Wayne Simmonds still has 'a lot more to prove' after winning Bobby Clarke Trophy

Wayne Simmonds still has 'a lot more to prove' after winning Bobby Clarke Trophy

There were no surprises on a couple of the Flyers' team awards given out on Saturday prior to their 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets (see game story).

Wayne Simmonds won the Bobby Clarke Trophy as the team MVP, while rookie Ivan Provorov won the Barry Ashbee Trophy, which is awarded to the club's best defenseman. Both awards are given by the Philadelphia chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

"I'm a person who tries to get better every year, every day," said Simmonds, who leads the Flyers with 30 goals and has led the team in goal scoring four years now.

"I don't think I really had too many expectations, I just came into it, worked hard and tried to get as far as I could.
"I think I've done a pretty good job thus far and hopefully I can play well into my 30s, I've got a lot more improving to do and a lot more to prove and I look forward to it."

Simmonds made his first career appearance at the NHL All-Star Game this season and was named the game's MVP after scoring three goals, including the game-winner in the 3-on-3 final against the Pacific Division.

Simmonds also won the Toyota Cup for the most votes this season in the "Three Stars of the Game."
Provorov, 20 and just a rookie, leads the Flyers in average ice time with 21:56. He's the youngest Barry Ashbee winner in franchise history, eclipsing last season's winner, Shayne Gostisbehere.

This is the second consecutive year that a rookie has received the award.

"It means a lot," Provorov said of the honor. "It was a huge honor. Lots of good defensemen won this award in the past. I couldn't have done this alone without my teammates -- all the D partners I have played with.
"So just a huge thanks to them. We will keep getting better. I will keep getting better and we will see what happens."

Defenseman Radko Gudas won the Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Award as the most improved Flyer, as voted by his teammates.

Gudas was often out of control a season ago on the ice, always looking to make a hit, even if it wasn't there, instead of making a hockey play.
He reduced his penalty minutes from 116 to 93, and his 23 points are nine more than last season in nine fewer games (67). He is currently sidelined with a concussion.

Goalie Steve Mason won the Yanick Dupre Memorial Class Guy Award, as given by the PHWA to the athlete who best represents the club on and off the ice and with the media.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare won the Gene Hart Memorial Award, as voted by the Flyers' Fan Club. It goes to the player with the most "heart."
"Unbelievable," Bellemare said. "I wasn't expecting it. I was talking to G [Claude Giroux], talking about who was going to get it. He probably knew but didn't say anything. That was fun, real fun."

Late rally gives Flyers something to show for strong effort

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Late rally gives Flyers something to show for strong effort


RALEIGH, N.C. – Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol commended his team for a complete 60-minute effort that was needed to overtake and defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 at PNC Arena on Saturday night (see observations).

“It’s an important two points, but I guess, as important I thought it was a really hard-working, start-to-finish win for us,” he said.

Placing Alex Lyon in net to lead from the back end, the young netminder made 23 stops, many critical, that allowed the Flyers to generate momentum to strike all at once in the third period.

Trailing 1-0, containing the Hurricanes’ speed and ability to maintain puck possession was a priority – somewhat of ‘survive and advance’ mindset to have in March.

The Flyers won 27 of 48 draws, a stat that eventually evened out, but was a critical one that the Flyers led in for two periods, before taking advantage of Carolina turnovers in the third.

 “It was a grind,” Hakstol said. “I liked the way we played in the first two periods. We talked about a couple of little things we can maybe improve going into the third, but the biggest thing was making sure we went out and got a big penalty kill to start with and just go back at it.”

For 40 minutes, Hurricanes netminder Cam Ward stymied shooters like Jakub Voracek and crease cleaners like Wayne Simmonds, among others, but the force of the shield he presented eventually diminished late in the game. The Flyers scored all four of their goals in the final 11-plus minutes.

While giving the puck away 10 times, 15 takeaways allowed the Flyers to regain possessions and capitalize on their chances when it counted most. 

“I don’t know if there was a catalyst,” Hakstol said when asked to identify the turning point in the game for his team.

“A lot of times it’s the simple, hard things that you do. That’s what it takes to score at this time of year.”

The win pulled the Flyers back into a tie for third place in the Metropolitan Division, a floating buoy line extending to the wild-card spot they will tread beside for the remainder of the season, unless they can compile more wins like this one.

“We needed a win for a lot of different reasons,” Hakstol said. “We needed the two points in every respect, but we needed a win for our group in here to have something to show for their hard work. When you lose games and can’t put wins together, the negatives really start to magnify, even though there’s a ton of positives. On a couple of different levels, this was an important two points.”

Both teams in wild-card spots keep close to Flyers

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Both teams in wild-card spots keep close to Flyers

LOS ANGELES — Keith Kincaid stopped 38 saves for his first shutout of the season, helping the New Jersey Devils improve their playoff positioning with a 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

Michael Grabner, Nico Hischier and Miles Wood each scored for the Devils, who moved into third place in the Metropolitan Division. New Jersey leads Philadelphia and Columbus by one point with both the Flyers and Blue Jackets playing later.

The Devils have won three in a row and four of five.

Jonathan Quick made 25 saves for the Kings, who are tied with Anaheim for third in the Pacific (see full recap).

Nutivaara's second-period goal lifts Columbus past Ottawa
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Markus Nutivaara scored a power-play goal in the second period, Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 22 shots, and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Ottawa Senators 2-1 on Saturday night.

Boone Jenner also scored -- his third tally in three games -- for the Blue Jackets, who have won a season-high seven straight and are holding on to the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with 83 points, tied with Philadelphia and one point ahead of New Jersey.

Alexandre Burrows scored his fifth of the year and Mike Condon stopped 33 shots for Ottawa, which saw a three-game winning streak snapped on the second night of a back-to-back (see full recap).

McDavid's 3 points get Oilers past Panthers
SUNRISE, Fla. — Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists in the third period and the Edmonton Oilers rallied for a 4-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Saturday.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Ty Rattie and Adam Larsson also scored for the Oilers, who are 4-1-1 in their past six games.

Cam Talbot made 40 saves for the Oilers.

Frank Vatrano and Vincent Trocheck scored for Florida.

Roberto Luongo made 32 saves for the Panthers, who lost for the first time this season when leading after two periods (23-1).

With Edmonton trailing 2-1, McDavid scored his 34th on a shot from the right circle 38 seconds into the third period, and Larsson's fourth of the season at 6:13 gave Edmonton the 3-2 lead (see full recap).