Flyers

Flyers-Bruins preseason observations: Strong all-around effort in 5-1 win

Flyers-Bruins preseason observations: Strong all-around effort in 5-1 win

BOX SCORE

Did Nolan Patrick receive his NHL initiation Thursday night? 

The No. 2 overall pick in the NHL draft dropped the gloves for the first time in his brief NHL career as he engaged in a brawl with Bruins center David Krejci, who hadn’t fought since 2011, during a scrum that involved several players exchanging barbs.

As Patrick returned to the bench after serving his five-minute major, the Wells Fargo Center gave him a round of applause.

Every phase of the Flyers’ offense came to life Thursday night as the team scored on the power play, shorthanded and at even strength in a 5-1 blowout of the Boston Bruins.

• Claude Giroux registered a pair of assists as the top line continues to create quality scoring chances with the captain at left wing (see story). Giroux now has four assists in his last two preseason games. 

• The Flyers jumped on the board first as the power play snapped an 0-for-21 drought when it successfully connected on a set play. Sean Couturier lasered a pass in front of the crease to Travis Konecny. The Flyers were 1 for 4 with the man advantage in the first period.

• Brandon Manning increased the Flyers’ lead to 3-0 when he worked his way down low, took a pass from Jakub Voracek and wristed a shot over the shoulder of Tuukka Rask. 

• Wayne Simmonds picked up a shorthanded tally on a perfect cross-ice feed from rookie defenseman Sam Morin that extended the Flyers’ lead to 4-0 after two periods.

• There were three first-period goals disallowed. Simmonds was called for deflecting the puck with a high stick. The Bruins had a pair of first-period goals wiped away. Head coach Dave Hakstol challenged a goal-scoring play that saw Krejci clip Alex Lyon’s skate as he was going across the crease. Earlier in the opening period, the Bruins were denied a goal on a hand pass.  

• The Bruins swapped out goaltenders prior to the third period. Rask was replaced by Malcolm Subban, the younger brother of Predators defenseman P.K. Subban.

• Konecny leads the Flyers in scoring this preseason with six points (three goals, three assists) in six games.

• Lyon wasn’t on the ice for Thursday’s morning skate as he was still back in Allentown, Pennsylvania. However, by mid-afternoon he was the Flyers’ starter in net against the Bruins. Michal Neuvirth was scheduled to start but came down with an illness and served as Lyon’s backup. Lyon saved 31 of 32 shots.   

• Lyon was recalled Thursday from Lehigh Valley with goaltender Brian Elliott traveling to Wisconsin to be inducted into University of Wisconsin's Athletics Hall of Fame Friday night. Elliott was the Badgers’ starting goaltender on the 2006 NCAA championship team, earning first-team All-America honors. Elliott was also a finalist for the 2006 Hobey Baker Memorial Award as college hockey’s best player. He also set school records for career GAA (1.78) and save percentage (.931).

Lines, pairings and scratches

Forwards
Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Jordan Weal-Nolan Patrick-Wayne Simmonds
Dale Weise-Valtteri Filppula-Travis Konecny
Jori Lehtera-Scott Laughton-Matt Read

Defensemen
Ivan Provorov-Travis Sanheim
Sam Morin-Shayne Gostisbehere
Brandon Manning-Radko Gudas

Goalies
Alex Lyon
Michal Neuvirth

Scratches: Taylor Leier, Oskar Lindblom, Michael Raffl, Robert Hagg, Andrew MacDonald, Brian Elliott.

Pleasant surprises in a first for Flyers

Pleasant surprises in a first for Flyers

BOX SCORE

When asked what he thought about the current Flyers team prior to his retirement ceremony, Eric Lindros admitted he really didn’t know all that much regarding this year’s team. 

After Thursday night’s 3-2 win over Lindros’ hometown Maple Leafs (see observations), "Big E" and a sold-out Wells Fargo Center crowd learned something about the Flyers that no one in Philadelphia had been privy to.

The Flyers capped off their first win this season when trailing by two or more goals entering the third period. Interestingly, the only other third-period comeback that led to a victory was when they trailed this same Toronto team, 2-1, on Dec. 12. Prior to this game, the Flyers were 1-12-2 this season when trailing after two periods.

Certainly, the Flyers needed goal scoring, but more importantly, they also received a handful of momentum saves from goaltender Michal Neuvirth.

“Huge," Neuvirth said regarding his 29-save performance. “When we tied it, it was like, 'OK, here we go. You gotta be at your best right now.' So I was just focusing on the next shot. Just happy the way the guys responded in the third.”

Neuvirth had little, if any, margin of error after the Leafs scored twice in a 28-second span to grab a 2-0 advantage, but the Flyers' backup netminder provided a handful of momentum saves that allowed the Flyers to win in overtime.

• A minute after Wayne Simmonds tied the game at 2-2 with a shorthanded goal, Neuvirth stopped Auston Matthews and Connor Brown on back-to-back shots, including an impressive blocker save on Brown from up close.

• With 2:48 remaining in regulation, Neuvirth made the save of the game with the Leafs coming down on a 2-on-1. Neuvirth expected Nazem Kadri to shoot. Instead, he passed it to his left, forcing Neuvirth to make a full extension on Patrick Marleau, turning aside the shot with the tip of his right pad (see highlights).

• Neuvirth denied Matthews from in tight with another pad save just 10 seconds into overtime. That save created a 2-on-1 scoring chance resulting in Sean Couturier’s game-winning score. 

“At least three 10-bell saves by Neuvy. He was tremendous,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “We generated a lot in the third period, but when you give up those chances against, Neuvy stole the show in my opinion and you need those saves sometimes to win games. For me, he was first star.”

Neuvirth and the rest of the Flyers needed an initial spark and 19-year-old rookie Nolan Patrick was surprisingly the one to provide it. After taking a shot that hit the side of the net and caromed behind it, Patrick chased down Mitch Marner, stole the puck and fired a quick shot on goaltender Frederik Andersen for his first goal in his last 25 games.

“I tried to forget how many games it was in a row without a goal and just keep playing,” Patrick said. “I thought I was playing some good hockey lately and I knew it would come.”

A minute and 52 seconds later, Simmonds tied the game at 2-2 with the Flyers' second shorthanded goal of the season, extending his point streak to six games.

Struggling to find the right overtime combinations, Hakstol elected to go with the trio of Couturier, Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov to start the extra session. Couturier continued his magical run and now has 11 goals in his last 12 games, while also providing five game-winning goals in the Flyers' last 10 victories. 

“He’s hot. We keep calling him ‘Rocket,’" Simmonds said, referring to Hall of Famer Maurice “Rocket” Richard. “You just keep giving him the puck and he’s going to find the back of the net. When you’re hot, you want to keep giving it to a guy like that. Hopefully, he’s going to continue to score for us.”

More Couturier goals and more game-changing saves, and the Flyers will find themselves rocketing up the standings.

Golden Knights make statement in clash of conference leaders

uspresswire-goldenknights-marcandre-fleury.jpg
USA Today Images

Golden Knights make statement in clash of conference leaders

TAMPA, Fla. -- Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves, David Perron had a goal and an assist, and the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 Thursday night in a matchup of conference leaders.

James Neal, Nate Schmidt and William Karlsson also scored for the Golden Knights, who swept the two-game season series with the NHL-leading Lightning.

Tampa Bay, coming off its bye week, got a goal from Ondrej Palat, and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 26 shots. Vasilevskiy, an All-Star this season, has allowed 19 goals over his last four games.

Fleury made a number of impressive stops, including a left-circle shot by Steven Stamkos and in-close chance from Nikita Kucherov during the second period. The goalie, who spent most of career with Pittsburgh, is 19-11-4 against the Lightning.

Neal opened the scoring with a nifty deflection 56 seconds into the first, and Schmidt made it 2-0 with 3:57 left in the period. Deryk Engelland got his 100th NHL assist on Neal's goal.

Vegas is 19-1-0 when scoring first, with the lone loss coming Oct. 30 to the New York Islanders (see full recap).

Devils beat Caps in OT on Hall’s goal
NEWARK, N.J. -- Taylor Hall scored on a breakaway 34 seconds into overtime and the New Jersey Devils beat the Washington Capitals 4-3 on Thursday night.

Sami Vatanen collected his third assist of the game on the winning goal, a shot over the shoulder of goaltender Braden Holtby.

Drew Stafford, Andy Greene and Miles Wood also scored for the Devils, who have won two straight after breaking a six-game winless streak (0-3-3). Keith Kinkaid had 16 saves and the Devils killed off all five Washington power plays.

Brett Connolly scored twice and Dmitry Orlov had a goal for the Capitals, who lost for only the second time in eight games. The Capitals, however, extended their streak of getting a point against New Jersey to 14 games (12-0-2).

Holtby made 28 saves, but gave up three breakaway goals (see full recap).

Panarin puts Stars over the top in shootout
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Artemi Panarin scored in the second round of a shootout, and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Dallas Stars 2-1 on Thursday night.

Joonas Korpisalo had 35 saves for Columbus (26-18-3), which returned from its five-day break after losing both ends of a back-to-back last week. Jordan Schroeder scored his first goal of the season in the first period.

Korpisalo blocked a shootout try by Jason Spezza before Alexander Radulov and Tyler Seguin came up empty. Dallas goaltender Ben Bishop blocked Jussi Jokinen's shootout attempt before Panarin beat him.

Korpisalo got the start ahead of Vezina Trophy-winner Sergei Bobrovsky, who struggled in the recent losses. The 23-year-old Finn got his first win in nearly a month in his ninth game this season.

Dan Hamhuis scored for Dallas with 2:15 left in regulation. Bishop had 25 stops, including a terrific glove save on Alexander Wennberg with 30 seconds left in the third.

Dallas (26-17-4) had won two in a row (see full recap).