Flyers

Flyers' 6-game reign comes to an end

Flyers' 6-game reign comes to an end

BOX SCORE

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 NaturalStatTrick.com 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

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

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

Goalies
Brian Elliott
Alex Lyon

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

Flyers not surprised, but look it on Broadway

Flyers not surprised, but look it on Broadway

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK — Flyers players lifted their massive equipment bags onto carts outside the visiting locker room of Madison Square Garden.

There wasn't much energy or zealousness to such a mundane task.

Shortly before doing so, the Flyers made skating in the world's most famous arena seem just as mundane, allowing the New York Rangers to turn Broadway into breakaway on Tuesday night to the tune of a 5-1 loss (see observations).

"We just made too many mistakes that cost us," Jakub Voracek said. "Four goals out of five came off our mistakes, so it's tough."

The Rangers, not once, but twice during the first period, bolted behind the Flyers' slow-reacting coverage for nothing but open ice and Brian Elliott to beat. On both occasions, New York scored easily and took control of the evening.

It was a full exploitation of a Flyers team that had won four straight but wasn't "engaged in this game enough," as head coach Dave Hakstol put it.

With the Flyers holding a 1-0 lead just over six minutes into the contest, Pavel Buchnevich fed a stretch pass to Rick Nash streaking up the middle of the ice, leaving defensemen Radko Gudas and Brandon Manning in the dust. Both the delivery from Buchnevich and the speed of Nash appeared to catch Gudas and Manning by surprise.

"The first one, probably a better read by me and Gudy," Manning said. "We talked before the game, we knew that's what they were going to do, they were going to try and stretch us out. That one we can probably eliminate."

The second was deflating in every way imaginable. As the Flyers sputtered through their first man advantage, a pass behind Jordan Weal bounced off the side boards and right to Peter Holland. With most of the Flyers' second power-play unit pinching on the attack, New York rushed up ice and beat Manning in retreat as Holland hit Paul Carey for a shorthanded marker.

Whatever life the Flyers still had, it was sucked out of them.

At the time, before it unfolded, they seemed to be in OK position. The Flyers were down, 2-1, but vying for an equalizer by turning to their power play, which had been 7 for 14 over the four-game winning streak. However, what transpired was New York taking a surprising 3-1 lead with 10 seconds remaining in the opening frame.

"Those are ones we can prevent," Hakstol said. "They're a good transition team, so when you give them opportunities, whether it's a turnover out of their defensive zone or a turnover entering the zone, they're a good transition team. But our awareness on those plays was not what it needs to be.

"I just thought in the first half of the game, in all the areas of the game that mattered, they were the quicker and hungrier team."

The Rangers showed it some more when they went on another semi-breakaway, this time midway through the second period for a 4-1 edge. Michael Grabner came swooping in to pick Voracek's pocket before quickly flicking a shot past Elliott, who watched another blue jersey barrel down untouched toward his crease.

"We put him in pretty tough spots tonight with the opportunities that we gave up in the first 30 minutes of the game," Hakstol said.

The goalie making his 18th start in the last 19 games still took blame.

"It's not the easiest way, but that's my job," Elliott, who was yanked ahead of the third period, said. "I didn't have them tonight. Go back to work and try to feel good about my game. That's not where I wanted to be tonight. I didn't really give ourselves a chance to win and I've got to own a lot of that."

Tuesday marked the Flyers' first outing against the Rangers this season.

Were they surprised by the opposition's transition game?

"No," Hakstol said.

Manning sounded like he will be far more ready when the Flyers come back to Madison Square Garden on Feb. 18 for the second of four meetings.

"I don't know if surprising is the right word, they have some guys who can skate and I think we were expecting that," Manning said. "We haven't played them this year, it's the first time. When you see it for the first time, it's something a little different."

The Flyers on Thursday night will see the Maple Leafs for the third time. The previous two matchups were won by the Flyers. Interestingly enough, Manning had his best game of the season with a goal, an assist and three hits in the October victory, while rookie blueliner Travis Sanheim played in the December win.

Hakstol will have to decide between the two for Thursday.

One will be an extra, the other will want to make sure breakaways are at a minimum.

Devils finally put an end to 6-game skid

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Devils finally put an end to 6-game skid

NEW YORK -- Damon Severson scored twice 1:26 apart in New Jersey's three-goal second period, and the Devils ended a six-game skid with a 4-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.

Kyle Palmieri and Taylor Hall also scored for New Jersey, which was 0-3-3 since beating Detroit at home on Dec. 27. Keith Kinkaid, getting the start after Cory Schneider was a late scratch due to illness, stopped 25 shots.

Anders Lee scored and Jaroslav Halak made 38 saves as the Islanders snapped a three-game winning streak that started with a 5-4 shootout victory over the Devils here on Jan. 7.

New Jersey trailed less than two minutes in but got four straight goals starting with Palmieri's score late in the first period.

Halak, who faced more than 35 shots on goal for his 10th straight start, made nice stops on in-close tries by Brian Boyle and Brian Gibbons with about 7 1/2 minutes left in the middle period to keep the score tied.

However, Severson gave the Devils the lead about 30 seconds later as he got the rebound of a shot by Gibbons and beat Halak from the right circle. It was the defenseman's fifth goal of the season and first in 12 games (see full recap).

Spezza scores 2 after benching in Stars’ win
DETROIT -- Jason Spezza responded to being benched by scoring two tiebreaking goals on power plays, helping the Dallas Stars beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-2 on Tuesday night.

Spezza scored on a lunging, one-timer below the left circle with 5:52 left in the second period. His first goal came on a redirected shot midway through the first.

The 33-year-old forward was a healthy scratch on Monday when Dallas won at Boston in overtime. He bounced back by ending his 14-game goal drought, scoring twice in a game for the first time since March 12, 2016. Spezza scored 33 goals just two years ago and has 323 career goals.

Dallas' Radek Faksa and Martin Hanzal also scored. Ben Bishop stopped 13 shots for the Stars, who have won six of eight.

Trevor Daley put Detroit ahead in the opening minute, but Faksa redirected a shot past Jimmy Howard at 2:48. Andreas Athanasiou pulled the Red Wings into a 2-all tie midway through the second period and Spezza's second goal 2:25 later put Dallas ahead 3-2.

Howard had 22 saves for the Red Wings, who had won five of their previous seven games (see full recap).

Blues rally late for overtime victory
TORONTO -- Alexander Steen tied it with 57 seconds left and Vince Dunn scored 1:43 into overtime, lifting the St. Louis Blues over the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 on Tuesday night.

Connor Brown put Toronto ahead on a short-handed breakaway midway through the third period, but Steen scored with goalie Carter Hutton pulled for an extra attacker by backhanding Alex Pieterangelo's rebound past Frederik Andersen.

Dunn snapped a low shot past Andersen after choosing to keep the puck on a 2-on-1.

Andersen stopped 40 shots and Hutton had 30 saves.

It was the Maple Leafs' first game back after the bye week. Their last game was a 4-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Jan. 10 (see full recap).