Flyers

Future Flyers Report: German Rubtsov's season is over

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Future Flyers Report: German Rubtsov's season is over

Before this week begins, it’s time for our weekly check-in on the Flyers’ prospects playing in the AHL, overseas and at the junior and college levels.

• Just when German Rubtsov was again making waves down on the farm, it’s all over. Rubtsov will have shoulder surgery and miss the rest of the season, per the Inquirer’s Sam Carchidi.

Rubtsov suffered the injury on this hit during the Phantoms’ 5-4 win Nov. 16 in Providence:

With that, Rubtsov’s first season in the AHL ends after just 14 games, and it was a productive 14 too. He scored six goals and 10 points and finished with a plus-3 rating. It’s a shame because the 20-year-old started to flash the offensive flair to his game that we didn’t really see during his time in major juniors after his 2016 draft year. Now, Rubtsov will rehab and recover and shift his focus to 2019-20. But his brief showing should leave us optimistic about Rubtsov’s future.

• Felix Sandstrom is quietly having a solid rebound season with HV71, though the overall numbers suggest otherwise. But once you peel away at the onion, you can see the progress.

Sandstrom allowed two goals on 25 shots in a 2-1 loss Thursday and his season save percentage is now .897, which is not fantastic by any means. But he does have a respectable 2.53 goals-against average in nine games, and if we break down his numbers by game, we can see why his percentage is as low as it is: two games in which he allowed five goals, on Sept. 20 and Oct. 25.

Take those two performances out and Sandstrom rocks a strong .927 save percentage in seven games. In those seven games, he’s allowed just 13 goals — two goals in six and one in the other.

The overall view paints a better picture for Sandstrom, and while Carter Hart gets the spotlight, we can’t count Sandstrom out as being the savior in the net this Flyers team so desperately needs.

• To cap off the featured section of this report, we’re going to talk a little bit about Morgan Frost because times right now in the NHL have everyone frustrated and disinterested.

Frost again is having a dominant season in the OHL and on Saturday night, the centerman recorded a junior career-best five assists in Sault Ste. Marie’s 7-4 win over Owen Sound. He had more assists than the Attack had goals. Frost was the first Greyhounds forward to have a five-assist game since Dustin Jeffrey did it Oct. 7, 2007.

The 19-year-old has 10 points during his current four-game point streak, 13 in his last seven and 46 points in 26 games. He’s in a three-way tie for the lead in the OHL scoring.

Quick hits
• Wisconsin defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk has now gone four games without a point but still leads the Badgers with 11 points this season. ESPN’s John Buccigross sung high praise of not just Kalynuk’s offensive game but his defensive game too, via the Courier-Post’s Dave Isaac:

He’s been Wisconsin’s best player! Skating is a huge strength. He’s calm on the ice and has a great hockey sense. Offense is what people notice, but he’s sneaky tough. Tough around the net and has a great willingness to block shots. Awesome on the power play. Has great knack for getting pucks thru traffic — not easy to find blueliners that don’t just bury them into the shin pads.

• Some positive news on the Jay O’Brien front as the 2018 first-round pick returned to the ice Friday after his second injury of the season kept him out three weeks. Both injuries are believed to be concussions, which is a scary start to his collegiate career. He’s pointless in seven games.

• Tanner Laczynski’s three-game point streak ended Saturday. Laczynski recorded five points during the streak. The Ohio State forward has 12 points in 11 games in his junior season.

• Isaac Ratcliffe had two goals Friday, another Saturday and Sunday. He has 19 goals and 30 points in 25 games.

• Matthew Strome had a three-point game Saturday eight points in his last four games. The Hamilton winger has 28 points in 25 games this season.

• 2018 fourth-round pick Jack St. Ivany had a two-assist game Saturday for Yale and now has five points in seven collegiate games.

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Subpar start leads to Flyers loss vs. Lightning but doesn't hurt spot in NHL playoff race

Subpar start leads to Flyers loss vs. Lightning but doesn't hurt spot in NHL playoff race

BOX SCORE

The Flyers didn't bring their A-game to a game they needed it.

There would be no giant killing Saturday as the Flyers lost to the Lightning, 5-3, at Amalie Arena.

Goals from Ivan Provorov, James van Riemsdyk and Claude Giroux weren't enough for the Flyers (32-20-7), who are 6-3-2 against the Bruins, Lightning, Capitals, Penguins and Blues, the league's top five clubs.

Tampa Bay is the only one the Flyers haven't beaten. They'll get a final crack at the Lightning on March 12 in the same building.

The Lightning (39-15-5) have won 10 straight games.

• This really wasn't a bad loss for the Flyers.

They were at the end of a road trip and playing the NHL's hottest team. Tampa Bay is 22-2-1 over its last 25 games and hasn't lost at home since Dec. 19.

The Flyers entered Saturday with a 66.9 percent chance to make the playoffs, according to Hockey-Reference.com, and still hold an Eastern Conference wild-card spot (see standings).

Alain Vigneault's team just needs to recharge and be ready for a big home-and-home set against the Blue Jackets next week.

• Things got chippy in the second period. Travis Konecny was right in the middle of it all.

Steven Stamkos appeared to trip Giroux before a faceoff. Giroux didn't even look to be that mad about it.

During the final 6:09 of the middle frame, 22 penalty minutes were accrued.

• Brayden Point (10-game point streak) is good at hockey.

• Carter Hart, who was coming off his first road victory since Nov. 10, allowed four goals on 23 shots.

The 21-year-old wasn't the problem.

The first goal was a fluky one by Alex Killorn. On the second, Provorov was sloppy with the puck in the defensive zone and Tampa Bay capitalized to take a 2-0 lead into first intermission.

In the middle stanza, the Lightning beat Hart on a 3-on-2 to grab a commanding 3-0 advantage. Tampa Bay improved to 33-4-3 when it scores three or more goals.

Not only are the Lightning really good, but the Flyers also didn't play their typical forechecking, possession-based game until it was too late.

• Outside of the van Riemsdyk's third-period goal, Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy was strong with 30 saves, 15 of which came in the final stanza. 

Vasilevskiy improved to 18-0-1 with a 1.83 goals-against average and .940 save percentage over his last 19 starts.

• Provorov was far from his best against Tampa Bay but he did score the Flyers' first goal to trim the Lightning's lead to 3-1 in the second period. He also had an assist.

The 23-year-old has grown into a power play quarterback this season. He leads all NHL defensemen with seven man advantage goals after scoring only two over his first three NHL seasons.

• Travis Sanheim played 19:43 minutes Saturday after missing almost the entire third period of Thursday's 6-2 win over the Panthers because of a lower-body issue.

• The Flyers are off Sunday, practice at 11:30 a.m. Monday in Voorhees, New Jersey and host the Blue Jackets Tuesday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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Flyers, Lightning have 4 p.m. start on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Flyers, Lightning have 4 p.m. start on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Saturday's game should be a good one.

The Flyers and Lightning are two of the hottest teams in the NHL. Since Jan. 8, the Flyers have the league's most goals (52) and only one team has more points (21) — the Lightning (27).

Tampa Bay is also on a nine-game winning streak and 21-2-1 over its last 24 games.

The big showdown comes a little earlier than usual. Puck drop will be shortly after 4 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, with Flyers Pregame Live set for 3:30 p.m. ET.

The matchup finishes off a three-game road trip for the Flyers, who then play four of their next five games at the Wells Fargo Center.

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