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.

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


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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