Flyers put Nolan Patrick on IR, recall 7th D-man

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Flyers put Nolan Patrick on IR, recall 7th D-man

VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers' depth has certainly been tested in the early going.

On Tuesday, the team placed rookie center Nolan Patrick (upper-body injury) on IR. Patrick and defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere (upper-body injury) both skated Tuesday but neither player will be on the Flyers' road trip, which starts Wednesday night in Chicago.

"Status quo," general manager Ron Hextall said after practice Tuesday. "Obviously, it's good that they're on the ice. They're both day to day."

When asked if either player could be available when the team returns home Saturday against Colorado, Hextall said he "didn't want to speculate."

In a corresponding move, the Flyers have recalled Will O'Neill to serve as the seventh defenseman on the trip. O'Neill was on the ice Tuesday morning after getting the call Monday night.

"I'm excited, obviously. Little bit of a long time coming for me," O'Neill said. "It's pretty cool. Like I said, it's the first call I've received like that and I knew that someone was trying to call me so I kind of had a little bit of an idea what it was, but it was pretty cool for a few seconds there."

The 29-year-old blueliner has yet to make his NHL debut. Originally drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers — now the Winnipeg Jets — he spent four years in that organization's minor-league system. After playing one season with the Penguins' AHL affiliate, O'Neill signed a two-year, two-way deal with the Flyers before last season.

"Will's a solid two-way player," Hextall said. "T.J. (Brennan) has been out down there and Will's kind of picked up some of his minutes. He's done a good job for us."

In 56 games in 2016-17 with the Phantoms, O'Neill registered three goals and 28 assists. 

In other injury news, defenseman Samuel Morin was never actually recalled by the team. The 22-year-old apparently hid an injury and was more dinged up than initially thought.

"Our intention was to recall him," Hextall said. "Sam's a tough guy and didn't disclose 100 percent of his injury because he plays through things and he's got a little nick that's going to keep him out here for a bit. Not days. Maybe a couple weeks."

Coots potent on power play
Sean Couturier's offensive game has seen a huge boost since his promotion to the Flyers' first line, centering playmakers Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux.  

Now, the seventh-year centerman has accompanied his linemates on the first power-play unit. The move worked out last night as Couturier lit the lamp on the PP to get the Flyers on the board during a disappointing loss to previously winless Arizona.

"It's been nice," Couturier said. "Get a few good looks in the slot there and a good shot last night. We've only had two or three power plays the last two games so we're still trying to get some chemistry and get a feel of it but so far it's good."

Couturier has been known as a defensive stalwart in the middle for the Flyers but is already up to nine goals this season. Being surrounded by the likes of Giroux and Voracek, Couturier is well on his way to surpassing his career high of 15 goals. 

"He's a big body. He's got a good presence around the net," Giroux said. "He's pretty hot right now. Anytime it looks like he has a chance to score right now it's going in. He's playing some good hockey right now."

Provy's the man
Young defenseman Ivan Provorov has seen his time on ice increase in each of the last four games. Last night, the 20-year-old blueliner received a career-high 28:07 of ice time.

Provorov seemed up for the challenge, recording three assists and making an unbelievable play at the blue line to set up the game-tying goal with time running out in the third.

Is Hextall concerned about Provorov's workload?

"Well, you monitor everything on a day-to-day basis," Hextall said. "We're aware of it and we're keeping track of it but Ivan is geared to handle a lot of minutes the way he plays. He's in great shape. His body's built for it. In saying that, he still is a young guy and we'll stay on it on a day-to-day basis."

Dadonov's hat trick helps Panthers beat Penguins

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Dadonov's hat trick helps Panthers beat Penguins

SUNRISE, Fla. — Evgenii Dadonov scored with 1:53 to play to complete a hat trick and give the Florida Panthers a 6-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.

Dadonov beat goalie Matt Murray on a one-timer off Aleksander Barkov's pass for the winner. Dadonov has 18 goals this season.

Vincent Trocheck, Jamie McGinn and Derek MacKenzie also scored. Barkov had three assists, Keith Yandle added two, and Roberto Luongo made 24 saves.

Evgeni Malkin had two goals and an assist for the Penguins, and Carl Hagelin, Patric Hornqvist and Bryan Rust added goals. Tristan Jarry made 13 saves for Pittsburgh before he was replaced in the second period. Murray had 11 saves in relief.

Trocheck finished a 2-on-1 cross-ice pass from Malgin after a breakout pass from Yandle early in the first period. Trocheck tapped in the pass at 3:44 for his team-leading 24th goal (see full recap.)

Maple Leafs win ninth straight at home
TORONTO — Ron Hainsey broke a tie with 1:23 left to give the Toronto Maple Leafs their franchise record-tying ninth straight home victory, 4-3 over the Boston Bruins on Saturday night.

Hainsey's one-timed William Nylander's pass past goalie Tuuka Rask for his fourth goal of the season.

Toronto moved a point ahead of Boston for the second seed in the Atlantic Division.

Nazem Kadri scored twice, Mitch Marner had a goal and three assists, and Nylander had two assists. Frederik Andersen made 23 saves to improve to 10-1-0 against the Bruins.

Brad Marchand scored twice, and Jake DeBrusk also connected for Boston. Rask made 32 saves (see full recap.)

Point leads Lightning to shootout win over Canadiens
MONTREAL — Brayden Point scored in regulation and added the shootout winner and the Tampa Bay Lightning regained the top spot in the NHL with a 4-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.

Nikita Kucherov and Ryan Callahan also scored in regulation to help the Lightning (42-17-3) win their third straight and move a point ahead of idle Vegas for the overall NHL lead.

Andrei Vasilevskiy made 29 saves for his league-leading 36th victory of the season.

Byron Froese, Joe Morrow and Max Pacioretty scored for Montreal. Antti Niemi, making his second straight start in relief of the injured Carey Price, stopped 36 shots. Price is sidelined indefinitely with a concussion (see full recap.)

Ovechkin scores twice in Capitals victory 
WASHINGTON — Alex Ovechkin added to his NHL lead with two goals on the night he tied the Washington record for most games played, and the Capitals beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-1 on Saturday.

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored 50 seconds into the game and had two assists. Andre Burakovsky and Lars Eller also had goals for Washington, which leapfrogged Pittsburgh and moved back into first place in the Metropolitan Division. The Capitals had lost two in a row and five of seven.

Ovechkin's 37th goal came on the power play with 9:47 remaining after Buffalo closed to 2-1 on Sam Reinhart's goal 14 seconds into the third period. Ovechkin redirected a shot past Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner with 1:24 left for his 38th goal.

The 32-year-old Ovechkin played in his 983rd NHL game, tying Calle Johansson for most in Capitals history. Ovechkin holds franchise records for goals (596) and points (1,105) (see full recap.)

Even the bounces are going Flyers' way

Even the bounces are going Flyers' way


OTTAWA, Ontario — An early goal, a beautiful goal, a lucky goal and a disallowed goal. That’s all you need to know about the Flyers' 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators Saturday afternoon (see observations). Just for fun though, here’s a little more detail.

Ivan Provorov scored 28 seconds into the game to get the Flyers going in what eventually turned out to be their fifth consecutive win and 11th consecutive game with a point.

With the score 2-1 in favor of the Flyers late in the second period, Zack Smith looked like he had tied the game for the Senators, but coach Dave Hakstol issued a challenge and the goal was overturned on an offside that wasn’t originally called.

Well done.

In the third period, Claude Giroux scored a beautiful breakaway goal when he contorted his body to his backhand then back to his forehand before depositing the puck behind Craig Anderson in the Ottawa goal, who was left in a twisted heap in the corner of the crease.

That goal made it 3-1 four minutes into the third and after Nolan Patrick made it 4-1, Brandon Manning dumped a shot in just passed the red line, but the puck hit a stanchion in the glass and redirected into the net. Anderson had a great view of the goal from behind the net where he was standing after he went out to play the puck.

“We’re getting the bounces,” Giroux said.

“Brandon Manning’s goal, you can’t draw that up, but we’re definitely going to take it.”

Robert Hagg also scored for the Flyers, who momentarily slipped into a first-place tie with the Pittsburgh Penguins atop the Metropolitan Division. The Penguins lost in regulation at Florida, but Washington downed Buffalo, so the Capitals have moved back into first with 76 points, one more than both the Flyers and Penguins. The Flyers are in second in the Metro right now because they have played 62 games, one less than the Pens. But Pittsburgh currently owns the regulation and overtime wins tiebreaker 34-32 and that could come into play down the line when the games played even out.

Still, the Flyers are four points clear of New Jersey and a wild-card spot and nine points clear of Columbus and the playoff brink.

Considering they were last in the division about two months ago, that’s a pretty remarkable turnaround.

“I think it was always in the room and that we just had to believe in ourselves and know that we were capable of doing good things,” said forward Travis Konecny.

“We just had to stick with it and eventually things were going to pay off for us.”

That they have, and although Saturday might not have been the Flyers' best effort, it was good enough. The Senators got two late goals from Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel to make the final count a little more respectable. Mike Hoffman also scored.

“We’re playing some good hockey right now and everyone has bought into what we want to do here,” Giroux said, adding the overturned goal was big.

“Anytime you get a goal like that turned (over), it’s a relief and a walk-up call at the same time,”

Patrick scored just his ninth goal in his rookie season, but he has six in his last 13, including goals in four straight.

“I think I’ve been playing good in the last 15 to 20 games and not just because of the goals; I think I’ve improved on both ends of the puck,” Patrick said.

He was standing at the top of the crease when Manning’s shot-pass hit his stick and redirected in past Anderson.

On a final note and not to be lost in all the offense, Petr Mrazek made 25 saves and has won both starts with the Flyers since he was acquired last week from the Detroit Red Wings.

All is good on Broad Street.