Flyers' 6-game reign comes to an end

Flyers' 6-game reign comes to an end


The Los Angeles Kings snapped the Flyers’ six-game winning streak on Monday night with a 4-1 win at the Wells Fargo Center.

Alec Martinez, Trevor Lewis, Adrian Kempe and Tyler Toffoli all scored for the Kings.

Although the Flyers outshot L.A., 37-25, the Kings did an excellent job of keeping them out of the middle of the ice.

The game marked a homecoming for Kings coach John Stevens, who still owns a home in Sea Isle City, New Jersey. Stevens was behind the bench as a head coach at the Wells Fargo Center for the first time since Dec. 5, 2009. 

Jakub Voracek scored the Flyers’ only goal, which came on the power play.

Monday’s game also marked Brian Elliott’s eighth straight start as he stopped 21 of 25 shots.

• Travis Konecny tried to run a pick play on Kings defenseman Oscar Fantenberg, a clear interference. The Flyers had been very disciplined regarding their lack of penalties over the six-game winning streak. That was not a good way to start.

• There was a heads-up play from defenseman Robert Hagg as he swiped the puck that was laying on the crease after Fantanberg’s shot hit the post and dropped straight down behind Elliott.

• The Kings scored first as Torrey Mitchell won the offensive-zone faceoff and Martinez uncorked a bullet of a slap shot past Elliott that beat him blocker high. Elliott dropped into his butterfly pretty quickly and once it deflected off Taylor Leier between the circles, Elliott had no chance of stopping the shot.

• Dave Hakstol likes to refer to the Kings as a “heavy” team. There may not be a more aggressive forechecking team than L.A., a club that gets sticks on bodies and makes you work extremely hard in those board battles. 

• Once again, the Flyers’ power play showed some different looks. Shayne Gostisbehere moved from the point to the right circle as he essentially swapped spots with Voracek.

• I didn’t like how the Flyers played the Kings’ second goal. As Gostisbehere stepped up to play the forward along the bench, it allowed Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin to make a breakout pass to Nick Shore. Shore then dropped it off for Lewis, who beat Elliott short side on the glove hand. Hagg didn’t pick up the coverage, which allowed Lewis to fire an uncontested shot. However, it’s also a shot that Elliott typically stops.

• The Flyers won a crucial faceoff in the offensive zone during their second power-play attempt. Claude Giroux wristed a shot that deflected off Drew Doughty cross ice right to Voracek, who one-timed a shot past Jonathan Quick. The goalie couldn’t go post to post quick enough to stop the shot. A fortuitous bounce for Voracek and the Flyers.

• The Flyers drew a third power play in the opening minute of the second period when Derek Forbort ran Sean Couturier into the boards for interference. The best chance came when Valtteri Filppula centered a pass that Konecny tried to redirect past Quick through the five-hole.  

• With each team’s top line on the ice, the Flyers were caught with a terrible gap with Wayne Simmonds, Giroux and Couturier at the goal line and the defense back at the blue line. The result was an easy 3-on-2, but Elliott robbed Marion Gaborik on a point-blank shot from the slot.

• Elliott came up big again as Alex Iafallo tried to take the puck around Elliott, who extended his right pad to deny the would-be goal. Six and a half minutes later, Elliott stoned Shore on the backdoor. You don’t think of Elliott as an overly athletic goaltender, but he displayed some athleticism in this game — with his glove and his pads.

• Through 40 minutes, the Flyers outshot the Kings, 22-19. However, most of those shots were low-percentage chances. According to the website that tracks shot selection, the Flyers had just one high-danger scoring chance to make it a pretty easy night for Quick.

• Gostisbehere made an excellent play to break up L.A.’s 2-on-1 shorthanded opportunity when he peeled off the shooter and then broke up the pass. However, the Kings converted as Kempe jumped out of the box just as the Flyers’ power play expired. Kempe beat Elliott in the same spot as Lewis. Elliott appeared to take a swipe with his glove but just came up empty.

• Giroux was given a grade-A chance when Doughty committed a deadly giveaway at the Kings’ blue line to allow him to skate in and fire a shot from the high slot that went just wide of the net. However, L.A. defenseman Muzzin was called for interference on Giroux, which set up the Flyers’ fifth power-play opportunity.

• The Kings forced a neutral-zone turnover and Toffoli easily converted as he broke in all alone on Elliott and snapped a shot high glove.   

Lineups, pairings and scratches

Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Wayne Simmonds
Michael Raffl-Valtteri Filppula-Jakub Voracek
Jordan Weal-Nolan Patrick-Dale Weise
Taylor Leier-Scott Laughton-Travis Konecny

Ivan Provorov-Andrew MacDonald
Robert Hagg-Shayne Gostisbehere
Travis Sanheim-Radko Gudas

Brian Elliott
Alex Lyon

Scratches: Forward Jori Lehtera (healthy) and defenseman Mark Alt (healthy).

Late rally gives Flyers something to show for strong effort

Late rally gives Flyers something to show for strong effort


RALEIGH, N.C. – Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol commended his team for a complete 60-minute effort that was needed to overtake and defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 at PNC Arena on Saturday night (see observations).

“It’s an important two points, but I guess, as important I thought it was a really hard-working, start-to-finish win for us,” he said.

Placing Alex Lyon in net to lead from the back end, the young netminder made 23 stops, many critical, that allowed the Flyers to generate momentum to strike all at once in the third period.

Trailing 1-0, containing the Hurricanes’ speed and ability to maintain puck possession was a priority – somewhat of ‘survive and advance’ mindset to have in March.

The Flyers won 27 of 48 draws, a stat that eventually evened out, but was a critical one that the Flyers led in for two periods, before taking advantage of Carolina turnovers in the third.

 “It was a grind,” Hakstol said. “I liked the way we played in the first two periods. We talked about a couple of little things we can maybe improve going into the third, but the biggest thing was making sure we went out and got a big penalty kill to start with and just go back at it.”

For 40 minutes, Hurricanes netminder Cam Ward stymied shooters like Jakub Voracek and crease cleaners like Wayne Simmonds, among others, but the force of the shield he presented eventually diminished late in the game. The Flyers scored all four of their goals in the final 11-plus minutes.

While giving the puck away 10 times, 15 takeaways allowed the Flyers to regain possessions and capitalize on their chances when it counted most. 

“I don’t know if there was a catalyst,” Hakstol said when asked to identify the turning point in the game for his team.

“A lot of times it’s the simple, hard things that you do. That’s what it takes to score at this time of year.”

The win pulled the Flyers back into a tie for third place in the Metropolitan Division, a floating buoy line extending to the wild-card spot they will tread beside for the remainder of the season, unless they can compile more wins like this one.

“We needed a win for a lot of different reasons,” Hakstol said. “We needed the two points in every respect, but we needed a win for our group in here to have something to show for their hard work. When you lose games and can’t put wins together, the negatives really start to magnify, even though there’s a ton of positives. On a couple of different levels, this was an important two points.”

Both teams in wild-card spots keep close to Flyers

AP Images

Both teams in wild-card spots keep close to Flyers

LOS ANGELES — Keith Kincaid stopped 38 saves for his first shutout of the season, helping the New Jersey Devils improve their playoff positioning with a 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

Michael Grabner, Nico Hischier and Miles Wood each scored for the Devils, who moved into third place in the Metropolitan Division. New Jersey leads Philadelphia and Columbus by one point with both the Flyers and Blue Jackets playing later.

The Devils have won three in a row and four of five.

Jonathan Quick made 25 saves for the Kings, who are tied with Anaheim for third in the Pacific (see full recap).

Nutivaara's second-period goal lifts Columbus past Ottawa
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Markus Nutivaara scored a power-play goal in the second period, Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 22 shots, and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Ottawa Senators 2-1 on Saturday night.

Boone Jenner also scored -- his third tally in three games -- for the Blue Jackets, who have won a season-high seven straight and are holding on to the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with 83 points, tied with Philadelphia and one point ahead of New Jersey.

Alexandre Burrows scored his fifth of the year and Mike Condon stopped 33 shots for Ottawa, which saw a three-game winning streak snapped on the second night of a back-to-back (see full recap).

McDavid's 3 points get Oilers past Panthers
SUNRISE, Fla. — Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists in the third period and the Edmonton Oilers rallied for a 4-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Saturday.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Ty Rattie and Adam Larsson also scored for the Oilers, who are 4-1-1 in their past six games.

Cam Talbot made 40 saves for the Oilers.

Frank Vatrano and Vincent Trocheck scored for Florida.

Roberto Luongo made 32 saves for the Panthers, who lost for the first time this season when leading after two periods (23-1).

With Edmonton trailing 2-1, McDavid scored his 34th on a shot from the right circle 38 seconds into the third period, and Larsson's fourth of the season at 6:13 gave Edmonton the 3-2 lead (see full recap).