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Future Flyers Report: Breakout week for trio of prospects

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Ric Kruszynski/AP Images/Michigan Athletics

Future Flyers Report: Breakout week for trio of prospects

Before this week begins, it’s time for our weekly check-in on the Flyers’ prospects playing in the AHL, overseas and at the junior and college levels.

In this edition, we’ll take a look at two collegiate players who enjoyed breakout weekends, an update on the Flyers’ top goalie prospect and much more.

Tanner Laczynski, C, 20, 6-1/190, Ohio State (NCAA)
It was a quiet start for Laczynski, who stormed onto the scene in the first half of his freshman campaign in 2016-17 before cooling down, but the sophomore is heating up.

Laczynski had a pair of multi-point games over the weekend as Ohio State swept Robert Morris with a 5-3 win Friday night and a 3-1 victory Saturday. Laczynski has three straight multi-point games, racking up eight points over the three-game span.

On Saturday, Laczynski broke a 1-1 tie late in the third period with his first of two on the night — the second was an empty-netter to seal the victory. Friday, with the Buckeyes down 2-0, he scored his first marker of the season. He also had two helpers in the 5-3 win. Laczynski now has nine points in eight games for the team lead.

Cooper Marody, C, 20, 6-1/185, Michigan (NCAA)
Marody, one of two Flyers prospects playing for the Wolverines, had a breakout weekend against No. 15 Penn State with a pair of three-point contests. Michigan split the weekend series, losing, 5-4, in overtime Friday night and winning, 5-2, Saturday.

Friday, Marody tallied his first goal of the season and added two assists. Marody assisted on both of Dexter Dancs' two goals. It was Dancs’ first career multi-goal game. Marody’s first helper came with two Nittany Lions on him before making a sweet pass to Dancs. Marody then broke a 3-3 tie in the third, sniping PSU goalie Peyton Jones.

Then on Saturday, Marody picked up three assists — two primary and one secondary. The junior had just one point in his first four games before his six-point weekend. He now leads Michigan with seven points in six games, though it’s a bit inflated.

Oskar Lindblom, LW, 21, 6-1/192, Lehigh Valley (AHL)
It was only a matter of time before Lindblom would begin to heat up in North America, and it just so happened to be last week. The 21-year-old Swede had a five-point and a four-game point streak week after going pointless in his first six games of the season.

Lindblom netted his first marker of the campaign, a tap-in goal after driving hard toward the net, in the Phantoms' 5-2 win Friday night over Springfield. He also had an assist.

The 2014 fifth-round pick also picked up a goal and an assist in Lehigh Valley's 5-4 loss Saturday to the Wolf Pack. He now has multi-point games in back-to-back contests.

Quick hits
Mike Vecchione had an assist in each of the Phantoms’ three games last week. He’s now riding a seven-game point streak and has 10 points in 10 games this season.

Mikhail Vorobyev had two assists last week and now has four in his last six games. He’s still seeking his first AHL goal but has five assists in 10 games.

Philippe Myers returned Friday after missing two games with a lower-body injury. He had a goal and an assist Saturday in Lehigh Valley’s 5-4 loss to Hartford.

Alex Lyon made two starts. Lyon made 25 saves in the Phantoms’ 3-2 overtime win Wednesday over Springfield, but he allowed five goals on 31 shots Saturday.

Carter Hart is nearing a return from mono. The Everett goalie returned to practice last week but didn’t play. He could return this week. He’s played just two games this season as he's dealt with mono.

German Rubtsov had his second-ever two-goal game in the QMJHL on Saturday night during Chicoutimi's 8-2 win over the Blainville-Boisbriand.

Morgan Frost had a four-point weekend for Sault Ste. Marie, scoring a goal Friday and recording his second three-point game of the season — two goals and an assist.

Maksim Sushko's six-game point streak came to an end Sunday. Sushko had a goal Friday and an assist Saturday, however. He had 10 points during his six-game streak.

• Hamilton winger Matthew Strome scored his fifth goal of the season Sunday.

Isaac Ratcliffe had a goal and an assist in Guelph's 5-4 loss to Erie on Saturday.

• Kitchener captain Connor Bunnaman had a goal Friday and an assist Sunday. Bunnaman has 10 points in 13 games this season.

• It was another big week for Kelowna's Carsen Twarynski. Twarynski had two goals and an assist Friday and a goal Saturday. He has seven points in his last three games.

• Wisconsin freshman defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk is still searching for his first collegiate goal after he twice lost goals because of scoring changes over the weekend. Instead, the lefty will have to settle with two two-assist games for the No. 6 Badgers.

• Marody’s teammate Brendan Warren registered his second goal of the season Saturday night in Michigan’s win over Penn State.

Kirill Ustimenko, a 2017 third-round pick, had a 15-save shutout Sunday. He now has stopped 51 of 53 shots in his last three games. Ustimenko this season has a 1.49 goals-against average and .928 save percentage with four shutouts.

Best of NHL: Johnny Gaudreau extends point streak to 10 games

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Best of NHL: Johnny Gaudreau extends point streak to 10 games

WASHINGTON -- Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and an assist to extend his career-best point streak to 10 games and the Calgary Flames beat the Washington Capitals 4-1 on Monday night.

Gaudreau scored and assisted on Sean Monahan's goal, one of two on the power play for Calgary, which has won four of its past five. Mikael Backlund and captain Mark Giordano also scored for the Flames, who got 29 saves from Mike Smith.

Gaudreau, nicknamed "Johnny Hockey," has eight goals and 11 assists during his point streak. Led by the Carneys Point, New Jersey, native, the Flames are 7-3-0 in that time.

Lars Eller scored the only goal for the Capitals, who took five minor penalties and lost for the third time in four games. Braden Holtby allowed four goals on 39 shots.

The Flames came in feeling good after a comeback victory in Philadelphia and a 1950s-themed train ride to Washington. But the Capitals took a 1-0 lead just 62 seconds in when Jakub Vrana found Eller for his fourth goal of the season.

Calgary controlled much of the play from that point on, tying it on Gaudreau's goal 4:49 in and taking a lead on Monahan's power-play goal 5:22 into the second. Monahan had a goal and an assist after a power-play hat trick Saturday against the Flyers.

Washington's parade to the penalty box gave the Flames momentum and then their third goal at 4:38 of the second when Backlund buried a loose puck. Giordano's goal to make it 4-1 was effectively a third power-play goal as it came 1 second after ex-Flames forward Alex Chiasson's penalty expired (see full recap).

Blue Jackets edge Sabres for 4th straight win
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Sergei Bobrovsky made three of his 30 saves on a power play in the final two minutes, and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 on Monday night for their fourth straight victory.

Rookie Pierre-Luc Dubois, Artemi Panarin and Boone Jenner scored for the Blue Jackets. Markus Nutivaara had two assists.

Buffalo dropped its sixth straight game. Evander Kane and Sam Reinhart scored for the Sabres, and Robin Lehner stopped 25 shots.

Bobrovsky made his biggest save when he slid across the crease to kick away a Ryan O'Reilly one-timer with 1:49 remaining. Bobrovsky got a piece of Kyle Okposo's shot off the rebound and the puck trickled across the goal line while Okposo fell into the net. Officials determined on replay that the goal did not count.

The Blue Jackets scored first for the fifth straight game when Dubois collected a loose puck in the slot and lifted a wrist shot over Lehner four minutes into the second period. Oliver Bjorkstrand set up Dubois' third goal of the season with a pass from behind the net.

Panarin scored his fifth on a high wrist shot from the right circle 5:47 into the third. Jenner added his third goal of the year on a play in front of the net midway through the period (see full recap).

Raanta, Coyotes end Maple Leafs' win streak
TORONTO -- Antti Raanta made 26 saves and the Arizona Coyotes ended the Toronto Maple Leafs' winning streak at six games with a 4-1 victory Monday night.

Brendan Perlini, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Max Domi and Tobias Rieder scored for the Coyotes (5-15-3), who have won three in a row for the first time this season.

Arizona rookie Clayton Keller had two assists to give him 20 points in 23 games.

James van Riemsdyk scored for the Maple Leafs (14-8-0).

Frederik Andersen had his shutout streak snapped at 1:41:28 when the Coyotes scored in the first period. Andersen, who made 28 saves, had blanked the opponent in back-to-back games.

Toronto star Auston Matthews, playing in his 100th career game, appeared to tie it 2-all with 3:50 to play but the goal was overturned after a replay review because of goalie interference by Zach Hyman (see full recap).

Wayne Simmonds issues timely reminder about Flyers

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Wayne Simmonds issues timely reminder about Flyers

VOORHEES, N.J. — Wayne Simmonds would make a pretty good salesman.

He speaks with conviction and knows how to convey a point.

On Monday, he was selling the 2017-18 Flyers.

None of it was fluff. In fact, the sales pitch was completely valid.

Many clamored for the Flyers to become younger, and they did. Nolan Patrick, 19, is just getting healthy again after missing nine straight games. The fourth line features two 23-year-olds (Scott Laughton, Taylor Leier) that developed last season in the AHL. And half of the current defense is made up of rookies.

That's not to mention Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov are only 20 years old, while Jordan Weal is in his first full NHL season.

After losing four straight games, the Flyers are 8-8-4 and still only five points out of first place despite sitting in last in the Metropolitan Division.

Things could be worse. Really, they're not all that bad.

"The season's not even close to being over," Simmonds said after practice at Flyers Skate Zone. "That's the way I'm thinking about it, guys. There's no need to be worried, we're a .500 hockey team right now, we've played 20 games, we have 62 games left, we've got a really young team and we're growing every single day. Yeah, we're going to have our struggles, but we're also going to have points in the season where we make huge strides. We've got to stick with it and we've got to keep going and going."

The Flyers were 9-8-3 after 20 games last season. Two games later, they were starting a 10-game winning streak. The run didn't accomplish much by season's end, but it's an example of how quickly trends can turn in the NHL.

Simmonds is experiencing his own negative trend of 12 straight games without a goal after scoring six in eight games to start the season.

"Sometimes you score 10 goals, then you don't score again for 20 games or something like that," Simmonds said. "Like I said, it's a long year, you keep going, you keep grinding, you guys want to jump to conclusions, that's your job. You guys have got to make decisions on a game-to-game basis, but for us, we just have to make sure we're coming to the rink and doing our job every single day and continuing to try and get better."

Throughout much of his drought, Simmonds has not looked himself, likely banged up from the style in which he plays and excels.

With time and patience, Simmonds is building himself up again physically.

"You think you can do some things and sometimes your body just tells you no," Simmonds said.

"I've been feeling better the last little bit. I feel like I've started to play better, things aren't coming offensively for me. I think as an individual, I've just got to keep working hard. The only way to break yourself out of a bad streak is to continue to work hard and hopefully things eventually go your way."

When does he know his game is coming to him?

"When I'm aggressive," Simmonds said. "When I'm battling in the corners, I'm hitting — I think earlier this year, I wasn't fully engaging in battles and stuff like that, and that's not me, that's not my game. I think the last little bit here, I've felt a lot better, I've been doing a lot more battling, a lot more hitting, a lot more physical things. It's nice and we've got to continue that. As a team, we've got to continue to do the same thing, to get to the front of the net and continue to put pucks in."

Aside from the first line of Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek, scoring struggles have permeated the middle six and secondary options. Konecny and Weal, two players the Flyers expected jumps from in production, have combined for four goals and nine assists. Konecny is without a goal over his previous 10 games, while Weal has scored one in his last 12.

"It's been a lot of hard work and not much to show for it," Weal said. "No matter what line we've been on, it seems like we've been getting three or four chances every game to put something in and nothing right now seems to be going in. It's one of those things that happens during a season.

"When it breaks open, hopefully it'll break wide open.

"When we have all four lines scoring, we're a really dangerous team."

Both Konecny and Weal are frequently the last two players off the practice ice.

Monday was no different.

"I just need to make sure I'm battling and creating more offense," Konecny said. "I feel like the opportunities are there, I'm not worried about that."

Nor is Simmonds worried about the Flyers with 62 games to go, the next coming Tuesday night at home against the Canucks.

Similar to building up strength and good health, patience is important to a season, especially with the makeup of this Flyers team.

Simmonds believes you'll buy in … just give it some time.

"You can look at the standings, you can do whatever you want, but we've played 20 games," Simmonds said. "There's still a long time to go in the season. We've got work to do.

"I'm definitely feeling better. It's up to me to get going."

When he does, the Flyers hope the rest follow.