Flyers

Plenty of leftovers as Flyers eat up vs. Red Wings on Black Friday

Plenty of leftovers as Flyers eat up vs. Red Wings on Black Friday

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Playing an inferior opponent on Black Friday, the Flyers took care of business at home by beating the Red Wings, 6-1.

The Flyers (14-7-5) started slowly but Carter Hart did not and the team turned it on behind him.

Kevin Hayes, Sean Couturier, Oskar Lindblom, James van Riemsdyk, Shayne Gostisbehere and Scott Laughton all scored goals for the Flyers, who are 9-2-4 during November, earning at least a point in all but two games (see highlights).

Since Oct. 21, the Flyers are 12-4-4 with 28 points, second most in the NHL over that stretch. There are still games to play Friday across the NHL, but impressive nonetheless.

With the victory, the Flyers are 8-1-4 at home and will finish the first two months of the season with only one regulation loss at the Wells Fargo Center. The last time the Flyers pulled that off was the 2003-04 season, before the days of the shootout when games could end in a tie.

The NHL-worst Red Wings (7-18-3) have lost eight straight games.

 • Steady veteran defenseman Matt Niskanen, who has been integral to the Flyers’ improvements, had a Dylan Larkin shot deflect off his face 7:23 into the game, drawing a good bit of blood.

Fortunately for the Flyers, Niskanen returned at the start of the second period with some new gear.

Tough dude.

• Niskanen, with the cage, lifted a sharp pass to Couturier for an important goal in the second period, giving the Flyers a 3-1 lead right before intermission.

Jakub Voracek pointed at Niskanen as the Flyers celebrated.

The accomplished 32-year-old finished with two assists and has been a massive acquisition by general manager Chuck Fletcher (see story).

Niskanen and Ivan Provorov were a combined plus-7.

• Gostisbehere returned to the lineup following three healthy scratches and exhibited the offensive skill head coach Alain Vigneault has wanted to see from the 26-year-old defenseman.

On a first-period man advantage, Gostisbehere made a strong play to spin and fling the puck back toward the net, which found its way past Detroit goalie Calvin Pickard.

The marker was his second goal and seventh point on the season. He was solid and the Flyers suddenly have internal competition on the blue line.

“It’s refreshing to get back into the lineup with a nothing-to-lose mentality,” Gostisbehere said at first intermission, via Flyers public relations. “Just go out there and be the player that I know I can be and have fun again. I was putting a little too much pressure on myself and maybe not being the best teammate.”

• Hart was one of the Flyers’ best players Friday — and all of November, as well.

The 21-year-old made highlight-reel saves (32 stops in total) against the Red Wings and was reliable with the Flyers not at their best, especially early in the game.

During the month, Hart is 6-2-2 with a 1.95 goals-against average and has allowed two or fewer goals in eight of 10 starts.

Pickard, who played 11 games for the Flyers last season, converted 29 saves in his first game with the Red Wings.

• Laughton has been a stud since returning after a 13-game absence because of a broken finger.

The valuable depth piece scored the game’s opening goal and slung a nice pass to Hayes for a tally to begin the third period, when the Flyers took over.

• Travis Konecny appeared to be hampered by some sort of ailment as he labored throughout the game. He played from start to finish but didn’t have his usual speed.

He recorded a season-low 13:39 ice time. Something to watch moving forward.

• Jakub Voracek had three assists, while Couturier had another multi-point game with a goal and an assist. The do-it-all center has 15 points (six goals, nine assists) and a plus-10 rating in his last 16 games.

• The Flyers' penalty kill is 53 for 59 (89.8 percent) since Oct. 21, best in the NHL over that span.

• The Flyers wrap up November on Saturday when they visit the Canadiens (3 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

 

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Flyers' Oskar Lindblom diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma

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Flyers' Oskar Lindblom diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma

Oskar Lindblom, a 23-year-old forward on the Flyers, is expected to miss the remainder of the 2019-20 season after being diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, the team announced Friday afternoon.

Ewing’s sarcoma is a rare form of cancer that occurs in bones or in the soft tissue around the bones.

Below is a statement from Flyers president of hockey operations and general manager Chuck Fletcher:

Philadelphia Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom has been diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma by leading specialists at the University of Pennsylvania. He will undergo further testing and evaluation next week and begin treatment immediately thereafter. He is not expected to return to play for the remainder of the season. The Flyers will do everything possible to support Oskar and assist him in securing the best care available. Out of respect for Oskar and his family, the team will have no further comment at this time and asks that Oskar be afforded a period of privacy so that he may focus his efforts on his treatment and a return to full health.

Lindblom, a native of Sweden, had been one of the Flyers’ top players through 30 games, scoring 11 goals and 18 points.

He was selected by the Flyers in the fifth round of the 2014 draft and has blossomed into a promising player.

Always smiling, positive and humble, Lindblom is beloved by his teammates. His rise from a fifth-round pick to a difference-making player has been a product of hard work.

After scoring 17 goals last season, sixth most among NHL rookies, Lindblom went back to Gävle, Sweden, to train all summer with his old team Brynäs IF.

"It’s like five minutes from my house," Lindblom said during training camp.

“It was nice to be back home for a bit, just relaxed, had some time with friends and family, so it was great.”

It didn't take long for the Flyers' new coaching staff to fall in love with Lindblom's game as the winger raced out of the chute, scoring in the team's season opener and playing a major role ever since.

“I didn’t know much about Oskar before coming here, but what I’ve found is a real smart, two-way player, hard-working young man," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said Oct. 26.

In the summer of 2017, Lindblom talked about his climb within the Flyers' system.

"I just think about it by myself, like fifth-rounder, I just felt like I can play and I can be on this level," Lindblom said.

By the age of 23, he has more than made it on the highest level.

Below is the outpouring of support for Lindblom, via social media:

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Shorthanded Flyers can't keep up with Avalanche to begin road trip

Shorthanded Flyers can't keep up with Avalanche to begin road trip

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From the moment it was announced that Oskar Lindblom would miss Wednesday night's game, the Flyers' chances at Pepsi Center felt bleak.

No Lindblom, no Travis Konecny and facing the NHL's highest-scoring team in its building was not a promising script for the Flyers, who lost to the Avalanche, 3-1.

In stretches this season, the Flyers have struggled to bury goals. And that has been with Lindblom and Konecny — their two leading goal-scorers at 11 apiece — in the lineup.

The Flyers (17-9-5) did some good things but Colorado finished plays behind its world class talent up top.

The Avalanche (20-8-3) are on an eight-game point streak (7-0-1) in which they've scored 4.13 goals per game.

• Without Konecny (concussion) and Lindblom (upper body), the Flyers had difficulty putting the puck in the net. They were going to have to put up some goals against the Avalanche, who entered scoring an NHL-best 3.70 goals per game. For the second time in the last three games, the Flyers scored only one goal.

The lone tally came from Claude Giroux when the Flyers were trailing 3-0 with just over five minutes remaining in regulation.

• Following a first period in which they survived, especially in the back half of it thanks to Carter Hart, the Flyers actually played a solid second period. At one point during the middle stanza, the Flyers were outshooting Colorado 11-0.

But as the Flyers kept pushing to no avail, the Avalanche changed the whole complexion of the period with one play by their two best weapons. Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen hooked up for a nasty marker to make it 2-0 with 3:55 left in the period, a deflating goal to allow for the Flyers (see highlights).

Considering Colorado was 14-0-1 when leading after the middle period, the Flyers were in a serious hole, even after a hard-working period.

• Hart, who entered 8-2-2 with a 1.96 goals-against average and .928 save percentage over his last 12 starts, faced the Avalanche for the first time in his career.

He made a highlight-reel save and gave the Flyers a fighting chance in tough circumstances.

The 21-year-old has been impressive during the first period all season long, allowing the Flyers to find their legs and rhythm. He converted 12 of his 24 saves in the opening stanza against Colorado.

On the Avalanche's first-period goal, Scott Laughton won a defensive zone faceoff but the Flyers failed to clear the puck, resulting in Matt Calvert's tally.

Rantanen added his second goal early in the third period and that was pretty much the game.

Colorado goalie Pavel Francouz, who came in 5-0-1 with a 2.36 goals-against average and .926 save percentage over his last eight games (six starts), finished with 32 stops.

• When Philippe Myers (back spasms, day to day) is ready to return, Robert Hagg should be the odd man out on defense. Shayne Gostisbehere has found some of his offensive mojo and Myers has shown way too much promise to be sitting when healthy.

A stay-at-home guy like Hagg was far too noticeable against the Avalanche. He committed a penalty and was a minus-2 in 15:21 minutes.

• David Kase was summoned to Denver this morning to make his NHL debut and become the ninth rookie to play for the Flyers this season

The 22-year-old winger had a nice scoring chance and two shots in 7:47 minutes. 

• The Flyers head to the old stomping grounds of general manager Chuck Fletcher and assistant general manager Brent Flahr when they visit the Wild on Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Fletcher was the GM in Minnesota from 2009 to 2018 and Flahr was his AGM from 2010 to 2018.

The Flyers have not lost consecutive games in regulation since Oct. 27-29.

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