Flyers observations

Flyers handed fool's gold by expansion power

Flyers handed fool's gold by expansion power


The NHL’s feel-good story of the year is leaving Philadelphia feeling a whole lot better.

Golden Knights winger Ryan Carpenter fired a snap shot past Petr Mrazek wth 2:40 remaining in regulation to give Vegas a 3-2 win at the Wells Fargo Center Monday night. It marked Marc-Andre Fleury’s 400th career win to become the 12th goaltender in NHL history to reach that milestone.

Flyers captain Claude Giroux extended his point streak to seven games after scoring his 25th goal of the season. That marked the fifth season Giroux has reached the 25-goal mark in a season.

Wayne Simmonds scored his first goal in nearly a month that tied the game at 2-2.

The Flyers outshot the Golden Knights, 40-29, including a 16-8 advantage in the second period.

The Golden Knights and Flyers split their two regular-season matchups with each team winning on the road.

• Sean Couturier has been so good on faceoffs, but he lost a crucial one in the defensive zone with 17 seconds remaining on the Knights’ power play in the first period. That gave Vegas one last chance before time expired. The resulting draw led to Erik Haula beating Petr Mrazek from the goal line and a 1-0 Golden Knights’ lead. Haula tried a centering pass that Mrazek attempted to poke check and instead it ramped up over his shoulder and into the net.

• In a game featuring two players that should receive a high number of votes for the Selke trophy, Couturier along with Travis Konecny set up the Flyers’ first goal. They intercepted a pass in the offensive zone and gave it up to Giroux, who fired a snap shot that beat Fleury high and to the glove side. Once again, Giroux scored the Flyers’ first goal and now has points in 15 of his last 17 games.

• The Golden Knights made it a perfect 2 for 2 on the power play when William Karlsson scored on a wide-open net after the initial shot from the point was blocked and then kicked aside reactively by Mrazek.

• Mired in a 2-for-28 slump, the Flyers’ power play came through when it desperately needed it against Vegas. Shayne Gostisbehere lasered a perfect saucer pass to Simmonds down low, who roofed a shot after Fleury dropped into the butterfly position. For Simmonds, that was his first goal since Feb. 16.

• If I’m a good lip reader, then I could have sworn Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said, “What the f--- are you talking about?” in regards to the too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty in the first period. Giroux and Hakstol clearly felt the Flyers didn’t have a sixth skater out when the whistle was blown. Regardless, it’s the most animated you’ll see Hakstol on the bench challenging an official.

• There were shades of Fleury during his time wth the Penguins on Monday night. Fleury was all over the place as he tossed his body around the ice in the first period. The Flyers had him out of his net on several occasions, but they couldn’t capitalize. The goalie, who had a history of falling apart against the Flyers, finished with 38 saves.

• The Flyers survived a near catastrophe when Andrew MacDonald hung on to the puck too long just inside the Knights’ blue line, which resulted in a turnover and a 3-on-1 chance. However, Vegas couldn’t failed to take advantage and just settled for a shot that Mrazek saw all the way.

• Much like the game in Vegas between these two teams, the Golden Knights attempted to catch the Flyers leaky on those sharp-angled shots and get the goalie out of position with very quick east-west passes.

Time not on Flyers' side in Boston

Time not on Flyers' side in Boston


BOSTON — The Bruins extended the Flyers' winless streak to five games, handing Dave Hakstol's team one of its more devastating losses of the season.

Brad Marchand scored with 22 seconds remaining in regulation to give the Bruins a 3-2 win Thursday at TD Garden.

The Flyers are now 0-4-1 during their current skid.

Jori Lehtera tied the game with his second career shorthanded goal. He has scored all three of his goals over his last 10 games.

Jakub Voracek opened the scoring with a power-play goal just 98 seconds into the game.

Alex Lyon stopped 24 shots in the loss.

The Flyers will host the Winnipeg Jets Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center. 

• Bad sequence on the opening shift from Oskar Lindblom after he had the puck stripped in the offensive zone by Rick Nash and then failed to pick up the trailer Jake DeBrusk, who got an open shot and quality scoring chance on Lyon.

• It took a stick to the mouth of Wayne Simmonds for the Flyers' power play to get on track. With Simmonds on the bench, Nolan Patrick took over his net-front presence and right away delivered with a highlight-reel pass between his legs. That’s the dilemma for Hakstol — do you go with Patrick, who is more of a playmaker with the vision for slipping into the passing lanes, or stick with Simmonds, who is more of a disruptive force and better at taking the eyes away from the goalie?

• The Flyers were in complete scramble mode with the Patrick line trying to contain the Marchand-David Pastrnak line. Credit Riley Nash for some beautiful puck handling to gain entry into the Flyers' zone. At one point, the Flyers appeared to have a clear chance at clearing the puck, but Patrick gave it away before getting it across the blue line. Lyon lost his positioning and couldn’t recover to cover the backside post. The Flyers did a poor job defending the low post, as well, as Nash and the Bruins tied the game at 1-1 in the first.

• Tough break for the Flyers at the end of the opening period as Simmonds was tripped up trying to fire a shot on Tuukka Rask. While there was a call earlier on Marchand for tripping Shayne Gostisbehere, the referees completely let this obvious call go. The end result was a breakaway goal for newly-acquired Brian Gionta, who broke in and scored backhand on Lyon to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead. A huge momentum swing just before the first intermission.

• If you think the referees weren’t second-guessing the no-call on Simmonds, they came out and whistled Torey Krug in the the first 30 seconds of the second period when it appeared they were allowing both teams to play with more aggression.

• Credit Lehtera, who has earned Hakstol’s trust despite his plodding speed. Lehtera and Valtteri Filppula struggled when they were paired as a PK unit, but they’ve gradually improved and they teamed up to score the Flyers' third shorthanded goal of the season. Lehtera’s hustle to get behind the backcheck and poke the puck five-hole tied the game at 2-2 and gave the Flyers some life as the Bruins threatened to take a two-goal lead with their power play.

• Areas that Lyon has looked better than Petr Mrazek lately have been rebounds and shot control. Lyon has been solid in not giving players like Marchand second-chance opportunities.  

• Outside of the first-period goal, Hakstol has to be pleased at how his team was able to be disruptive in the neutral zone and not allow the Bruins to generate speed into the Flyers' zone. Many of the plays and passes were broken up with stick plays.

• Sean Couturier has hit some sort of wall. He’s now gone a season-high 10 games without a goal and he simply hasn’t been seen at all down in the high-danger area with the puck on his stick. You have to wonder if fatigue is starting to set in a little.

Calendar flip remains unkind to Flyers

Calendar flip remains unkind to Flyers


The Flyers missed a prime opportunity to overtake the Pittsburgh Penguins for second place in the Metropolitan Division with a 5-2 loss to their cross-state rival at the Wells Fargo Center.

Just like the previous game here on Jan. 2, the Pens scored three unanswered goals during the second period Wednesday. That outburst came after the Flyers took a 2-1 lead on Travis Konecny’s 18th goal of the season.

Conor Sheary scored two goals in just under five minutes — his second goal gave Pittsburgh a two-goal lead in the final minute of the second period.

Playing his first game since Feb. 18, Wayne Simmonds returned to the Flyers' lineup and finished with a minus-4.

The Flyers’ power play finished the game 0 for 5 and is now 3 for 27 over the last 10 games. 

Sidney Crosby had three assists to pace the Penguins.

The Flyers and Penguins will meet one final time in the regular season, March 25 in Pittsburgh. 

• Interesting and yet frustrating how the first two penalties — Jori Lehtera for holding and Robert Hagg for boarding — called on the Flyers were by the referee who was 80 feet away from the play and not the referee up close near the play.

• Credit the Flyers’ penalty kill for doing an outstanding job of limiting the NHL’s No. 1 power play that was on the ice for nearly six minutes of the opening period. Pittsburgh managed five shots on Petr Mrazek, but not one from the high-danger area. Not only that, but the Flyers’ penalty killers also drew a pair of penalties. Part of the strategy early on was to get out high near the points and not allow rebound opportunities.  

• The Penguins were finally able to strike on their fourth power play as the Flyers were unable to clear the zone. Pittsburgh caught the Flyers out of position, which opened up a clear passing lane underneath the coverage. Evgeni Malkin set up Phil Kessel for an easy tap-in goal, and an early 1-0 lead.

• The Flyers never got into rhythm as four penalties completely zapped any pace and energy that would have been generated at even strength.

• The Flyers opened up the second period in attack mode, which is what Dave Hakstol was preaching he wanted to see from his team. Jakub Voracek scored inadvertently when Nolan Patrick stripped Derick Brassard from behind and fed him a pass on the left wing. Voracek’s attempted centering pass went off Brassard’s stick, but it was all set up by Patrick’s backcheck.

• You have to admire Konecny’s never-quit attitude and tenacity toward attacking the net. The Flyers' winger scored a goal earlier this season when he alertly caught the puck underneath the goalie and pushed it across the line. Konecny’s relentlessness was on display again as his backhand attempt was denied by Tristan Jarry but he somehow had the wrist strength to stay with it and flip it up over the goalie’s pads. It was a tremendous effort to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead.

• Mrazek struggled securing the puck and that appeared to be the case on the Penguins’ second goal. With a lot of traffic in front of him, Mrazek wasn’t able to glove Jamie Oleksiak’s shot from the point, which led to Pittsburgh’s tying goal. The Flyers challenged the marker on the basis of goalie interference, but it was a good no-call. Mrazek didn’t plead for interference, which sometimes can be persuasive in overturning those calls.

• Pittsburgh proceeded to score three unanswered goals in the second period. Rookie Hagg picked the wrong time to step up and pinch in the offensive zone and it cost the Flyers dearly. Hagg’s gaffe led to a 2-on-1 with Crosby taking the shot. Mrazek made the initial save, but Andrew MacDonald left his feet and Hagg couldn’t get back in time to clear the rebound as Sheary scored the first of his two goals for a 3-2 Penguins’ lead. 

• Sheary’s second goal that put the Penguins ahead 4-2 was just sheer luck, or better yet, Sheary luck. Brandon Manning’s skate redirected a shot that came from just inside the blue line and went right to Sheary on the right wing. A bang-bang play that Mrazek didn’t have enough time to react and cover the angle from Sheary’s shot.