Flyers

Future Flyers Report: Alex Lyon helps Phantoms inch closer to playoff berth

Future Flyers Report: Alex Lyon helps Phantoms inch closer to playoff berth

The Flyers' season ended Sunday night, but hockey is still being played. The AHL regular season is wrapping up this coming weekend, while the CHL and SHL playoffs are still ongoing.

So there will be at least one more Future Flyers Report after today. With that said, 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 week's report, we check in on the Phantoms' playoff push, how Harvard fared in the Frozen Four and see how the Flyers' CHL prospects are doing in the playoffs. Let's dig in.

Alex Lyon, G, 24, 6-1/201, Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AHL)
For a while there, it appeared as if Lehigh Valley would have no problem clinching a playoff berth, but that hasn't been the case over the last few weeks. The Phantoms' postseason push has been slowed down by inconsistencies and a difficult Atlantic Division. However, the Phantoms' magic number to secure their playoff spot is down to one point with three games left, and a big reason why was Lyon's performance in net in a 4-2 win over Springfield on Saturday night. The 24-year-old netminder turned away 44 Thunderbird offerings and allowed just two goals in an outstanding effort. It was Lyon's second start last week, as he allowed three goals on 29 shots in a 3-2 OT loss to Hershey last Wednesday. 

Merrick Madsen, G, 21, 6-5/190, Harvard (NCAA)
Madsen's junior season came to an end last Thursday when the three-seeded Crimson fell to two-seeded Minnesota-Duluth, 3-2, in heartbreaking fashion during their Frozen Four semifinals matchup. Madsen turned away 36 of 38 shots against the Bulldogs but surrendered the game-winning goal with 26.6 seconds left in regulation -- a tough pill to swallow for Madsen, who made several big saves during the semifinal match. Regardless of the bitter end, Madsen's junior season was a highly successful one. He finished the season with a 28-6-2 record in 37 games played and a 2.10 goals-against average, a .923 save percentage and three shutouts. His .848 winning percentage finished the season second in the nation behind Minnesota-Duluth's Hunter Miska. He's a finalist for the Ken Dryden Goaltender of the Year Award, the top goalie in the ECAC, and an all-Ivy League first teamer.

Samuel Dove-McFalls, C, 19, 6-1/207, Saint John's (QMJHL)
One of just four Flyers prospects remaining in the CHL playoffs, Dove-McFalls scored the game-winning goal at 9:38 in overtime in Saint John's 2-1 victory over Val-d'Or in Game 1 on Friday. He was held pointless with four shots on goal in the Sea Dogs' 4-1 win in Game 2 Saturday night. In six playoff games, Dove-McFalls has just two points with 20 shots and a plus-3 rating. Dove McFalls, a 2015 third-round draft pick, has until June 1 to sign an entry-level contract before Flyers lose his exclusive rights, according to CapFriendly.com.

Philippe Myers, D, 20, 6-5/209, Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL)
Myers continued to produce for the Huskies last week. In Rouyn-Noranda's 5-2 first-round series-clinching win over Halifax last Monday, Myers got the Huskies off to a 1-0 lead with a power-play blast. He later added an assist on the Huskies' fourth goal. Rouyn-Noranda scored Chicoutimi in the second round, and Myers had an assist in the Huskies' 6-2 win Friday in Game 1. The Saguenéens won Game 2 Saturday. The series resumes Tuesday.

Carter Hart, G, 18, 6-1/181, Everett (WHL)
After a 64-save, five-overtime win to send Everett to the second round last Sunday night, Hart and the Silvertips find themselves in a 2-0 hole to the Seattle Thunderbirds after dropping Games 1 and 2 on Friday and Saturday night. Hart yielded seven goals in the two games, allowing three on 33 shots in Game 1 and four on 15 shots in Game 2. The Silvertips will look to get back in the series Tuesday night when the series resumes.

Quick hits
• After an impressive first-round series performance, Carsen Twarynski is pointless in two games against Portland in the second round. Kelowna, however, is up 2-0 in the series.

German Rubtsov's season is over with a broken hand, Chicoutimi announced last week.

Robert Hagg picked up an assist in the Phantoms' 4-2 win over Springfield on Saturday night. He was called up to the Flyers Sunday and made his NHL debut in the season finale.

• Brynäs IF goalie Felix Sandstrom allowed 12 goals, stopping 63 of 75 shots in three games against Frolunda last week in his team's second-round playoff series.

Travis Sanheim had two assists in three games last week for the Phantoms. He has 35 points in 73 games this season, a solid first season playing professionally.

• After being held pointless in Game 1 against Frolunda, Oskar Lindblom had a two-assist game in Brynäs' 6-3 loss in Game 2 last Thursday and added another helper in a 4-3 Game 3 win on Saturday. The series, tied, 2-2, resumes Monday with Game 5.

Anthony Stolarz, who has been up and down between the Flyers and Phantoms, made one start in Lehigh Valley last week, a 3-0 loss to Wilkes/Barre-Scranton on Friday. He made 29 saves on 31 shots faced before being recalled up to the Flyers on Saturday.

David Kase saw his 2016-17 campaign come to an end Sunday when Piráti Chomutov lost its playoff series with HC Bílí Tygři Liberec. Kase finished the regular season in the Extraliga with three goals and nine points and added two markers and five points in 14 postseason games. He also played in eight games in the WSM-Liga, adding seven points.

Best of NHL: Islanders shut down Capitals to snap 5-game skid

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Best of NHL: Islanders shut down Capitals to snap 5-game skid

NEW YORK -- Jaroslav Halak made 31 saves after getting a vote of confidence from his coach, and the New York Islanders beat the Washington Capitals 3-1 on Monday night to snap a five-game winless streak.

Brock Nelson, Andrew Ladd and John Tavares scored goals for the Islanders, who built a 3-0 lead early in the second period and ended Washington's four-game winning streak.

It was the second time this season that Halak held an opponent to a single goal and the third time New York has allowed one goal as a team. Halak's strong performance came after coach Doug Weight sternly defended his goaltenders following the team's skate Monday morning. New York was 0-3-2 over its last five games.

Braden Holtby made nine saves for the Capitals before being pulled after the Islanders scored their third goal 1:34 into the second period. Philipp Grubauer made 17 saves in relief, and Dmitry Orlov scored Washington's only goal (see full recap).

Bernier makes 39 saves as Avalanche top Penguins
PITTSBURGH -- Jonathan Bernier stopped 39 shots and Mark Barberio scored in the third period, helping the Colorado Avalanche top the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 on Monday night.

Blake Comeau added an empty netter against his former team as Colorado won its second straight after a string of six losses in seven games. It was Comeau's seventh of the season.

Barberio put the Avalanche ahead to stay 6:17 into the third. His slap shot off the rush hit Pittsburgh forward Riley Sheahan in front and got past goaltender Tristan Jarry.

Bernier was on track for his second shutout of the season before Phil Kessel scored his 15th goal for Pittsburgh at 19:48. Bernier beat the Penguins for just the second time in 10 career games (see full recap).

Perreault, Jets beat Canucks to snap skid
WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Mathieu Perreault scored two goals and added an assist to help the Winnipeg Jets halt a three-game losing streak with a 5-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night.

The win was the Jets' seventh straight victory at home and they have points in their last 11 games (10-0-1) at Bell MTS Place.

The Canucks have lost three straight in regulation for the first time this season.

Dmitry Kulikov, Josh Morrissey and Nikolaj Ehlers also scored for Winnipeg (18-8-5). Ehlers' 14th of the season was on the power play and gave him goals in three straight games.

Brock Boeser scored his team-leading 16th goal for the Canucks. He also extended his goal-scoring streak to three games.

Connor Hellebuyck made 25 saves for Winnipeg (see full recap).

Flyers notes, quotes and tidbits: Reversing home fortunes

Flyers notes, quotes and tidbits: Reversing home fortunes

VOORHEES, N.J. — Home is where the _____.

For the Flyers, filling in this blank hasn’t solicited positive responses this season.

Of course, the Flyers haven’t provided positive results.

After trouncing the Capitals and Panthers in their first two home games of the season, the Flyers have dropped 10 of their last 12 in South Philly. They gifted the Arizona Coyotes their first win of the season back in late October and have turned in lethargic efforts against the Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks and Boston Bruins in recent weeks.

More alarmingly, the Flyers have just a 1-2-5 record in one-goal games, a situation in which home ice should come into play as one of the deciding factors. The losing and frustration culminated with a barrage of boos and a “Fire Hakstol” chant during that 3-1 loss to the Sharks on Nov. 28.

“It doesn’t help, but we’re not doing anything to help ourselves,” goaltender Brian Elliott said Monday. “You’re trying not to listen to any crowd. You’re just trying to block it all out and stay in that moment, just playing with your team out there, and that’s probably how I approach it. It’s taking that road style hockey game and bringing it here.” 

“I think the atmosphere will be better,” Sean Couturier said. “When you’re losing, it’s tough. We were trying so hard to get a win. It didn’t seem to come, and then finally to get one, two and then three. We’re kind of on a roll, but at the same time, it’s only three games. We’re pretty excited to be back home and keep winning.”  

Tuesday, the team will be looking to change its Wells Fargo Center fortunes when it opens up another five-game homestand, its longest of the season, beginning with a visit from the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Flyers are hopeful they can carry over their success from a three-game sweep in Western Canada when the Leafs hit town. 

“We keep it simple on the road. We went on the road and made a pact to keep it simple and play the right way,” Wayne Simmonds said. “We’ve had one of the best home records over the past three years. I think we do alright at home. Obviously, we’ve had a slow start at home, but we’ll pick it up.”

Not that the previous 14 home games have been irrelevant, but the final 27 games on home ice will have a much greater emphasis as 23 of their final 28 games come against Eastern Conference opponents, with 12 of those directly within the Metropolitan Division.

“From now on, games are going to get more and more important,” Couturier said. “Every point is pretty much necessary for us, especially when you lose 10 games in a row. You get behind in the standings and you’re chasing. We've got to stick together and get some more wins.”

'Ghost' feels for Wentz
Shayne Gostisbehere knows what it's like to wake up the way Carson Wentz did on Monday morning.

Wentz tore the ACL in his left knee during Sunday’s 43-35 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. 

In November 2014, Gostisbehere tore the same ACL in his knee during his rookie season with the Phantoms just five games in and never returned to action. Faced with months of rehab, there were moments when "Ghost" didn’t feel as if the injury was improving.   

“I saw the game yesterday,” Gostisbehere said. “I hope for the best for him. The rehab is really grueling. It's ups and downs. Some days you’re going to feel great, feel like you’re getting ahead of the game, and other days you feel you’re never going to get better. I think overall he’s going to have the best care in the world. I think obviously you hope for the best and hope it’s not that bad.”

Elliott named third star
Flyers goaltender Brian Elliott was named the NHL’s third star of the week after posting three road wins with a 1.67 goals-against average and .954 save percentage.

“It’s great when you get recognized,” Elliott said. “Whenever you get those recognitions as a goalie, it really shows how the group has been playing, especially this last week here. It’s probably my name up there, but definitely the whole team deserves that.”