Flyers

Flyers' Brian Elliott joins Phantoms for recovery stint

Flyers' Brian Elliott joins Phantoms for recovery stint

Updated: 4:18 p.m.

Brian Elliott’s road to recovery will head up the Northeast Extension to Lehigh Valley.

The Flyers' goaltender will join the Phantoms for a conditioning stint. Elliott is not expected to spend much time with the Phantoms, who play three games over the weekend — including a home-and-home with the Hershey Bears. Later in the afternoon, the Flyers recalled goaltender Mike McKenna from his conditioning loan with Lehigh Valley, giving the big club three goalies.

Under CBA rules, NHL teams can send players recovering from injury to the AHL for a maximum of two weeks, or they can utilize a shorter “long-term injury” conditioning designation, as Elliott feels he may need just a warmup game or two.

“I’m confident enough that I could step in,” Elliott said this past Friday. “With how the team is rolling, it would be nice to get a feel for games. I definitely want to be sure to take the necessary precautions to be ready and eventually help the team win some games down the stretch here.”

Elliott hasn’t seen game action since sustaining an injury against the Devils on Nov. 15. Former general manager Ron Hextall set out an original timetable of two weeks, but clearly Elliott’s injury was much more serious than first believed. 

At some point, the Flyers are expected to place McKenna on waivers. McKenna had been with the Phantoms on a conditioning stint since Jan. 30, which meant the two-week window expired on Tuesday.

Defenseman Samuel Morin is also expected to be loaned to the Phantoms at some point very soon.   

The bigger question moving forward is how the Flyers will handle the workload in net as they’re expected to carry three goaltenders on their roster for the remainder of the regular season. Carter Hart should continue to receive the majority of the starts.

Right now, Anthony Stolarz gets the nod for Tuesday’s game in Minnesota. Interim head coach Scott Gordon hasn’t made any decisions beyond that with the Flyers' next round of games coming this weekend with a home-and-home against the Red Wings.

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Subpar start leads to Flyers loss vs. Lightning but doesn't hurt spot in NHL playoff race

Subpar start leads to Flyers loss vs. Lightning but doesn't hurt spot in NHL playoff race

BOX SCORE

The Flyers didn't bring their A-game to a game they needed it.

There would be no giant killing Saturday as the Flyers lost to the Lightning, 5-3, at Amalie Arena.

Goals from Ivan Provorov, James van Riemsdyk and Claude Giroux weren't enough for the Flyers (32-20-7), who are 6-3-2 against the Bruins, Lightning, Capitals, Penguins and Blues, the league's top five clubs.

Tampa Bay is the only one the Flyers haven't beaten. They'll get a final crack at the Lightning on March 12 in the same building.

The Lightning (39-15-5) have won 10 straight games.

• This really wasn't a bad loss for the Flyers.

They were at the end of a road trip and playing the NHL's hottest team. Tampa Bay is 22-2-1 over its last 25 games and hasn't lost at home since Dec. 19.

The Flyers entered Saturday with a 66.9 percent chance to make the playoffs, according to Hockey-Reference.com, and still hold an Eastern Conference wild-card spot (see standings).

Alain Vigneault's team just needs to recharge and be ready for a big home-and-home set against the Blue Jackets next week.

• Things got chippy in the second period. Travis Konecny was right in the middle of it all.

Steven Stamkos appeared to trip Giroux before a faceoff. Giroux didn't even look to be that mad about it.

During the final 6:09 of the middle frame, 22 penalty minutes were accrued.

• Brayden Point (10-game point streak) is good at hockey.

• Carter Hart, who was coming off his first road victory since Nov. 10, allowed four goals on 23 shots.

The 21-year-old wasn't the problem.

The first goal was a fluky one by Alex Killorn. On the second, Provorov was sloppy with the puck in the defensive zone and Tampa Bay capitalized to take a 2-0 lead into first intermission.

In the middle stanza, the Lightning beat Hart on a 3-on-2 to grab a commanding 3-0 advantage. Tampa Bay improved to 33-4-3 when it scores three or more goals.

Not only are the Lightning really good, but the Flyers also didn't play their typical forechecking, possession-based game until it was too late.

• Outside of the van Riemsdyk's third-period goal, Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy was strong with 30 saves, 15 of which came in the final stanza. 

Vasilevskiy improved to 18-0-1 with a 1.83 goals-against average and .940 save percentage over his last 19 starts.

• Provorov was far from his best against Tampa Bay but he did score the Flyers' first goal to trim the Lightning's lead to 3-1 in the second period. He also had an assist.

The 23-year-old has grown into a power play quarterback this season. He leads all NHL defensemen with seven man advantage goals after scoring only two over his first three NHL seasons.

• Travis Sanheim played 19:43 minutes Saturday after missing almost the entire third period of Thursday's 6-2 win over the Panthers because of a lower-body issue.

• The Flyers are off Sunday, practice at 11:30 a.m. Monday in Voorhees, New Jersey and host the Blue Jackets Tuesday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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Flyers, Lightning have 4 p.m. start on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Flyers, Lightning have 4 p.m. start on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Saturday's game should be a good one.

The Flyers and Lightning are two of the hottest teams in the NHL. Since Jan. 8, the Flyers have the league's most goals (52) and only one team has more points (21) — the Lightning (27).

Tampa Bay is also on a nine-game winning streak and 21-2-1 over its last 24 games.

The big showdown comes a little earlier than usual. Puck drop will be shortly after 4 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, with Flyers Pregame Live set for 3:30 p.m. ET.

The matchup finishes off a three-game road trip for the Flyers, who then play four of their next five games at the Wells Fargo Center.

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