Flyers recall Samuel Morin from Phantoms

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Flyers recall Samuel Morin from Phantoms

Samuel Morin's time has come … at least for now.

The Flyers on Sunday night recalled Morin from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. With Morin on the roster, the Flyers now have six healthy defensemen.

Shayne Gostisbehere suffered an upper-body injury in the second period Saturday night in Toronto and did not return for the third period. The Flyers did not provide an update Sunday on Gostisbehere.

With Andrew MacDonald out for at least a month with a lower-body injury, the Flyers were carrying six defensemen during their Canada trip last week. Then Gostisbehere went down Saturday.

Morin's call-up could be an indication Gostisbehere might miss time with his injury, but it simply could be an extra body. We'll know more Monday morning during the morning skate before the Arizona game.

If Gostisbehere is out, the Flyers will have six defensemen for the Coyotes game and Morin will draw into the lineup. If Morin does play, the Flyers will have three rookie blueliners in the lineup.

Because we don't have an update on Gostisbehere yet, we shouldn't assume Morin will definitely play Monday, however.

Morin, who has four points and is a plus-7 in eight games this season with the Phantoms, plays primarily the left side. It will be interesting to see what Dave Hakstol does with his pairings if Gostisbehere is out Monday. He'll have options (see story).

It should be noted that if Morin does draw in, he would not directly replace Gostisbehere in terms of role. Sanheim would likely move into a larger role, especially on the power play, since his skill set is similar to Gostisbehere's.

A more defensive-minded blueliner, Morin would likely see minutes as the third-pair defenseman with time on the penalty kill.

The Flyers didn't want to begin the season with three rookies on their blue line, but because of injuries, they're forced to now.

How long Morin will be here depends on MacDonald's health. But this is an opportunity for Morin to prove himself ready again to general manager Ron Hextall.

Flyers' 1st home win doesn't cover up this underlying problem

Flyers' 1st home win doesn't cover up this underlying problem


When the Flyers walked out of the Wells Fargo Center for the final time last season, it came on the heels of an absolute epic meltdown.

Poised to force a Game 7 in their first-round series against the Penguins, the Flyers grabbed a 4-2 lead when Scott Laughton scored with 7:46 remaining in the second period.

Before the Flyers could make hotel reservations for Pittsburgh, the Pens proceeded to score five unanswered goals as they motored out of Philly with an 8-5 victory, winning the series in six games.

On Tuesday, the Flyers collectively fell off the wagon yet again, proving they still have a long way to go to break the bad habit of losing leads. After Claude Giroux scored on a gift of a giveaway from Aaron Eklbad, the Flyers owned a 5-2 advantage with 2:57 remaining in the second period. 

It took just 28 seconds for the Panthers to score a power-play goal and put South Broad on high alert once again.

Not only did Dave Hakstol reinforce the importance of protecting a third-period lead during the second intermission, but the event crew that blares music through the speaker system fittingly chose Volbeat’s “Seal the Deal” just before they dropped the puck. 

Unfortunately, the Flyers couldn’t seal a leaky faucet at that point.

“We didn’t play the right way in the first 10 minutes of the third period,” Hakstol said after the Flyers' 6-5 shootout win Tuesday (see observations). “We gave up two breakaways and one Grade-A chance from the slot. That’s all it takes.”

The winless Panthers needed just 10:36 to wipe out the Flyers three-goal lead, and you can’t blame Andrew MacDonald for this collapse. MacDonald was benched in favor of Christian Folin. You can’t point the finger at Folin, who finished with a rather impressive plus-4 rating, including a key blocked shot on Nick Bjugstad with 4:45 remaining.  

Interestingly for a coach who rarely singles out one particular player or an ineffective line, Hakstol mentioned his top defensive pairing that was victimized for those two third-period goals.

“That’s our top two guys on the back end,” Hakstol said. “Not being necessarily critical of them, but that tells me the line of thinking at that point in time is not the right way.”

And if a team is not thinking the right way, then they’re certainly not geared toward playing the right way or even winning the right way. 

You can forgive the Flyers' top defense pairing for falling apart against the Penguins in the playoffs. After all, Ivan Provorov’s arm was on the verge of falling off.

Tuesday night, Hakstol was so desperate to keep the wheels from falling off, he elected to pull his No. 1 goalie with a 5-4 lead in favor of a backup who had made just two NHL starts in the previous 365 days.

Somehow it all came together as the Flyers found a way to earn a much-needed win in a shootout. 

But it sure would be nice to stop the bleeding before it turns into a bloody mess.

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Flyers 6, Panthers 5 (SO): Jordan Weal saves the day in bizarre 1st home win

Flyers 6, Panthers 5 (SO): Jordan Weal saves the day in bizarre 1st home win


The third time was a shootout charm for the Flyers.

Behind two goals from Wayne Simmonds and Claude Giroux and shootout goals from Jakub Voracek and Jordan Weal, the Flyers defeated the Panthers, 6-5, Tuesday for their first win on home ice.

Which unexpected defenseman stepped up in a big way and what do you make of Dave Hakstol switching goalies with the Flyers leading by a goal in the third period? Observations from the Flyers' win at the Wells Fargo Center.

• Good to see Weal finally pick up his first goal of the season on a tip-in shot from Robert Hagg at the point. Just Weal’s second goal in his last 25 regular-season games. The difference I saw in Weal is he didn’t try to do too much, especially from a stick-handling standpoint. The dilemma facing Hakstol once Nolan Patrick returns is where does Weal go? I’m ready to sit Mikhail Vorobyev, who has been a complete non-factor over his past four games.

• You have to give Hakstol some credit for making a minor tweak to his lines, moving Scott Laughton to center and moving Michael Raffl up with Simmonds. They opened the scoring on their first shift as Laughton and Raffl won a series of board battles, and although they didn’t get credit on the scoresheet, those two forwards made the entire play possible and gave the Flyers their first goal of the game.

• I have to believe defenseman Andrew MacDonald is dealing with some sort of reoccurring injury as he told me last Friday that he came back too soon. MacDonald wasn’t out during warmups as Christian Folin took MacDonald's spot in the lineup. It was Folin who had a beautiful cross-ice lob pass to Laughton at the Panthers' blue line that led to a 2-on-1 and Simmonds' second goal of the game. Folin was considerably better than his first game in Colorado and was a plus-4 through two periods.

• It’s so impressive to watch Shayne Gostisbehere and the confidence he has to pull off high-risk plays. The highlight move from this game was when "Ghost" went to his knees to break up a Panthers breakout play from just outside the Florida zone. As he took control of the puck, Gostisbehere stick-handled his way around the defense and saucered a backhanded pass to Simmonds for the goal. It was an all-around thing of beauty from the Flyers' defenseman.

• The Flyers were completely outplayed in the opening 20 minutes. The Panthers' second line of Vincent Trocheck, Jonathan Huberdeau and Mike Hoffman was the most dominant line and controlled the play. Eventually, the Flyers yielded the first goal for the sixth straight game as Frank Vatrano took a sharp-angled shot that somehow beat Brian Elliott. I think Elliott felt he had the bottom half of the ice covered, but he clearly did not. The Panthers outshot the Flyers, 13-5, in the first period.

• Even though the Evgenii Dadonov goal was the result of a defensive breakdown, it was interesting to see Hakstol pull Elliott in favor of Calvin Pickard, who was victimized by Aleksander Barkov on a breakaway and the game-tying 5-5 goal. The Panthers scored three goals in a span of 10:36. Barkov just breezed around Radko Gudas to break in uncontested. The Elliott decision is more of a reflection of the team’s overall play, but certainly, the Flyers' goalie can’t be happy.

• Even the best players can look awful. Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad, the No. 1 overall pick in 2014, had a horrendous turnover that saw Giroux swoop in and fire a shot that beat Panthers netminder Michael Hutchinson. In all, the Flyers scored five second-period goals in a span of 17:03.

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