Flyers

Blown call hurts Flyers in 'the biggest game of the year'

Blown call hurts Flyers in 'the biggest game of the year'

It takes something so unbelievably unpopular to exceed the decibel level of Wells Fargo Center boos that are normally reserved for Sidney Crosby.

Referee Kyle Rehman, a 12-year veteran of over 650 NHL games, managed to do just that Monday night.

With 7:07 remaining in the second period and the Flyers trailing 2-0, Travis Konecny fired a shot that Matt Murray attempted to glove, except he didn’t. He never secured it and within microseconds of the puck hitting Murray’s glove hand, it was on the ice between his legs. 

Rehman only assumed Murray had snagged it and wasted little time blowing his whistle, as all five Flyers on the ice raised their hands in disgust knowing Nolan Patrick’s rebound goal couldn’t be overturned and this particular sequence would be the turning point in what Jakub Voracek called “the biggest game of the year.”

It finished as a 4-1 loss to the Penguins (see observations).

The ruling from the NHL’s in-game crew was as follows: “The referee blew his whistle because he lost sight of the puck. It is part of the human factor of the game and from the referee’s position it appeared the puck was covered. The on-ice call was in accordance with Rule 31.2 and is not reviewable.”

Rehman was about 15 feet directly behind the Penguins' net when he lost track of the shot. Interestingly, from Carter Hart’s vantage point some 180 feet away from the play, the Flyers' goaltender appeared to have a better angle. Then again, Hart rarely loses visual of any puck on the ice — except for Sidney Crosby’s goal (see video).

“Yeah, I saw he didn’t catch it, but that’s just unlucky and unfortunate for us,” Hart said.

To his credit, Rehman admitted his mistake almost right away.

“Yeah, he apologized, you've got to respect that. I mean, they make mistakes, too,” Voracek said. “Obviously it was a tough mistake to make, but there’s nothing you can do about it after — just have to refocus and try to get one more.”

It negated the most furious 20-minute offensive barrage in franchise history as the Flyers peppered Murray with a team-record 28 shots on net in the second period alone, and finishing with 51 for the game.

Murray was simply unbelievable and the Flyers were remarkably unlucky.

“It would have been probably a different game,” said Sean Couturier, who saw his four-game goal streak come to an end. “Going in to the third [period] down one, it’s totally different. Got to force things and try to create more offense and pushing when there’s not always something. So definitely, it hurt us.”

A regulation victory over the Penguins would have pulled the Flyers within four points of the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. Instead, they now find themselves down eight with 26 games remaining in their regular season. 

“I think it all depends on how we respond [Tuesday],” interim head coach Scott Gordon said. “If we’re going to sulk over it and think it’s the end of the season, then it’s a big loss. But if we play like we did tonight, then one game isn’t going to be the defining moment of the year.”

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Evgeni Malkin takes another swing, this time at the entire Flyers team

Evgeni Malkin takes another swing, this time at the entire Flyers team

Evgeni Malkin is not doing himself any favors for his return to Philadelphia next Saturday night when the Flyers host the Penguins in the Stadium Series at Lincoln Financial Field.

There was no love lost on Valentine's Day between Malkin and the Flyers, as the Penguins' center addressed his one-game suspension for swinging his stick at Michael Raffl.

Malkin didn't feel particularly remorseful when it happened Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center and his tone didn't change Thursday.

Not only did he claim Raffl took a dive when hit by his stick, but Malkin also delivered a shot at the Flyers.

Here are some of his comments, courtesy of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Jason Mackey:

Malkin seems adamant about deeming the play harmless because he didn't actually hit Raffl in the face. That doesn't change the fact that he violently and recklessly swung his stick. If he connected, he could have done serious damage.

That hasn't fazed Malkin.

"It's a high stick, but it's not like I broke his face," Malkin said postgame Monday.

"I'm not trying to hit his face. I know it's dirty, but I missed, my stick [did] not touch his helmet or shoulder."

Flyers interim head coach Scott Gordon put it quite well after Thursday's practice:

Well, it wasn't a high stick. It was a baseball swing. Just because you don't connect doesn't mean it wasn't vicious. It's a tough call. There was intent to swing hard and he did. It didn't connect. I don't think you reward a player because he didn't connect.

Somehow, someway, Malkin might be booed more ruthlessly than Sidney Crosby next Saturday at the Linc.

That's not an easy feat to pull off.

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A big Valentine's Day surprise for Claude Giroux

A big Valentine's Day surprise for Claude Giroux

VOORHEES, N.J. — Claude Giroux received quite the Valentine's Day surprise.

Candy hearts with a beating heart is on the way. Giroux’s wife, Ryanne, tweeted out the picture Thursday morning with a bowl full of candy along with an ultrasound picture. 

Spelled out on the candy hearts was “August 2019,” denoting the expected arrival time. Exactly how the surprise went down, the Flyers' captain elected to keep that to himself.

“I’ll keep the details out of it, but it’s great news. We’re pretty excited, [life-changing] for sure," Giroux said. "There may be a little bit less sleep."

Claude and wife Ryanne tied the knot less than a year ago, July 7, 2018, at the Ashford Estate in Allentown, New Jersey, but he couldn’t have timed a pregnancy any better. An August due date works out perfectly with Giroux’s schedule in the middle of summer and a month prior to the start of training camp.

“Definitely good timing for sure,” Giroux said.

There’s an actual due day, but Giroux elected to sit on that piece of information as well. When I asked if it’s Aug. 7, he responded, “Is that your birthday?”

“No, it’s Sidney Crosby’s,” I told him.

“I’ll make sure he’s not born on that day,” Giroux said with a smile.

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