Flyers-Ducks observations: Homestand ends with a dud

Flyers-Ducks observations: Homestand ends with a dud


This was not the same Anaheim team the Flyers faced 17 days earlier in Southern California.

Playing with their top center Ryan Getzlaf and one of their best defensemen in Hampus Lindholm, the Ducks were opportunistic by capitalizing on the Flyers’ mistakes in a 6-2 decision at the Wells Fargo Center Tuesday night.

The Ducks took the game over in the second period. In what had been the Flyers’ best period this season, Anaheim scored three unanswered goals to take a three-goal lead into the third period. The Flyers had previously outscored opponents 12-5 during the middle frame.

The Flyers closed out their five-game homestand at 3-2-0 for six points.

• Nolan Patrick was shaken up when he went back to retrieve the puck below the Flyers’ goal line. Chris Wagner delivered a hard check that appeared to rattle Patrick’s head (see video). No penalty was called as the Flyers’ rookie went straight to the dressing room for further evaluation. He was showered and in a suit for the start of the third period. Jori Lehtera took Patrick’s spot at center. 

• You could sense the Ducks’ top line was humming in the first period, and it finally broke through with a goal in the second, as Getzlaf sent a cross-ice pass in front of the crease to Rickard Rakell, who tapped in the 4-1 goal.

Getzlaf missed the first game between the Flyers and Ducks with a lower-body injury. Tuesday’s game was his first game in two weeks. Getzlaf, along with Rakell and Corey Perry, spent a lot of time in the Flyers’ zone during the opening 20 minutes. 

• Getzlaf also added a wide-angle goal Brian Elliott should have stopped to give him a goal and an assist. 

• Anaheim extended its lead to 3-1 midway through the second period when Nick Ritchie pounced on Elliott’s rebound. Ritchie was able to elevate a backhand that caught Elliott’s right arm and trickled over the line.

• A little frustration seems to have set in for Jakub Voracek, who can’t buy a goal. Voracek uncorked a one-time slap shot that hit goalie John Gibson right in the crest. Voracek appeared somewhat mystified as he continues to search for that elusive first goal of the season, even with a team-leading 12 assists. 

• I can’t disagree with the penalties that were assessed to Wayne Simmonds when he got tangled up with Getzlaf. Simmonds wouldn’t let go of Getzlaf’s stick. Meanwhile, Getzlaf continued to tug it out from under Simmonds. As frustration grew, Simmonds gave Getzlaf a crosscheck after the whistle blew and was assessed a double-minor that led to an Anaheim power play. 

The retaliator always seems to get caught in the referee’s crosshairs.

• Claude Giroux was giving the referee some choice words on the bench. As he wristed a shot on Gibson, Antoine Vermette took a whack at Giroux and broke the stick of the Flyers’ captain. Yet, no slashing penalty was called. 

On Giroux’s next shift, he was whistled for a legitimate trip (perhaps out of frustration) when he stuck out his skate and tripped up Wagner, who had leveled Lehtera a few seconds earlier.

• Brandon Montour raced past a flat-footed Brandon Manning to give the Ducks their first lead of the game at 2-1. The Flyers’ poor play in the neutral zone allowed Montour to gain speed and have a wide-open look on Elliott.  

First-period observations
• Sean Couturier gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead for the sixth time in nine games. Giroux threaded a nice pass to Couturier, who got behind the defense for the breakaway. Couturier gave Gibson a nice backhand deke before losing control and then regaining it to flip it just over Gibson’s glove. 

The Flyers’ No. 1 center seems to find a way to get at least one quality chance in front of the goalie every game. 

• The Ducks scored first when Travis Konecny delivered a weak backhand along the boards. The pass was picked off by Derek Grant, who immediately fired a shot that was redirected by Ondrej Kase past Elliott for the Ducks’ first goal. Not much Elliott could have done to prevent the goal.

• Radko Gudas wanted a piece of Ducks defenseman Kevin Bieksa, who has a reputation of getting under players’ skin. Bieksa gave Gudas a mild crosscheck in the back after play was stopped and that prompted Gudas to drop his gloves. The linesman intervened before a fight ensued. 

Not sure Gudas’ reaction was warranted, but it was nice to see the feistiness. Both players were assessed two-minute minors for unsportsmanlike conduct. 

As soon as both guys served their penalties, they engaged in fisticuffs as Bieksa decked Gudas with a right hand in a five-second knockout, and it was back to the box for five more minutes (see video)

• The Flyers drew their first faceoff violation of the regular season when Grant was kicked out of the circle and Ritchie committed another false start well before the linesman dropped the puck. Under new rules, two violations within the same faceoff result in a two-minute minor penalty. 

Lines, pairings and scratches

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

Ivan Provorov-Robert Hagg
Shayne Gostisbehere-Radko Gudas
Brandon Manning-Travis Sanheim

Brian Elliott
Michal Neuvirth

Scratches: Forwards Taylor Leier (upper body) and Matt Read (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).