Flyers

Flyers-Ducks observations: Homestand ends with a dud

Flyers-Ducks observations: Homestand ends with a dud

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This was not the same Anaheim team the Flyers faced 17 days earlier in Southern California.

Playing with their top center Ryan Getzlaf and one of their best defensemen in Hampus Lindholm, the Ducks were opportunistic by capitalizing on the Flyers’ mistakes in a 6-2 decision at the Wells Fargo Center Tuesday night.

The Ducks took the game over in the second period. In what had been the Flyers’ best period this season, Anaheim scored three unanswered goals to take a three-goal lead into the third period. The Flyers had previously outscored opponents 12-5 during the middle frame.

The Flyers closed out their five-game homestand at 3-2-0 for six points.

• Nolan Patrick was shaken up when he went back to retrieve the puck below the Flyers’ goal line. Chris Wagner delivered a hard check that appeared to rattle Patrick’s head (see video). No penalty was called as the Flyers’ rookie went straight to the dressing room for further evaluation. He was showered and in a suit for the start of the third period. Jori Lehtera took Patrick’s spot at center. 

• You could sense the Ducks’ top line was humming in the first period, and it finally broke through with a goal in the second, as Getzlaf sent a cross-ice pass in front of the crease to Rickard Rakell, who tapped in the 4-1 goal.

Getzlaf missed the first game between the Flyers and Ducks with a lower-body injury. Tuesday’s game was his first game in two weeks. Getzlaf, along with Rakell and Corey Perry, spent a lot of time in the Flyers’ zone during the opening 20 minutes. 

• Getzlaf also added a wide-angle goal Brian Elliott should have stopped to give him a goal and an assist. 

• Anaheim extended its lead to 3-1 midway through the second period when Nick Ritchie pounced on Elliott’s rebound. Ritchie was able to elevate a backhand that caught Elliott’s right arm and trickled over the line.

• A little frustration seems to have set in for Jakub Voracek, who can’t buy a goal. Voracek uncorked a one-time slap shot that hit goalie John Gibson right in the crest. Voracek appeared somewhat mystified as he continues to search for that elusive first goal of the season, even with a team-leading 12 assists. 

• I can’t disagree with the penalties that were assessed to Wayne Simmonds when he got tangled up with Getzlaf. Simmonds wouldn’t let go of Getzlaf’s stick. Meanwhile, Getzlaf continued to tug it out from under Simmonds. As frustration grew, Simmonds gave Getzlaf a crosscheck after the whistle blew and was assessed a double-minor that led to an Anaheim power play. 

The retaliator always seems to get caught in the referee’s crosshairs.

• Claude Giroux was giving the referee some choice words on the bench. As he wristed a shot on Gibson, Antoine Vermette took a whack at Giroux and broke the stick of the Flyers’ captain. Yet, no slashing penalty was called. 

On Giroux’s next shift, he was whistled for a legitimate trip (perhaps out of frustration) when he stuck out his skate and tripped up Wagner, who had leveled Lehtera a few seconds earlier.

• Brandon Montour raced past a flat-footed Brandon Manning to give the Ducks their first lead of the game at 2-1. The Flyers’ poor play in the neutral zone allowed Montour to gain speed and have a wide-open look on Elliott.  

First-period observations
• Sean Couturier gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead for the sixth time in nine games. Giroux threaded a nice pass to Couturier, who got behind the defense for the breakaway. Couturier gave Gibson a nice backhand deke before losing control and then regaining it to flip it just over Gibson’s glove. 

The Flyers’ No. 1 center seems to find a way to get at least one quality chance in front of the goalie every game. 

• The Ducks scored first when Travis Konecny delivered a weak backhand along the boards. The pass was picked off by Derek Grant, who immediately fired a shot that was redirected by Ondrej Kase past Elliott for the Ducks’ first goal. Not much Elliott could have done to prevent the goal.

• Radko Gudas wanted a piece of Ducks defenseman Kevin Bieksa, who has a reputation of getting under players’ skin. Bieksa gave Gudas a mild crosscheck in the back after play was stopped and that prompted Gudas to drop his gloves. The linesman intervened before a fight ensued. 

Not sure Gudas’ reaction was warranted, but it was nice to see the feistiness. Both players were assessed two-minute minors for unsportsmanlike conduct. 

As soon as both guys served their penalties, they engaged in fisticuffs as Bieksa decked Gudas with a right hand in a five-second knockout, and it was back to the box for five more minutes (see video)

• The Flyers drew their first faceoff violation of the regular season when Grant was kicked out of the circle and Ritchie committed another false start well before the linesman dropped the puck. Under new rules, two violations within the same faceoff result in a two-minute minor penalty. 

Lines, pairings and scratches

Forwards
Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Jordan Weal-Valtteri Filppula-Wayne Simmonds
Jori Lehtera-Nolan Patrick-Travis Konecny
Dale Weise-Scott Laughton-Michael Raffl

Defensemen
Ivan Provorov-Robert Hagg
Shayne Gostisbehere-Radko Gudas
Brandon Manning-Travis Sanheim

Goalies
Brian Elliott
Michal Neuvirth

Scratches: Forwards Taylor Leier (upper body) and Matt Read (healthy).

The best of Jakub Voracek on his 29th birthday

The best of Jakub Voracek on his 29th birthday

It's Aug. 15, the dog days of summer and hockey is still a few weeks away.

But Jakub Voracek turns 29 years old today and this summer, the winger has already played a big part in helping push the Flyers' process into its next stage by helping recruit James van Riemsdyk back to town (see story).

Voracek is coming off a career-best season at 28 years old, posting 85 points in 82 games in 2017-18. He finished fourth in the NHL with 65 assists and ninth with 35 power-play points.

All of this came after a somewhat disappointing 2016-17 season — 61 points in 82 games, not particularly bad numbers but also not the production you'd like from a player with an $8.25 million cap hit and in Year 1 of an eight-year, $66 million extension.

Last season, though, Voracek proved that he can still very much produce at a top level. Since joining the Flyers in 2011-12, Voracek is third among all wingers with 303 assists and fifth in points with 439. Since the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign, he's eighth among all skaters with 272 assists and 15th in points with 390.

With today being Voracek's birthday, let's take a look back at some of the best from his time as a Flyer because Voracek is one of the most personable players around.

Some plays

Jan. 27, 2016: Voracek scored the game-winner 38 seconds into overtime. It was an important goal in a big game as the Flyers were in the middle of a wild-card chase (see story).

Oct. 14, 2017: The Flyers put a pounding on the Capitals in an 8-2 win at the Wells Fargo Center. Voracek had three assists. This one was one of them. Poor Madison Bowey.

Jan. 13, 2018: Voracek has also torched other teams than the Capitals. Here is a kick pass to Giroux against the Devils in North Jersey.


Some fights

Voracek is not exactly a fighter. According to hockeyfights.com, he has four official fights during the regular season and all have come with the Flyers.

There was the time he dropped the gloves with Gabriel Landeskog for about 30 seconds in Colorado and then said, "I don't think I picked the right city to fight in."

Then there was the time when he roughed up Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi.


Some singing

Sportswriters aren't the only ones who like Bruce Springsteen. Yes, Voracek is also a fan.


A little charity

On Feb. 28, 2017, against the Avalanche, Voracek was eventually credited with a goal many Flyers fans believed was Wayne Simmonds' hat trick. In fact, 396 hats came pouring down to the ice.

As a gesture for taking a hat trick away from Simmonds, Voracek purchased 396 new Flyers hats and donated them to local hospitals for children battling cancer (see story).

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Flyers will face New York Islanders again in annual rookie game

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Flyers will face New York Islanders again in annual rookie game

While the Flyers have not announced the start of their rookie and training camp, they did provide an indication Tuesday of when the camps will be.

For the third straight season, the Flyers and New York Islanders will square off Sept. 12 in their annual rookie game. This time, it returns to New York.

The game will be at 6 p.m. on Sept. 12 at the Northwell Health Ice Center, the Islanders' practice facility in East Meadow, New York. According to Newsday's Andrew Gross, ticket proceeds will benefit the Islanders' Children's Foundation.

In years past, the Flyers have streamed the games on their official website.

Last year, the Flyers-Islanders rookie game was on Sept. 13, 2017, two days after rookie camp began and two days before the main camp opened.

The rookie game marks the official end of rookie camp, so by the process of elimination, a safe guess would be the Flyers' rookie camp will be Sept. 10 and training camp likely opening a day or two after the game.

The Islanders beat the Flyers, 4-3, in overtime last September. The Flyers won the first game two years ago. From 2007 to 2014, the Flyers and Capitals faced each other in their annual rookie games.

Rookie games are fun because they're the first glimpse of prospects and with the Flyers, there's a ton to be excited about — even if signing James van Riemsdyk accelerates their process (see story).

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