Forget the deadline madness ... Flyers are in 1st place

Forget the deadline madness ... Flyers are in 1st place


MONTREAL — Apparently trade deadline deals are completely overrated.

After all, the Flyers made their one significant move a week ago when general manager Ron Hextall rescued Petr Mrazek out of Detroit.

Monday night, Mrazek returned the favor and bailed out his teammates with a sensational 28-save performance, and then followed that up by stopping five of six in the shootout to stifle the Canadiens, 1-0, at the Bell Centre in Montreal (see observations).

The Flyers may have also discovered their shootout netminder in the process as Mrazek has won his last eight shootouts dating back to the 2016-17 season with Detroit.

“It’s for the fans,” Mrazek said. “They have some fun for the players and the goalies. It’s hard to say. I like to challenge the guy and go 1-on-1. I feel like it’s flipping a coin for who’s going to win.”

Right now, Mrazek is calling heads and the coin is landing in his favor. He’s won his first three starts to begin his Flyers career and now owns four shutouts in 18 starts this season.

Apparently Mrazek embraces all things new. A new situation, new teammates, a new coaching staff, and against the Canadiens, Mrazek played with new pads for the first time.

“I had them [Sunday]. I like new stuff and new gear when I have it on and finally I got the color I wanted,” Mrazek said. “After the game in Ottawa, the second goal I let in, we worked a little bit with the goalie coach (Kim Dillabaugh) and talked about it a little bit. Sunday in practice we’re focusing on stuff like that, so I was going to work on that and bring it into the game today.”

Mrazek’s course of correction may have been his angle and positioning in relation to the near side post where the Senators were able to beat him for a couple of goals on Saturday. However, the Canadiens had no success and if Mrazek wasn’t in perfect position, he flashed the glove on several highlight-reel saves.

“It was unbelievable seeing Mrazek stand on his head like that,” Travis Konecny said. “It’s not surprising, we’ve all played against him, but some of the saves he made were unbelievable and same at the other end. It was definitely a challenging game and makes it a lot of fun.”

While the Canadiens had no answer for Mrazek, the Flyers were also flummoxed trying to solve 24-year-old rookie Charlie Lindgren at the other end. The Flyers came up empty in their 33 shots in regulation and overtime, but Jakub Voracek and Sean Couturier were both able to convert in the shootout.

“I saw Jake go lefty. We had a lot of righties go, so it was different,” Couturier, who converted the game-winner, said. “I saw Jakey seemed to have a lot of room. He even told me before I went, 'It’s open. Maybe fake him out glove side, go low blocker,' and I just listened to him.”

Couturier had quite the cheering section he was looking to impress, as well, with a large group that came to Montreal to watch him play. 

“I had a few family and friends and a lot of people from back home,” Couturier said. “I think they had a big bus come down for the weekend, probably 25 people from my hometown, so it was nice to get that support.”

And with that, Couturier and the Flyers rose to the top of the Metropolitan Division for the first time since October (see standings).

They may not have the marquee player like the Boston Bruins and the Tampa Bay Lightning, but the Flyers have this indescribable confidence and chemistry. 

And on deadline day, those are things you can’t trade for, either.

Former Flyers goalie Ray Emery dies at 35

Former Flyers goalie Ray Emery dies at 35

Former Flyers goaltender Ray Emery died Sunday morning. First responders pulled his body out of Hamilton Harbour, where he had been swimming with friends. An investigation into the cause of death is still ongoing. 

Emery was 35.

According to local authorities, Emery was checking out a friend’s boat docked at Royal Hamilton Yacht Club when the group he was with decided to jump in the water around 6:30 a.m. Emery’s body never surfaced and was eventually recovered around 2:50 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Hamilton police say Emery’s body was recovered in close proximity to where he was last seen.

Emery was last seen publicly with a handful of his former teammates Saturday night as the goaltender participated in Zac Rinaldo’s charity hockey game in Hamilton. Emery can be seen standing during the playing of “O Canada.”

"The Philadelphia Flyers are stunned and extremely saddened to hear of the tragic passing of former Flyers goaltender Ray Emery," president Paul Holmgren said in a statement from the team. "Ray was an outstanding teammate and an extremely gifted goaltender. He had exceptional athleticism, was a fierce competitor and battled in every game he played with the Flyers.

"His performances through the 2009-10 season were a very big part of the team's success in making the playoffs and reaching the Stanley Cup Final. Ray's talent, work ethic and determination helped him enjoy a successful 11-year NHL career. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time."

Several of Emery’s former teammates over the years offered their condolences via Twitter after learning of the tragedy.

Former Flyer Daniel Carcillo shared the he was crushed by the news (NSFW).

Jakub Voracek also shared his condolences (NSFW).

Emery joined the Flyers in June 2009 on a one-year contract, shutting out the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0 in his Flyers debut. The goaltender’s first stint in Philadelphia was cut short when he suffered a muscle tear in his abdomen in December missing the remainder of the season. Emery was later diagnosed with avascular necrosis — a degenerative condition to the bone tissue in his hip.

After undergoing successful surgery, Emery eventually joined the Ducks before winning a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2013. Impressively, Emery finished the regular season with a 17-1-0 record. He re-signed with the Flyers that summer as a backup to Steve Mason.

Emery’s most infamous moment in Philadelphia came during an ugly 7-0 loss to the Washington Capitals on November 1, 2013, as the Flyers netminder pummeled Caps goalie Braden Holtby during a line brawl in the early stages of the third period.

Emery faced criminal charges over a handful of off-the-ice incidents and altercations. Most recently, he was arrested for assault with a weapon in 2017 against former fiancé Keshia Chanté. 

Emery played a total of 287 NHL games, 88 with the Flyers. 

Flyers' Danick Martel accepts qualifying offer; team re-signs Taylor Leier and Tyrell Goulbourne

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Flyers' Danick Martel accepts qualifying offer; team re-signs Taylor Leier and Tyrell Goulbourne

Updated: 9:44 p.m.

Three young forwards will all be staying in the Flyers organization, at least for one more year.

Sunday, the team announced that Danick Martel accepted his qualifying offer on a one-year contract, and that restricted free agents Taylor Leier and Tyrell Goulbourne signed one-year deals.

Restricted free agent goalie Anthony Stolarz has also accepted his qualifying offer of $761,250, according to a report from John Hoven. Stolarz, 24, played in just one game for the Phantoms in the 2017-18 season after undergoing surgery on a meniscus tear last summer. A second-round pick by the Flyers in the 2012 draft, Stolarz went 18-9 and posted a 2.92 goals against average with Lehigh Valley in 2016-17.

Though the team didn't include any salary details, Martel's deal is reportedly a two-way contract worth $715,000.

The 23-year-old Martel made his NHL debut last season, finishing with no points and six shots over four games. He scored a career-best 25 goals for Lehigh Valley.

With Leier, the Flyers avoided a possible arbitration hearing. According to CapFriendly, Leier's contract is a one-way deal for $720,000. Leier's hearing was scheduled for Aug. 3. The team also earlier avoided a hearing with Alex Lyon, their other player who filed for arbitration, signing the goalie to a two-year deal.

A fourth-round selection in 2012, Leier had one goal and four assists in 39 regular-season games with the Flyers as a rookie.

Goulbourne, who made his NHL debut on Jan. 6, appeared in nine regular-season contests, with 15 hits.

If Stolarz is indeed back in the fold, Robert Hagg would be the team's only remaining restricted free agent. 

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