Flyers

Islanders 6, Flyers 1: Dave Hakstol's challenge goes unanswered in loss

Islanders 6, Flyers 1: Dave Hakstol's challenge goes unanswered in loss

BOX SCORE

The Flyers were in the Halloween spirit Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center. 

Themed music played over the speakers, costume contests broke out in the concourse and spooky graphics flashed on the Jumbotron.

If fans left scared, it wasn't from the festivities. It was from their hockey team putting up a frighteningly loud dud in a 6-1 loss to the Islanders.

A day after head coach Dave Hakstol challenged his team (see story), the Flyers (4-7-0) did zilch to answer him against an Islanders (4-4-1) team that had lost four of its last five. 

The Flyers, who have allowed an NHL-worst 46 goals this season, have lost three straight and now kick off a four-game road trip.

• The Flyers had breakdowns, showed little life, found no rhythm, were mostly perimeter-oriented on offense and failed to score on the power play (1 for its last 20).

Nothing was good.

Things got ugly in the third period when the Islanders piled on three straight goals with the Flyers showing no resistance. After New York's sixth tally, fans gave up booing and simply filed for the exits (see story).

• Michal Neuvirth couldn't play hero in his season debut. He wasn't close to good enough to prevent the Flyers from stumbling again. He permitted some soft goals and was yanked after the sixth. This team isn't scoring and is a mess in front of its goalie.

• Once again, the Flyers allowed the opponent to score first, making it the 10th time in 11 games.

They trailed, 2-0, at first intermission. The second goal was not good. It came off a failed clear and multiple Flyers (Jakub Voracek, Nolan Patrick, Oskar Lindblom) were too slow in retreat as Anthony Beauvillier finished off a nice setup with 6:40 left in the opening stanza.

Following this point, the Flyers never felt in the game. A 2-0 deficit feels like 6-0 right now.

• After practice Friday, Hakstol pleaded for a spark. Ivan Provorov tried being the guy when he leveled the Islanders' best player Mathew Barzal late in the first period. The hit elicited a standing ovation from fans and a penalty on the Islanders.

However, the Flyers' power play whiffed on the opportunity and boos ensued.

• It's not good when Jori Lehtera is awakening your team from an offensive slumber. He put the Flyers on the board with a quick turnaround shot in the second period. Before that goal, the Flyers had been outscored 10-1 this week. They finished the week being outscored 13-2 in three defeats.

• Fourth-liner Corban Knight left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury and did not return.

• Think some fans are getting a little restless?

• The Flyers are off Sunday and then practice Monday in Los Angeles before playing the Ducks Tuesday at 10 p.m. on NBCSP. Anaheim, which has lost four straight, hosts the Sharks Sunday before welcoming the Flyers.

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Young Flyers fan writes recruitment pitch to Mitch Marner ... and sends it to Matt Marner

Young Flyers fan writes recruitment pitch to Mitch Marner ... and sends it to Matt Marner

If you’re a hockey fan, there's a good chance you've heard of Mitch Marner.

The Maple Leafs forward who was a restricted free agent this offseason just signed a six-year deal to remain in Toronto.

You might be less familiar with Matt Marner, who received a letter from a young Flyers fan intended for Mitch.

Josh made a pretty compelling case for why Mitch should have come to Philadelphia.

Though he’s a Maple Leafs fan, Matt was quite impressed with Josh’s letter.

It was pretty remarkable getting a letter to join the Flyers all the way from P.A.,” he told NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Taryn Hatcher. “I’m a die hard Leafs fan and it was impressive to know there’s a fan base whose fans are just as crazy about their team. It showed me that hockey is a passion that is shared no matter what team you cheer for. I just thought it reminded me of myself as a young hockey fan. But it was a very well-written pitch. I mean, there were mutual friends involved in JVR, he went over the coaching staff and the pieces the Flyers have down there. Then he took a shot at us about Kawhi as he signed off. He will make a great GM one day!

You do have to love the P.S. and the P.P.S. It’s hard to argue against the fact that the Flyers do have Gritty and that Kawhi Leonard did indeed leave Toronto. 

Meanwhile, the Flyers are in the midst of training camp and Marner — Mitch, that is — is getting ready for the season in Canada. 

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Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier wow the prospects, roster talk and more from Flyers training camp

Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier wow the prospects, roster talk and more from Flyers training camp

VOORHEES, N.J. — Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault continued to implement his systems during another upbeat, on-the-move practice for Day 2 of training camp.

"I liked both groups that came to work," Vigneault said. "The pace was good. There was no downtime." 

With that said, let's get into five observations from Saturday.

1. 'It's a different animal'

The Flyers gave prospects Morgan Frost and Isaac Ratcliffe an awfully tough challenge. In a large chunk of the 5-on-5 drills, Frost, Ratcliffe and Jakub Voracek went up against Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Joel Farabee.

Giroux and Couturier have often looked like they're on another level.

Frost and Ratcliffe haven't played a game of pro hockey yet.

I mentioned that to [assistant coach Ian Laperriere] when we were standing on the net there, I think I said, 'Those two kids are learning what the NHL pace is.'

I think for those two young men going against two elite players is a good thing. You just see the pace, you see the intensity. A couple of times, G on his backcheck stripped them of the puck. You see those guys never stop and are always moving.

- Vigneault

The Giroux-Couturier-Farabee line was with defensemen Ivan Provorov and Matt Niskanen. The group was dominant in the defensive zone.

"We're going up against Coots, G and Farabee," Voracek said. "It's a different animal, those three guys."

Good experience, nonetheless, for Frost and Ratcliffe.

2. Wingin' it with Hayes

Two forwards that could be in for big years are James van Riemsdyk and Oskar Lindblom.

JVR was with a new team last season, missed 16 games from Oct. 9 to Nov. 13, was slow to find his rhythm when he returned, played on different lines, for two different head coaches and still finished with 27 goals.

Lindblom saw his role fluctuate in 2018-19 and still finished sixth among NHL rookies with 17 goals.

Now you add more familiarity and — early on — a center like Kevin Hayes.

"I've liked that line, I've really liked the way Kevin Hayes has worked and sort of led his two linemates both with and without the puck," Vigneault said. "For us, we wanted to get a look at Oskar on the right side, we're probably going to try him there during exhibition. Being able to play more than one position is a bonus. I've liked that line, I've liked their work ethic and I've liked how they've competed so far."

Among the forwards, a lot can change with Nolan Patrick's injury, Travis Konecny's situation and roster battles. But van Riemsdyk, Hayes and Lindblom make up an intriguing group and we could see the trio Monday at the Wells Fargo Center.

3. Nisky and Provy

Niskanen is a steady guy.

It'll be interesting to see what level he brings at 32 years old after a Stanley Cup run in 2017-18 and a short offseason followed by a long 2018-19.

It will also be interesting to see what he can do for a player like Provorov. They've been paired together through the first two days of camp. Both can log heavy minutes and move the puck up ice. Provorov relied a lot on himself last season. Maybe Niskanen eases the burden a bit.

"Tons of experience, he's a great player," Provorov said Friday. "He's been in the league for a while, he's been on winning teams, he knows how to win."

4. Don't mark off Andreoff

Andy Andreoff might not be the most popular name for the Flyers' bottom-six competition but he's played well in camp and will be right in the conversation.

During Day 1, he had no problem being physical with Couturier and checking Provorov into the boards. He also brings some skill and scoring ability, which he showed Saturday.

The 28-year-old is on a one-way deal and scored 55 points (26 goals, 29 assists) with the AHL's Syracuse Crunch in 2018-19. Teams like depth guys with positional versatility, which Andreoff provides as he can play center or winger.

"He's a physical, competitive, team-oriented kind of guy," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said Friday. "There are some different elements he brings. We will see how the preseason goes. We feel he's clearly a guy who can play."

5. A Hart blackout

Carter Hart was sharp in net Saturday as fans enjoyed watching behind the glass.

He was pretty sharp with his attire, too.


(Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers)

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