Saturday, October 18, 2014

Flyers Finally Find First Victory in Dramatic Fashion

The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Dallas Stars 6-5 in overtime tonight picking up their first win of the season. 

Flyers mob Giroux after he scores the GWG
The long awaited victory had to be put on hold tonight after 60 minutes wasn't enough. Tied at 5 apiece, the Flyers entered overtime for the third consecutive game. In the extra session, captain Claude Giroux gave Philadelphia their first win of the season. On the PowerPlay, Mark Streit setup Giroux, who one-timed the puck past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen for the game winner. 

"We're happy to win the game, Claude Giroux told CSNPhilly after the contest. "It's an ugly win but we'll take it."

The 'ugly' win Giroux was referring to was allowing 5 in the game, including 2 goals late in the 2nd period and another late in the 3rd, forcing the Flyers to make multiple comebacks tonight, before finally giving themselves a chance to win it. 

The Flyers played a pretty solid opening period despite allowing the first goal against. Stars defenseman Trevor Daley scored the opening goal after a great passing play on the PowerPlay. But the Flyers responded scoring twice before the period was out. Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn scored goals just 1:53 minutes apart. Couturier found a loose puck in front after RJ Umberger deflected Andy MacDonald's point shot, while Schenn deposited brother Luke's rebound. 

The 2nd period was a sloppier one that saw Dallas out score Philadelphia 3-0. Erik Cole scored the tying goal on a 2 on 1 after Luke Schenn was caught in the neutral zone. Later in the period, the Flyers were called on a phantom 'Too Many Men' penalty and Dallas cashed in again. Daley scored on a passing play very similar to his first PowerPlay tally. Just 56 seconds later, Streit, Giroux and Nick Schultz were all caught behind the net leaving Jamie Benn wide open in front to give the Stars a 2 goal lead with only 31 seconds remaining in the middle stanza. 

In the 3rd period, the Flyers came back to life. Andy MacDonald fueled the comeback with a blast from the point on the PowerPlay for his first of the season. Then Jake Voracek tied it up with just under 6 minutes to play, depositing Schultz's rebound. 

However, the Stars grabbed their lead back almost immediately. Only 40 seconds later, Jason Spezza jabbed at Ray Emery, who replaced Steve Mason at the start of the 3rd period, and the puck came loose of Emery's glove and into the net, forcing the Flyers to comeback once again. 

For the third time in this hockey game, the Flyers equalized. Michael Raffl got a fortuitous bounce when he centered the puck to Giroux. The puck never made it to Claude as it deflected off a Stars defenseman's skate and into the back of the net. 

Giroux scores the winner

Despite allowing 5 goals against, the Flyers deserved that point as the game went into overtime, but they were not satisfied. Philadelphia got 2 PowerPlays in the extra session. The first came with just seconds left in the 3rd period; however, the Flyers failed to capitalize. The next came when Trevor Daley hauled down Schenn preventing what would have been the game winner as Brayden stared down a wide open cage after a strange bounce. And it was on that PowerPlay that the Flyers would find their first win of the season coming from the hands of their captain. 

"Good character win," said coach Craig Berube summing up the game. "A team has to learn to quit chasing games so much. Going down 1 goal is not a huge deal, but going down 2 goals it makes it a lot tougher. That's the kind of stuff that we have to clean up." 

The huge victory gives the Flyers points now in 3 straight games leaving them with a 1-2-2 record on the season

Game Notes:
  • Philadelphia scored a PowerPlay goal for the 4th consecutive game.
  • The Flyers went 2-5 tonight on the PowerPlay. 
  • Philadelphia's 3 game streak of not allowing a PowerPlay goal against ended tonight as they gave up 2 versus Dallas (1 for 3). 
  • RJ Umberger picked up his first point (assist) since returning to the Flyers. 
  • Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen falls to 0-10-3 against the Flyers in his career. 
  • Jake Voracek has scored points in all 5 games this season. 
  • Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds are both on a 4 game point streak. 
  • Mark Streit picked up 2 assists, took 5 shots and led the Flyers in ice time with 26:26 minutes. 
  • Giroux led the Flyers with 6 shots tonight. Claude has taken 24 shots in his last 4 games. 
Drop The Puck:
The Flyers will look to put together their first winning streak of the season when they head to Chicago to face the Blackhawks.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Shootout Woes Continue as Flyers Fall to Ducks

The Philadelphia Flyers lost to the Anaheim Ducks 4-3 in a shootout tonight. 

Karlsson scores the winner in the SO
For the second consecutive game the Flyers went to a shootout. And for the seventh consecutive time, dating back to last season, they lost in the shootout. 

Philadelphia deserved a better fate as they outplayed Anaheim throughout most of the game. Unfortunately, they got off to a slow start again; they have surrendered the first goal of the game to their opponents in 3 of their first 4 games. 

Anaheim's Tim Jackman opened the scoring at 12:20 after Steve Mason whiffed in an attempt to clear a rebound. Then, just over 4 minutes later, immediately after a Ducks PowerPlay expired, Devante Smith Pelly tipped in a long shot from the point putting the Ducks up 2-0, forcing the Flyers to play comeback again. 

And comeback they did. Philadelphia showed up in the 2nd period, out shooting Anaheim 18-6. The Flyers hard work finally paid off when they were awarded with a 2 man advantage in the period. Claude Giroux setup Mark Streit for a blast off the post and in for his first tally of the season. 

Later in the period, on the PowerPlay once again, Wayne Simmonds somehow found the back of the net amidst a crazy scramble in front for his 5th goal of the season. 

However, one quick defensive lapse at the end of the period resulted in another Anaheim lead. Matt Beleskey wasn't picked up as he skated unnoticed through the slot and Ryan Getzlaf found him with just 16 second left in the period. 

Despite the late goal, the Flyers didn't lose much momentum and played a strong 3rd period. 

Jake Voracek knotted the game up at 3 apiece on a great individual play where he came from behind the net and roofed it on the backhand. 

After regulation was not enough, overtime was needed. Flyers continued to play well in OT but could not cash in and a shootout was needed. 

Claude Giroux was the lone Flyer to score, on a beautiful move, out of four (Voracek, Matt Read and Sean Couturier) while 2 of the 4 Ducks found the back of the net, Jakob Silfverberg and William Karlsson. 

Philadelphia did get a much deserved point; however, they are still winless in their first 4 games, 0-2-2. 

Game Notes:
  • Flyers went 2 for 4 on the PowerPlay. 
  • It was their 3rd straight game with a PowerPlay goal. 
  • Philadelphia is now 5 for 17 (29%) on the season on the PowerPlay. 
  • Flyers went 3 for 3 on the penalty. 
  • It is the 3rd straight game without giving up a goal on the man advantage. 
  • They are 9 for 10 on the penalty kill this season. 
  • Blair Jones played his first game as a Flyer tonight. He was a -1 with 3 hits in 6:27 minutes. 
  • Luke Schenn led the Flyers with 8 hits tonight. 
  • Giroux and Voracek led the Flyers with 7 shots each. 

Drop The Puck:
The Flyers have off until Saturday when they go to Dallas to face the Stars. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Flyers Blow Lead, Remain Winless

The Philadelphia Flyers lost to the Montreal Canadiens tonight 4-3 in a shootout.

The Flyers played very well in the first 2 periods building a 3 goal lead at the 2nd intermission, only to loose it. The Canadiens caught the Flyers snoozing in the 3rd and scored 3 goals in under 8 minutes. Instead of closing out the last 5 minutes, the Flyers were scrambling just to get a point. 

Montreal took 19 shots on Ray Emery in the 3rd and Andrei Markov, Tomas Plekanek and Alex Galchenyuk found the back of the net. 

Everything Philadelphia did well in the 1st and 2nd they did equally as bad in the 3rd period. 

Even worse, in overtime the Flyers were given a PowerPlay with the chance to make it all up. But instead they were only able to muster 1 shot and failed to end the game again, sending this one to a shootout. 

In the shootout, Emery stopped the first 3 Canadien shooters, and again the Flyers didn't capitalize, failing to score not 3 times but 4. And in the 4th attempt, Montreal's PA Parenteau scored the winner.  

After the game, multiple players stated that they stopped playing in the 3rd and when coach Berube was asked if it was more the great play by the Canadiens or poor play by the Flyers, Berube simply said, "Us."  

If the Flyers are going to be successful moving forward, they need to play a full 60 minutes, regardless of the score. Consistency was the main problem last season and the big question coming into the new one. And now it's clear, that consistency remains an issue. 

In the first 2 periods, the Flyers outshot the Canadiens 27-18 while outscoring them 3-0. Wayne Simmonds scored twice, one on the PowerPlay and one off an odd man rush. And Claude Giroux set up Michael Raffl for the other goal. So Philadelphia was clicking on all cylinders. They went 3 for 3 on the penalty kill, 1 for 4 on the PowerPlay, their big names showed up and Emery was perfect.

And that is, inexplicably, when the wheels fell off. 

The Flyers remain winless after 3 games for the 3rd consecutive season, but did at least pick up one point in the standings, 0-2-1. 

Game Notes:
  • Simmonds' 2 goals tonight gives him 4 on the season already. At this moment, Simmonds is tied for the league lead. 
  • The first line (Giroux, Jake Voracek and Raffl) combined for 11 shots. 
  • Simmonds led all players with 6 shots. 
  • Nick Schultz, playing for the injured Braydon Coburn, blocked 7 shots and logged 23:37 minutes. 
  • Andy MacDonald led all players in ice time with 28:01 minutes.
  • Vinny Lecavalier, Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Matt Read all failed to score in the shootout. 
Drop The Puck:
The Flyers will look to end their skid in Tuesday when they host the Anaheim Ducks. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Flyers Lose To Devils in Wild Home Opener

The Philadelphia Flyers lost to the New Jersey Devils 6-4 this evening. 

Down 3-0 in the 2nd period, the Flyers made a furious comeback late in the period scoring 3 goals in 4:16 minutes. Unfortunately, they did not pick up where they left off in the 3rd and the Devils scored 3 more goals to seal the deal. 

The Devils got off to a decent start to their season scoring once in the first from Michael Ryder and two more in the first 6 minutes of the 2nd to take a 3-0 lead. 

Philadelphia fell victim to multiple defensive breakdowns and a few bad bounces. Ryder's goal was a result of the defense backing up too much giving him all the room to move closer to Steve Mason to take a clean shot. New Jersey's second goal, from Adam Henrique, was a long shot that deflected off the skate of Luke Schenn. And the third was a result of a deflection from a distance from new Devils forward Mike Cammalleri. Patrick Elias scored the Devil's fourth goal standing all alone in front of Mason while Michael Del Zotto and Claude Giroux were caught out of position. Finally the fifth goal was scored when Luke Schenn failed to get his stick on the puck off a slow rush from Dainius Zubrus. 

In the end, Luke Schenn was an incredible -5, while Del Zotto was a -4. The pairing was out for 5 goals of the 6 goals scored. Mason on the other hand was just ok. 4 of the 5 goals were hard to blame, yet the fifth goal by Zubrus should have been stopped. 

The Flyers offense was very sporadic tonight. There were moments in this game where they were on fire, for instance, the second half of the second period they outshot the Devils 9-3 while out scoring them 3-0. Then other times they were out of sync, missing passes and losing battles. 

The PowerPlay was a positive for the Flyers tonight as they went 2-5. Claude Giroux scored a PowerPlay goal from his office, at the top of the circle. Wayne Simmonds scored one of his two goals tonight on the PowerPlay. Simmonds had just scored 56 seconds earlier on a patient play where he waited for a sliding Devil to fly by before ripping one past New Jersey goalie Cory Schneider. His PowerPlay goal came with just .5 seconds remaining in the 2nd period in front of the net after being set up nicely from Vincent Lecavalier. 

The resiliency of the Flyers was there, yet their consistency wasn't. After falling down 4-3 after the amazing 2nd period comeback, the Flyers responded almost immediately. Lecavalier responded just 15 seconds later opting to shoot on a 2 on 1. 

Again this is where the Flyers should have retained offensive momentum. Instead a timid defensive play from Schenn and poor goaltending from Mason gave the Devils their lead right back less then 3 minutes after Lecavalier's goal. 

This goal proved too much to comeback from. And despite taking 10 shots after the goal, the Flyers could not find the equalizer this time. 

Philadelphia falls to 0-2 for the third consecutive season. 

Game Notes:
  • Braydon Coburn missed the game with a lower body injury. The injury is most likely his foot from blocking a shot in yesterday's game versus the Bruins. 
  • Coburn was seen on crutches before the game and GM Ron Hextall said this isn't a 'day to day' injury. 
  • Wayne Simmonds, who was the 2nd star of the game, picked up 2 goals and an assist, while taking 4 shots. 
  • Claude Giroux had a very up and down game. He scored his first goal and assist of the season. He also took 7 shots on goal. However defensively, he was a -4 on the night. 
  • The Flyers outshot the Devils 39-26. 
  • Steve Mason allowed 5 goals on 25 shots.
  • Flyers went 3 for 3 on the penalty kill. 
Drop The Puck:
The Flyers will look to avoid going 0-3 for the third consecutive season when they host the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Late Goal Leads to Bruins Victory

The Philadelphia Flyers lost to the Boston Bruins 2-1 in the season opener tonight. 

After a long 5 months, the Flyers finally were back on the ice. Unfortunately, so were the Bruins. It was a tough draw for Philadelphia to face arguably the best team in the East in Boston for Game 1 of the season. The Bruins, last year, had the top record in the NHL at home, losing just 10 games. 

The game was mostly a defensive one and in that sense of the game, the Flyers played relatively well. Steve Mason was exceptional stopping 31 of 33 shots, keeping the Flyers alive all game. 

Tied at 1 apiece late in the 3rd, the Bruins cashed in on a bit of a fluky goal, according to coach Craig Berube. "It was kind of a fluky play, but they scored on it. You gotta find a way to win."

The Bruins shot from the point, with under 2 minutes to play in the final period, bounced off Chris Kelly and went up and over Mason landing behind him. Kelly found the puck before Mason and scored the game winning goal with just 1:51 minutes remaining. 

"In the first 2 periods, it was like we were scared to play the puck," Claude Giroux told CSNPhilly after the game. "We just didn't have the confidence with the puck." 

That was Philadelphia's main weakness tonight, puck possession. The Flyers could not keep control of the puck, which  made it very difficult to score. They were only able to muster up 20 shots on goal as a result. 

The Flyers lone goal came from Sean Couturier in front on a nice set up from Jake Voracek early in the 3rd. 

Special teams was another issue tonight that Philadelphia will have to address going forward. Boston's first goal came on their first PowerPlay, as a result of an undisciplined penalty by Zac Rinaldo. On the ensuing kill, both Braydon Coburn and Michael Raffl were out of position leaving Reilly Smith alone in the slot to score the game's first goal. 

On the other side, the Flyers went 0-3 on the PowerPlay, failing to get any really good chances, while giving up numerous shorthanded opportunities.

Philadelphia will get a chance to regroup and make things right immediately as they will play their home opening tomorrow night against the New Jersey Devils. 

Game Notes:
  • Zac Rinaldo led the Flyers in shots with 4, while the 1st line of Giroux, Voracek and Brayden Schenn combined for 2. 
  • Andrew MacDonald led all players in ice time with 21:51 minutes. 
  • Pierre Edouard Bellemare played his first game in the NHL with the Flyers tonight. Bellemare played 10:08 minutes, had 1 hit and was 50% on his faceoffs. 
  • Claude Giroux was a horrendous 19% on faceoffs tonight. He only won 4 of 21 draws. 
  • Sean Couturier, who scored a goal and took 3 shots, won 61% of his faceoffs. 
Drop The Puck:
The Flyers will open the season in Philadelphia tomorrow (Thursday) night when they host the New Jersey Devils. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Camp Review + Season Preview

The wait is finally over!

The Philadelphia Flyers begin their season on Wednesday when they go on the road to face the Boston Bruins. Then immediately come back for their home opener on Thursday, when they host the New Jersey Devils.

So what will the Flyers roster look like?

Philadelphia brought over 50 players into camp at the start of September with the idea of finalizing their NHL roster at 22 or 23 players. Some players would be cut from the organization, others sent back to the juniors while the rest to their AHL affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Several players brought their 'A' game giving the Flyers a very bright future, but who would actually make the final cut?

Preseason:

Philadelphia played 8 preseason games amassing a 3-3-2 record. Mark Streit, who recently has been awarded with the honor of carrying the 'alternate captain' this season (the other being Wayne Simmonds, after the Flyers lost both their 'A's' from last season, Scott Hartnell in a trade and Kimmo Timonen to injury), led the Flyers in all statistical categories with 2 goals, 6 assists and 8 points in 4 games. Jake Voracek had 5 points in 5 games while Matt Read had 4 points in 5 games. But of course all of them were already guaranteed a starting spot.

Standouts:
  • Blair Jones: acquired as a free agent in July, impressed many as he picked up 4 points in 5 games. Jones has played in 7 seasons splitting time between the NHL and AHL. Jones has picked up 17 points in 128 games in the NHL.
    • Result: Jones made the Flyers roster.
  • Jason Akeson: scored 2 goals and 2 assists in 6  preseason games. Akeson played very well last season when he was called up late and played in all 7 playoff games picking up 3 points. 
    • Result: Akeson made the Flyers roster.
  • Pierre-Edouard Bellemare: signed out of the Swedish Hockey League in June. Bellemare, who scored 20 goals and 35 points in 52 games last year, got injured early in the camp but still managed to look good. After returning from injury, Bellemare, a French native, looked comfortable playing on North American ice rink for the first time as he played responsibly and knows his position well.
    • Result: Bellemare made the Flyers roster.
  • Scott Laughton: Flyers 1st round pick in 2012 made a strong push to make the opening night roster with his terrific play. Laughton picked up 3 points in the 4 preseason games he played.
    • Result: Laughton was sent to the AHL and will start the season with the Phantoms.
  • Shayne Gostisbehere: Flyers 3rd round pick of 2012, looked great offensively. Gostisbehere picked up 2 goals and 3 points in 3 games. Gostisbehere still looked a little shaky on defense though, playing a high risk game. 
    • Result: Gostisbehere was sent to the AHL and will start the season with the Phantoms.
  • Samuel Morin: Flyers 1st round pick 2013, played well and appeared close to cracking the lineup. Morin impressed so much that he made it to the last round of cuts. 
    • Result: Morin was returned to his Canadian junior team due to the age rule in the CHL. 
      • (Travis Sanheim and Nicolas Aube-Kubel were also returned to juniors.)
  • Taylor Leier: Flyers 2012 4th round pick, was a pleasant surprise. Leier's offense was never in question but whether or not his talent would translate from juniors to pro level was in question. He appeared to answer that question immediately. Leier played on a line with Laughton and both excelled through camp. Leier's speed was evident and he scored 2 goals in 4 games making a strong push. 
    • Result: Leier was sent to the AHL and will start the season with the Phantoms.
Final NHL Roster:

After all cuts were made, the Philadelphia Flyers completed their roster with 22 (healthy) players:
  • Offense (in projected lines):
    • Claude Giroux centering Jake Voracek and Brayden Schenn
    • Sean Couturier centering Matt Read and Wayne Simmonds
    • Vincent Lecavalier centering Michael Raffl and RJ Umberger
    • Pierre-Edouard Bellemare centering Jason Akeson and Zac Rinaldo
      • Blair Jones as the extra forward
  • Defense:
    • Mark Streit and Nicklas Grossmann
    • Andrew MacDonald and Braydon Coburn
    • Luke Schenn and Michael Del Zotto
      • Nick Schultz as the extra defenseman
      • Kimmo Timonen (injured, but still on starting roster)
  • Goaltenders:
    • Steve Mason (starter)
    • Ray Emery

Final AHL roster:
  • Offense: 
    • Brandon Alderson, Nick Cousins, Austin Fyten, Andrew Gordon, Kevin Goumas, Brett Hextall, Scott Laughton, Taylor Leier, Darroll Powe, Jay Rosehill, Zack Stortini, Petr Straka and Chris Vandevelde.
  • Defense:
    • Mark Alt, Steven Delisle, Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Oliver Lauridsen, Brandon Manning and Jesper Pettersson.
  • Goaltenders:
    • Rob Zepp (starter)
    • Anthony Stolarz
Salary Cap:

The Flyers will start the season with Chris Pronger and Ryan White on long term injury reserve, while keeping Kimmo Timonen on the cap. This puts the Flyers payroll at $68,945,000 just $55,000 under the cap ceiling.

Injuries:
  • Claude Giroux got injured on the very first practice. Giroux was out for about 11 days with his lower body injury but returned to preseason action and will be ready for the opener
  • Pierre Edouard Bellemare got injured after playing in the first preseason game. The lower body injury only kept him out about a week before he returned for more preseason action and will be ready for the opener
  • Wayne Simmonds was injured last week with an apparent foot injury. Simmonds practiced on Monday and said afterwards, "First & foremost I felt fine out there. I got through the whole practice which is good." Simmonds is day to day, but hopeful for Wednesday. 
Opening Night:

The Philadelphia Flyers will open their season on the road on Wednesday night at 7:30 PM against the Boston Bruins. The Flyers will look to change their luck as they have lost 3 in a row and 7 of their last 9 against the Bruins. Philadelphia will also look to get of to a better start than last season where they went 1-7 in their first 8 games.

The Flyers are 5-5 in their last 10 season openers.

Upcoming Schedule:
  • Wednesday Oct 8th @ Boston
  • Thursday Oct 9th vs New Jersey
  • Saturday Oct 11th vs Montreal 
  • Tuesday Oct 14th vs Anaheim
  • Saturday Oct 18th @ Dallas

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Timonen NOT Retiring ... Yet

Philadelphia Flyers all-star defenseman Kimmo Timonen publicly spoke for the first time since being diagnosed with multiple blood clots over the summer.

Timonen and Hextall addressing the media
GM Ron Hextall started the press conference by saying that we don't have all the answers yet, but we want to announce that Timonen is not officially retiring.

Timonen reiterated that statement, but then said that realistically, "The chances of me playing again are slim, and that's a fact." 

Both Timonen and Hextall said that it will take months for his blood clots (which are still there) to dissipate, so best case scenario seemed like 4-5 months, if given a perfect clean bill of health.

Kimmo also admitted that a blood clot disorder runs in his family and that his mother and brothers have it as well.

"I was really looking forward to playing my last year. My desire to play is still there but we just have to wait. I feel good, I'm able to workout and run, but I have to avoid contact." Timonen said that he hasn't skated, nor will he for several months, because he is not in any rush.

Timonen seemed like he was in good spirits and even joked saying, "I told my wife that I can't clean or do the dishes either. Doctor's orders. But that didn't work out so well."

Timonen said that it did not hit him as to how serious this can be until a friend of his who is a doctor told him that, 'people die from this kind of clot.' "I will probably be on blood thinners for the rest of my life. If that is the case I won't be able to play hockey ever again. But we'll talk about it again in a few months."

When asked if he would be cleared over the summer, would he play next season, Timonen responded, "I haven't thought that far ahead."

Hextall admitted to getting to know Timonen much better as they worked through this tough situation and learned, "This guy wants to play hockey so badly. He could have just said he is finished. But he did not. It shows how much heart he has. I admire him and his passion."

Hextall continued, "The biggest thing we'll miss is his professionalism. Hopefully, later in the season we'll get him back."

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Flyers Annual Rookie Game vs Capitals

Rookies Thanking Fans After 3-0 Win
The Philadelphia Flyers rookie camp officially got underway on Friday the 12th at the Voorhees Skates Zone. On Tuesday, they played their annual game versus the Washington Capitals rookies. This year it was a home game (as last year's was played in the DC area).

Playing to a packed house of what looked like over a thousand fans crammed into the Skate Zone, the Flyers rookies played their hearts out.


Victory:
  • Philadelphia's rookies deservedly won 3-0 on a full team effort. 
  • Petr Straka, Nicolas Aube-Kubel (even though on ice it was somehow credited to Taylor Leier) and Kevin Goumas scored the goals.
  • Scott Laughton and Straka recorded assists.
  • Anthony Stolarz and Martin Ouellette shared the shutout. 
  • The team was perfect on the penalty kill. 

Goals:
  • Petr Straka, who was flying all game, took advantage of a Capitals turnover in the offensive zone and went in alone scoring on a nice forehand to back hand move. 
  • Nicolas Aube-Kubel's (2014 2nd round pick) goal came off a rebound on a nice wrap around attempt from Scott Laughton. 
  • Kevin Goumas (2014 free agent signing) buried his goal into the empty net to solidify the victory, assisted by Straka. 

Standout Stars:

Many of the Flyers played a very solid game today, while others excelled. 
  • The standout star (to me personally) had to be Travis Sanheim. The 2014 1st round pick was all over the ice. When he wasn't breaking up plays in the defensive zone, he was carrying the puck through the neutral zone trying to spark some offense. And while in the offensive zone, he was looking to get open and making good pinches. Sanheim, even though only 18 years old, looked like he belonged and was confident about his play. Flyers fans should be very excited about his future potential. 
Another standout was the entire second line. The 1st line of Nick Cousins, Petr Straka and Brandon Alderson were good but we have seen them before with the Phantoms and expected that. 
Scott Laughton
  • The 2nd line with Scott Laughton (2012 1st round pick), Nicolas Aube-Kubel (2014 2nd round pick) and Taylor Leier (2012 4th round pick) was terrific. As the game went on, they became more and more confident and seemed to jell very nicely creating one offensive chance after another. Leier brought quickness and speed, Aube-Kubel had great position and puck handling while Laughton did some dirty work on the boards and played setup guy using his great vision of the ice. It was fun to watch every time they stepped on the ice. Too bad we won't continue to see this line on the Phantoms this year due to Aube-Kubel having to go back to his Canadian junior team this year. 
  • In a dream defensive pairing, Samuel Morin (2013 1st round pick) played alongside Shayne Gostisbehere (2012 3rd round pick). This was great to see since this could be a realistic paring on the Flyers just a couple years from now. Both played their signature game yesterday show casing their talent to the fans and coaches watching from above. 
  • Samuel Morin
    • Morin's presence was felt as he made as many big hits as he could muster up, cleared the front of the net, defended his teammates (especially when Straka took a brutal crosscheck to the back) and even got into a fight. 
    • On the other side, Gostisbehere took advantage of his smooth skating and great puck handling to create several chances although he never got to take his signature slap shot (he broke his stick on his best opportunity). The man they call 'Ghost' still has some learning to do though at the next level. His 'high risk, high reward' play cost him a few times in the game. On one occasion, he lost the puck right in front of his goalie and was bailed out on a great save by Anthony Stolarz (more on him to come), he made a poor decision to attack the puck in the neutral zone which led directly to a 2 on 1 (broken up by Morin) and had least one bad pinch in the offensive zone. A lot of risks will come with playing this style, but Gostisbehere, who is like a sponge, will learn a lot from playing in the minors this season and will most definitely learn to polish up his game and play a bit more responsibly. Out of all the Flyers prospects, I think Gostisbehere has the highest ceiling. 
Unfortunately due to the same ruling on Aube-Kubel, Morin will not get to be paired up with Gostisbehere on the Phantoms because he will have to spend the next season back with his junior team (unless he makes the Flyers roster) because a player must be 20 years of age to play in the AHL and neither Aube-Kubel, 18, nor Morin, 19, qualify. 

In Net:
  • In goal, Anthony Stolarz (2012 2nd round pick) and Martin Ouellette (2014 free agent signing) split the game. 
  • Stolarz was good in the first and solid in the second making some huge saves early in the period. Stolarz uses his huge frame (6'6" 220 lbs) to smoother most angles and is quicker than most would think for being that big.  
  • Ouellette also looked good, but didn't have to do too much as the Flyers defense was solid down the stretch holding the Capitals to about 4 shots in the final period. 
  • By my (unofficial) count the goalies split 22 shots (Stolarz about 13, to Ouellette's 9). 
Lines:
  • Offense:
    1. Nick Cousins (52) centering Brandon Alderson (64) and Petr Straka (51)
    2. Scott Laughton (49) centering Nicolas Aube-Kubel (73) and Taylor Leier (58)
    3. Kevin Goumas (63) centering Matt Hatch (68) and Austin Fyten (77) 
    4. Nikita Jevpalovs (80) centering Radel Fazleev (75) and Louick Marcotte (79)
  • Defense:
    1. Robert Hagg (54) and Jesper Pettersson (59)
    2. Samuel Morin (50) and Shayne Gostisbehere (53)
    3. Travis Sanheim (71) and Maxim Lamarche (60)
  • Goalies:
    1. Anthony Stolarz (65)
    2. Martin Ouellette (70)

Final Thoughts/Highlights:

Overall the team looked great as a whole, worked hard and earned their 3-0 victory. I think coach Craig Berube and GM Ron Hextall should be very satisfied.

Highlights

The rookies will return when the the full team training camp opens on ice on Friday the 19th.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Timonen Injured, Flyers Respond By Signing Del Zotto

Sad news was given today by the Philadelphia Flyers organization regarding Kimmo Timonen:
Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen has been diagnosed with blood clots in his lower right leg and in both lungs. Kimmo is currently being treated for this disorder back in his home country of Finland. His return to play is yet to be determined.
Timonen, who has been in Finland since June, was feeling pain in his right leg for about three days blamed it on a pulled muscle. A friend of Timonen, who happens to be a doctor, noticed that it was not a muscle problem and recommended that Kimmo immediately go to the hospital. Once there, his doctors found multiple blood clots, in his lungs and leg. The doctors, who are in contact with the Flyers medical team said that Timonen, who was admitted yesterday, is in stable condition and should be released tomorrow on Wednesday the 6th. Following his release, Kimmo will be immobilized and not allowed to travel for about 3 weeks. After that, he will return to his home in Haddonfield, NJ where the Flyers doctors will evaluate him.

This is not the first time Timonen has suffered from a blood clot. Back in 2008, right before the playoffs, Timonen was diagnosed with a blood clot in his lower right left (near his ankle). Timonen missed some time, but returned later in the playoffs. According to WebMD, once you've had a blood clot, you are more susceptible to another one. So Timonen's future is now in question. But that's the last of the concerns right now.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Kimmo Timonen and his family right now. 

In the meantime, new GM Ron Hextall is trying to figure out how to fill this massive hole left as Timonen was arguably the Flyers best defenseman. And Hextall responded immediately.

The Philadelphia Flyers have announced that they are signed defenseman Michael Del Zotto to a 1 year deal worth $1.3 million.

Del Zotto, 6'0" 193lbs, spent last year split between the New York Rangers and the Nashville Predators. In 5 seasons in the NHL, Del Zotto has played 327 games picking up 27 goals and 126 points.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Flyers Stay Quiet on Free Agency Day, Resign Emery

Free Agency officially began today at noon and the Philadelphia Flyers were noticeably quiet today. The reason for that is the salary cap, which was raised to $69 million for next season. However, the Flyers already have $70+ million committed to 20 players, meaning they are $1.2 million over the cap already and 4 spots still to be filled (as Chris Pronger will be put on the Long Term Injured Reserve when the season begins).

Flyers resign Ray Emery
But the Flyers did get themselves a backup goalie. Philadelphia officially resigned G Ray Emery to a 1 year deal worth $1 million. Emery played 28 games with the Flyers last season accumulating a .903 save percentage and allowed 2.96 GAA.

Philadelphia also signed G Rob Zepp, who played for the Berlin Eisbaren over the last 7 seasons. Last year Zepp picked up 5 shutouts with a 2.74 GAA and .921 save percentage. Zepp along with Flyers prospect G Anthony Stolarz will be in net for the Lehigh Phantoms next season.

Update:
The Flyers just signed forward Blair Jones to a two-way contract. Jones, 27, has played 128 games in the NHL with the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Calgary Flames scoring 7 goals and 17 points.

CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL THE NHL SIGNINGS

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Flyers Select Travis Sanheim with the 17th Overall

The Philadelphia Flyers, who hosted this year's draft for the first time in their history, selected WHL defenseman, Travis Sanheim with their 17th overall pick in the 1st round tonight.

Flyer select Travis Sanheim

The Flyers went off the board a little with this pick as Sanheim was ranked 24th by TSN scouting and 53rd by the NHL Central Scouting (CS). Sanheim has been a very quick riser though. His midseason ranking by NHL CS was 167th; however, by the end of the season, draft expert and former GM Craig Button ranked Sanheim 8th in his list.

Travis Sanheim
According to TSN scouting report:
Progress has been exceptional. Nothing he can't do in the game. Skates, thinks incredibly well, has poise, makes plays offensively and defensively and is a player who recognizes opportunity in the game and takes advantage.
And according to Flyers analyst Bill Meltzer, Sanheim has the all important four S's (size, speed, skill and hockey sense):
The speed is already there. The size should be as he fills out his still lanky 6-foot-3 frame. The hockey sense appears to be above-average. The skill level is the area that opened eyes in the second half of this past season as he gained confidence, but he has the tools to be a two-way defenseman.
Draft Day 2:
Round 2, Pick 48: Nicolas Aube-Kubel (Defenseman; WHL)
Round 3, Pick 86: Mark Friedman (Center; QMJHL)
Round 5, Pick 148: Oskar Lindblom (Defenseman; USHL)
Round 6, Pick 168: Radel Fazleev (Forward; WHL)
Round 7, Pick 198:  Jesper Pettersson (Defenseman; Swedish Hockey League)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Flyers Extend Schenn

Brayden Schenn signs extension
The Philadelphia Flyers signed Brayden Schenn to a 2 year contract extension today worth $5 million.

Schenn will make $2.25 in his first year and $2.75 in his second. Therefore, Schenn's new cap hit will be $2.5 million.

Schenn had played 3 seasons with the Flyers registering 40 goals and 85 points in 183 games. 

Flyers Trade Hartnell for Umberger

The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that they have traded forward Scott Hartnell to the Columbus Blue Jackets for RJ Umberger and a 4th round pick in the 2015 NHL draft.

This becomes new GM Ron Hextall's first trade. The trade, however, does not make any sense.

Maybe they traded Hartnell, 32, for a younger player? Umberger is 32.

Maybe they traded him to get more production? Over the last 3 seasons, Hartnell has scored 65 goals and 131 points, while Umberger has 46 goals and 92 points. Plus Umberger was a healthy scratch for a couple of Columbus' playoff games, when they needed him the most.

Maybe they traded him to shed Hartnell's large salary ($4.75 million) off the cap? Umberger's cap hit is $4.6 million. Also the Blue Jackets had internal talks about possibly buying out Umberger's large contract.

Maybe he fit better positionally? Umberger is a natural center. The Flyers already have way too many centers (Giroux, Lecavalier, Couturier, Schenn).

Maybe they packaged him for more? The only other part of this trade was a 4th round pick, which is hardly worth the difference.

So what else is left?
Scott Hartnell had a full 'No Movement Clause' in his contract. This means he cannot be traded without his consent and to a team of his choice. So did Hartnell want out of Philadelphia? And if so, why; and why Columbus? If this is the case, then a lot of pressure would have been put on Hextall. At this point only Hartnell and Hextall know these answers. Hopefully soon, we will too, because this trade is atrocious.

Update:
Scott Hartnell spoke to the media moments ago and stated that he did not ask to be traded. He was approached by me GM Ron Hextall about 5 days ago and told a trade was in development, because 'his time was up in Philadelphia.' So an upset Hartnell agreed to waive him 'No Movement Clause' because he no longer wanted to be on a team that did not want him. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Flyers Extend Timonen

The Philadelphia Flyers retained Kimmo Timonen's services for the 2014-2015 season. Timonen decided he wanted to play for at least one more year before retiring.

After the 2014 season came to a close, Timonen took some time to consider whether or not he wanted to retire or play another season with Philadelphia. After 44 days, Timonen finally made the decision to play another season.

Newly appointed GM Ron Hextall sat down with Timonen and came up with a very cap friendly deal. Philadelphia officially signed Kimmo Timonen to a 1 year deal worth $2 million in base salary, plus an additional $2 million in performance bonuses. Therefore, Timonen's cap hit for the upcoming season will be just $2 million, down from his $6 million last season. And if he obtains his bonuses, then they will be added on to next season's cap.

This will be Timonen's 8th season with the Flyers and 16th in the NHL. In those 8 season with Philadelphia, Timonen has played 596 games recording 38 goals and 305 points.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Flyers Promote Hextall to GM

Today the Philadelphia Flyers announced that they have promoted both Paul Holmgren and Ron Hextall. Paul Holmgren, who spent the last 8 years as the Flyers General Manager, will now be the President of Hockey operations. Ron Hextall, the Flyers Assistant GM last season, has now been promoted to the position of General Manager.

Holmgren, according to the Flyers website, will oversee both the business and hockey operations of the Flyers and will report directly to Flyers Chairman Ed Snider.

Hextall will become responsible for the day-to-day management of the Flyers’ hockey operations and will report to Holmgren.

Hextall spent the 2013-14 season as the Flyers Assistant GM, and the previous 7 with the LA Kings Vice President and Assistant General Manager, where he won the Stanley Cup with them in 2012.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Rangers Win Game 7 End Flyers Season

The Philadelphia Flyers lost to the New York Rangers 2-1 in Game 7 tonight officially ending their season.

The Rangers dominated the 2nd period tonight out shooting the Flyers 18-5 while out scoring them 2-0. And that became the difference in the game, and ultimately, the series. 

After an evenly played and scoreless 1st period, the Rangers got the all important first goal of the game, early in the 2nd.

Mats Zuccarello found Daniel Carcillo in front for his second of the series against his former team. 

Benoit Pouliot increased New York's lead to 2, when he buried the puck after receiving a nice east to west pass from Derick Brassard. 

Philadelphia finally turned their game around in the 3rd period giving it everything they had to save their season. Jason Akeson finally got the Flyers on the board cutting the Rangers lead to 1. 

The Flyers out shot the Rangers 11-5 in the final period, but they could not find the equalizer. 

Steve Mason, who played a terrific season earning himself a new contract, was exceptional tonight. Mason made 31 saves on 33 attempts keeping his team alive, while giving them a valid chance to comeback. 

But it was not to be. The Rangers victory in Game 7 gives them a 4-3 series win. New York moves on to face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round of the NHL playoffs, while the Flyers are eliminated.

Game Notes:
  • Claude Giroux finished the playoffs leading the Flyers with 6 points in 7 games. 
  • It was finally revealed that Steve Mason did not start the series due to a concussion. 
  • The Flyers went 0 for 2 on their PowerPlay and 1 for 1 on the penalty kill. 
  • Braydon Coburn and Matt Read got the assists on Akeson's lone Flyers goal. 
  • Giroux led all Flyers in ice time with 23:16 minutes. 
  • Scott Hartnell led all players with 6 shots. 
Drop The Puck:
See you in October! 

Simmonds Nets Hat Trick as Flyers Force Game 7

The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the New York Rangers 5-2 tonight.

The Flyers victory in Game 6 tonight ties the series at 3 games apiece forcing this one to go all the way to 7 games. 

Philadelphia was led by the terrific effort of both Steve Mason and Wayne Simmonds. Simmonds had the best game of any player this series, notching a hat trick for the Orange and Black, while Mason stood on his head making 34 saves on 36 shots. 

Something was noticeably missing when the Flyers played Game 5 on Sunday: passion. Philadelphia wasn't finishing their checks, they weren't executing, and they just simply lacked emotion. That would have to change if they wanted to live to fight another day. So the Flyers came out fighting for their lives tonight and ultimately played their best game of the series.

Wayne Simmonds got the Flyers rolling with his first goal of the game 7:08 into the period while on the PowerPlay. Simmonds found Scott Hartnell's rebound and and wouldn't let up until the puck was in the back of the net. 

Special teams proved to be a huge part of tonight's hockey game. The Flyers went 2 for 3 while killing a perfect 5 for 5. 

Steve Mason kept the Flyers alive in the opening period stopping all 13 shots, keeping the Flyers 1 goal lead intact. 

The 2nd period started and it was Simmonds again. The Wayne-Train struck again just 1:32 into the period giving the Flyers their first multigoal lead since Game 2.

One of the few changes to the Flyers lineup tonight was the addition of defenseman Erik Gustafsson. Nicklas Grossmann, who had surgery to repair a damaged tendon in his ankle today, is now out for 8-10 weeks. Grossmann was replaced by Hal Gill in Game 5, yet was a minus 2. Therefore coach Craig Berube decided to sit Gill and start Gustafsson. 

And that decision payed off in the 2nd period. Immediately after his high sticking penalty, Gustafsson exited the box and found himself with the puck on a breakaway. Gustafsson made no mistake and beat Henrik Lundqvist through the 5-hole, putting the Flyers up 3-0. 

Just 62 seconds later, Wayne Simmonds completed his hat trick adding a second PowerPlay goal for the Flyers. Jake Voracek fed Simmonds in front who redirected it into the cage for his first career NHL playoff hat trick. And the Flyers led 4-0 after 2 periods holding the largest lead of this series. 

After surrendering 4 goals in 23 shots, Lundqvist's night was over. He was pulled for the first time this series as Cam Talbot replaced him. 

Carl Hagelin finally broke Mason's shutout bid with just 6:34 remaining. But it was the captain who put the final stamp on. Claude Giroux put the puck into the back of the empty net sealing the win for the Flyers. 

Mats Zuccarello, however, scored a meaningless goal for the Rangers in the final minute, finalizing the score at 5-2. 

The Flyers home victory forces a Game 7 which will be played tomorrow (Wednesday) night. The winner of the game and series will move on to face the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

Game Notes:
  • The 5 goals scored by the Flyers was the most by either team in this series. 
  • The last playoff hat trick allowed by the Rangers was in 2006. 
  • Claude Giroux scored a goal picked up 2 assists took 3 shots and 3 hits in 16:19 minutes. 
  • Erik Gustafsson scored a goal, took 3 shots and was plus 1 in 18:19 minutes in his first playoff game this season. 
  • Simmonds scored 3 goals, took a team high 6 shots, 12 penalty minutes, and 3 hits in 12:50 minutes tonight. 
  • After Wayne Simmonds' hat trick, the Flyers faithful threw a whopping 640 hats onto the ice (stat courtesy of CSNPhilly). 
  • All but 3 Flyers picked up at least 1 hit tonight. 
  • Luke Schenn led the way with 5 hits. 
Drop The Puck:
The Flyers will look to carry their momentum into the do-or-die Game 7 Wednesday night.

*I would like to give a whole hearted thank you to everyone who helped get me to this game tonight! (You know who you are!) For some more shots of tonight's game: CLICK HERE

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Rangers Take Game 5 at Home

The Philadelphia Flyers lost to the New York Rangers 4-2 today.

The Rangers victory gives them a 3-2 series lead with the chance to wrap things up in Game 6 on Tuesday night. 

Philadelphia struggled through most of the game today, especially on the PowerPlay. The Flyers were awarded with 5 PowerPlays in the first 2 periods. The first 4 saw very little time in the offensive zone and with every bad PowerPlay, momentum was shifted back in the Rangers favor. The Flyers did finally score on their fifth and final PowerPlay; however, at this point in the game it was already a 3-0 game. 

The Flyers also noticeably lack passion. They didn't come out of the gates with intensity, didn't hit as hard, battles in the corners were constantly won by the Rangers and emotions were low as their were barely any scrums at all. 

This all led to sloppy plays and turnovers, which New York took advantage of. Marc Staal opened the scoring for the Rangers, who have scored the first goal in all but one game in the series. Staal joined the rush catching the Flyers flatfooted and beat Steve Mason, giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead after the 1st period came to an end. 

The 2nd period was more of the same. New York was on another odd man rush, one of many today, they ultimately missed the net with the shot attempt; however, the Rangers never gave up on the play. They retrieved the puck, threw it on goal, got the rebound and then scored the goal, courtesy of Brad Richards. In this one play: the Flyers were caught up ice leading to an odd man rush, failed to retrieve the puck behind the net, lost a battle in front, failed to clear the rebound and the Ranger players in front of Mason. The play was a microcosm of how the whole game was played.

With under 4 minutes to play in the middle stanza, another sloppy play led to a 3 goal lead. Braydon Coburn carelessly played the puck into Hal Gill's feet causing a turnover to Dominic Moore as he went in alone on Mason. Moore's second goal of the series all but wrapped things up. 

Philadelphia finally broke through on a late PowerPlay in the 2nd when Vinny Lecavalier's shot hit something in front beating Henrik Lundqvist. 

New York played a very solid 3rd period, shutting down the Flyers throughout most of it. The Rangers kept the Flyers to just 7 shots prior to them pulling their goalie in the end. 

After Mason was pulled, the Flyers cut the lead to 1 with 1:29 remaining. Claude Giroux finally notched his first goal of the season, giving the Flyers, who were on cardiac arrest, a heartbeat. 

That, however, would be as close as they would get. Brian Boyle completed the victory with his empty net goal, giving the Rangers a 4-2 win and a chance to close out the series in Philadelphia. 

Game Notes:
  • Nicklas Grossmann, who left Game 4 with a lower body injury, did not suit up today. 
  • Hal Gill replaced Grossmann. Gill was a -2, with 1 shot in 12:02 minutes. 
  • Lecavalier's PowerPlay goal was his first of the series. Jake Voracek is still the only Flyer with more than one goal. He has 2. 
  • Steve Mason made 18 saves on 21 attempts. 
  • Claude Giroux finally scored his first goal of the series today. He also took a game high 6 shots, although he was -1. 
  • The Flyers went 1 for 5 on the PowerPlay and 3 for 3 on the penalty kill. 
  • For the 3rd time this series, Ryan McDonagh logged over 27 minutes of ice time (27:52 today). Andy MacDonald led the Flyers in that category with 24:23 minutes. 
Drop the Puck:
The Flyers will look to force a Game 7, when they host the Rangers for Game 6 on Tuesday night. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Mason Helps Flyers Even Series

The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the New York Rangers 2-1 in Game 4 of the first round of the NHL playoffs tonight. 

Philadelphia's victory evens the series at 2 games apiece as they shift back to New York for Game 5. 

Steve Mason was the story of tonight's game stopping 37 shots on 38 attempts. Mason, who missed 3 games due to an upper body injury, got his first start of the 2014 playoffs. And Mason didn't miss a beat. 5 years ago, the last time Mason made the playoffs, his Blue Jackets were swept; tonight, however, would be a different story for the netminder. Mason made one big save after another including all 10 of 10 shots faced in the 3rd period earning his first ever playoff win. 

New York got off to a great start tonight picking up the game's first goal just 4:38 minutes in. Dominic Moore popped right out of the penalty box found the puck and raced down the ice. Moore's initial shot hit Mason in the mask then landed right back on Moore's stick, who wrapped the puck around the net beating Mason, giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead. 

Just over 4 minutes later, Matt Read lit the lamp for the first time in the series. Jason Akeson's shot deflected off the boards behind the net then back out right onto Read's stick, who made no mistake and beat Henrik Lundqvist knotting the game at 1.  

The Rangers outshot the Flyers 16-6 in the opening period, but Philadelphia still managed to to keep it tied, thanks to the efforts of Mason. 

Jake Voracek, arguably the Flyers best player in this series, put them in the driver's seat while on the PowerPlay. Brayden Schenn made a nice feed to Voracek in front, who redirected it past Lundqvist giving the Flyers their first lead of the game. 

Voracek's goal ultimately turned into the game winner as Steve Mason and the Flyers defense shut down the Rangers earning them their second win of the series. 

The Flyers did so with just 5 defenseman. Nicklas Grossmann was tripped awkwardly into the boards and was forced to leave the game in the 2nd period with what is being called a lower body injury. 

The Flyers and Rangers will continue their battle on Sunday for Game 5. 

Game Notes:
  • The win is the Flyers first home victory of the 2014 playoffs. 
  • Philadelphia went a perfect 4 for 4 on the penalty kill and 1 for 2 on the PowerPlay. 
  • Voracek's goal was his second of the playoffs; he is currently the only Flyer to register more than 1 goal in the series. 
  • Voracek also leads the Flyers with 3 points in 4 games. 
  • Not one Flyer took more than 3 shots tonight; 3 Rangers registered 5 shots or more. 
  • Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh led all players with an incredible 28:02 minutes. Braydon Coburn led all Flyers with 25:27. 
Drop The Puck:
Game 5 of the series is scheduled to be played in New York at noon on Sunday. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Rangers Regain Series Lead

The Philadelphia Flyers lost to the New York Rangers 4-1 in Game 3 of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs tonight. 

The New York Rangers were the more opportunistic team tonight scoring 4 goals on 23 shots. While on the other side of the ice they blocked shot after shot. Philadelphia played a pretty solid game this evening, despite the final score. The Flyers attempted 78 shots tonight; however, only 32 made it to Henrik Lundqvist as the Rangers blocked an incredible 28 shots. 

Ray Emery started once again, but Steve Mason was on the bench today, serving as a backup after missing 3 games with an upper body injury. Emery got off to a rough start fumbling his 2nd shot faced, which resulted in Derek Stepan scoring on the Rangers 3rd shot on goal just 3:54 minutes to start the game. 

For the seconds consecutive game, the Rangers then took a 2-0 lead around the midway point of the period. Marty St. Louis deflected Dan Girardi's shot giving the Rangers 2 goals on 6 shots. 

The Flyers finally found life late in the 1st period, similarly to Game 2. Jake Voracek found Mark Streit on the rush and the Flyers were within 1. 

Philadelphia carried their strong play into the 2nd period outshooting New York 5-1 in the first 5 minutes; however, the Rangers quickly thwarted their momentum when Girardi's blast from the point found its way to the back of the net restoring the 2 goal lead. 

After the goal, it was the shot blocking and goaltending show that took place for the Rangers. New York blocked more shots in both the 2nd and 3rd periods then they allowed shots on goal; the Flyers took 13 shots in the 2nd and had 14 blocked, then took 7 shots in the 3rd while having 8 shots blocked.

Dan Carcillo added the Rangers 4th goal crushing all hope for the Flyers essentially ending this game, with 9:07 remaining.

Lundqvist was solid as well stopping all 20 shots faced in the final 2 periods and 31 saves on 32 total attempts, helping secure the 2-1 series lead for his New York Rangers.

Game Notes:
  • Claude Giroux, on his 81st shift of the series, finally registered his first shot of the series. He ended up with 2 on the game. 
  • Luke Schenn led all Flyers in shots with 5. 
  • Rangers defensemen Dan Girardi and Kevin Klein combined for 9 blocked shots. 
  • Both the Flyers and Rangers went scoreless on their PowerPlays going 0-5 and 0-4, respectively. 
  • 15 of the 18 Rangers skaters blocked at least 1 shot tonight. 
  • Steve Mason saw his first playoff action of the series when Ray Emery was pulled after the 4th goal. Mason made 3 saves on 3 shots. He will start Game 4 on Friday. 
Drop The Puck:
The Flyers will try to even the series at 2 in Philadelphia when Game 4 is played Friday night. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Flyers Comeback to Even Series

The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the New York Rangers 4-2 in Game 2 of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs today. 

The Flyers finally won in New York after 9 straight defeats, and it couldn't have come at a better time. The Flyers win ties the series up at 1 game apiece as they shift to Philadelphia for the next 2 contests. 

The win was a very familiar one for the Orange and Black as they were forced to come from behind once again. New York picked up right were they left off in Game 1 scoring 2 quick goals to start the game. The Rangers tallied 2 goals separated by just 4:14 minutes in the first 8:22 of play. 

Marty St. Louis scored on a nice east to west play, and then Benoit Pouliot struck on the PowerPlay giving the Rangers a 2-0 lead. 

Instead of panicking and falling into the Rangers system, the Flyers stayed calm and stayed true to their game plan. Jake Voracek had a lot to do with that. Voracek noticeably was settling down his teammates on the bench helping them stay focused. And like a true leader, he not only talked the talk but he walked the walk. Voracek cut the Rangers lead in half on a terrific individual effort that saw him skate around the defenseman and then beat Henrik Lundqvist one on one. 

Not only did Voracek's goal cut the lead in half, but it sparked the Flyers and set the tone for the next period. And in the 2nd period, Philadelphia picked up the tying and then go ahead goal. 

Jason Akeson, the goat from Game 1 due to his double minor which resulted with 2 goals being scored by the Rangers, made up for that in the very next game. Akeson, who was only playing in his fourth NHL game and second playoff game, scored the tying goal  for the Flyers when he found Vinny Lecavalier's rebound while on the PowerPlay. 

Later in the period, while on a delayed penalty, the Flyers skated into the zone. Luke Schenn, who's known for his defensive play intelligently joined the rush as their was no downside since it was a delayed penalty. Adam Hall put the puck on goal and Schenn found the rebound while crashing the net and buried it for his first ever playoff tally giving the Flyers their first lead of the game. 

Philadelphia hung onto that lead into the 3rd period where it became the Ray Emery show. Emery played a terrific game stopping 31 shots on 33 attempts including all 7 in the 3rd period. 

Wayne Simmonds scored an empty net goal capping off Philadelphia's first win in New York since February of 2011; yet more importantly, their first win of the series. 

Game Notes:
  • The flyers finished the game 2 for 3 on the PowerPlay and 5 for 6 on the penalty kill. 
  • Claude Giroux, who is still looking for his first shot of the series, registered his first point with an assist on Voracek's goal. 
  • Ray Emery got his second consecutive start for the first time all season. 
  • Braydon Coburn led the Flyers in shots (5), blocked shots (4), and ice time 21:58 minutes. 
  • The Rangers outshot the Flyers 33-25. 
Drop The Puck:
The divisional series shifts to Philadelphia for Game 3 on Tuesday night.  

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Game 1 Goes to the Rangers

The Philadelphia Flyers lost Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs to the New York Rangers 4-1 tonight. 

The Rangers were the better team all night as they had their way with the Flyers throughout most of this hockey game. The Rangers heavily outshot the Flyers 36-15 tonight. New York played their tight defensive styled game and Philadelphia couldn't find any space neither in the neutral nor the offensive zone. 

Philadelphia could only muster 14 shots in the first 2 periods to the Rangers 23.  Despite this, they were still able to start the final period knotted at 1, on 1st period goals from Andrew MacDonald for the Flyers and Mats Zuccarello for the Rangers. 

However, the Flyers completely unravelled in the 3rd period. And it all started with one bad penalty which ultimately cost them the game. Jason Akeson, who was only playing in his third NHL game and first ever playoff game, took a 4 minute high sticking penalty. The Rangers scored twice on the ensuing PowerPlays on goals from Brad Richards and Derek Stepan giving the Rangers a commanding 3-1 lead halfway through the period. 

After the 2 goals, which were separated by just 47 seconds, the Flyers were dead in the water. The Rangers outshot them 10-0 following the goals and 13-1 for the entire period. 

Carl Hagelin added one more goal for the Rangers clinching Game 1 for New York. 

Philadelphia's struggles in New York continue. They now fall to 0-9 in games played in New York since 2011. In fact the struggles aren't just in New York though. The Flyers are just 4-14 in the 18 games versus the Rangers. If the Flyers can't make adjustments and figure out how to successfully navigate the neutral zone against this stingy Rangers team, it will be very short series. 

But the Flyers have been adjusting and overcoming the odds all season, so they are just going to have to do it again. 

Game Notes:
  • Scott Hartnell made a fantastic play in the first period as he sent Ryan McDonagh into the boards and stole the puck. He then made a great pass to Andy MacDonald who blasted a shot past Henrik Lundqvist. This is how the Flyers need to play to beat the Rangers; however, they failed to keep up this style of play and therefore succumb to New York again. 
  • The Claude Giroux, Jake Voracek and Scott Hartnell line combined for 2 shots, both coming from Hartnell. 
  • Ray Emery started in goal for the Flyers for the injured Steve Mason. 
  • Emery made 32 saves on 36 shots. 
  • The Flyers only got 1 PowerPlay all game and failed to score on it. 
  • The Rangers went 2 for 6 on their man advantages. 
Drop The Puck:
The Flyers and Rangers will play Game 2 in New York on Easter Sunday at noon. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Flyers Loss Final Regular Season To Hurricanes in Shootout

The Philadelphia Flyers lost to the Carolina Hurricanes 6-5 this afternoon.

After yesterday's win against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Flyers clinched 3rd place in the Metro division; therefore, this game was essentially meaningless.  

So Philadelphia called up rookie goalie Cal Heeter and forward Jason Akeson and did not dress Steve Mason, Michael Raffl, Nicklas Grossmann and Andy MacDonald. 

Heeter struggled early as he allowed 4 goals on his first 14 shots. Jeff Skinner, Eric Staal, who scored twice, and Manny Malholtra all took advantage of this fact giving the Hurricanes a 4-1 lead early in the 2nd. Matt Read scored the lone goal for the Flyers during that span. 

Just when it appeared that the Flyers had given up, they struck. Not once, not twice but thrice. Kimmo Timonen, Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier scored goals separated by just 3:32 minutes tying this game at 4. 

In the 3rd period, Scott Hartnell received a 5 minute major for spearing and was ejected from the game. Carolina regained the lead on the ensuing PowerPlay on Skinner's second of the game. 

All season long the Flyers have been making miraculous comebacks, so why not one last time. With 9.5 seconds remaining and the goalie pulled Wayne Simmonds did just that. Simmonds' career high 29th goal sent this game into overtime. 

After the 5 minute overtime session the skills competition was needed. Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner both scored while Jason Akeson, Claude Giroux, and Sean Couturier all failed to. 

The Flyers close out the season with a 42-30-10 record for 93 points. 

Game Notes:

Season Career Highs: 
  • Jake Voracek: 23 goals, 39 assists and 62 points. 
  • Wayne Simmonds: 29 goals, 31 assists and 60 points.
  • Brayden Schenn: 20 goals, 21 assists and 41 points. 
  • Scott Hartnell: 32 assists
  • Claude Giroux: 7 game winning goals 
  • Matt Read: 4 shorthanded goals
  • Sean Couturier: 26 assists and 39 points. 
  • Steve Mason: .917 save percentage
Team Awards: 
  • Barry Ashbee Trophy for Top Defenseman: Kimmo Timonen
  • Yanick Dupre Trophy for Class Act: Jake Voracek
  • Pelle Lindbergh Award for Most Improved: Michael Raffl
  • Gene Hart Memorial Award for Player with Most Heart: Steve Mason
  • Bobby Clarke Trophy for Team MVP: Claude Giroux
  • The Flyers set their franchise record for most players who played in all 82 games this season with 7: Claude Giroux, Jake Voracek, Mark Streit, Wayne Simmonds, Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn and Braydon Coburn. 
Drop The Puck:
The Flyers will start the playoffs in New York on Thursday against the Rangers. 

Union Strikes In Philadelphia

The Union Dutchmen have defeated the Minnesota Golden Gophers 7-4 for the NCAA Frozen Four National Championship. 

Union, a school of only 2200 students, did what they have never done in school history by capturing the NCAA title tonight. It was the Dutchmen's first ever trip to the championship game as well. 

Philadelphia Flyers 2012 3rd round draft pick, Shayne Gostisbehere, Union's only NHL drafted player, had his way against the Gophers, who have 14 drafted players. Gostisbehere, who was named MVP of the game, did it all on both sides of the ice; he scored a goal, had 2 assists, took 5 shots and was an incredible +7 tonight. 

The Dutchmen got off to a slow start and fell down by 1 less than 4 minutes in on a goal from Minnesota's Justin Kloos. 

Gostisbehere then started heating up. The Ghost tied the game up for Union carrying the puck through 4 Gophers and beat Adam Wilcox with a beautiful wrist shot. 

Just 37 seconds later, Minnesota regained the lead on a tough angle shot from Sam Warning. But the rest of the period would belong to Union. The Dutchmen went on to score 3 goals in 1:54 minutes on tallies from Mike Vecchione, Eli Lichtenwald, and Daniel Ciampini to take a 4-2 into the 2nd. 

After a 6 goal 1st period, the 2nd was a little more tamed. Taylor Cammarata got one back for Minnesota in the 2nd, but Union would still hang on to their lead by the period's end. 

Minnesota came into tonight's game having given up the second fewest goals per game in the NCAA with just 1.95. The 7 goals against today was the most Minnesota has allowed all season. This was nothing new for Union, they scored the second most goals per game in NCAA with 3.7, including 5 or more goals in 5 of their last 6 games. 

And they just kept scoring. Union picked up 3 more goals in the 3rd period. Max Novak got an early goal giving the Dutchmen not only their 2 goal lead back but their confidence as well. At one point, Union was out shooting the Gophers 11-3 in the period. 

Hudson Fasching, Buffalo Sabres prospect, gave Minnesota life again late in the 3rd with his goal, yet it was Union who responded again. The anchors of this team, Mat Bodie and Shayne Gostisbehere, fittingly both assisted Kevin Sullivan's insurance goal with just 1:22 minutes left on the clock, which all but sealed the victory. 

Finally, senior and captain Mat Bodie, who was playing in his last collegiate hockey game, buried the empty netter clinching Union's first ever National Champioship. 

Union head coach Rick Bennett, who deservedly was named coach of the year, saw his team go a league best 32-6-4 this season including a perfect 8-0 in the playoffs. Bennett's playoff record is now a very impressive 19-2 with a Union team who had never made the NCAA tournament before his tenure. Now they have won the ECAC championship 3 years in a row, have qualified for the NCAA tournament 3 consecutive years, have 2 Frozen Four appearances, and now a National Championship Title. 


Congratulations Union Dutchmen for a terrific season and a wonderful win tonight. You are the Champions!