Future Flyers Report: Cooper Marody one of nation's best

Michigan Athletics

Future Flyers Report: Cooper Marody one of nation's best

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 a late-round draft pick blossoming into one of the nation’s best players, the Flyers’ top goalie prospect and plenty more from a busy week.

Cooper Marody, C, 20, 6-1/185, Michigan (NCAA)
After missing parts of his freshman campaign with mono and then sophomore season because he was academically ineligible, Marody is exploding onto the scene this year.

Marody continued his torrid season this past weekend as Michigan stole a 5-4 overtime win Friday night over No. 4 Minnesota and then tied the Golden Gophers, 6-6, Saturday. The Wolverines fought back from a 3-0 deficit Friday and a 4-0 deficit Saturday night.

And Marody was front and center with a pair of two-assist games. Marody has 12 assists and 15 points in his past six games. During this six-game stretch, he has three three-point games and three two-point efforts. He has 10 points in four Big Ten games, which is the most in the conference. He has 16 points in 10 games for 1.60 points per game. His 13 assists are tied for second in the nation with Denver's Troy Terry.

Michigan assistant coach Brian Wiseman in July praised Marody’s growth, from the player he was in the USHL to where he was heading into his junior season in Ann Arbor.

“Cooper is a very smart, highly intelligent hockey player,” Wiseman said. “Has a gift of slowing down the game, reading situations and making high-level, executed plays.”

Carter Hart, G, 19, 6-1/177, Everett (WHL)
For a goalie who missed a month because of mono, Hart didn’t show any signs of needing time to get in shape. It started last Monday, as Hart led Team WHL to a 7-0 shutout against Team Russia with a 20-save effort in the CIBC Canada/Russia Series.

Hart was back in net Friday for Everett against Prince George. He allowed three goals on 23 shots and allowed one in the shootout as the Silvertips fell, 4-3, to the Cougars. Then on Saturday, Hart had a 28-save shutout in Everett’s 4-0 win over Prince George.

His shutout Saturday night was his 20th career WHL shutout, which is one shy of tying Leland Irving’s Everett record of 21. Irving was with the Phantoms earlier this season. Nearly 13 percent of Hart’s WHL games have been shutouts. This season, Hart is 3-2-1 with a 2.11 goals-against average, .933 save percentage and one shutout in six games.

Morgan Frost, C, 18, 5-11/172, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
For Frost, one of the Flyers' two 2017 first-round picks, it was another big week. Frost continued to produce, showcasing both his goal-scoring ability and playmaking skills.

Frost had his second two-goal game of the season in the Greyhounds’ 4-3 overtime win Friday night over Sarnia and then followed that up with a goal and two assists Saturday in Sault Ste. Marie’s 8-2 blowout of Flint. His first goal Friday came on a 2-on-2 rush.

In his last 13 games, Frost has 13 assists and 22 points. On the season, he has 27 points in 20 games and leads the OHL with a plus-21 rating. It’s been quite the campaign for Frost, who has validated the Flyers’ decision to draft him in the first round.

German Rubtsov, C/LW, 19, 6-0/187, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
The Titan’s trade for Rubtsov continued to pay off, as the Flyers’ 2016 first-round pick showed again why Acadie-Bathurst gave up two players and three draft picks for him.

Rubtsov had four points in three games last week, with all four coming this past weekend. Rubtsov, a natural center who’s been playing left wing in Acadie-Bathurst, had a goal and two assists in the Titan’s 5-3 win Friday night over Drummondville. On Saturday night, he had an assist in the Titan’s 4-3 loss to Blainville-Boisbriand.

In five games with Acadie-Bathurst, Rubtsov has five assists and seven points. Between Chicoutimi and Acadie-Bathurst, he has 13 assists and 18 points in 16 games.

Alex Lyon, G, 24, 6-1/200, Lehigh Valley (AHL)
With Anthony Stolarz out long term, Lyon has yet to take advantage of the opportunity he has with the Phantoms to set himself apart on the organizational depth chart. It was an up-and-down week for Lyon, who has been disappointing in his second pro year.

Lyon had a strong effort last Wednesday in Lehigh Valley’s 4-2 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, allowing two goals on 44 shots. But then on Saturday, he surrendered six markers on 33 shots in the Phantoms’ 6-1 loss to Hershey. Is Lyon to blame for all six goals? Of course not, but he has allowed 17 goals in his past four games.

Lyon, in 11 games, is 6-3-1 with a 3.26 goals-against average and .897 save percentage. He’s allowed three or more goals in six games.

Quick hits
• After a solid start, Pascal Laberge is in a rut. Laberge had another scoreless week for Victoriaville. He has two points in his past nine games. He has 12 points in 18 games.

• For the first time this season, Danick Martel did not score a goal Saturday night. That’s OK, though. Martel had a goal and an assist in Lehigh Valley’s 4-2 win Wednesday over Bridgeport. He now has 14 goals and 19 points in 15 games.

Oskar Lindblom registered his third goal of the season last Wednesday, drilling home a pass from Martel in front of the Sound Tigers’ net.

Connor Bunnaman stayed hot for Kitchener, picking up a goal in both Rangers games this past weekend. He now has a four-game goal streak and six-game point streak.

Bunnaman, Kitchener’s captain, has six goals and one assist during his six-game point streak. He has 11 markers and 15 points in 17 games this season.

Isaac Ratcliffe, the Flyers’ 2017 second-round pick, had a nice weekend for the Guelph Storm. Ratcliffe had a two-goal game Friday night in the Storm’s 6-2 win over North Bay. Then on Sunday, Ratcliffe had a goal and two assists against Sudbury.

• Sarnia’s Anthony Salinitri filled the stat sheet this weekend with three goals and an assist. Salinitri had two goals Friday and then a goal and an assist Sunday.

Matthew Strome is heating up for Hamilton. Strome had a goal and two assists in the Bulldogs’ 7-4 win Friday over Erie and then two goals and an assist Sunday against Mississauga. Strome has a four-game point streak in which he has nine points.

Brendan Warren, Marody’s teammate at Michigan, had a goal and an assist Saturday against Minnesota. Warren has three goals and one assist in 10 games this season.

Tanner Laczynski had another productive weekend for Ohio State, and he now leads the Buckeyes with 13 points. He had a two-assist game Friday and a goal Saturday.

• Wisconsin defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk finally picked up his first collegiate goal Friday night in the No. 6 Badgers’ 6-2 win over Michigan State. He also had an assist.

Kalynuk, the Flyers’ final pick in the 2017 draft, has seven points in 13 games. He leads all Wisconsin defensemen in points and is tied for second on the team with six assists.

Why have Penguins dominated Flyers recently?

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Why have Penguins dominated Flyers recently?

The keys to the Keystone State Rivalry are now in the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have been in the driver’s seat recently in their feud with the Flyers.

The Penguins are on the verge of a season sweep for the first time since taking all eight meetings during the Flyers' disastrous season of 2006-07.

It’s a complete turnaround from the Flyers eight-game winning streak from November of 2013 to April of 2015. PPG Paints Arena, formerly known as Consol Energy Center, could also be commonly referred to as Wells Fargo Center West.

However, in the Dave Hakstol era, which has also coincided with the Mike Sullivan era in Pittsburgh, the ice has been tilted towards Lake Erie. The Flyers are just 3-7-1 against the Penguins over the past three years.

Over time, that vitriolic and acrimonious attitude seems to be missing from a once-bitter feud and the Flyers seemed to thrive off that animosity.

“There’s not as many fights as we used to and not as many hits,” said captain Claude Giroux. “If you don’t take care of the puck and you don’t play smart out there, it’s going to cost your team.”

Since the third period of their first game in November, there have been costly mistakes and very little push back from the Flyers. They’ve been outscored 14-4 in their last seven periods and a brief overtime against the Penguins.

“It’s a matter of us going out and being ourselves for a full 60 minutes,” Dave Hakstol said when asked what needs to change heading into Sunday’s game. “We haven’t done that against Pittsburgh and you’ve got to credit them for that. They can push teams off balance.”

And clearly the Penguins have presented a matchup problem for the Flyers, regardless of which team has owned last change. Sidney Crosby has thrived this season with a +6 rating against the Flyers.

With Sean Couturier serving as Evgeni Malkin’s shadow dating back to his rookie season in 2011-12, Giroux had been tasked with matching up with Crosby’s line. Now with Couturier and Giroux paired together, the task of containing Crosby has shifted elsewhere, whether it’s been Valtteri Filppula, Scott Laughton or Nolan Patrick.

The Flyers' 19-year-old rookie center has quickly discovered what works and what doesn’t against arguably the NHL’s best all-around player.

“You have to be a little more defensive-minded when (Crosby) is out there, and even Malkin too,” said Patrick. “Crosby’s not really a guy you can go after and knock the puck off. You just got to try and contain them and have a good stick on him.”

“I don’t think we’ve given them our best effort so far this year,” said defenseman Andrew MacDonald. “We were a little timid last time. We were trying to feel out the game and see what kind of game it was going to be, rather than dictate the play.”

The Flyers haven’t exhibited their best effort against any team recently, and no need to prove a point against the Penguins this late in the season.

The Flyers simply need points and the Penguins just happen to be the next team on the schedule.

Devils' Hall wastes no time in overtime

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Devils' Hall wastes no time in overtime

PITTSBURGH -- Taylor Hall beat Matt Murray on a breakaway 27 seconds into overtime to lift the New Jersey Devils to a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night.

Hall was all alone when Nico Hischier found him with a long lead pass. Hall then slipped the puck between Murray's legs for his 33rd goal of the season as New Jersey picked up two vital points in the race for one of the two wild-card spots in the Eastern Conference.

Hall added two assists for New Jersey. Hischier finished with a goal and an assist, and Blake Coleman and Will Butcher also scored for the Devils. Keith Kincaid made 40 stops for the Devils, who finished a season-high six-game road trip 4-2.

Sidney Crosby scored his 25th of the season for Pittsburgh. Brian Dumolin and Phil Kessel scored in the third period as the Penguins erased a two-goal deficit. Murray finished with 30 saves as the Penguins lost for just the second time in their last 17 home games.

New Jersey's drive to end a six-year playoff drought has stalled since the All-Star break. A lopsided loss in San Jose dropped the Devils to just 13-12 since Jan. 30 and skated onto the ice at PPG Paints Arena with a tenuous grasp on the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference (see full recap).

Bruins win on Pastrnak’s last-second goal
DALLAS -- David Pastrnak broke a tie with 12 seconds left and the Boston Bruins scored three straight goals in the third period to rally past the fading Dallas Stars 3-2 on Friday night.

A scramble followed a faceoff in the Dallas end, and Brad Marchand passed to Pastrnak in front. While falling down, he put the puck past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen.

Tuukka Rask made a season-high 40 saves for the Bruins. Marchand scored Boston's first goal and also assisted on a short-handed goal by Tim Schaller that tied it midway through the third period.

The second-place Bruins won for the first time in three games (1-0-2) to move within four points of Atlantic Division leader Tampa Bay. Boston has already clinched a playoff berth.

The Stars are winless in their last seven games (0-5-2). They remained four points behind Colorado for the second Western Conference wild card (see full recap).

Berglund, Blues push win streak to 4
ST. LOUIS -- Patrik Berglund scored twice and the surging St. Louis Blues beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 on Friday night for their fourth consecutive victory.

Vladimir Tarasenko and Dmitrij Jaskin also scored for St. Louis. Jake Allen made 19 saves in his eighth straight start as the Blues won for the sixth time in seven games.

Sam Gagner scored for Vancouver, which has lost eight of nine. Anders Nilsson stopped 21 shots.

The Blues swept the season series and have won their last five games against the Canucks.

Tarasenko extended the lead to 3-1 just 14 seconds into the third period, slipping Jaden Schwartz's pass between Nilsson's legs. Tarasenko missed the previous two games with an upper-body injury.

Jaskin's sixth goal of the season with 2:29 left sealed it for St. Louis (see full recap).