Flyers bit by own-goals, bad breaks in shootout loss to Avalanche

Flyers bit by own-goals, bad breaks in shootout loss to Avalanche


Now that we’ve all turned back the clock around the house Sunday morning, why not do the same with the Flyers' home portion of their schedule.

Following the Flyers' 5-4 shootout loss Saturday night to the Colorado Avalanche, how far should we go back to find the last time they actually took a lead into the third period?

Try Oct. 17, a 5-1 win over the Florida Panthers. Since that shellacking, the Flyers have played 309 minutes and 45 seconds on home ice and in that span, they've held a lead for 52 minutes and 46 seconds, or approximately 17 percent of the time.

Last Monday, against Arizona, the Flyers dug themselves out of a 3-0 hole before losing in overtime. On Saturday night, against Colorado, they had to battle back from three different one-goal deficits to earn a point.

Sure, no lead is safe when playing the Flyers, but playing without a lead, rarely, if ever, results in a positive outcome.

When Claude Giroux scored a power-play goal at the 6:31 mark of the second period, which gave the Flyers a 2-1 advantage, it appeared the Flyers were on the verge of erasing some past failures. Seven minutes later, the Flyers' power-play unit was given a golden opportunity to extend that lead, and even better, take a lead into the third period, where they’re a perfect 6-0-0 this season.

Only this time, their equipment got in the way. 

Blake Comeau's shorthanded goal went off Ivan Provorov's skate and deflected perfectly into the top-right corner of the net, which tied the game at two. Nothing Michal Neuvirth could have done about that goal.

Moments later, Travis Sanheim was whistled for hooking that gave Colorado a power play. On the ensuing man advantage, the player the Avalanche took advantage of this time was Robert Hagg. From behind the Flyers' goal line, Mikko Rantanen banked a pass off Hagg's stick and into the back of the net. Once again, nothing Neuvirth could do about that, either. 

"I was not happy, I'll tell you," Hagg said. "But it was a bad bounce, there's not much I can do. If I'm not there, it's a tap-in for the guy on the back door, but hopefully, I can keep the puck out of the net next time."

"I don't even know what to say about those," Travis Konecny said. "That's just the way hockey is. You can't do anything about those. That's just the way bounces go sometimes. It's a tough one to lose. We had a lot of good opportunities out there. It's still sinking in right now."

A skate, a stick and eventually, another lost point on home ice, where the Flyers now have dropped four of their past five and have earned just four out of a possible 10 points.

For the most part, the Flyers can look at the overall picture and feel they've outplayed their opponents — they just haven't outscored them.

"It doesn't feel very good, losing a point at home," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. "If you're asking what the feeling is, that's what it is — doesn't feel very good."

When asked if the team is better than the record indicates, Jakub Voracek quipped, "I think so. We've played tough teams, tough buildings. We've played a lot of good games, but in the end, it has to show up on the scoresheet."

The Flyers' record stands at 7-6-2 and just 3-2-2 at the Wells Fargo Center. Not only are points hard to come by, but so are days off. They just wrapped up a stretch of six games over a span of 10 days.

"I think it will be good for us to get some rest," Provorov said. "We've played a lot of games in a short amount of time. We'll get some rest and work on a lot of things during practice and then we'll get better."

"Playing back-to-back in Chicago and St. Louis and playing here," Claude Giroux, who scored his eighth goal of the season, said, "a little time off will be good for us. Not just physically but mentally. When we come back to work (Thursday against Chicago), we need to keep doing what we're doing."

Except for that one part where the Flyers can’t seem to play with a lead on home ice.

German Rubtsov, Mike Vecchione among Flyers' 11 cuts

German Rubtsov, Mike Vecchione among Flyers' 11 cuts

As expected, the Flyers reduced their training camp roster by 11 players on Thursday.

After signing 18-year-old defenseman Yegor Zamula to an entry-level contract, the Flyers assigned him to his junior team, the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL.

Of the 10 players assigned to the Phantoms, five are forwards: Colin McDonald, David Kase, German Rubtsov, Mike Vecchione and Connor Bunnaman. Perhaps, the one surprise in this group is Rubtsov, who scored his first preseason goal against the Rangers Wednesday, and continued to impress the coaching staff with his strong two-way game and smart, responsible play with the puck.

However, the Flyers appear to be deep at the center position with Mikhail Vorobyev and Corban Knight also turning in solid performances throughout the week.

General manager Ron Hextall also sent down five defensemen: Reece Willcox, David Drake, Frank Hora, James de Haas and Zach Palmquist. No real surprises here as the Flyers continue to search for depth as they move closer to the regular season.  

The Flyers' roster has been trimmed down to 25 forwards and 11 defensemen with Philippe Myers, Mark Friedman and T.J. Brennan vying for one or two spots on the opening night roster, depending on Andrew MacDonald’s availability. 

The notable forwards still competing for a job include 2016 third-round pick Carsen Twarynski and 2014 second-round selection Nicolas Aube-Kubel. Oskar Lindblom, Vorobyev, Myers and Aube-Kubel are among the Flyers who will play Friday night against the Islanders at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Expect a good number of prospects to play in that exhibition game.

Here’s a look at the remaining roster:

Forwards (25)
Claude Giroux
Sean Couturier
Jakub Voracek
Scott Laughton
Dale Weise
Jordan Weal
Travis Konecny
Wayne Simmonds
Taylor Leier
Michael Raffl
Jori Lehtera
Nolan Patrick
James van Riemsdyk
Oskar Lindblom
Tyrell Goulbourne
Phil Varone
Cole Bardreau
Danick Martel
Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Greg Carey
Carsen Twarynski
Mikhail Vorobyev
Radel Fazleev
Pascal Laberge

Defensemen (11)
Ivan Provorov
Shayne Gostisbehere
Andrew MacDonald
Radko Gudas
Robert Hagg
Christian Folin
Travis Sanheim
Philippe Myers
T.J. Brennan
Mark Friedman
*Samuel Morin

Goaltenders (5)
Brian Elliott
Michal Neuvirth
*Alex Lyon
Carter Hart
Anthony Stolarz

*Currently injured

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Alex Lyon out approximately 4 weeks with lower-body injury

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Alex Lyon out approximately 4 weeks with lower-body injury

The Flyers on Thursday announced goalie Alex Lyon would be sidelined approximately four weeks with a lower-body injury. 

Lyon was scheduled to start Tuesday's road matchup against the Islanders but was scratched after sustaining the injury during warmups. His preseason comes to a close having appeared in just one game, logging 30 minutes and stopping nine of the 10 shots he faced against the Islanders Sept. 16.

With Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth at the NHL level, Lyon was slated to begin the season in Lehigh Valley in competition with Anthony Stolarz and mega-prospect Carter Hart for playing time, with Lyon battling Stolarz for a call-up should injuries hit the Flyers’ goaltenders.

Lyon re-signed with the Flyers on a two-year contract in July. The 25-year-old goalie made his NHL debut last season, posting a 4-2-1 record with a 2.75 goals-against average and .905 save percentage in 11 games.

At the AHL level, Lyon was 16-8-2 with a 2.77 goals-against average during the regular season. Lyon helped the Phantoms reach the Eastern Conference Finals by posting a 1.98 goals-against average and a .944 save percentage in 11 playoff games.

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