Flyers

Flyers left scratching their heads after Jakub Voracek's 2-game suspension for interference on Johnny Boychuk

Flyers left scratching their heads after Jakub Voracek's 2-game suspension for interference on Johnny Boychuk

VOORHEES, N.J. — If you were left scratching your head (or maybe doing something worse) when the NHL Department of Player Safety announced Jakub Voracek's two-game suspension Sunday night, you weren't alone.

The Flyers, ultimately trying to deal with it but also comprehend it, seemed just as puzzled by the league's action.

They've witnessed Kurtis Gabriel ram a defenseless Nolan Patrick face first into the boards and watched Evgeni Malkin recklessly whip his stick near Michael Raffl's head.

And they've seen both Gabriel and Malkin receive one-game suspensions.

"Those are definitely the ones that you're kind of thinking about, especially since we're directly in those games, so you see it firsthand and it leaves you scratching your head a little bit," James van Riemsdyk said Monday after morning skate. "But ultimately it's a tough job for the player safety department to try to go through all that, it's a thankless job because you're always going to have one team that's upset with how things go, but certainly in this situation, I definitely feel we may have a pretty decent case for feeling the way we do."

Everyone knows the play by now (see story).

With the Flyers holding a comfortable four-goal lead 5:41 into the third period of Saturday night's 5-2 win over the Islanders, Voracek braced himself for a hit from Johnny Boychuk by throwing some weight back toward the New York defenseman.

Boychuk seemed surprised by Voracek's awareness and ended up down on the ice, never returning to the game. As he exited, he angrily pointed at Voracek and had words for the Flyers' winger (see story).

Without Voracek Monday night against the Senators, Flyers interim head coach Scott Gordon will once again roll with seven defensemen and 11 forwards.

Gordon said he was "disappointed" with the two-game suspension.

Big picture of things, I think the hit on [Patrick] was a lot more severe, more intention than what Jake was trying to do. I think Jake was trying to protect himself, guy is sprinting down the boards, has no intention of slowing down, sees Jake in front of him and never slows down. Jake's not just going to stand there and absorb the hit. 

As it was, he started above the top of the hash mark and by the time the contact was done, he ended up below the hash mark, so I don't think there was a lot of force on Jake's end of it as much as the force of Boychuk going into Jake, pushing him back the other way. Jake's a lighter man, he probably would have received the worst part of the hit.

How Boychuk falls and what the actual injuries are, I don't know. ... He obviously was alert enough to yell at Jake as he was going off the ice, so I don't know if he had a concussion or not, he very well could have. I think it was more how he landed and maybe not expecting that Jake was going to be as firm on his feet as he was.

Sean Couturier admitted he was a little surprised by the two-game suspension.

Not only are the Flyers losing their third-leading scorer while five points out of a playoff spot with 14 games remaining, but there's growing confusion over what's allowed and not allowed on the ice.

"I don't know if it's just really against us. I guess all you want is maybe a little more consistency," Couturier said. "I think everyone wants that. Sometimes we're on the good side, sometimes we're on the bad side."

As for this specific incident …

"Those plays happen all the time," Couturier said. "Me, personally, I like to use my back to protect myself and brace for the hit and create separation from the player to the puck. Maybe it was just a misjudged play off the rim there, but I feel those plays happen often.

"There are starting to be a lot of questions surrounding hits, the way you protect yourself, the way you hit. I'm not going to change the way I play, those types of plays happen sometimes. It's a part of the game.

"It sucks to see someone hurt, but it's a part of the game."

According to a report by Dave Isaac of the Courier-Post, the NHLPA has filed an appeal for Voracek's suspension. Per a report by Sportsnet's Chris Johnston, the appeal will be heard Tuesday afternoon by the NHL. Still, a player can't play during the process of an appeal.

Voracek did not take part in Monday's morning skate, therefore he was unavailable for comment.

The Flyers must move forward for now.

"I guess all we can ask for as players is consistency with all this stuff," van Riemsdyk said. "That's all we can hope for, if that's the standard, then hopefully they withhold it for everything."

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Flyers weren't kidding themselves about the process

Flyers weren't kidding themselves about the process

Maybe Alain Vigneault wanted to make a point.

That it’s not all about goals.

Philly is a results city and, ultimately, the NHL is a results business. But Vigneault firmly believes in the process behind the results. He will see past the goal tallies bolded in the box score — if the process is being grown and done right.

The Flyers’ head coach constantly refers to the process. It’s what matters most when he attempts to build a contender, especially in Year 1 with a new team.

The process, one would think, looked pretty good Monday night … right? 

Especially during a four-goal second period in which the Flyers blew open an eventual 6-2 win over the Golden Knights (see observations). After all, the Flyers had scored only four goals over their past two games, both lopsided losses.

But Vigneault had other thoughts. He wasn’t about to forget the meaning of the process. He could have easily said the goals came because the Flyers stuck to it.

He didn’t go there.

“We had some puck luck in the second, found a way to score four and got outstanding goaltending,” Vigneault said. “In my mind, that could have been our least effective period in the last eight. But we found a way to win that period, 4-0. Sometimes it works out that way.”

Found a way to score four goals? A least-effective period of four goals?

The Flyers were outshot by Vegas in the middle stanza, 18-13. Brian Elliott came up with monstrous saves as the Flyers permitted some Grade A chances to a dangerous Western Conference team. After the past two losses, the Flyers had mentioned that they expected to be on the positive end of fortunate wins, too — as in that’s hockey, teams can get outplayed and still come away with victories.

The Flyers scored only one goal in the first period Monday but outshot the Golden Knights, 15-7, and really got after them in the offensive zone. The Flyers would take that opening frame over their second period just about every time.

“We thought we played better in the games that we lost,” Michael Raffl said. “We got away from it in the second period a little bit. We’ve got to keep doing what we do and it’s going to work. At the end of the day, when you work like that and keep outshooting opponents, you’ll be on the better end of the game at the end most of the time.”

The Flyers had to practically defend themselves following back-to-back losses by a combined score of 10-4. The Flyers outshot the opposition, 91-38, but uneven defeats don’t sit well with fans, especially ones that have become accustomed to mediocre Octobers.

“Last two games, I know we didn't have the result we wanted, we lost both games, but if you really look into the game, if you understand the game, you understand that we played great games,” Claude Giroux said after morning skate Monday.

The Flyers were OK admitting that they didn’t play their best game against Vegas.

Especially Vigneault.

He’ll be honest about the process — good or bad, no matter what the final score.

“In the second period, we scored four but I really believe that in our last eight periods, it could have been our least effective as far as going north-south a little bit quick, our puck management, making the right plays at the right time,” Vigneault said. “But when we didn’t do it the right way, we got big saves and when they made a mistake in that second period, we were able to make them pay, which we hadn’t been able to do for quite some time.”

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How's that for a breakthrough? Flyers catch fire and beat Golden Knights to snap losing streak

How's that for a breakthrough? Flyers catch fire and beat Golden Knights to snap losing streak

BOX SCORE 

The Flyers felt they had dominated their last two games.

The scoreboard said otherwise.

On Monday night, the Flyers quashed the debate by ripping off five goals through the first two periods en route to an emphatic 6-2 win over the Golden Knights at the Wells Fargo Center.

The victory for the Flyers (3-3-1) put a four-game losing streak to bed as Travis Konecny, Kevin Hayes, Michael Raffl (two), Matt Niskanen and Oskar Lindblom all scored.

The Golden Knights (6-4-0) were coming off a shutout of the Penguins and their penalty kill was 33 for 35 on the season.

The Flyers impressively put up a six-spot on Vegas with two of the goals coming on the man advantage.

• Alain Vigneault’s team made a statement in the second period with four goals. Quite frankly, it needed to make a statement. Winning the shot battle is not a statement — putting up crooked numbers, though, speaks volumes.

The Flyers had scored seven combined goals through the first and second periods this season. They weren’t giving up a ton, but they weren’t capitalizing, either.

This time, the Flyers did, and against a pretty good Western Conference contender.

Now it’s a matter of producing consistently.

• Let’s not forget how good Brian Elliott was against the Golden Knights. He converted big saves, many of which came before the score turned lopsided.

After the Flyers had yielded 10 goals in their previous two games, the 34-year-old picked up 33 stops. He has 76 saves on 81 shots in three career matchups with Vegas.

He could get the next game in Chicago.

Golden Knights backup Oscar Dansk had a rough outing.

• Joel Farabee, the 14th overall pick in the 2018 draft, made his anticipated NHL debut just five games into his pro career.

Last Saturday, Farabee’s mother, grandmother and older brother traveled from Cicero, New York (right outside of Syracuse) to watch his game at AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

His mother Pam was back on the road Monday with Farabee’s father Dave to watch their son’s first NHL game at the Wells Fargo Center.

Farabee, a skilled and strategic goal-scoring winger, didn’t score but exhibited his sharp reads and angles to the puck. He gives the Flyers a flashy skill in the bottom six, a type of player who can make a play out of nothing.

• There has been no slowing down Konecny and Lindblom, who have been the Flyers’ two best players. The Flyers have desperately needed some of their promising youth to take big steps. So far, so good from the 22-year-old Konecny and 23-year-old Lindblom.

Konecny has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in seven games.

For some perspective on his start, the Flames’ Johnny Gaudreau has eight points (three goals, five assists) in 10 games so far.

With his two-point effort, Lindblom has four goals and six points in seven games. Last season, he scored four goals in his first 45 games. The Flyers have put Lindblom in a position that suits him well and he’s taking advantage of it.

• The Flyers’ defensemen were strong and a combined plus-6.

• The unsung Raffl notched his first two-goal game since March 15, 2016.

• Four of the Flyers’ next five games are on the road.

To begin the stretch, the Flyers visit the Blackhawks on Thursday (8:30 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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