Flyers

Flyers weekly observations: The sky isn't falling after all

Flyers weekly observations: The sky isn't falling after all

Last Sunday, the sky was falling. The Flyers were utterly embarrassed one day after their head coach called publicly called them out.

It was hard to see the light and emotion got the better of all of us. The Flyers went out West and rediscovered their way. Sound familiar? The same thing happened last season after their losing streak reached 10 games. Some observations from the week that was:

• Let's begin with Saturday night's 4-3 overtime loss in San Jose because the wound remains fresh and it still very much has an impact on how this road trip finishes out.

The Flyers' OTL loss hurts. Sure, we can fall back on the "they got a point" narrative, and against a Sharks team that is expected to compete for a Stanley Cup and smoked the Flyers last month in Philly, we'll take it.

But the Flyers had three leads in San Jose on Saturday and left with a loss. That's not an easy pill to swallow. With one more game left on this West Coast trip, Monday night in Arizona, this loss has the potential to knock the train back off the rails.

We're going to find out a lot about this team's backbone, which last Saturday, after the Islanders loss, was non-existent. They fought hard this week and did a lot of really good things in California, but Saturday's loss is a painful one.

• Nolan Patrick found the burst that we haven't seen from him this season this week with an explosive three games in California with five points in three games.

Patrick scored the game-winner in Anaheim with a shot he described as "one of the worst shots I’ve ever taken" by going to a scoring area and finishing.

After a two-assist game in Los Angeles Thursday night, Patrick scored his second goal of the week just 37 seconds into Saturday's game in San Jose.

The Flyers were banking on Patrick to take the next step in his development after an injury-free summer, but we haven't really seen the same jump we saw in the second half of last season from him.

That changed out West as Patrick began clicking with Oskar Lindblom and Jakub Voracek. With James van Riemsdyk nearing a return, Dave Hakstol is going to have an interesting decision to make with his top six.

• Speaking of Lindblom, man, can this dude flat-out make plays behind the net, an area the Flyers desperately need to create offense from.

Lindblom too had a monster week — five points — recording his first career multi-point game Thursday and following it up with another Saturday.

There was a common denominator on his four assists last week: He set up shop behind the net for most of them. Check out his vision from behind the red line on Voracek's goal:

The advanced metrics are encouraging and we're finally seeing some of that translate into point production. I really like how Lindblom and Patrick work together.

• Another big positive from this week was the play of the team's third line of Wayne Simmonds, Jordan Weal and Dale Weise in the past two games.

It's kind of a weird trio … but it's working. There was one shift, in particular, that really stood out to me. It was just before Claude Giroux' goal in the third period.

With the Flyers up 3-2, the trio went to work with relentless forecheck and puck possession in the Kings' zone. They killed time and wore down the L.A. defense and shortly after, Giroux potted his goal.

In the last two games, Simmonds, Weal and Weise have combined for two goals and four assists. Not bad production from a line that features a player who was waived before the season (Weise) and another who was a healthy scratch earlier (Weal).

• I didn't think Ivan Provorov had a slow start to the season. In fact, I thought he was poor. He was making costly and out-of-character mistakes. But he was the one player on this team I wasn't worried about.

This week proved that (see story). Provorov has a three-game point streak with two goals and an assist on this trip, but that's not what impressed me most.

Provorov was calm and collected and logged big minutes. It was the first time this season we saw that version of Provorov, and it's an encouraging sign as we move on. Provorov is back.

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Flyers' Radko Gudas receives 2-game suspension, opening door for Philippe Myers

Flyers' Radko Gudas receives 2-game suspension, opening door for Philippe Myers

Radko Gudas was burned by his reputation Wednesday and it will cost him from playing in two of the Flyers' biggest games this season.

The NHL's Department of Player Safety handed down a two-game suspension for Gudas' high-sticking infraction to the head of Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov during the third period of the Flyers' 5-2 loss Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Center.

Gudas is classified as a repeat offender under the terms of the CBA and his history of such penalties bit him in this circumstance, as he'll miss Thursday's road game against the Canadiens and Saturday's Stadium Series game against the Penguins at Lincoln Financial Field. 

On top of the suspension, the Flyers' defenseman will also forfeit $81,707.32.

Here was the review and reasoning behind the decision from the NHL's Department of Player Safety:

While we agree with Gudas' assertion that this slash is not excessively forceful or violent, this is an intentional play by Gudas. A player who intentionally brings his stick down onto the head of an opponent with a two-handed slashing motion can expect to be penalized by the on-ice officials and, in most cases, be met with some form of supplemental discipline be it a warning, a fine or a suspension.

What causes this play to rise to the level of a suspension is Gudas' disciplinary history, specifically his history of similar behavior.

Prior to this incident, Gudas had been hit with suspensions of 10 games (2017-18), six games (2016-17) and three games (2015-16).

The 28-year-old has cleaned up his play significantly this season, becoming one of the Flyers' most reliable defensemen. Gudas owns a team-best plus-12 rating and his penalties have been down compared to years past. He also plays the Flyers' second-most penalty-kill minutes (159:16), while leading the team in hits (197) and blocking the third-most shots (101).

His absence opens the door for 22-year-old prospect Philippe Myers, who has played just one NHL game — his debut last weekend. It marks a huge opportunity for Myers to prove himself to the coaching staff and general manager Chuck Fletcher.

"Phil Myers can help this team win right now, too," Fletcher said Feb. 9.

"He's still a young man and really, his key time will be next year at training camp and earning a full-time spot for a full season. But right now, if we can get him some experience, practice seems great, being around the team is great, if he can get some games, that'll only help him as he prepares for next year."

The Flyers entered Wednesday six points out of the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot with 22 games remaining. Two teams they're chasing in the playoff hunt are the Canadiens and Penguins, both of whom have 71 points compared to the Flyers' 63.

Meanwhile, Gudas wasn't the Flyers' only defenseman in trouble Wednesday. Robert Hagg was fined $3,091.40 for interference on Cedric Paquette during Tuesday's game.

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Scott Hartnell, other fan favorites highlight Flyers alumni game for 2019 Stadium Series weekend

Scott Hartnell, other fan favorites highlight Flyers alumni game for 2019 Stadium Series weekend

What makes the Stadium Series that much more fun is how it brings the families and alumni together for the weekend.

The Flyers' alumni showdown for this year's event should be plenty of fun.

On Wednesday, the roster was announced for the game, which will be held Friday at 7 p.m. on Penn's campus at the Class of '23 Arena. 

Many fan favorites will suit up, including Scott Hartnell, who has been a busy man since retiring in October. Hartnell was honored by the Flyers in December and was officially named an on-air analyst Wednesday for the NHL Network.

Here are the former Flyers that will play Friday against alumni from the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation.

Forwards

• Riley Cote, Brian Propp, Danny Briere, Todd Fedoruk, Scott Hartnell, Mitch Lamoureux, Dave Brown

Defensemen

• Brad Marsh, Joe Watson, Terry Carkner, Doug Crossman, Kjell Samuelsson, Jim Watson, Nick Schultz, Kimmo Timonen

Goaltender

• Brian Boucher

Paul Holmgren, Bob Kelly and Bill Barber are set to coach the team, while Bernie Parent, Dave Schultz, Bill Clement and Reggie Leach will be in attendance.

For fans interested in attending the game, tickets can be purchased right here.

Meanwhile, the current Flyers will also hit the ice Friday for a 6 p.m. practice at Lincoln Financial Field in preparation for Saturday's 8 p.m. game against the Penguins.

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