Matt Duchene

Poor shootout thwarts Flyers' comeback effort

Poor shootout thwarts Flyers' comeback effort


Sure, you can call it a comeback … sort of. 

The Flyers erased a two-goal deficit as rookie Nolan Patrick scored the game-tying goal with 2.9 seconds remaining in regulation before Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman scored the only goal in round six of the shootout to give the Senators a 4-3 victory.

Matt Duchene opened the scoring and center Derick Brassard increased Ottawa’s lead to 2-0 just 39 seconds later. It was the third straight game the Flyers had allowed a pair of first period goals.

However, the turning point came when Duchene’s potential 4-1 goal was disallowed in the final minute of the second period after video review had determined he was offsides on the play.

Goaltender Alex Lyon started his second straight game, but was pulled after 40 minutes and replaced by Michal Neuvirth. Lyon stopped 20 of the 23 shots he faced.

Sean Couturier (27) and Scott Laughton also scored for the Flyers.

The Flyers have allowed 17 goals over their last four games, the most they’ve allowed in regulation during a four-game stretch this season.

•Patrick was all over the ice in the offensive zone and he was finally rewarded as he scored one of the biggest goals of the season, tying the game with 2.9 seconds remaining, earning the Flyers a point and sending the game into overtime. You could see Patrick intently searching for the loose puck in what was a mad scramble in the final moments of regulation.

•Despite the Flyers dominating the action in the opening 10 minutes, the Senators grabbed the early 1-0 lead as they had a clean breakout from their own zone which led to a 3-on-2 which eventually became a 4-on-3 with Duchene as the trailer. Duchene wheeled around Scott Laughton and simply flipped a beautiful wrist shot over Lyon’s glove-side shoulder. The play all started with Laughton getting caught too low in the Senators' zone as the Flyers didn’t have the numbers to slow down their speed. I thought Lyon gave up the near post a little too quickly as well.  

•Less than a minute later the Senators doubled their lead to 2-0 and this goal I pin on Lyon, who made the initial save from the point and as he went to save the shot from Brassard, his momentum carried him onto his stomach and from that moment he was in scramble mode. He lost track of where the puck was on the ice and failed to protect the near-side post as Brassard continued to jam away until the puck eventually crossed the line. 

•The Flyers' top line was relentless in their first two shifts of the second period and their effort resulted in the Flyers first goal of the game. Defenseman Brandon Manning started the sequence as he fed a streaking Claude Giroux up the middle of the ice which led to a sequence that saw Konecny fire a snap shot on net and Senators goalie Craig Anderson was in pure scramble mode. Like Lyon previously, Anderson fell to his stomach and by the time Gudas backhanded a pass to Couturier Anderson was in no position to make a save.   

•The Senators grabbed a 3-1 lead on a play that all started on their blue line. Giroux was skating with the puck along the blue line and as he attempted to reverse course he lost an edge which led to a 2-on-1 for the Senators with Robert Hägg as the only man back on defense. Hägg has to ensure that pass isn’t there and leave Dzingel to shoot on Lyon who should be squared up and ready for the save, instead Hägg broke early which left an easy tap in goal for Ottawa’s Chris Didomenico.  

•As much as I like Jake Voracek and his relentlessness with the puck, he simply tries to overdo it by forcing plays and skating into traffic which is why he leads all Flyers forwards in giveaways. Voracek had a couple of instances where he was guilty of this and one came on the power play which burned about 15 seconds of powerplay time. 

•The Flyers caught a tremendous break as Ottawa’s potential 4-1 goal was overturned as Duchene was ruled offsides and thus his goal was disallowed. However, it should be concerning that the Flyers had a pair of defenders around Duchene, who simply outworked Laughton and Andrew MacDonald as MacDonald was completely turnaround. Duchene also beat Lyon in almost the same area as his first goal. If you’re Lyon you have to be mindful of this pattern or teams will start exploiting certain weak spots.

•The Flyers came at the Senators hard and heavy in the third period with multiple scoring chances from up close from the Couturier and Patrick lines, but Craig Anderson had an answer every time. Overall, the Flyers outplayed the Senators in this game, but their handful of breakdowns are proving to be too costly. 

•Sure enough, the Flyers' persistence paid off as Laughton scored, deflecting Brandon Manning’s point shot and cutting the Senators' lead to 3-2. 

•Some good early work by the fourth line as they outworked the Senators' fourth line, which culminated with a couple of Jori Lehtera shots on goal. To say Lehtera is due would be an overstatement. For a player that was on the Blues' top line at times last season, Lehtera has failed to score in 34 games played for the Flyers this season.

•Valtteri Filppula had a terrible penalty just seconds after the Flyers killed off the Senators' first power play opportunity. Filppula pursued Erik Karlsson and for whatever reason raised his stick, catching Karlsson. A terrible momentum crusher after the Flyers had just killed Manning’s tripping call, which was a weak call in itself.
•Shayne Gostisbehere laid a big hit on Senators fourth line center Nate Thompson, which led to Thompson’s retaliation. Out of the melee, Ottawa’s Mark Borowiecki and Wayne Simmonds earned matching roughing minors, but overall, it was promising to see Ghost display a rare physical side to his game.

•Ghost again stepped up and delivered another shoulder-to-shoulder shot, this time to Sens penalty killer Zack Smith, as Smith attempted to handle the puck between the two benches.  

•Patrick came so close to scoring for the second time in three games as he had a potential give-and-go with Voracek just slide off his stick. If the Flyers score first, the complexion of that first period changes. 

•Prior to the game, the Flyers ran a video montage of their best clips spliced in with clips from the Eagles' season with the phrase “One More Game” on the Wells Fargo Center ice.

•Dave Leonardi, aka “Sign Man”, was inducted into the newly-created Flyers season ticket Hall of Fame, and as a reward for his commitment and dedication, Leonardi dropped the ceremonial first puck at center ice. Saturday’s game also marked season-ticket appreciation night. Afterwards, the players removed their sweaters and gave them to a select number of season-ticket holders.  

Avalanche (finally) move Matt Duchene in blockbuster 3-team trade

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Avalanche (finally) move Matt Duchene in blockbuster 3-team trade

Joe Sakic told Matt Duchene to be patient, that the trade he asked for would come at some point.

It finally did as the Colorado Avalanche traded Duchene to the Ottawa Senators on Sunday night in a pair of deals that also included Kyle Turris going to the Nashville Predators. With the Duchene saga over, he joins the Senators as their new No. 1 center, Turris gives the Predators more depth down the middle and the Avalanche push forward with their rebuilding youth movement.

"It's bittersweet for sure, but I'm excited for a new opportunity in Ottawa," Duchene said as he left Barclays Center in Brooklyn. "(The Senators) have a team that can win a Stanley Cup. I'm really excited to go there and just nothing but a pleasure to have played here for Colorado."

Colorado gets top prospects Samuel Girardi and Vladislav Kamenev and a 2018 second-round pick from Nashville, and prospect Shane Bowers, goaltender Andrew Hammond and a 2018 first- and 2019 third-round picks from Ottawa. Sakic said the Senators first-round pick was top-10 protected.

Duchene is signed through 2018-19 at a salary-cap hit of $6 million. But Sakic said Duchene requested a trade last Christmas, and he has been talking to teams about moving him ever since.

"It's been a while, but we wanted to make sure we had the right deal," Colorado's general manager said. "I think it worked for all three teams. Ottawa wanted Matt really bad, and Kyle Turris was the perfect fit for what Nashville's trying to do and we're trying to build this up and get younger and have our kids grow together."

After the deals were completed, Turris signed a $36 million, six-year extension with Nashville that keeps him under contract through 2023-24. Nashville, which went to the Stanley Cup Final last season, lost winger James Neal to Vegas in the expansion draft but could afford to sign Turris because of that cap space.

Predators GM David Poile called Turris, 28, one of the best two-way centers in the NHL.

"He should be a great fit in our locker room and will bolster our lineup and give us the depth that's necessary during the regular season and the playoffs," Poile said. "He is someone who can play in all situations and will help us tremendously on both ends of the ice. He will give our coaching staff a number of options in terms of offensive production and defensive responsibilities."

Duchene has four goals and six assists in 13 games this season and 178 goals and 250 assists in 585 NHL games, all with Colorado. He'll play his first game with the Senators on Friday against the Avalanche in Stockholm, which could be a weird meeting after Duchene spent so much time in limbo.

"We're going to still focus on winning hockey games and focus on doing that with the guys that want to be here," Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said after a 6-4 loss to the Islanders. "Obviously, Matt had his opinions and reasons for whatever happened, but I think for the guys that are here, we want to try to win and we want to change this thing around with this team."

Duchene had a good idea in recent days something was coming, and coach Jared Bednar was prepared with different lineups in case a trade went down. Sakic said he, Poile and Senators GM Pierre Dorion had been talking for a long time, so it was hard to find anyone surprised that Duchene is no longer with the Avalanche.

But Duchene's exit came in unique fashion as he found out on the bench during the game and left the ice with injured Colorado forward Blake Comeau 9:21 into the first period.

"I kind of knew before they told me," Duchene said. "I saw them talking on the bench. It's very strange, but I kind of half-expected it to be the weirdest way possible. It's one of those things -- it's a business and I'll have good story for people one day."