Flyers

Flyers weekly observations: No, you don't trade Shayne Gostisbehere, Travis Sanheim's production, more

Flyers weekly observations: No, you don't trade Shayne Gostisbehere, Travis Sanheim's production, more

The Flyers are on a five-game point streak (4-0-1) after losing two straight for the first time since Jan. 7-8.

Last week, they won three of four games and had to say goodbye to Wayne Simmonds.

With March underway, here are observations on the state of the team:

• The NHL trade deadline came and went with general manager Chuck Fletcher making only one move last Monday by sending Simmonds to the Predators.

Leading up to deadline day, some buzz actually generated about a potential trade of Shayne Gostisbehere — nothing firm, but the defenseman's name was out there.

A deal never happened and it's head-scratching as to why anyone who follows the Flyers would be so quick to trade away a player like Gostisbehere.

He's not just a power-play specialist.

He's 25 years old, he's elusive, he's dexterous and he gets the puck out of the defensive zone and up the ice. Oh, and he's under contract through 2022-23 on a cost-effective deal.

Sounds pretty good.

And it doesn't hurt that since 2015-16 he has more goals than John Carlson, Drew Doughty, Seth Jones and P.K. Subban, while ranking 15th among NHL defensemen in points.

• Travis Sanheim has been so good.

Who would have thought he'd be leading all Flyers blueliners in goals (nine) and points (29) with 16 games to go?

The production shouldn't be a crazy surprise to us, though. His size, skill and offensive ability are what drew the Flyers to him in 2014.

"Offense is my game and something I want to continue to develop going forward and bring to the next level," Sanheim said in July 2016.

It does make you wonder what he could have done last year in a full season or why he was sent down to Lehigh Valley in the first place, where he quickly proved he was above the AHL competition.

Was he really that behind in his defensive principles? And was Brandon Manning that much better of an option?

The 22-year-old Sanheim is now one of the team's best defensemen and the 28-year-old Manning is in the AHL after not panning out with the Blackhawks or Oilers.

• The Flyers entered Monday five points out of the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot. Right now, they still need to jump two teams.

Hockey-Reference.com has the Flyers with a 9.7 percent chance to make the postseason and SportsClubStats.com gives them a 5.8 percent chance.

If the Flyers can pull it off, they'll have certainly earned it. Thirteen of their final 16 games are against teams currently in a playoff spot.

The teams they face are also playing well. The combined record of the clubs remaining on the Flyers' schedule is 93-61-16 since the start of February.

• It's cool to see the impact Simmonds had on the Flyers' youth.

We're seeing it from Travis Konecny, a tiny 21-year-old with first-round pedigree and a goal-scoring background. But he has mixed it up in the past two games, standing up for Nolan Patrick and also fighting Jordan Eberle.

"Simmer is one of those guys you don't want to mess with," Konecny said last Friday. "Teams probably look at us differently. We're still the same team in that we stick together. I think Simmer left a lot of that with us and taught us young guys to stick up for your teammates."

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Yikes! Flyers choke away 3-0 third-period lead for shootout loss to Islanders

Yikes! Flyers choke away 3-0 third-period lead for shootout loss to Islanders

BOX SCORE

The Flyers choked away a 3-0 third-period lead Saturday night en route to a crushing 4-3 shootout loss at the hands of the Islanders.

The aftermath: an ugly and lost weekend.

Returning home to the Wells Fargo Center, head coach Alain Vigneault's team was in prime position to secure a noteworthy win following a befuddling letdown in Ottawa the night prior.

The Flyers wilted, though, in the final stanza, wasting away an opportunity for a quality win within the division. The Flyers (10-6-4) have lost three straight and gone to the shootout seven times this season because of blown leads and an inability to finish games.

After scoring two goals over their last two games, both losses, the Flyers were able to put up three on New York through two periods. The Islanders entered allowing the NHL's fewest goals per game at 2.29.

If only the Flyers kept their foot on the gas.

Give credit to the Islanders (14-3-1) for storming back and extending their point streak to 14 games (13-0-1). They took advantage of a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty in the third period and completely had the Flyers on their heels.

• The Flyers are at the 20-game mark and this was not how they wanted to reach it. While they look different this season, they are still maddeningly inconsistent at times.

Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, James van Riemsdyk and Kevin Hayes went scoreless against New York.

It's a good thing when others are producing, but the Flyers will need to get their big boys going with the others. It hasn't happened yet and the team's record reflects it.

• Brian Elliott came in and out of his crease quite often Saturday night. He had a weird game as he made some timely saves but fell flat in the third period.

That's when they really needed him.

• Oskar Lindblom has arguably been the Flyers' best forward 20 games into the year. The 23-year-old plays on both special teams units and has nine goals and seven assists.

Other NHL players with nine goals so far: Sebastian Aho, Filip Forsberg and Artemi Panarin.

Lindblom had a two-point effort Saturday, marking his third multi-point game of the season after having four all of last season.

He has run away with the opportunity given to him by Vigneault and company.

• The new line of Lindblom, Joel Farabee and Sean Couturier features plenty of intrigue.

The group opened the game's scoring just 1:38 into the action when Lindblom found Couturier, who had a two-point performance himself. The Flyers were 12-5-2 when Couturier had a multi-point game last season.

Lindblom, Couturier and Farabee combined for five points. It still wasn't enough, which is troubling.

• Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere have been flip-flopping on the first and second power play units. Provorov was moved off the first group in Friday night's 2-1 loss to the Senators.

"Provy started off, he had three turnovers in the first 10 minutes, made a switch," Vigneault said before Saturday night's game. "Ghost seemed to me that he was playing a little bit better. If you want to play, you’ve got to make the plays."

Provorov made one on the man advantage Saturday to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead in the opening frame. He has four goals and nine assists in 20 games. Last season, he had four goals and eight assists through 40 games. The addition of Matt Niskanen has been huge for the 22-year-old defenseman.

• A little over two hours before puck drop, Vigneault said the Flyers had lineup decisions to make regarding some players nursing minor injuries.

The club's full roster took warmups. Afterward, Philippe Myers and Carsen Twarynski were the scratches as Robert Hagg and Chris Stewart played in their spots.

It's uncertain why the Flyers went that route. Vigneault said postgame that both Myers and Twarynski were healthy.

Myers will be back in the lineup. The 22-year-old defenseman has been great with three goals, an assist and a plus-7 mark in eight games since being called up from AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

Twarynski, a 21-year-old forward, is in a more precarious spot with Scott Laughton (broken finger) nearing his return from long-term injured reserve. Laughton could be back as soon as next Saturday's game against the Flames.

• The Flyers rocked military appreciation jerseys during warmups.

• The Flyers are off Sunday and practice Monday at 11:30 a.m. in Voorhees, New Jersey, before traveling to Florida for a matchup Tuesday with Joel Quenneville's Panthers (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

 

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

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

The Flyers are hoping some home cooking can serve as the remedy for their sudden scoring troubles.

Sparking the offense will not come easily Saturday when the Flyers (10-6-3) host the Islanders (13-3-1).

Let's get into the essentials:

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

• The Flyers' goal-scoring difficulty crept up rather quietly because the team was playing well, beating quality clubs and on a seven-game point streak.

The issue became much more recognizable when the point streak was halted Friday night by a 2-1 loss to the Senators (see observations).

After scoring 3.27 goals per game over their first 15 games, the Flyers have put up just 1.50 in their past four. They've lost two straight games, scoring only one goal in each outing.

• Why won't it get any easier?

Because Barry Trotz and the Islanders are in town. New York is on a 13-game point streak (12-0-1) and allowing just two goals per game during that stretch. Overall, the Islanders surrender the NHL's fewest goals per game at 2.29.

However, New York has played only five road games — the fewest in the NHL — compared to 12 home games. The Flyers have earned at least a point in eight of nine home games (6-1-2) and are scoring 3.67 goals per game at home.

• Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss, who is 7-1-0 with a 1.88 goals-against average and .942 save percentage, doesn't have great career numbers against the Flyers: 6-4-2, 3.35 GAA, .897 save percentage.

• Playing a back-to-back set, the Flyers did not skate this morning, so it's uncertain how the lineup will look exactly.

Projected lineup

Forwards

Joel Farabee-Claude Giroux-Jakub Voracek
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Travis Konecny
James van Riemsdyk-Kevin Hayes-Carsen Twarynski
Andy Andreoff-Michael Raffl-Tyler Pitlick

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Shayne Gostisbehere-Justin Braun
Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers

Goalies

Brian Elliott
Carter Hart

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