Flyers

Flyers hold off Avalanche after Michal Neuvirth exits early

Flyers hold off Avalanche after Michal Neuvirth exits early

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DENVER — Michal Neuvirth’s return from a lower-body injury was a successful but short-lived one for the Flyers.

Neuvirth made 10 saves on 11 shots before leaving in the second period with an undisclosed injury. Neuvirth, who was making his first start since Feb. 18, stayed in long enough to get the win but was replaced by Petr Mrazek midway through the Flyers’ 2-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night.

Mrazek made 17 saves as the Flyers ended a two-game losing streak. Meanwhile, Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol did not have an update on Neuvirth postgame.

Claude Giroux scored a goal to extend his point streak to six games and Ivan Provorov had a goal and an assist for the Flyers (39-25-14), who moved a point ahead of the Blue Jackets for third place in the Metropolitan Division. The Flyers are also knotted with the Penguins at 92 points. Both Pittsburgh and Columbus have played one less game.

The Flyers took advantage of Colorado’s goaltending issues to secure the win. Semyon Varlamov, the No. 1 goalie, was out sick and his backup, Jonathan Bernier, was unavailable because of an infection from a cut on his left hand.

Andrew Hammond, who was acquired from Ottawa in the Matt Duchene deal in November, was called up from the American Hockey League and looked shaky at the start in his Colorado debut before settling in to make 31 saves.

Giroux victimized Hammond with a one-timer off a diagonal pass from Shayne Gostisbehere 10:24 into the game, and defenseman Provorov’s blast from the point at 18:12 made it 2-0.

Matt Nieto’s goal at 5:36 of the second made it close but the Flyers held on.

• Center Valtteri Filppula missed his first game this season. Filppula was banged up in Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime loss at Dallas and was ruled out after the warmup. Right winger Dale Weise took Filppula’s spot in the lineup and played on the fourth line with Jori Lehtera and Matt Read.

• Giroux tied his career high with 93 points (27 goals, 66 assists) and is seven points shy of becoming the first Flyers player to reach 100 points since Eric Lindros did it in 1995-96. He has eight goals and 19 assists in his last 20 games.

• Neuvirth was sharp before he left. He made a save on J.T. Compher’s point-blank chance just 1:47 into the game, and then robbed Blake Comeau with a pad save later in the first. His best save came 20 seconds after Colorado made it 2-1. A deflected puck gave Mikko Rantanen an open side of the net but Neuvirth slid over to make another pad save.

Mrazek came on soon after and emergency goaltender Nick Barnett was in the wings if needed.

Alex Lyon, who was assigned to the Phantoms of the AHL, will likely return to the Flyers if Neuvirth’s injury keeps him out.

• The Flyers survived a late flurry by Colorado, which included nearly two straight minutes of offensive zone time for the Avalanche. Hammond came off for an extra skater with about 1:25 left but couldn’t tie it.

Flyers vs. Lightning: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers vs. Lightning: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

The hottest team in hockey will finally host the team that hasn’t turned down the heat all season.

With an NHL best 12-2-1 record since Jan. 12, the Flyers (28-24-7, 63 pts.) will continue their frenzied push for a playoff spot as they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning (45-11-4, 94 pts.) for the final time this season.

The Flyers will look to avoid their first season sweep against the Lightning since the 2013-14 season.

Let's take a look at tonight's essentials: 

• When: 7 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. 
• Where: Wells Fargo Center
• Broadcast: NBCSP
• Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• The Flyers recalled goaltender Brian Elliott from his conditioning loan with the Phantoms and have activated him from injured reserve to the active roster (see story). Elliott will back up Carter Hart for tonight’s game against the Lightning.

Hart will be the fourth different Flyers goaltender the Lightning have faced in their last four meetings with Michal Neuvirth, Cal Pickard and Petr Mrazek as the others. 

After a 2-4-1 start to his career, Hart is 11-2-0 with a 2.46 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage over his last 13 appearances. 

• Tonight’s matchup is the 100th meeting between the Flyers and Lightning with the Flyers owning a 47-37-8-7 advantage.

In the first matchup at the Wells Fargo Center on Nov. 17, the Lightning became the sixth team in league history to cough up a four-goal lead in the third period before winning 6-5 in overtime. Ironically, the Flyers matched that same dubious feat when they lost a 5-1 lead to the Red Wings on Saturday before Travis Konecny pulled through with the game-winner in overtime.

In the Dec. 27 rematch at Amalie Arena, the Flyers battled back from a three-goal deficit in the third period, tying the game before Tampa Bay won it again in the OT period.  

• The speed of Lightning has been blinding so far this season. Tampa Bay needed just 58 games to reach the 90-point plateau. Only eight teams in NHL history have topped 90 points prior to their 60th regular-season game.

It’s a good test. If we find a way to squeak into the playoffs it’s a possible matchup for us. We’re excited about this game. The games we’ve played against them have been fun to play. I don’t see why tonight won’t be fun.

-Claude Giroux

Would you believe the 1979-80 Flyers hold the record? Pat Quinn’s team ripped off a 35-game unbeaten streak and started that season with a 39-4-13 mark for 91 points in their first 56 games.

• Tampa Bay is also the first team since the 1995-96 Pittsburgh Penguins to have three 70-point scorers before the 60-game mark of the season. 

Remarkably, the NHL’s leading scorer and Hart Trophy favorite Nikita Kucherov is on pace to finish with a whopping 135 points. Even if Kucherov finishes with 101 points, he will have increased his point total every season since entering the league in 2013-14.

Kucherov comes to Philadelphia on a five-game point streak with seven goals and 11 assists, an average of 3.6 points per game.

Projected lineup

Forwards
James van Riemsdyk-Claude Giroux-Travis Konecny
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Jake Voracek
Scott Laughton-Nolan Patrick-Wayne Simmonds
Michael Raffl-Phil Varone-Justin Bailey

Defensemen
Ivan Provorov-Travis Sanheim
Andrew MacDonald-Shayne Gostisbehere
Robert Hägg-Radko Gudas

Goalies
Carter Hart
Brian Elliott

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Flyers recall Brian Elliott from conditioning assignment with Phantoms

Flyers recall Brian Elliott from conditioning assignment with Phantoms

VOORHEES, N.J. — Brian Elliott will be back in a Flyers sweater for the first time since Nov. 15. 

The 33-year-old goaltender was recalled Tuesday from his conditioning assignment with the Phantoms and is expected to back up Carter Hart for Tuesday’s game against the Lightning.

It will be interesting to see what Elliott’s future in Philadelphia is for the remainder of this season with the addition of Cam Talbot, who wasn’t with his new team for Wednesday’s morning skate in Voorhees.

Elliott could be traded to a contending team with no roster restrictions after the Feb. 25 deadline, although NHL teams still have to be compliant with the salary cap.

Once again, the Flyers have three goaltenders on the active roster with Hart, Elliott and Mike McKenna. McKenna could be placed on waivers as soon as Talbot is cleared to join the team.

Elliott played admirably in his 14 games prior to his injury with a 2.59 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage. However, his 6-7-0 record doesn’t reflect that. He appeared in two games for the Phantoms over the weekend.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers