Claude Giroux

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.

Maybe it's the mask? Mrazek brilliant in win

Maybe it's the mask? Mrazek brilliant in win


Following a last-minute heartbreaker in Boston, the Flyers responded as well as you could have asked by beating the Jets, 2-1, Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center.

Against one of the hotter teams in the NHL, the Flyers (35-23-11) snapped a five-game losing streak to right the ship a bit after a sudden 0-4-1 start to March.

Claude Giroux and Andrew MacDonald both scored even-strength goals, while Petr Mrazek, with a little more rest and wearing his new mask, was sharp in net when the Flyers really needed him.

The Flyers gutted the game out late when Winnipeg pulled the goalie for an extra man.

The Jets (41-18-9) had won nine of their last 11 games. However, the Flyers have not surrendered a win to Winnipeg in Philadelphia since January 2012.

With 13 games to play, the Flyers are in a second-place tie (for now) with the Capitals in the Metropolitan Division. They sit four points up on the Blue Jackets and five ahead of the Devils.

Washington plays the Sharks today, Columbus is back in action Monday and New Jersey visits the Predators tonight (see results).

• Giroux opened the game's scoring in the second period with a pretty snipe from the circle, his 24th goal of the season. Giroux, who is four points shy of passing Eric Lindros (659 points) as the franchise's fifth all-time leading scorer, has 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists) in his last 16 games.

• MacDonald handed the Flyers a 2-0 lead in the second period after a delayed video review by the officials showed his shot crossed the goal line.

• Mrazek, who was 0-3-1 with a 4.42 goals-against average in his last four games, was excellent. He made a timely glove stab on Patrik Laine during the first and also quelled a shorthanded opportunity in the second. He finished with 26 saves and had no chance on his only goal allowed.

Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck stopped 33 shots. Steve Mason (lower-body injury) did not suit up in his first game back at the Wells Fargo Center.

• Travis Konecny sure is feisty for 5-foot-10, 175 pounds. He was furious after taking a few shots along the boards, then seconds later laid out the 6-5, 206-pound Laine. Overall, Konecny took two of the Flyers' four penalties (see story).

• The Flyers weren't terrible in the discipline department, but they weren't well behaved either, which is key against the Jets. Laine came in leading the NHL with 17 man-advantage goals, while Blake Wheeler had the most power-play assists with 28. The Flyers held Winnipeg's No. 2-ranked power play to 1 for 4. Laine scored on a nasty blast in the third period, cutting the Flyers' lead to 2-1.

• While the penalty kill was successful, the Flyers' power play stayed stuck in the mud. It looked out of sorts and finished 0 for 2, dropping to 2 for its last 26.

• Called up Friday night under emergency conditions (see story), rookie defenseman Travis Sanheim played well in his first game since Jan. 13. Sanheim showed his offensive upside with a nice stretch pass and also broke up a potential rush by the Jets. He was strong.

• Sean Couturier has gone 11 games without a goal. He needs one more tally for 30 on the season.

• Jordan Weal, Taylor Leier and Dale Weise were healthy scratches for a second straight game, while Matt Read played his second in a row.

The Jets were without 51-point center Mark Scheifele (upper-body injury).

• The Flyers on Monday night welcome the Pacific-leading Golden Knights for their first-ever trip to the Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m./NBCSP). The Flyers won the first-ever matchup, a 4-1 decision in Vegas on Feb. 11.

Flyers learn harsh reality that they're 'not there yet'

Flyers learn harsh reality that they're 'not there yet'


You can get away with mistakes against teams like the Canadiens or the Senators.

Against the Penguins, you’ll get buried.

On Wednesday, the Flyers paid dearly as Pittsburgh scored three unanswered goals in the second period en route to a 5-2 win at the Wells Fargo Center (see observations). The Flyers’ four-game losing streak has dropped them from first to third place in the Metropolitan Division, and their playoff cushion in the wild card is now just six points.

“We’re playing good teams right now that are on top of the standings with a lot of experience, so sometimes it shows that we are not there yet,” forward Jakub Voracek said. “Obviously it was a big game today, but we’re still not there.”

This game played out very similarly to the Flyers’ 5-1 loss to Pittsburgh on Jan. 2 when the Penguins scored three goals in just over two minutes. When the Flyers weren’t killing first-period penalties, they dominated stretches of the second period. They even took the lead when Travis Konecny scored his 18th goal of the season, but inconsistency proved once again to be a killer (see highlights).

“We didn’t play a complete game 5-on-5,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “You’ve got to play a complete game throughout the 60 minutes, and we didn’t do that and that cost us.”

Conor Sheary scored two goals to lead Pittsburgh, including one in the final minute of the second period that gave Pittsburgh a 4-2 lead.

“I know on the fourth goal there, I take responsibility,” Konecny said. “I could have got the puck in deep, and then I didn’t get the puck out of the zone too. Two turnovers there and they capitalized, and it’s tough to get back in games against guys like this.”

The Flyers could have benefitted from a power-play goal, but that unit was a combined 0 for 5 even with Wayne Simmonds’ return to the lineup. The Flyers’ power play is now 1 for 19 over the last six games.

“The power play was s--- tonight and it’s frustrating,” Claude Giroux said. “We did a good job of drawing those penalties and gaining momentum, but it wasn’t good.”

“We gotta find ways to get the puck to the middle of the ice to alleviate the pressure,” Simmonds said. “Once we got it on the wall, they pressured. They did a good job not allowing us to get it off.”

Playing the Penguins also presented matchup problems for the Flyers. With the Sean Couturier line mostly battling Evgeni Malkin’s line, Hakstol attempted to contain Sidney Crosby’s line with the trio of Valtteri Filppula, Jordan Weal and Simmonds. While they didn’t play terribly, they were still collectively minus-8 and played much of the game at even strength on the defensive side of the ice.

“We made a couple of mistakes and they took advantage of it,” Simmonds said. “I think as a whole, I don’t think we were too bad, but just those couple mistakes, they put them in the back of our net.” 

The Flyers are proving to be one of the NHL’s streakiest teams, both good and bad.

Now they must find a way to pump the brakes Thursday night in Boston.