Flyers

Interesting developments as Flyers suffer 1st loss of 2019-20 season

Interesting developments as Flyers suffer 1st loss of 2019-20 season

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The Flyers nearly had their fifth 3-0-0 start in the last 30 years.

Instead, though, they stomached their first loss of the 2019-20 season with a 3-2 shootout defeat to the Canucks at Rogers Arena on Saturday night.

Elias Pettersson and Tanner Pearson beat Carter Hart in the skills competition as the Flyers (2-0-1) had to settle for a point.

During their first two games, the Flyers dictated possession and pace. On Saturday night, the Canucks (2-2-0) stemmed the tide with their speed and skill.

• Vancouver goalie Jacob Markstrom entered with a 1.73 goals-against average in six career games against the Flyers. Once again, he was pretty good vs. the orange and black.

The Flyers got after the 29-year-old and he yielded only two goals on 32 shots. He faced 14 of those shots in the third period and the goal he allowed was on the power play in which he had no chance as Matt Niskanen, Travis Konecny and Oskar Lindblom made a spectacular play.

Markstrom finished off the Flyers by denying Jakub Voracek and Kevin Hayes in the shootout.

• Interestingly, Voracek played no more than three minutes in the third period. He was replaced by James van Riemsdyk on the first line with Claude Giroux and Hayes.

Voracek finished with 14:30 minutes, his lowest ice time in a game since the 2015-16 season. He appeared to be healthy as he skated on a late power play and took the team's first shootout attempt.

Head coach Alain Vigneault has shown that, veteran or youngster, you have to earn your ice time (see story).

• The Flyers impressively broke the Canucks' penalty kill — which had been a perfect 12 for 12 on the season — with five minutes left in regulation to tie the game.

Niskanen, who was great in all areas, started the play with speed on the entry. Konecny made a nice read and pass for his sixth point through three games.

• JVR is without a point in three games but he had quality looks and was pretty good in 20-plus minutes of action Saturday night.

He also nearly drew a penalty during the third period as the Flyers were trailing, 2-1. The helmet came off of Tyler Myers as the Vancouver defenseman and van Riemsdyk were battling in front. Myers did not go to retrieve it and instead pursued van Riemsdyk along the boards.

Here is the new rule implemented by the league this offseason:

Player on the ice whose helmet comes off during play must (a) exit the playing surface, or (b) retrieve and replace his helmet properly on his head (with or without his chin strap fastened). A Player who is making a play on the puck or who is in position to make an immediate play on the puck at the time his helmet comes off, shall be given a reasonable opportunity to complete the play before either exiting the ice or retrieving and replacing his helmet. Failure to comply with the above will result in a minor penalty being assessed on the offending player. 

The officials clearly did not view it as a penalty because Myers was not whistled and finished a hit on van Riemsdyk.

• The Canucks' 1-0 lead after the opening period marked the Flyers' first deficit at an intermission this season.

The Flyers outshot the Blackhawks and Devils in the second period by a combined 30-14. In the middle frame against Vancouver, the shots were 10-7 in favor of the Flyers. The Flyers picked up the pace early in the period but the Canucks answered the momentum of the Flyers' equalizer by going back ahead 1:13 later.

• Hart, coming off his first career shutout, allowed two goals on 24 shots.

On the first goal, Vancouver gave the Flyers a taste of their own medicine. It was quicker and hungrier, which eventually resulted in Brock Boeser sending home a loose puck.

On the second goal, Pearson made a sharp deflection right in front of Hart. Nobody accounted for the winger and he took advantage.

Hart really wasn't a problem and kept the Flyers in the game.

• Carsen Twarynski started slowly with the Phantoms last season in his first year as a pro. He scored one goal over his first 20 games, finished with a so-so year (10 goals, 24 points) and never got called up after impressining in the preseason.

A season later, he flat out earned his roster spot and netted his first NHL goal in Game 3 of 2019-20. He did so during the second period to tie the game briefly.

Good for him.


(Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers)

• Two role guys that make subtle differences are Justin Braun and Tyler Pitlick.

On Saturday night, Braun broke up Vancouver threats with his stick and added an assist. The 32-year-old knows how to play defense.

Pitlick was also good on the fourth line. He mentioned how he's a north-south skater and it has been evident. He made an excellent backcheck in the second period to impede a breakaway by Pettersson, which could have easily resulted in a 3-1 hole for the Flyers.

• To finish a three-game road trip, the Flyers play their first back-to-back set of the season when they take on the Flames Tuesday (9 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and the Oilers Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

The Flyers are back home Saturday to play the Stars (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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Jakub Voracek knows sleep is vital — but never easy — during NHL grind

Jakub Voracek knows sleep is vital — but never easy — during NHL grind

Jakub Voracek has played 865 career NHL games. Since the 2012-13 season, he has missed only 13 games, playing 546 out of a possible 559 contests.

He understands the gauntlet that is the NHL schedule. It doesn't make it any easier, though.

"Me, personally, I’ve had trouble sleeping after games," Voracek said in an interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia. "There are times when you fall asleep at 4, 4:30 a.m., and you’ve got to be up by 10 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. to go to practice or have a game the next day."

Voracek owns the NHL’s seventh-most assists since the 2013-14 season. Confidence and a positive mindset are important to his game, which makes daily rest crucial.

"Try to get as much sleep as you can," Voracek said. "It might not seem for a lot of people outside as a grind, but it is — traveling, time changes, three [games] in four [days]."

NBC Sports Regional Networks has launched a multi-platform campaign on mental health and men's health, HeadStrong: Mental Health and Sports, for the month of November. You can find more information about the initiative here.

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Flyers' Carter Hart, Union provide heartwarming night with McCabe family

zack_hill_philadelphia_flyers_carter_hart_slide.jpg
Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers

Flyers' Carter Hart, Union provide heartwarming night with McCabe family

Carter Hart made plenty of big saves Wednesday night as he stopped 35 shots in the Flyers' 2-1 shootout loss to the NHL-leading Capitals at the Wells Fargo Center.

Thanks to an awesome drawing, the beautiful memory of Lucy McCabe and the 21-year-old goalie, his most meaningful moment Wednesday night came after the game.

Through the Union's "Kick Childhood Cancer" initiative, Hart was connected with 6-year-old Molly McCabe, who lost her 3-year-old sister Lucy to cancer on Sept. 17.

Hart and the Flyers invited the McCabe family to Wednesday night's game. They all met and spent time together afterward.

It was just nice to go and say hi after the game," Hart said Thursday, via Flyers senior director of public relations and communications Zack Hill. "It wasn’t the result we wanted in the game, but you know what, it was the daughter’s first NHL game, she went to her first hockey game, and she was very happy and smiling after. I mean, that’s what it’s about. You go in there after the game, you see them and how happy she is, how happy the family was to meet myself and then come in the locker room after — that just puts a smile on my face and I’m very happy to do that.

What an amazing job by everyone.

For more on the night, story and initiative, follow below:

(Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers)

(Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers)

(Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers)

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