Different type of fireworks as Flyers get the best of Senators again

Different type of fireworks as Flyers get the best of Senators again


The Flyers and Senators provided a different form of fireworks.

Two weeks after a feisty matchup in Philly, both teams let things play out strictly on the scoreboard Saturday night at Canadian Tire Centre.

Once again, the Flyers got the best of Ottawa, this time picking up a 5-4 shootout win.

The Flyers have gone to the skills competition an NHL-most nine times and Sean Couturier was the lone player to score Saturday.

After an 0-3-0 road trip in which they scored only five goals, the Flyers (20-11-5) have responded with three straight wins and 4.67 goals per game.

They earned win No. 20 of the season on Dec. 21. In 2018-19, the Flyers notched their 20th victory on Jan. 28.

Before this defeat, the Senators (15-18-4) had won eight of their previous nine home games.

• Mark Borowiecki, who sparked the fireworks at the Wells Fargo Center, and Chris Stewart had an animated conversation during warmups.

It did not translate to any extracurricular activity. Stewart played only 3:50 but his presence was definitely felt.

Travis Konecny played with his usual edge and energy. The Flyers' leading scorer suffered a concussion in the previous matchup on a hard hit from Borowiecki. While Konecny went scoreless Saturday, he was strong and impactful in 21:20 minutes.

• Here comes James van Riemsdyk.

When he scores goals, he scores them in bunches. He has eight in the last 11 games after netting only four in the first 25 games.

Last season, from Jan. 10 to March 21, the Flyers went 21-8-2 as van Riemsdyk scored 20 goals in those 31 games.

The Flyers would love another one of van Riemsdyk's lengthy streaks.

• Brian Elliott delivered a clutch first period and shootout performance (see highlights). In the opening frame, he faced numerous grade A chances and stopped all 17 of the Senators' shots.

The Flyers were not as structured during the opening 20 minutes and Elliott bailed them out. In the second period, the Flyers saw a 2-0 lead vanish in 25 seconds.

Then, on the power play, Anthony Duclair gave Ottawa a 3-2 advantage with his 11th goal in the last nine games but the Flyers got it right back less than a minute later.

Elliott gave the Flyers another solid effort and finished with 30 saves. He's been solid all season thus far.

At this point of last season, the Flyers had already played six goalies: Elliott, Carter Hart, Calvin Pickard, Anthony Stolarz, Michal Neuvirth and Alex Lyon.

Senators goalie Marcus Hogberg was magnificent in overtime with seven saves.

• van Riemsdyk, Kevin Hayes and Jakub Voracek all have an average annual value of $7 million or above.

Back on Nov. 18, head coach Alain Vigneault challenged those three players:

All those guys, I love the person. I love Kevin Hayes as a person, James and Jake I’m starting to know, they’re great people. I need more from the hockey player.

Obviously they feel pressure, but that’s why they’re paid the big bucks. You’ve got to deliver, you’ve got to produce, and we expect those guys to produce.

Now, Vigneault is getting the best out of them.

JVR has a team-high 12 goals after a stretch of 12 points (eight goals, four assists) in the last 12 games.

Hayes has 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in the last 16 games. He scored a power play goal Saturday, giving him nine tallies in 36 games. When Hayes scored his career-high 25 goals in 2017-18, he had nine through 36 games.

Voracek has 13 points (four goals, nine assists) and a plus-9 rating in the last 14 games.

• Nicolas Aube-Kubel has been great over four games since his call-up. He had a nice assist on van Riemsdyk's second goal and has been killing penalties.

• The Flyers were without “Steady Eddie” Matt Niskanen (flu), who has been one of the team's most valuable players.

• The Flyers host the Rangers Monday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP) before the NHL-mandated holiday break from Dec. 24-26. 


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The first week of Gritty's daytime mini show was simply incredible

The first week of Gritty's daytime mini show was simply incredible

Gritty has remained a constant form of entertainment all throughout the week, thanks to his new show, “Gritty’s Quarter Hour of Power!” 

The show is just like the name — every day this week, Gritty has hopped on Instagram Live to fulfill tasks and play games with the team’s in-arena host Andrea Helfrich and even a guest star or two. 

Since the streams are only available for 24 hours following the initial air date, I figured it would make sense to break everything down if you had missed any days. 

Let’s just say, this has certainly been one of the top highlights of the week. 

Let’s dive on in! 

Monday — the great game of Jenga

Gritty started off the week on a high note, playing a jumbo size game of Jenga by himself. Throughout the game, fans were getting shoutouts, squeaks from the favorite mascot and some quality entertainment. 

Even Scott Hartnell joined in on the fun and small talk with the mascot. Luckily, you can catch up on Day 1 right here

Tuesday — lunchtime 

It seems like everyone is cooking with all of the free time on their hands — even Bernie Parent is enjoying time in the kitchen making macaroni from scratch. 

Gritty on the other paw, decided to make a lunch classic — peanut butter and jelly. We learned a few things about Gritty in this video: 

-He is a grape jelly mascot
-He prefers the bread to be toasted
-The crust HAS to be cut off
-Grapes are the secret ingredient to his sandwich 

And boy was the concentration real in this video. I thought that one time Gritty had an axe was scary but after evaluating his pristine surgical skills on those grapes, I somehow feel more content. 

Wednesday — Pictionary

Next on the agenda was another classic game, good old charades. Gritty was acting everything out, while Helfrich and the fans that tuned in to watch, joined in on guessing what was on the cards. 

Gritty’s roommate, Kevin Hayes entered the chat — saying hi to his friend and taking a crack at a few guesses as well. 

This sparked the wonderful idea for Thursday’s episode. 

Thursday — The first guest star

For the first time of the week, Gritty had a new co-host — Hayes. Since this was Hayes’ first time on the show, his pal made sure he was well-prepared with what to say. Gritty held up cue cards so the former ref could welcome the fans to the show for the day. 

Funny enough, throughout this round of charades, Derek Grant and Carsen Twarynski joined in guessing in the comments — and a few troll comments here and there. 

We also found out that Hayes is a big fan of karaoke — but who’s surprised there? Maybe soon we’ll get another guest appearance with a karaoke session featuring Gritty playing the paws (get it? Since his paws squeak and he can’t talk? I think you get it). 

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The Best One yet featuring @kphayes12.

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Friday — Yoga (or a seance?) 

Now Friday … Friday was an odd one — mainly due to the fact Gritty spent the opening minutes with calm music playing in the complete dark. 

Eventually, we were able to see the mascot, thanks him lighting up a line of very small candles in front of him. Yes, in one week we have seen Gritty with a knife and fire. 

Luckily, since he didn’t go up in flames, we were able to witness a yoga session. According to Helfrich, Gritty does yoga all of the time so we were technically watching a pro … even though before the additional light of the lantern it looked like something straight out of a horror film. 

This entertaining daytime show will be back next week with new ideas and guests. One of the comments suggested Gritty painting Bob Ross style and now it just has to happen. My fingers are crossed.

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Flyers Talk podcast: Analyzing scenarios for Stanley Cup Playoffs

Flyers Talk podcast: Analyzing scenarios for Stanley Cup Playoffs

On the latest Flyers Talk podcast, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Katie Emmer and Jordan Hall are joined by Joe Fordyce, the Flyers Pre and Postgame Live producer.

From multiple interviews to the format of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, let's dive in:

1:25 — Kevin Hayes talks all things Flyers and the NHL stoppage

7:30 — No fans during the Stanley Cup Playoffs?

14:50 — An interview with Rick Tocchet and Keith Jones

18:00 — Should the NHL change the playoff format?

24:00 — Life without Flyers hockey right now

30:30 — Debating our all-time Flyers team

Subscribe and rate Flyers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

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