Flyers

Matt Read snaps long goal drought, the unlikely hero in Flyers' win over Canadiens

Matt Read snaps long goal drought, the unlikely hero in Flyers' win over Canadiens

He began the season by scoring five goals in five games.
 
Matt Read was on fire.
 
Then he flamed out.
 
One goal over the next 33 games until Thursday night, when the 30-year-old winger became a most unlikely hero with a wicked shot from the circle — off the rush, no less — that beat Carey Price.
 
Yeah, Price.
 
It became the game-winner, as the Flyers won, 3-1 over the Canadiens (see game story).
 
No one knew Read could fire a puck that hard. So where has this shot been all season?
 
“I wish I knew,” Read said. “I just had an opportunity to shoot the puck, shot as hard as I could and I got lucky. The good man upstairs is looking out for me tonight.
 
“Right when I touched it, it came up on its edge and I looked up to see what was around. Then I put my head down and swung as hard as I can … when I looked up, it was coming out of the back of the net.”
 
It was Read’s first goal in 27 games. His teammates noticed.
 
“Really nice to see,” Wayne Simmonds said. “It was a heck of a shot, a game-winning goal and it was really good for him and the team as well. He beat him clean, top corner.”
 
Read’s line, centered by Sean Couturier with Nick Cousins at left wing, was outstanding defensively, holding Montreal’s top line to just three shots while scoring two goals.
 
Couturier chipped in with an empty-netter.
 
Read admits he’s been frustrated with his lack of offense this season.
 
“I try to show up every night to work hard,” he said. “I do as much as I can to help the team. When things don’t go your way, it is obviously frustrating.
 
“But you've got to have fun out here and help the team as much as you can. The most important point is getting a win, getting two points and keep climbing the standings.”
 
The victory allowed the Flyers to retain the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with 58 points. Overall, it was a solid all-around defensive effort. Efforts like this win playoff games. Not offense — defense.
 
“The whole team was skating well and doing things with the puck and putting pucks in areas where we can get them back,” Read said. “I thought, if we play like that every night it’s going to be hard to beat us.”
 
The Flyers managed the puck well. They didn’t turn it over. They didn’t give the Habs anything cheap like they did at Carolina on Tuesday, and they held Montreal to 16 shots.
 
“You know, it’s all about consistency in this league as individuals and as a team,” Mark Streit said. “During that winning streak, 10 games, a lot of times, we played that way.
 
“We were patient, we played smart and we’re going to need that in the next few months in order to be successful because all the teams are going to grind. All the teams are going to play well defensively. You just can’t give up too many shots or too many opportunities.”

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

uspresswire-islanders-jaroslav-halak.jpg
USA Today Images

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.”