Flyers keep goals coming in win vs. Blues

Flyers keep goals coming in win vs. Blues


The Flyers on Saturday afternoon completed a season sweep of the St. Louis Blues, winning, 6-3, at the Wells Fargo Center in the return of former Flyers forward Brayden Schenn.

The Flyers blanked the Blues, 2-0, at Scottrade Center Nov. 2.

Tyrell Goulbourne, making his NHL debut, delivered a bone-jarring hit on Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo that set up the game’s first goal on a shot from Scott Laughton.

Goulbourne finished his first NHL game with 5:08 of ice time and just 20 seconds played in the third period.

With a goal and a pair of assists, Claude Giroux contributed another three-point performance, his third in the past eight games.

Making his 16th consecutive start, Brian Elliott turned aside 28 of 31 shots for his 16th victory. 

• Goulbourne, wearing No. 56, made his presence known off his opening shift. He collided with Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester with a big hit along the glass and then annihilated Pietrangelo with a big open ice hit that led to Laughton retrieving the puck and firing a shot he placed perfectly in the top left part of the net for a 1-0 Flyers lead. An unassisted goal, but Goulbourne played a big part in it.

“I just saw the puck underneath his feet and tried to knock him over,” Goulbourne said between periods. “I wasn’t really worried about the puck there. I just wanted to get that first hit under me.”

• There was a good scoring chance for the Flyers’ top line with the Blues' third defense pairing out on the ice, as the Flyers spread out the Blues' defense. Radko Gudas took a shot from the point, which led to a rebound when Sean Couturier worked his way between the defensemen.

• On their very next shift, off an Ivan Provorov blocked shot, Giroux took the puck and led the rush up the right side where he attempted to thread a pass to Travis Konecny. Instead, the puck deflected off the butt of Colton Parayko and past Blues goaltender Jake Allen for an early 2-0 Flyers lead. Allen had already committed to a possible pass to Konecny and had no chance of reversing course.   

• Jake Voracek draws so much attention when he brings the puck across the blue line that it benefits whoever is playing on his line. Jordan Weal was the latest recipient when Voracek attracted three defenders and then dished it off to Weal, who had open ice and speed to burn. Weal put a beautiful move on Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson and then went to his backhand to slide it past Allen for the goal, which made it 3-0.  

• The Flyers controlled play for the first 35 minutes, winning the majority of puck battles while creating more transition opportunities. The Blues reversed that trend when Pietrangelo and Vladimir Tarasenko made plays off their backhand to spring Paul Stastny on a 2-on-1, leading to the Ivan Barbashev goal that cut the Flyers' lead to 4-1. First, I credit Tarasenko, who batted the puck out of the air, which led to the break. Secondly, Elliott should have sealed off the post. There wasn’t much Barbashev could have done off his backhand from that angle, and Elliott appeared to have been caught by surprise.  

• The Blues cut the Flyers’ lead to 4-2 in the first 12 seconds of the third period as Blues coach Mike Yeo switched up his lines to start. The combination of Barbashev, Tarasenko and Stastny opened the scoring with Bouwmeester’s two-line cross-ice pass to Barbashev on the right wing. Tarasenko wheeled completely around Giroux and as Shayne Gostisbehere dropped to a knee, Tarasenko centered a pass to Stastny for an easy goal.   

• Provorov has had a very up-and-down week. He committed what could have been a costly turnover early in the game. As both teams were making line changes, Provorov attempted a centering pass Alexander Steen intercepted, skated in and fired a shot from the high slot. Thankfully for Provorov and the Flyers, the shot hit Elliott right in the crest.

• After connecting for three power-play goals in the win against the Islanders, the Flyers' PP came up empty in their first two opportunities in the opening period. They generated five shots on net, but outside of Wayne Simmonds' attempt to bang one home from down low, they were all low percentage attempts.

• The Flyers had a 2-on-1 in the opening minutes of the second period with Voracek leading the rush down the right wing. Instead of faking a shot, Voracek telegraphed a pass to Valtteri Filppula, who didn’t have much on his one-time shot. All of which made for an easy read and save for Allen.

• As well as he’s played on that top line, I still think there’s room for improvement for Konecny, who had a couple of shifts where he appeared to be looking to score instead of creating offense. He fired a sharp angle shot high that had very little chance of going in, instead of shooting low with Couturier charging to the net. Konecny had another opportunity to feed a backhand pass to Couturier but didn’t appear to be looking to pass.      

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

Ivan Provorov-Shayne Gostisbehere
Robert Hagg-Andrew MacDonald
Brandon Manning-Radko Gudas

Brian Elliott
Michal Neuvirth

2018 NHL draft position preview — Left wingers

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2018 NHL draft position preview — Left wingers

We began our 2018 NHL draft position previews with a look at the top draft-eligible centers. This draft is top-heavy at wing and defense. We continue our previews with a look at left wingers.

Filip Zadina, 6-0/195, Halifax (QMJHL)
Zadina, who finished as the third-best North American skater by NHL Central Scouting, led all QMJHL rookies and was tied for seventh among all players in 2017-18 with 82 points. He won the Mike Bossy Trophy as the league’s best professional prospect. Playing for the Czech Republic, Zadina was named to the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship All-Star team, scoring eight points in seven games. Hard-working winger with an elite shot, future top-liner.

Draft projection: Top three

Brady Tkachuk, 6-3/196, Boston University (NCAA)
The son of USA Hockey Hall of Famer Keith Tkachuk and brother of Matthew Tkachuk (Flames), Brady Tkachuk checks in as the second-best North American skater by Central Scouting. Had eight goals and 31 points in 40 games during his freshman season at Boston University and added three goals and nine points in seven games during the world juniors. He plays a physical game much like his dad and brother but has a little more finesse to it.

Draft projection: Top five

Joel Farabee, 6-0/164, USNTDP
Farabee finished as the 12th-rated North American skater by Central Scouting. Possesses excellent speed and a strong shot and plays an effective two-way game. A little undersized but the game has changed, so that shouldn’t be a major issue. He had 15 goals and 40 points in 26 games for Team USA in the USHL in 2017-18, and 33 goals and 76 points in 64 games for the USA U-18 team in the USA Hockey National Team Development Program.

Draft projection: Between Nos. 10-18

Grigori Denisenko, 5-11/176, Yarolsavl Jr (Russia)
Denisenko saw a three-spot drop from the Central Scouting midterm rankings to the final, finishing as the seventh-best European skater. He’s gifted with the puck and makes plays, but he has a bit of a reputation as an inconsistent player. The Russian factor may scare teams away. Had nine goals and 22 points in 31 games in the MHL and played four games in the KHL playoffs. On talent alone, Denisenko is among the best in this year’s class.

Draft projection: Mid-to-late first round

Blake McLaughlin, 6-0/162, Chicago (USHL)
McLaughlin checks in as the 24th-rated North American skater by Central Scouting. Another American prospect among the top draft-eligible left wingers, McLaughlin’s best attribute is his shot, though he’s an excellent skater. He finished the 2017-18 season with the Chicago Steel as nearly a point-per-game player, scoring 23 goals and 52 points in 54 games. He’s headed to the University of Minnesota in the fall. Could squeak into late first round but probably a second-rounder.

Draft projection: Early second round

NBC Sports Philadelphia+ to air Lehigh Valley Phantoms Eastern Conference Finals Games

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NBC Sports Philadelphia+ to air Lehigh Valley Phantoms Eastern Conference Finals Games

Philadelphia, PA (May 18, 2018) — NBC Sports Philadelphia announced today the network will air the American Hockey League Eastern Conference Finals games featuring the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and the Toronto Marlies. Games Three through Five will air on NBC Sports Philadelphia+ at 7 p.m.
May 23 - Toronto Marlies at Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Game 3 – 7pm on NBC Sports Philadelphia+

May 25** — Toronto Marlies at Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Game 4 – 7pm on NBC Sports Philadelphia+

May 26*** — Toronto Marlies at Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Game 5 – 7pm on NBC Sports Philadelphia+, *if necessary
** Philadelphia Soul will air on NBC Sports Philadelphia. 

*** The Philadelphia Phillies game will air on NBC Sports Philadelphia, regardless if there is a Game 5 or not.

Atlantic Division Champions for the 2017-18 season, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, proud American Hockey League affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers, have advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals where they will face off against the Toronto Marlies, AHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The winner of the best-of-seven series will then advance to the 2018 Calder Cup Finals. After posting the AHL’s second-most wins (47) and second-most standings points (105), the top-seeded Phantoms eliminated the Providence Bruins in four games (3-1) in the opening round before defeating the Charlotte Checkers in five games (4-1) in the Atlantic Division Finals — a series which included the historic longest game in AHL history.