John Boruk

Radko Gudas to have NHL hearing for high-sticking Lightning's Nikita Kucherov

Radko Gudas to have NHL hearing for high-sticking Lightning's Nikita Kucherov

Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas will have a hearing Wednesday with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety following his high stick to the head of Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov. 

The incident occurred late in the third period Tuesday night and Gudas was assessed a two-minute minor. However, the league may come down a little bit harder on Gudas. 

In his career, Gudas has been suspended on three separate occasions for a total of 19 games, including a 10-game suspension for his brutal illegal crosscheck to the back of the head of Winnipeg’s Mathieu Perreault in November 2017. 

Interestingly, interim head coach Scott Gordon saw Gudas' penalty a little differently than most. 

“It was a pretty soft stick to the helmet,” Gordon said. “There was no chance of injury. It wasn’t like it was vicious or anything. There was no intent there like we saw a week ago.”

Gordon is obviously referring to the baseball-like swing from Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin that was aimed at the head of Michael Raffl. 

Malkin missed and received a one-game suspension. 

Gudas didn’t and has a record of bad behavior with the league. 

Although Kucherov wasn’t injured on the play, it’s likely Gudas will be suspended for Thursday's game at Montreal, and possibly the Stadium Series game in a much-anticipated rematch with the Penguins.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers

Should latest loss to Lightning sway Flyers' trade deadline decisions?

Should latest loss to Lightning sway Flyers' trade deadline decisions?

The Tampa Bay Lightning are loaded, like Wall Street billionaire loaded, with the Allen Iverson attitude that they would like to add one more sports car to the driveway.

Maybe Wayne Simmonds is that muscle car that ensures the Lightning’s first Stanley Cup in 15 years. They’ve been eyeballing the Flyers' power forward for several weeks now, and whether they give Chuck Fletcher the package he’s looking for probably doesn’t matter.

This Tampa team may very well be the most complete team the NHL has witnessed during the salary cap era. The Lightning topped the 90-point mark before any other team in the league even reached 80 points. 

In fact, the 1979-80 Flyers team made it to 90 points just one game faster than the 2018-19 Lightning, and that was aided with a 35-game unbeaten streak. 

Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center, the Lightning dismantled one of the hottest teams in the NHL with a red-hot rookie goaltender. Tampa Bay scored three goals in the first 10½ minutes to hand Carter Hart and the Flyers a 5-2 loss (see observations).

“We didn’t show up on time,” Sean Couturier said. “They were all over us in the first period. We got caught in our end. We didn’t win some battles. They made us turn the puck over a lot. You can’t do that against that team. They’re too skilled and they’ll make you pay.”

They made the Flyers pay dearly even without Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Victor Hedman, No. 1 goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy and second-leading scorer Brayden Point.

And the NHL’s leading scorer Nikita Kucherov didn’t even register a point as the Flyers simply made it look too easy for the Lightning.

“Turnovers, a lot of turnovers,” interim head coach Scott Gordon said. “We didn’t give Carter a chance tonight.”

They didn’t give Calvin Pickard much of a chance on Nov. 17 or Michal Neuvirth on Dec. 27 as Tampa Bay scored at least five goals in each game, completing a three-game regular-season sweep of the Flyers.

Not long after Gordon pulled Hart, who faced the Lightning for the first time in his brief career, the head coach gave the 20-year-old rookie a little pep talk, mentioning that this game wasn’t necessarily a byproduct of his poor play.

“He just kind of said, ‘It’s not all on you,’ but three goals on nine shots, some of that is on me, too,” Hart said. “I've got to be better. It sucks right now but games like these happen.”

Despite the loss, the Flyers didn’t lose any ground in their pursuit of a wild-card berth, still six points off the pace as they face the Canadiens in Montreal on Thursday.

But, in all likelihood, what we saw Tuesday night would be the Flyers' reward of sneaking into the postseason.

Facing this Lightning team in the first round would be a monumental task, which should make Fletcher’s trade deadline decisions that much easier.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers

Lightning 5, Flyers 2: NHL leader gives Carter Hart early boot

Lightning 5, Flyers 2: NHL leader gives Carter Hart early boot

BOX SCORE

There would be no three-or-four-goal comeback in this game.

The Tampa Bay Lightning jumped on Carter Hart, chasing the rookie netminder midway through the first period on their way to handing the Flyers a 5-2 loss Tuesday night.

The Bolts swept the regular-season series over the Flyers for the first time since 2013-14.

Here are my observations from the Wells Fargo Center:

• It was just a matter of time before Hart was due for a clunker. He had been too good for too long. After awhile, all of those Grade-A opportunities he had stopped recently would eventually catch up with him.

Although he told me after the morning skate that playing three games in four days was “no big deal,” it’s a much different beast at the NHL level against the Lightning, as opposed to the Western Hockey League.

• Ultimately, I think this could benefit Hart and the Flyers as he’ll be better rested for Thursday’s game against Montreal, which is much more vital to the Flyers' postseason chances. That’s a game the Flyers need to win in regulation and they’ll need Hart at his best. 

• I think the Andrew MacDonald-Shayne Gostisbehere pairing has run its course. Neither defenseman is reliable in their own end of the ice and both are easily knocked off pucks along the boards.

I can’t seem to figure out what "Ghost" was doing on the first goal. He seemed to give Hart a path to see the puck, but then proceeded to throw his stick out at the last moment in an effort to deflect it. I’ve said it on numerous times: either get your body in the way and block the shot or remove yourself from the shooting lane completely.

• If you watch a single highlight from this game (and most aren’t worth watching), you have to check out Tampa’s Louis Domingue make a leg save without a stick while lying on his side. When you can get this type of goaltending from your No. 2, you’re a pretty good team.

• Anything less than winning the Stanley Cup will be a disappointment for the Lightning. In three games against the Flyers, they scored eight first-period goals.

Playing on back-to-back nights without defenseman Victor Hedman, starting goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy and their second-leading scorer Brayden Point (who missed a team meeting), Tampa completely zapped the Flyers in the opening 10 minutes, which speaks to its depth and the ability that any line can score at any moment.

• Did you notice former Flyers goaltender Michael Leighton was signed on a two-way deal by the Vancouver Canucks? He hasn’t played in the league since January 2017. If teams are that desperate for goaltending depth, doesn’t some team take a shot on Brian Elliott, who was very solid in relief? 

The only goal Elliott allowed, he had lost his stick and failed to seal the post. I’m sure the Flyers would like to pick up an extra draft pick even if it’s a mid-to-late round pick.

• The Flyers did manage to keep the NHL’s leading scorer Nikita Kucherov off the scoresheet. Kucherov had six points in the two previous games with the Flyers, but was held without a point, snapping his five-game point streak, having racked up 18 points in that stretch. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers