Flyers

Best of NHL: Capitals rally to beat Coyotes for 3rd straight win

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USA Today Images

Best of NHL: Capitals rally to beat Coyotes for 3rd straight win

WASHINGTON -- John Carlson scored the winner in overtime as the Washington Capitals came back to beat the Arizona Coyotes 3-2 on Monday night for their first three-game winning streak of the season.

Carlson scored with 45.4 seconds left on the clock in overtime, his first goal in 16 games, after T.J. Oshie whiffed on his shot attempt. Devante Smith-Pelly and Alex Ovechkin scored in regulation for Washington, which got 24 saves from Braden Holtby.

Clayton Keller scored his rookie-best 11th goal of the season and Christian Fischer added another for Arizona. Coyotes goalie Scott Wedgewood was one of the best players on the ice with 37 saves on 40 shots.

The Capitals outshot the Coyotes 40-26 (see full recap).

Maple Leafs blow lead, recover for SO win
TORONTO -- Mitch Marner scored in the shootout to lift Toronto to a 4-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday night after the Maple Leafs blew a two-goal lead.

Marner was the first skater in the tiebreaker and went out wide to the left before cutting in toward the net, forcing Maxime Lagace to commit with a deke before tucking the puck past him.

Nazem Kadri had two goals and James van Riemsdyk also scored for Toronto, which led 3-1 after one. Frederik Andersen made 22 saves and stopped three skaters in the shootout.

Deryk Engelland's third-period goal for Vegas forced overtime. James Neal and Reilly Smith also scored for the expansion Golden Knights, and Lagace stopped 25 shots.

The win was a much-needed boost for a Maple Leafs team that had dropped back-to-back games and lost six of their past 10 after starting the year with a 7-1 record (see full recap).

Scheifele, Wheeler help Jets top Stars
DALLAS -- Mark Scheifele scored in the opening minute and final seconds, and Blake Wheeler had four assists to help the Winnipeg Jets beat the Dallas Stars 4-1 on Monday night.

Patrik Laine scored on the power play and Kyle Connor also had a goal for the soaring Jets, who are 8-1-3 in their last 12 games. Connor Hellebuyck (8-0-2) made 33 saves for the win.

Scheifele has five goals in two games against Dallas, including a hat trick in Winnipeg last Thursday. He has a 10-game point streak vs. the Stars, with 12 goals and 11 assists during that span.

Dallas captain Jamie Benn scored on a power play at 4:13 of the second. Despite dominating the period with a 14-7 advantage in shots on goal, the Stars didn't score again.

Scheifele sent a wrist shot past goalie Ben Bishop just 26 seconds into the game and added a short-handed goal into an empty net with 13 seconds to play (see full recap).

Travis Sanheim's defense quickly progressing on the fly

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AP Images

Travis Sanheim's defense quickly progressing on the fly

The Flyers had a complete off day Friday and you couldn’t blame Travis Sanheim if he wanted to lounge around all day and just scroll through the TV channels.

For the first time since Philadelphia became his permanent residence, Sanheim now has a connection to the outside world. His television is finally hooked up to hundreds of channels. When asked if there’s one show or program he’s looking forward to watching Sanheim replied, “Just hockey games. I just love to watch hockey, even if we’re not playing.”

Until now, that’s been Sanheim’s only option.

With the help of video coach Adam Patterson, the Flyers have wired each player’s home so they can review each game, and more importantly, shuttle through shift-by-shift so players like Sanheim can perform some self-assessment when they’re not at the rink. 

Travis will probably go back and evaluate the second-period play during Thursday night’s game against the Jets when he lost control of the puck at the blueline, couldn’t recover and was caught up ice, which led to Winnipeg scoring a 2-on-1 goal, cutting the Flyers lead to 2-1.   

“I think I have a good ability to turn the page when I do make mistakes, whether its big or small and not letting it affect and creep into my game,” Sanheim said. “Right now, I’m just focusing on the little areas of my game defensively and trying to make smart reads and not try to give up too much defensively.”

There has been a significant progression in Sanheim’s game just over the past few weeks coming off some early season growing pains starting in his NHL debut in Los Angeles. There have been some coverage and positional breakdowns, but like any rookie, he’s beginning to clean up those areas of his game. 

After the 4-game road trip to begin the season, Sanheim was pulled for a few games in favor of Brandon Manning, but he was reinserted in the game against the Predators and hasn’t been a healthy scratch since. 

“Sanny just keeps becoming more and more consistent and more and more comfortable,” said head coach Dave Hakstol. “Travis is a player that really had to earn his way onto this team. Everybody does, but coming into camp he just put one day after another of good performances and he’s continued that as we’ve gone on into the regular season here. He’s an exciting young player.”

“I’m starting to settle in a little more, Sanheim said. “I’m happy with how my play has been growing as a player over the last couple of weeks. I think just my confidence. Being able to make plays with the puck, seeing the ice.” 

The numbers also suggest the defensive aspect of his game is coming together. After a rocky month of October that saw him finish with a minus-6 rating, Sanheim has bounced back in November and is currently a plus-2. While positionally he’s still learning the game at the NHL level, he has shown tremendous control with the puck on his stick. 

At 5-on-5 play, Sanheim has been credited with just four giveaways in nearly 226 minutes of ice time, or a ratio of one giveaway every 56:29 of ice time, which is by far, the best on the team. Comparatively, Shayne Gostisbehere has struggled in this area recently and has 14 giveaways this season in almost 262 minutes, an average of one giveaway every 18:47. 

While we’re still waiting to see the dynamic element of Sanheim’s offensive game that he displayed during the preseason, he’s picking his spots and finding those seams when he can take advantage of the defense. As Travis found out, the recent home-and-home series against the Wild was not one of those opportunities when he was held without a shot in both games. 

“You learn how little space you have out there,” Sanheim said. “Just the other night against Minnesota, how good they are defensively. You don’t get a lot of space. When you get your chances, you got to try and make the most of them.

“Obviously, I’m not allowed to do the offensive stuff that I could in junior and skating the puck up. I think it’s something I learned last year was making a good first pass and having an ability to read the play and jump up and find seams in areas that create space and offense as well.”

Thursday, more than 50 family and friends made the three-hour drive from Elkhorn, Manitoba, to Winnipeg to watch Travis play for the first time.

They may not notice it right away, but the kid from the tiny town on the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border is already making great strides in a short amount of time in his first full NHL season. 

Radko Gudas facing suspension, offered in-person hearing for slash

Radko Gudas facing suspension, offered in-person hearing for slash

Here we go again.

Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas has been offered an in-person hearing by the NHL for his dangerous slash to the back of the head on Winnipeg's Mathieu Perreault in Thursday's loss. That date and time of the hearing is TBD.

Gudas was handed a game misconducted — the sixth of his career — and was tossed for his unnecessary slash. Was it dirty? Judge for yourself in the video above.

The NHL certainly seems to think it was intentional, however. An in-person hearing means Gudas is staring down a suspension — and a lengthy one, too — should the NHL discipline him. In-person hearings warrant a suspension of at least six games, as opposed to a suspension of five games or fewer that would be discussed in a phone call.

While the slash was certainly grounds for a suspension, Gudas' reputation is also working against him. The D-man is a repeat offender and was last for six games in Oct. 2016 for a late hit. 

In his absence, the Flyers figure to get Andrew MacDonald back from a lower-body injury within the next week or so. MacDonald injured his leg while blocking a shot Oct. 21 vs. Edmonton. The Flyers are 3-5-3 in his absence. Mark Alt, who is currently serving as the team's seventh defenseman, also figures to step in should MacDonald not be ready for Saturday's game vs. Calgary.