you, the season is over with 16 games left?" Voracek confronted the doom and gloom reporters. "We were 13 points away about a month ago. That's not the way we think. We know what we have in the locker room and we just have to keep going."

Boston got on the board first in this contest on the PowerPlay in the opening period. Zdeno Chara opted not to take his 108mph slap shot for a wrister that found its way through traffic and past Mason, who despite allowing three against, played another outstanding game. Mason skated away with 34 saves on 37 shots. 

The Flyers evened out the score on a PowerPlay of their own. Voracek found Giroux's rebound and buried his 20th of the season midway through the second period. 

Both teams played a hard fought third period trading shots and chances trying to end this game in regulation due to how important these two points were. With 4:30 remaining, it was Philadelphia, who finally broke through. 

Nick Schultz fired the puck towards the goal and Chris VandeVelde deflected it beating Bruins goalie Tuuka Rask, giving the Flyers their first lead of the game.  

There were 2:03 minutes left to play when Wayne Simmonds was called for tripping. Boston spent nearly the entire two minutes in Philadelphia's end, and finally with 14 seconds remaining, broke the hearts of all the Flyers faithful. 

Game Notes:
  • The Flyers had gone 20 games without allowing more than one PowerPlay goal against in a single contest. Today they allowed two huge ones to the Bruins including the game tying goal. 
  • Claude Giroux who has been very good in the faceoffs circle this season, lost a huge draw at the end of regulation that lead directly to the tying goal. He was just 38% it the dot, winning only seven face offs today. 
  • Voracek's goal snapped his seven game scoreless streak. 
  • Voracek also led the Flyers with six shots tonight. 
Drop The Puck:
The Flyers will look to regroup and put this loss behind them immediately when they go to New Jersey to face the Devils tomorrow afternoon.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Flyers Score Three in Third to Defeat Blues

The Philadelphia Flyers scored two goals separated by 1:50 minutes in the third period on their way to a 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues tonight.

After being held scoreless in the first 49 minutes of this hockey game, Michael Del Zotto finally got the Flyers on the board. His blast from the point energized Philadelphia, who did not take long to get their second of the game. 

Matt Read raced down the ice before slamming on his breaks finding a cutting Mark Streit. Streit made a soft pass to Wayne Simmonds in he slot, who slammed it into the back of the cage and the Flyers had their first lead of the game. 

Steve Mason was sharp all night including the third period, where he needed to be perfect. And he was, stopping all eight shots against in the period. The only goal against came at the 7:08 mark of the first period after Streit turned the puck over in the neutral zone leading to a 3 on 2. Vladimir Tarasenko found Jaden Schwartz, who became the only player to beat Mason tonight. Mason stopped 28 of 29. 

Michael Raffl wrapped up this victory and put a bow on top with his empty net tally with just over a minute remaining. 

The Flyers picked up two valuable points heading into arguably their most important game of the season on Saturday when they face the Boston Bruins, who are ahead by four points in the standings. 

Game Notes:
  • Since January 20th, the Flyers have picked up points in 15 of their last 18 games amassing a 10-3-5 record. 
  • The Flyers went 0-2 on the PowerPlay, failing to score on the man-advantage for the third consecutive game (0-7). 
  • The penalty kill however has been perfect the last three games, 6-6, including 1 for 1 tonight. 
  • Including his goal tonight, Del Zotto has 16 points in his last 20 games. 
  • Claude Giroux was one of only two Flyers not to have taken a shot tonight (Zac Rinaldo was the other.) 
  • It was the first time all season that the captain didn't have at least one shot on goal. 
  • Luke Schenn picked up two assists tonight. It was his first multipoint game of the season. 
  • Matt Read also picked up two assists. It was his first multipoint game since January 8th (24 games ago). 
Drop The Puck:
The Flyers head to Boston to try to steal two huge points from the Bruins on Saturday afternoon.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Flames Defeat Flyers in OT in Gaudreau's Homecoming

Jiri Hudler scored 1:23 minutes into overtime helping the Calgary Flames defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 tonight. 

The Flames got off to a great start grabbing a 2-0 lead before the Flyers started to find their groove. Philadelphia took shot after shot before finally breaking through in the third period on a goal from Sean Couturier. 

Later in the period, Nick Shultz briefly tied the game up before the goal was reversed due to incidental contact with the goaltender. This only infuriated the Flyers, who stormed back to score only a few minutes later on a tip from Mark Streit. 

In overtime, South Jersey's Johnny Gaudreau helped set up the game winner in his first career game in Philadelphia. Gaudreau made a nice touch pass to TJ Brodie, who carried the puck deep into the Flyers zone before setting up Hudler in front and he beat Steve Mason through the five-hole for the game winner. 

Philadelphia played a solid game; however, fell too far behind early and were unable to get the two points. The Flyers took an incredible 86 shot attempts today, 37 hitting the net, 33 blocked and 16 more that missed the net. Calgary goalie Karri Ramo played very well making 35 saves in the overtime victory. 

The Flyers do pick up one point but are still five behind the Bruins, who now have two games in hand. 

"We showed some character, we battled back hard and we got a big point. That's the most important thing," Couturier said after the game. "It's tough that we didn't get two points but we have to look at the positive."

2013 sixth overall pick, Sean Monahan broke opened the scoring after taking advantage of a Michael Del Zotto turnover at center ice. 

Mikael Backlund extended the Flames lead early in the second again taking advantage of a Flyers mistake. Wayne Simmonds failed to clear the puck which ultimately resulted in Lance Bouma setting up Backlund in front. 

Philadelphia entered the third period in comeback mode and got on the board very quickly. 53 seconds in, Ryan White made a perfect back-door pass to Sean Couturier, who made no mistake cutting the deficit in half. 

Three minutes after Nick Schultz's goal was waved off, Mark Streit cashed in for the Flyers. After joining the rush, Streit was pushed into the net falling behind in the play. However, when Claude Giroux stole the puck back, Streit ended up all alone in front of Ramo and tipped Michael Raffl's shot in for the tying goal. 

The Flyers pushed hard to end this game in regulation outshooting the Flames 9-1 in the final eight minutes but were unable to get another one past Ramo. 

Calgary got off to a quick start in overtime and didn't need long before they ended it. The win was their league leading ninth victory in overtime this season. 

Game Notes:
  • Claude Giroux's assist on Streit's goal was his 300th career assist. 
  • Couturier snapped his eight game goalless streak. 
  • Streit score his first goal in his last 11 games.  
  • Every Flyers forward took at least one shot tonight. 
  • Giroux won 28 of 35 faceoffs, 80%. 
  • Giroux took 35 faceoffs while the rest of the Flyers centers took 33. 
Drop The Puck:
The Flyers will face the St. Louis Blues for the first time this season on Thursday night.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Local Star Johnny Gaudreau Returns to His Roots

Gaudreau and I pose for a picture
South Jersey's own Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames returned to his roots today as he prepares to face the Philadelphia Flyers tomorrow night.

John 'Johnny Hockey' Gaudreau was celebrated this afternoon

at his High School Alma Mater Gloucester Catholic (GCHS) where they retired his #3 jersey in front of the entire school.

While attending, Gaudreau played with the GCHS Rams taking them to the Non-Public State Finals before leaving the school to play in the USHL (US all junior Hockey League).
After winning the Clark Cup with the Dubuque Fighting Saints and being named the rookie of the year, Gaudreau was then drafted by the Calgary Flames in the fourth round in 2011. Gaudreau then joined Boston College, where he played for three seasons reaching the Frozen Four all three years while winning the NCAA Title in his freshman season. In 2013, Gaudreau helped USA defeat Sweden winning the Gold Medal in the World Junior Championship, where he played alongside Flyers prospect Shayne Gostisbehere. In 2014, Gaudreau made his NHL debut scoring for the Flames on his first shot on goal. In 60 games with the Flames this season, Johnny Hockey has scored 15 goals and 44 points.

Today Gloucester Catholic honored Gaudreau, who is back in town to play the Flyers tomorrow night, with a pep rally and the official retiring of his jersey. Gaudreau gave a speech to the students, took pictures and signed autographs for all.

Welcome Home Sign
"I give all of the credit to [my parents]," Gaudreau said when asked about his upbringing in South Jersey. "They gave me a great atmosphere, growing up in [Carney's Point]. I am really fortunate to have had a great childhood, and great siblings."

Gaudreau's signed GCHS retired jersey
The last calendar year has been a whirlwind for Gaudreau. The BC Eagles made the Frozen Four and despite losing to the Union Dutchmen, Gaudreau won the Hobey Baker Award after leading all players with 80 points. Later that day, Gaudreau then signed his first NHL contract, an entry level deal with the Calgary Flames. Shortly after signing, Gaudreau played in his first NHL game and scored on his first shot on goal. Later in the fall, Gaudreau made the Flames roster out of training camp becoming a full time player. In January, he was selected to participate in the All Star Skills Competition, and then was added to the All Star roster as a replacement for Sidney Crosby, who bowed out with an injury. And now with only about six weeks left in the season, Gaudreau will look to help the Flames make the playoffs for the first time in six years.

Gaudreau with his father (left)
"You can't get a big head just because you are getting all of these accolades, like playing in the all star game," Gaudreau said when asked about his incredible calendar year. "All of these things come back to playing at Gloucester Catholic. To be able to come back and talk to the school and to be part of something like this is the kind of thing I like the most about playing hockey. I am really fortunate we got to do that."

When asked what it is like to be fulfilling your dream of playing in the NHL, Gaudreau told DropThePuck, "It's great! It's awesome!"

Gaudreau will face the Philadelphia Flyers for the first time in his career tomorrow night, and will return to the Well's Fargo Center for the first time since playing in the Frozen Four in April of 2014.

Flyers Ship Braydon Coburn to Lightning

The Flyers officially traded their longest tenured player, Braydon Coburn to the Tampa Bay Lightning for a 1st round pick, a 3rd round pick (both in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft) and defenseman Radko Gudas. 

GM Ron Hextall pulled the trigger at 2AM today on 'trade deadline day' and got a terrific return for the 30 year old defenseman. There was a lot of speculation that the Flyers would try to move a few defensemen as they had nine under contract a couple days ago. First Kimmo Timonen was traded (for a 2nd round pick and a conditional 4th round pick to Chicago) on Friday night, now Braydon Coburn. 

Braydon Coburn leaves the Flyers after playing parts of nine seasons with the franchise picking up 160 points in 575 games. "I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to play for this team," Coburn told Wayne Fish of the Burlington County Times. "This has been a dream come true for me to play for the Flyers."

The Flyers do get a defenseman in return in Radko Gudas, the 24 year native from Czech Republic; however, he is out after having knee surgery in January and is expected to miss the remainder of the season. 

Philadelphia will be cleared of Braydon Coburn's $4.5 million cap hit and will retain Gudas' $992K hit. Gudas, who was selected in the third round of the 2010 NHL draft, is signed on for one more season. 

Since 2012, when he made his NHL debut, Gudas has 7 goals, 32 points and 224 penalty minutes in 126 games played, all with Tampa Bay. And in 206 AHL games, the 6' 203lbs hard hitting, bruising defenseman has 15 goals and 57 points and 567 penalty minutes. 

According to David Pagnotta of TheFouthPeriod, if Tampa Bay misses the playoffs and wins the 2015 draft lottery, then Philadelphia will get Tampa Bay's other 1st round pick, from the New York Rangers.

By trading Timonen and Coburn, the Flyers clear $6.5 million in cap space for now, and $3.5 million for next season, while acquiring four draft picks and a young defenseman. GM Ron Hextall and Philadelphia came away with two very good trades for their future. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Del Zotto's Goal Lifts Flyers Over Rangers

Michael Del Zotto snapped the tie early in the third period while shorthanded helping the Philadelphia Flyers defeat the New York Rangers 4-2 tonight. 

Steve Mason got the nod to start in goal for the Flyers for the first time since his arthroscopic knee surgery on February 10th, and he did not miss a beat. Mason was exceptional tonight stopping 34 of 36 shots including all 16 faced in the third period helping Philadelphia hang onto their 3-2 lead. 

But the game didn't start out this way for the Flyers goalie. Just seven seconds into the game, the Rangers got one past Steve Mason from center ice on a bouncing puck. However, upon further review, it was determined that the Rangers were offsides giving Mason and the Flyers a huge break early on. 

Both teams traded goals 24 seconds apart midway through the first. Matt Read scored first for the Flyers after corralling Sean Couturier's rebound and sneaking it past Rangers goalie Cam Talbot, while JT Miller responded for the Rangers less than a half-minute later. Luke Schenn turned the puck over to Carl Hagelin deep in his zone and Hagelin found Miller, who was initially stopped by Mason, but then buried his own rebound. 

John Moore broke the tie momentarily halfway through the second period when his shot from the point ricocheted off Braydon Coburn's foot and past Mason. But less than three minutes later, it was the Flyers turn to respond. Michael Raffl tipped in Coburn's shot from the point and the game was tied again.

Before the period was out, Claude Giroux was called for a slashing penalty giving the Rangers a PowerPlay to start the third. Instead of the Rangers taking advantage of their man-advantage, it was the Flyers who capitalized. Sean Couturier was terrific all night especially on the penalty kill, which went 3 for 3. Couturier even provided offense while shorthanded when he made a nice move in the offensive zone to find a cutting Del Zotto. The defenseman made no mistake scoring from his favorite spot on the ice, the faceoff dot, against his former team giving the Flyers the lead. 

Then it became the Steve Mason show. Mason stopped all 16 Rangers shots in the period including a late barrage that consisted of six shots in a 34 second span.

Wayne Simmonds tacked on an empty net goal with under a second remaining finalizing the score at 4-2. 

Due to two victories by the eighth seeded Boston Bruins, the Flyers are now six points back in the standings. 

Game Notes:
  • Del Zotto scored his fourth game winning goal of the season. He had three in his whole career prior to this year. 
  • Couturier picked up two assists tonight snapping his four game pointless streak. It was his first multipoint game since  December 29th, 27 games ago. 
  • Vinny Lecavalier returned to action after being scratched four games. He picked up an assist after going scoreless in his last six. 
  • The Rangers outshot the Flyers 36-34 tonight. 
  • Nicklas Grossmann left the game early. He went down to block a shot which appeared to hit him near his back or the side of his head. He was helped off the ice and did not return.
  • Philadelphia went 0 for 3 on the PowerPlay. 
Drop The Puck:
The Flyers will look to start a winning streak when they host the Calgary Flames on Tuesday.

Flyers Trade Kimmo Timonen

The Philadelphia Flyers announced that they traded long time defenseman and assistant captain Kimmo Timonen to the Chicago Blackhawks for a second round pick in the 2015 NHL draft and a conditional fourth round pick in 2016. 

Timonen, who played eight seasons with the Flyers, had not played a single game this season due to blood clots found in August. 

I want to thank the Flyers organization as well as the great flyers fans for their support over the last eight years," Timonen said on Twitter. "It's been a great ride!"

According to TSN's Pierre LeBrun the parameters of the conditional 4th-round pick are:
  • If Chicago wins two rounds in the playoffs this season and Timonen plays in 50% or more of their games, then the pick becomes a 3rd rounder in 2016. 
  • If the Blackhawks win three rounds and Timonen plays in 50% or more of their games then the pick is changed to a 2nd rounder in 2016. 
In 519 games played with the Flyers, Timonen has accumulated 270 points and has won the Barry Ashbee Trophy given out to the team's most outstanding defenseman.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Bernier Stops 47 as Leafs Top Flyers

Jonathan Bernier stopped 47 shots tonight helping the Toronto Maple Leafs defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2. 

The main story again is: the Flyers failed to gain points against a lesser team in the standings, thus remain four points back of a playoff spot. The difference tonight was that Philadelphia played a much better hockey game than they had in the last few losses. 

The Flyers dominated this game from start to finish; however, they did not get the desired results. Toronto, who was held to just nine shots in the first two periods combined, came away with two goals, while the Flyers, who took 31 shots were held scoreless. 

"It's hard when you can't score a goal and they have eight shots and score two goals," Jake Voracek told reporters after the game. "In the end, it's zero points in the playoff battle."

Phil Kessel got things started for the Maple Leafs, who have only won five times in their last 28 games, late in the first period. Tyler Bozak made a perfect backhand pass which sprung Kessel through the neutral zone outracing Nicklas Grossmann. Kessel beat Rob Zepp with a laser from the top of the circle and despite outshooting the Leafs 16-7, the Flyers were down 1-0 after one. 

Philadelphia played even better in the second period, yet they came away with the exact same result. Toronto took only one shot in the first 16 minutes of the middle stanza, unfortunately for Zepp and the Flyers, it went into the back of the net. Tyler Bozak cherry-picked getting behind the Flyers defense and James vanRiemsdyk found him. Bozak went in all alone on Zepp and beat him high putting the Leafs up 2-0 ended Zepp's night. The Flyers went on to outshoot the Leafs 15-2 in the period. 

Steve Mason, who missed the last eight games with a knee injury, replaced Zepp in an attempt to shift momentum. The Flyers did fight back in the third period but not before allowing yet another goal. 

While on the PowerPlay in the opening minutes of the third period, Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf, who returned tonight after missing the last 12 games with an injury, blasted a shot past Mason extending Toronto's lead to three.

Philadelphia got a few PowerPlay chances of their own in the period and cashed in twice. Claude Giroux scored the first after receiving a nice fake shot pass from Michael Del Zotto while Brayden Schenn buried the second on a rebound from Mark Streit's shot and the Flyers were within one with five minutes remaining. 

But that would be as close as they would get. The Flyers took four shots in the last four minutes but were unable to get another past Bernier who was excellent all game. 

"We did battle in the end but it doesn't matter, we lost the game," Voracek said  noticeably frustrated. "The only positive we can take is that we were the better team, but [again] in the end it doesn't matter, we lost the game.

Game Notes:
  • Claude Giroux (6), Jake Voracek (5), and Mark Streit (10) combined for 21 shots, more than the entire Leafs team combines.
  • Flyers ended up outshooting the Leafs 49-17. 
  • The 49 shots taken was the most by the Flyers all season. 
  • Streit's led all players with 10 shots, his career high. 
  • The 2 shots allowed in the second period is the fewest allowed in any period by the Flyers all season. 
  • Philadelphia went 2 for 6 on the PowerPlay and 3 for 4 on the penalty kill. 
  • Giroux's PowerPlay goal came just seconds after a two man advantage ended. 
  • Zepp allowed two goals on eight shots, while Mason allowed one goal on nine shots.
Drop The Puck:
The Flyers will need to get back on track when they host the New York Rangers on Saturday night.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hurricanes Hand Flyers Just Second Regulation Loss in 13 Games

The Metropolitan division's worst, Carolina Hurricanes upset the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 tonight.

Just as they did against Columbus and Buffalo, Philadelphia once again played down to a team much lower in the standings. The Flyers have lost four of their last five games against teams that are 25th or lower in the league standings. Tonight was more of the same. 

The Flyers came out slow and sluggish, while the Hurricanes were on their game and ready to play. Philadelphia was never quite able to find their game, seeing Carolina control this game throughout. The Hurricanes also dominated special team scoring twice on the man advantage while shutting down the Flyers on both of their opportunities. 

This weekend, Philadelphia was phenomenal defeating the number one seeded Nashville Predators, while  following that up with another solid victory against the red hot Washington Capitals, snapping their four game winning streak. Yet today, the energy and drive to win was again noticeably absent as it was in the few games before the weekend against the lower teams. 

"We need every point out there," Jake Voracek said after the game. "We just didn't play good enough, we were a step slower [and] we didn't skate well enough today."

Carolina got off to an early lead when Justin Faulk blasted a shot off the crossbar and in on the Hurricane's first PowerPlay of the game. 

Nicklas Grossmann tied the game up before the period was out after Jake Voracek did some good work along the boards and behind the net, allowing him to find the defenseman for his fourth of the season. 

Then the wheels fell off in the second period. Jeff Skinner and Jordan Staal each scored for the Hurricanes helping build a solid 3-1 lead. Skinner's goal came off a 3 on 2 rush while Staal's came on a rebound on another PowerPlay. 

Despite being down by two in the third period, the Flyers were still outshot, as they were in every period, 10-7. 

Late in the game, Jay McClement added to the Hurricanes lead after Voracek turned the puck over deep in his own zone all but securing the win. Turnovers killed the Flyers all game long. Whether it led directly to a goal or not, Carolina took advantage of these misplays keeping the momentum throughout most of the game. 

"I don't know how many times I can say the same thing," Wayne Simmonds responded when asked about losing to teams with poor records. "It sucks. We should be getting those points."

Game Notes:
  • Depending on how you look at it, the Flyers either were fortunate or missed a big opportunity tonight as Boston lost. The Flyers remain four points back of Boston for the final playoff seed.
  • RJ Umberger left the game early with what appeared to be a knee injury. Umberger's knee collided with Ryan's White and he went down hard. He did not return. 
  • Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward, who played in his 500th career start, earned his 240th victory. 
  • Rob Zepp started for a third consecutive game for the first time in his career. 
  • Zepp made 31 saves on 35 shots in tonight's loss.  
  • Alexander Semin (7) took more shots than Claude Giroux (3), Jake Voracek (1) and Michael Raffl (2) combined. 
Drop The Puck:
"We have to look at what we did wrong, get better and play better Thursday," Voracek said about their next opponent, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Del Zotto Scores Late Goal as Flyers Defeat Capitals

Michael Del Zotto snapped the 2-2 tie with 4:13 minutes left, scoring the game winning goal in the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals on Hockey Day in America.

Del Zotto scores the GWG
Philadelphia and Washington played another close hard fought hockey game today. But in the end, it was the Flyers who found a way to win, picking up two more points in the standings. They have now gained points in 11 of their last 12 contests as they continue to inch closer in the playoff hunt. Philadelphia is currently one point behind Florida and two behind Boston, who holds the final playoff spot; both of these clubs play later today. 

The Flyers held a 2-0 lead in the middle period by capitalizing on two PowerPlay opportunities, one in the first by Claude Giroux and another in the second from Wayne Simmonds. The Capitals, however, wasted little time evaporating that lead, as they were able to tie the game before the period was out.

The final period was full of grit, both teams playing like the next goal would win it. Philadelphia successfully killed off two penalties in the period and were finally able to break through with under five to play. 

While Jake Voracek was double shifting on the fourth line, he made an excellent pass from the boards to a cutting Del Zotto, who scored from what is quickly becoming 'his office' at the faceoff dot. Del Zotto sniped a shot to the top corner over Capitals goalie Brayden Holtby's glove, scoring the eventual game winning goal. 

Special teams play won the game for the Flyers today. Philadelphia dominated on both sides scoring on two of four PowerPlay opportunities, while shutting Washington down, the second best PowerPlay percentage team in the league, on all five chances. 

Simmonds batting puck out of midair
Claude Giroux finally broke through on the Flyers first PowerPlay of the game just 4:39 minutes into the game. Giroux's goal from the circle snapped his 11 game goalless drought.  

Philadelphia extended their lead on another PowerPlay early in the second period. Simmonds screened Holtby on Mark Streit's shot, then batted the rebound out of midair into the back of the cage. Simmonds' team leading 24th goal extended his personal best point streak to eight games. 

The Capitals battled hard and got one back quickly. Brayden Schenn made a sloppy turnover in his own end, which led directly to John Carlson, who was the recipient of that turnover, to set up Tom Wilson all alone in front, cutting the lead in half. 

Before the period was out, Joel Ward found the equalizer. Ward spun around and chopped at the puck, which appeared to deflect off Zac Rinaldo's stick and over Rob Zepp's shoulder. Despite the two goals, Zepp played a good game stopping 21 shots in 23 attempts earning wins on back to back nights for the first time in his short career. 

Philadelphia somewhat made up for losing twice to Columbus and once to Buffalo, winning their double header against top seeded Nashville and second placed Washington. Picking up back to back wins against great teams is a positive, as is gaining points in 11 of 12, but the Flyers still have played two more games than the teams ahead of them, still leaving a lot of work to be done. However, they are on the right track. 

Game Notes:
  • Giroux snapped his four game pointless streak with a goal and an assist today. 
  • Voracek's two points today sets a new career high with 63. 
  • Zepp now has a 5-1 record this season. 
  • Simmonds has 10 points during his eight game streak. And has 14 points in his last 12 games. 
  • Ryan White's four game point streak was snapped today. 
  • The new first line, Giroux, Simmonds and Michael Raffl, combined for 12 of the Flyers 28 shots.  
  • Since Rinaldo returned yesterday, he has received a 10 minute misconduct, a two minute minor for elbowing, and a fighting major when he never dropped his gloves. 
  • The Flyers have gone three straight games without surrendering a PowerPlay goal against, 10 for 10. They have also killed 34 of the last 38 penalties (90%) in their last 13 games. 
  • The last three Flyers games have ended in a 3-2 score. 
Drop The Puck:
The Flyers will look to keep up their solid play when they head to Carolina to face the Hurricanes on Tuesday. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Flyers Take Down First Place Predators

A full 60 minute effort was used in the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 shootout victory this afternoon over the Nashville Predators.

Zepp wins it with huge save in the SO
Coach Craig Berube made some changes to his lineup in an attempt to get a better effort from his team that just dropped two to Columbus and another to Buffalo, the league's worst team. All of his lines were restructured today including the separation of Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek, who have been on the same line all season. Also Andrew MacDonald (out one game due to personal reasons and three more from healthy scratches) and Zac Rinaldo (suspended eight games and healthily scratched two more) were inserted into the lineup while Luke Schenn and Vinny Lecavalier were scratched.

The shakeup appeared to work right out of the gates. Philadelphia outshot Nashville 13-1 at one point in the opening period and took an early lead on a nice deflection by Wayne Simmonds. Simmonds, who has been on fire picking up points in seven straight, tipped Michael Del Zotto's shot from the point past Predators goalie Pekka Rinne, giving the Flyers the all important first goal of the game.  

On just their second shot of the period, with just over a minute to go, Nashville found the equalizer. Del Zotto made a poor pass through the neutral zone leading to a turnover sending Nashville in on a two on two rush. Colin Wilson took a relatively harmless shot that somehow handcuffed Rob Zepp, who got his first start since January 17th, and despite the dominating first period, the score was tied at the end.

Simmonds scored in SO
Philadelphia continued to work hard in the middle stanza and it finally payed off. Ryan White forced a turnover behind Nashville's net, which ultimately lead to him getting the puck in the slot and he buried his second goal of the season. At the end of the period, the Flyers led 2-1 in goals and 21-7 in shots.

That lead quickly evaporated in the third period as Predator's forward Craig Smith beat Zepp just 23 seconds in and the score was knotted up at two. 

Neither team was able to break the tie in the remainder of the period nor in overtime; therefore, a shootout was necessary. It was the seventh time in the last 12 games that Philadelphia has needed overtime and the fourth shootout during that span.

Jake Voracek went first making a nifty forehand to backhand move beating Rinne. After Zepp made a nice save it was Simmonds turn. Simmonds came in slowly appearing to deke, then simply went five-hole surprising Rinne, putting the Flyers up 2-0, forcing the Predators to score on their next attempt to stay alive. Smith, who beat Zepp once already today, skated in and was robbed by the glove of Zepp securing the victory and much needed two points for the Flyers.

The win over their former coach Peter Laviolette and his first placed Nashville Predators brings the Flyers to a 25-23-11 record on the season accumulating 61 points, four behind the final wildcard spot currently held by the Boston Bruins.

Game Notes:
  • The seven game point streak for Wayne Simmonds is the longest of his career. 
  • Ryan White is also riding a career high point streak. His goal extended his streak to four games. 
  • The Flyers outshot the Predators 33-22. 
  • Philadelphia held Nashville to 17 shots in regulation. 
  • The Flyers went 0 for 2 on the PowerPlay and 2 for 2 on the penalty kill. Philadelphia has just scored two PowerPlay goals in their last six games, 2 for 14. 
  • Simmonds and White (not on the same line) combined for two goals, seven shots and 14 hits. 
  • Claude Giroux has now gone four games without a point and 11 without a goal. 
  • The Flyers improve to a 3-8 record in shootouts this season. 
Drop The Puck:
The Flyers will get right back into action tomorrow at 12:30 against the Washington Capitals.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Flyers Induct Desjardins Into The Hall, Lose Valuable Point to Sabres

The Philadelphia Flyers lost another valuable point tonight in their 3-2 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres. 

Desjardins Induction Ceremony
On the night in which Philadelphia honored one of their best defenseman, Eric Desjardins, they could not buy a win against the league's worst team. 

Desjardins, who played 11 seasons for the Flyers, was someone they could have used tonight. The man they call Rico, led his team to the playoffs in each of the 11 seasons he suited up for the Orange and Black. Not only did he bring skill, talent and excellent defensive play, but he also brought heart grit and leadership on land off the ice. And those are some of the things the current Flyers lineup is lacking.

Chris Therrien, long time defensive partner of Eric Desjardins made a very special speech saying, "Rico you were my Wayne Gretzky. Someone asked me at the time who was the best player you've ever played with, it was Eric Desjardins. Far and away."

Down seven points to the Boston Bruins in the standings, coming into tonight's game, Philadelphia absolutely needed to secure two points against one of the worst teams in NHL history. Buffalo had only one road win since November 29th. Yet the Flyers made them look like a good hockey team. 

It was no coincidence that the Flyers failed to make the playoffs the year before Desjardins arrived and the year after he left. He was a staple on their back end: another thing the 2015 squad is missing. 

None of the Flyers defenseman has stepped up into that role, or even a leadership role. Claude Giroux has been a decent leader, but he is still very young and is now slumping at the worst time possible in this season.

"We need to find a way to get two points," Giroux barked after the game while Mark Streit simply stated, "It's unacceptable!" 

Desjardins thanking the fans
They can utter these words as many times as possible, but their not changing their game. Positively thinking, the Flyers have picked up points in 10 of their last 11 games despite having lost four of their last five. The Flyers are now seven points behind the Bruins, with the saving grace being that they will face Boston one more time with the chance to steal two points. 

In seven of the last eight games, the Flyers have failed to score more than two goals (excluding empty netters) against the opposing goaltenders. Tonight was more of the same. 

"We didn't find a way to get the next goal tonight," coach Craig Berube told reporters after that game. "That's what it boils down to."

Two goals were all the Flyers could muster once again and they never held a lead. 

Buffalo got off to an early start when Nicolas Deslauriers beat Ray Emery just 4:41 into the game. Deslauriers swatted at the lose puck in front of Emery which bounced over his leg pad. 

Ryan White responded for the Flyers less than three minutes later. White deposited Braydon Coburn's rebound for his first goal as a Flyer. 

The Sabres reclaimed their lead early in the second period on a goal by Brian Gionta. 38 seconds in, Emery struggled to control a rebound and Gionta registered his 500th career point.  

Jake Voracek, who played a very solid game, finally broke through with a PowerPlay goal. The tally was Voracek's first non empty net goal in his last 14 games. 

After Voracek's goal, neither team was able to solve the opposing goaltender as 31 shots were taking in the final period and overtime, 16 by the Flyers. 

Thus a shootout was needed. Voracek continued his solid night scoring first; however, the next three Flyers failed to find the back of the cage, while Brian Gionta and Brian Flynn beat Emery securing victory and the extra point.

Tonight will instead be remembered as Eric Desjardins night as it was Eric Lindros and John Leclair's only a few months ago, both who were also in attendance tonight.

"Ever since I got to Philly, I always felt I was part of the family and this feeling is precious to me," Desjardins said. "And you the fans are part of this great family, you are loyal, you are honest, you are certainly demanding, and you make it tough for opponents to play in this building. And you sure inspired us. I love you guys."

Game Notes:
  • Sabres goaltender Michal Neuvirth earned his first win since November.
  • Wayne Simmonds, who picked up an assist, led the Flyers with seven shots. 
  • Philadelphia outshot Buffalo 38-32. 
  • The Flyers went 1 for 4 on the PowerPlay and 3 for 3 on the penalty kill. 
  • Luke Schenn led the Flyers with seven hits. 

Drop The Puck:
The Flyers get back into action on Saturday when they host former coach Peter Laviolette and his Nashville Predators.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Blue Jackets Snap Flyers Point Streak

The Columbus Blue Jackets snapped the Philadelphia Flyers nine game point streak with their 5-2 victory tonight despite being heavily outplayed.

On Sunday, it was the Flyers who were outplayed by the Buffalo Sabres yet were able to squeeze out a win. It appeared that karma caught up to the Flyers as they dominated portions of the game tonight, however, were unable to get any points. 

Philadelphia outshot Columbus 44-25, but it all came down to a simple turnover halfway through the third period. Tied at two, Vincent Lecavalier began to breakout of the zone when he made a terrible pass that was intercepted and immediately went the other way. Because the Flyers were moving due to the breakout they were caught up ice. Columbus had two men all alone in front of Ray Emery and with one pass from Cam Atkinson, Matt Calvert buried the puck, and essentially the Flyers. 

Following the goal, Philadelphia was scrambling to catch up when Jake Voracek's pass in the offensive zone went off the official's skate sending the Blue Jackets on a rush the other way. Emery made the initial save on Scott Hartnell's shot but fumbled the rebound and Brandon Dubinkski pounced on it giving Columbus a commanding 4-2 lead. 

Philadelphia pushed hard to tie it taking 10 shots in the final 10 minutes but were unable to get another one past Blue Jackets goalie Curtis McElhinney, who played very well tonight stopping 42 shots. 

Columbus got the two points tonight because they took advantage of mistakes and good fortunes while the Flyers were unable to do so. All four Columbus goals resulted from strange bounces plus Lecavalier's turnover. 

The nine game point streak comes to a close with the loss and the Flyers have gone 6-1-3 in their last 10. Realistically, for the Flyers to make the playoffs, assuming Boston doesn't tank, they will have to pick up a record close to 16-5-4.

Columbus got off to a great start tonight scoring the game's first two goals in the opening period. James Wisniewski scored the first on the PowerPlay after Alex Wennberg misplayed the puck in front before Wisniewski found it with a wide opened net staring him down. Ryan Johansen picked up the Blue Jackets second goal when the puck bounced off his shoulder. And within 6:39 minutes at home, Philadelphia found themselves down 2-0. 

The Flyers picked up the pace in the second period outshooting the Blue Jackets 20-6 and were able to tie the game up late. Wayne Simmonds got the Flyers on the board late in the period on a deflection in the high slot before Michael Del Zotto tied the game just 1:43 minutes later. 

After the slow start, being tied at two heading into the third period at home was all the Flyers could have asked for. But instead of taking advantage of the comeback momentum they skated away without any points. Lecavalier's turnover was absolutely unacceptable, especially at this crucial moment in the season, where the team needs points in the standings. This one dreadful and lazy play cost the team the game. One can blame the start of the game, however the Flyers fought back, or the poor rebound control on the fourth goal allowed by Emery, but that came after the Lecavalier mistake. So it all boils down to one easily avoidable play that may have cost one or two points in the standings. 

Despite the nine game point streak that got snapped, the Flyers have now lost three of their last four and four of their last six. 

Game Notes:
  • The 44 shots taken by the Flyers is their season high. 
  • Philadelphia went 0-3 on their PowerPlay and 1-1 on the penalty kill. 
  • The Flyers have lost seven of their last eight against the Blue Jackets. 
  • Del Zotto picked up a goal and an assist along with three shots and four hits. 
  • Michael Raffl and Wayne Simmonds led the team with five shots apiece. 
Drop The Puck:
The Flyers will look to start a new point streak when they face the Buffalo Sabres once again on Thursday.