Late rally gives Flyers something to show for strong effort

Late rally gives Flyers something to show for strong effort


RALEIGH, N.C. – Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol commended his team for a complete 60-minute effort that was needed to overtake and defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 at PNC Arena on Saturday night (see observations).

“It’s an important two points, but I guess, as important I thought it was a really hard-working, start-to-finish win for us,” he said.

Placing Alex Lyon in net to lead from the back end, the young netminder made 23 stops, many critical, that allowed the Flyers to generate momentum to strike all at once in the third period.

Trailing 1-0, containing the Hurricanes’ speed and ability to maintain puck possession was a priority – somewhat of ‘survive and advance’ mindset to have in March.

The Flyers won 27 of 48 draws, a stat that eventually evened out, but was a critical one that the Flyers led in for two periods, before taking advantage of Carolina turnovers in the third.

 “It was a grind,” Hakstol said. “I liked the way we played in the first two periods. We talked about a couple of little things we can maybe improve going into the third, but the biggest thing was making sure we went out and got a big penalty kill to start with and just go back at it.”

For 40 minutes, Hurricanes netminder Cam Ward stymied shooters like Jakub Voracek and crease cleaners like Wayne Simmonds, among others, but the force of the shield he presented eventually diminished late in the game. The Flyers scored all four of their goals in the final 11-plus minutes.

While giving the puck away 10 times, 15 takeaways allowed the Flyers to regain possessions and capitalize on their chances when it counted most. 

“I don’t know if there was a catalyst,” Hakstol said when asked to identify the turning point in the game for his team.

“A lot of times it’s the simple, hard things that you do. That’s what it takes to score at this time of year.”

The win pulled the Flyers back into a tie for third place in the Metropolitan Division, a floating buoy line extending to the wild-card spot they will tread beside for the remainder of the season, unless they can compile more wins like this one.

“We needed a win for a lot of different reasons,” Hakstol said. “We needed the two points in every respect, but we needed a win for our group in here to have something to show for their hard work. When you lose games and can’t put wins together, the negatives really start to magnify, even though there’s a ton of positives. On a couple of different levels, this was an important two points.”

Flyers' James van Riemsdyk a representation of Hockey Day in America

Flyers' James van Riemsdyk a representation of Hockey Day in America

It's Hockey Day in America on NBC and NBCSN.

For James van Riemsdyk, he's especially proud of his roots.

The 29-year-old forward grew up in Middletown, New Jersey, where he eventually turned into the No. 2 overall pick by the Flyers in the 2007 NHL draft. He's become a two-time 30-goal scorer, he's worn the U.S. sweater in the Olympics and now he's back in the Philadelphia area, rocking the orange and black again after signing with the club last summer.

His hockey background in New Jersey has had an impact on many people. Luke Rogers, a teenager battling cancer, is one of them. The Morganville, New Jersey, native met van Riemsdyk in November when he had a day with the Flyers (see story).

"Me and my friends, we've followed his whole family because they're from around where I live," Rogers said on Nov. 14. "So I've been following him for a long time, played with teams I've played for, organizations.

"My whole life I've wanted to meet him."

Being closer to home is one of the reasons why JVR wanted to come back to the Flyers. His team will take part in Hockey Day in America when the Flyers play the Red Wings in Detroit at 6 p.m. on NBCSN.

"My dad would always have hockey games on when we were growing up and we loved playing together, me and brothers," van Riemsdyk said Friday in an interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia's Michael Barkann. "Started like that and next thing you know, years go by, we're in the basement, whacking each other with the sticks and playing against each other. It's been a fun ride and it's something I still love each and every day that I get to do it."

For more Hockey Day in America stories, see below:

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Flyers at Red Wings: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers at Red Wings: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

It’s Hockey Day in America and the Flyers (27-24-7, 61 points) will be looking for a home-and-home sweep of the Detroit Red Wings (23-28-8, 54 points).

It’s the third game of a triple-header Sunday on NBC Sports Network.

Let's take a look at tonight's essentials.

• When: 6 p.m. ET
• Where: Little Caesars Arena
• Broadcast: NBCSN
• Live stream: and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

In celebration of Hockey Day in America, it’s worth pointing out that the Flyers currently have five U.S.-born players on their current roster and the Red Wings have seven. The New Jersey Devils lead the NHL with 15 American-born players.

• In seasons in which they’ve played the Red Wings more than once, a win Sunday in Detroit would be the first season sweep of the Red Wings since 1982-83. 

According to the NHL public relations department, Saturday’s 6-5 victory over Detroit was the sixth time in Flyers franchise history in which the team surrendered a lead of four-plus goals, but held on to win. The last occasion took place on Oct. 14, 2005, in a 6-5 overtime win against the Penguins.

• Newly acquired goaltender Cam Talbot won’t be available for tonight's game in Detroit as he still works out some Visa issues following the trade from Edmonton. 

For Carter Hart, this will mark the first time in his brief NHL career he has started games on back-to-back days. With the Phantoms, Hart played on back-to-back nights on three different occasions and posted an 0-3-0 record with an .870 save percentage in the second game.

• Flyers forward Jakub Voracek is riding a nine-game point streak, the longest of any Flyer this season. With a point against the Red Wings Sunday, Voracek would match the longest streak of his career (10 games from Oct. 22 to Nov. 15, 2014). 

• Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere has seven points in his last seven games (one goal, six assists) and is currently riding a three-game point streak after missing three games with a lower-body injury.  

• Since Jan. 1, Flyers center Sean Couturier is tied for eighth in the NHL with 24 points, one point behind Edmonton’s Connor McDavid. Chicago’s Patrick Kane leads all NHL players with 37 points in 2019.

• The Flyers assigned forward Mikhail Vorobyev to Lehigh Valley following Saturday’s game. The 22-year-old center averaged 7:13 TOI in eight games during his most recent call-up, but failed to register a point and just didn’t provide much energy or spark in his fourth-line role.    

• After going 1 for 2 Saturday, the Flyers’ power play has jumped to 21st overall in the NHL after they were dead last in the league as of Jan. 30. Over the last eight games, the Flyers’ power play has a success rate of 12 for 28, 43 percent.

• With six games remaining in the shortened month, the Flyers recorded their fifth win Saturday in the month of February, equaling their win total in October, November and December.

• Justin Bailey will be a healthy scratch and Philippe Myers will make his NHL debut as the Flyers are rolling with seven defensemen.

Projected lineup

James van Riemsdyk-Claude Giroux-Travis Konecny
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Scott Laughton-Nolan Patrick-Wayne Simmonds
Michael Raffl-Phil Varone

Ivan Provorov-Travis Sanheim
Andrew MacDonald-Shayne Gostisbehere
Robert Hagg-Radko Gudas
Philippe Myers (seventh defenseman)

Carter Hart
Mike McKenna

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