Flyers

Future Flyers Report: Isaac Ratcliffe finding his scoring touch with Storm

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Terry Wilson | OHL Images

Future Flyers Report: Isaac Ratcliffe finding his scoring touch with Storm

Updated: 11:57 a.m.

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.

• Isaac Ratcliffe had a two-goal game last Tuesday and then went pointless in his two other games for Guelph. Let’s look at Ratcliffe’s second goal from Tuesday:

Much has been made about Ratcliffe’s size. He’s a big boy. On this goal, he stationed himself in front of the goalie and showcased good hands to score in tight on the Kitchener goalie.

Ratcliffe has had a pretty good start for the Storm, scoring 13 goals and 21 points in 17 games. 

• Boston University has been a college hockey powerhouse, but this season, it’s been quite the mind-boggling start for the Terriers. Last week, though, BU finally got its first win of the season.

Joel Farabee played a part in BU going 1-0-1 last week, picking up a goal in the Terriers’ 5-5 tie with No. 13 Northeastern Thursday and then an assist in Saturday’s 4-1 win over Northeastern.

• Alex Lyon made his third start of the season Saturday night in Lehigh Valley and once again, he faced a constant onslaught from the opposition. Lyon, again, survived with an excellent effort.

Lyon turned away 40 shots in the Phantoms’ 3-2 overtime win over Binghamton, a game Lehigh Valley needed an empty-netter to force the extra period. Lyon carried a shutout into the third period, surviving a 17-shot second period. Per the Phantoms, Lyon is now 7-1-1 in nine career AHL games in which he faces 40 shots or more. That’s a ridiculous statistic.

Forty shots are high volume and win-loss record for goalies is usually a meaningless stat. But seven wins in nine games when facing 40 or more shots is pretty darn impressive.

Lyon was recalled to the Flyers Monday morning with Brian Elliott dinged up and Michal Neuvirth placed on injured reserve.

• Jay O’Brien made his return to Providence’s lineup Saturday night but is still searching for his first collegiate point. O’Brien had three shots on goal against Holy Cross on Saturday.

Late in the game, however, with the Friars up 3-0, O’Brien took a high hit from Holy Cross’ Ryan Leibold. Providence head coach Nate Leaman did not hold back:

Quick hits
• German Rubtsov is a totally different player now that he’s reached the pro level. We’ve featured him previously, but last week, he had a goal and an assist in two games.

This goal was especially of highlight-reel fashion.

• Remember Mikhail Vorobyev? The center is back with Lehigh Valley and had himself a goal and an assist Friday night against Binghamton. His assist came on Rubtsov’s goal above.

His goal came on a pretty lethal long-distance snipe:

• Philippe Myers and Mark Friedman each had assists in both of the Phantoms’ games this past weekend. Both Myers and Friedman have eight points in 11 games this season.

• Carter Hart is still looking for consistency at the AHL level as expected. Hart started one game last week, turning away 32 of 36 shots in a 4-3 OT loss to Binghamton Friday.

• Morgan Frost saw his eight-game point streak end Sunday. Frost recorded 10 assists and 18 points during the stretch. He’s second in the OHL with 33 points in 19 games.

• Yale defenseman Jack St. Ivany registered his first NCAA point Friday with an assist against Cornell.

• Wade Allison, recovering from a torn ACL, remains out for Western Michigan.

• Owen Sound winger Maksim Sushko is beginning to heat up, putting together a three-game point streak last weekend with a two-assist game Friday, a goal Saturday and an assist Sunday.

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Flyers at Blue Jackets: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers at Blue Jackets: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

The Flyers face a massive opportunity to strengthen their playoff chances.

The opportunity starts Tuesday night as the Flyers (32-20-7) host the Blue Jackets (30-18-12).

Let's get into the essentials:

When: 7 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• The Flyers hold the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot, are one point out of the first wild-card bid and one point behind the Islanders, who sit in third place of the Metropolitan Division.

What makes this week so important for the Flyers is that they can leapfrog the Blue Jackets and create some cushion while doing so as they play a home-and-home set with Columbus. The Blue Jackets, who are atop the wild card, have lost five straight (0-2-3) and are missing one of their best players, welcome the Flyers Thursday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

The Flyers have a game in hand on Columbus and a 67.6 percent chance to make the playoffs, according to Hockey-Reference.com, while the Blue Jackets are down to 48.9 percent.

After their meetings with Columbus, the Flyers host the Jets Saturday (1 p.m. ET/NBCSP), who are not in playoff position.

• The Flyers are coming off a 5-3 loss Saturday to the Lightning, the NHL's hottest team with 11 straight wins.

The good thing for the Flyers is they haven't dropped consecutive games since Jan. 4-7. In games after their previous six losses, the Flyers are 6-0-0 and have outscored the opposition 31-15.

• The Blue Jackets allow the NHL's second-fewest goals per game at 2.45. However, they've allowed 10 markers in two matchups with the Flyers, tied for their most surrendered against any opponent this season.


Projected lineup

Forwards

Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Joel Farabee-Kevin Hayes-Travis Konecny
James van Riemsdyk-Scott Laughton-Tyler Pitlick
Michael Raffl-Connor Bunnaman-Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers
Robert Hagg-Justin Braun

Goalies

Carter Hart
Brian Elliott

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Nolan Patrick still believes he will play this season but time on return remains unclear

Nolan Patrick still believes he will play this season but time on return remains unclear

The trade deadline is quickly approaching for the NHL and around this time, it’s important to have a general understanding of what the roster would look like heading into the final stretch of the season. When the Flyers are in the tightest division in the league, that need is amplified. While things for the most part seem stable, the clear level of uncertainty with Nolan Patrick still resides and remains unknown.

Not much has changed since the news of Patrick’s migraine disorder in late September — but the 21-year-old remains hopeful moving forward.

What’s different now, is the fact Patrick is back on the ice with his teammates and it appears to be happening consistently. Even though he is not cleared for contact just yet, the simple element of him skating with the team has had quite an effect on the center.

“For the mental side of things, it’s way nicer to be around your teammates,” Patrick told reporters following Monday’s practice. “Obviously, it’s been a lot of fun to come back. It’s fun for me to just be around the guys.”

Patrick has also had discussions with other players who have dealt with similar things, which has also seemed to help him.

“It’s tough being alone,” Patrick said. “Being by yourself throughout the process and not being around the team.”

This is something that clearly differs from a physical body injury — such as a broken bone, or a muscle strain. With those injuries comes an indication of when a player could possibly return. With Patrick’s case, it’s an ongoing process. And though it seems like progress is being made, there’s still no light and the end of the tunnel.

“It hasn’t been a fast process,” said Patrick. “It’s not like one day I just wake up and it’s a crazy difference, this whole process. I don’t have a timetable, and when I do, you guys will know.”

There’s clear frustration from Patrick, who just wants to be able to help his team. And even once he receives the go-ahead to be cleared for contact, there are multiple steps that need to be taken before he’s game ready. Patrick, his doctors and the team have made sure to take their time with things — there’s no reason to rush it now when there’s steady progress and the team currently holds a playoff spot.

After he’s cleared for contact, a conditioning stint with the AHL affiliate team, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, would be the next step.

“If I were you, I would only get excited about Nolan being around us once he gets sent to Lehigh Valley,” head coach Alain Vigneault said Monday. “Because that means that he’s getting close. Lehigh Valley means that he’s going down there for conditioning, to get some games in.”  

Does Vigneault believe Patrick is close to heading to Allentown for said stint?

“I have no idea.”

Luckily for the Flyers, the combination of youth and veteran players have solidified quite the lineup and were able to fill what in previous years, would have been quite a significant gap, if any top player were out.

While having Patrick back would add even more depth down the middle for the Flyers, they’ve found a way to make it work until that discussion becomes tangible. Take that as a win-win on both ends of things, as this relieves the pressure off of Patrick, so he can focus on what needs to be done in order to get back to game-ready.

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