Flyers' late surge powers badly-needed win

Flyers' late surge powers badly-needed win


RALEIGH, N.C. – The Flyers showed the energy they conserved by skipping a pregame skate and fought and scraped together a critical 4-2 road win over the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on Saturday.

Starting in a wild-card spot as the result of the Devils' 3-0 win over the Kings, the Flyers (36-25-11) took advantage of an exceptional effort from goaltender Alex Lyon.

Goals from Travis Konecny, Jakub Voracek, Valtteri Filppula, and Michael Raffl all scored in the third period helped stage the thrilling comeback that supported the goaltender’s efforts.

A 23-save performance was the “rock-solid performance” head coach Dave Hakstol expected of the young netminder who posted his third win of the season.

Goalkeeper Cam Ward finished with 23 stops for the Hurricanes (30-30-11).

• Looking to keep pace with a well-rested opposing squad that also hit a recent rough patch, having lost two in a row and winning just once in its last five games, the Flyers had a chance to light the lamp early just 30 seconds in.

However, Ivan Provorov’s backhander hit the post to Wards’ right.

• The Flyers’ forecheck was effective early on and slowed Carolina’s transition during the opening half of the period.

Wayne Simmonds assumed his presence in the low slot and kept Ward and his defense busy, but it was Jordan Staal’s tip-in from the point that made it past Lyon at the 15:12 mark.

• Though trailing 1-0 after the first period, the Flyers’ tenacious effort continued to create opportunities in the second, but Ward kept making exceptional stops, including a glove save on Konecny’s breakaway that maintained Carolina’s advantage.

• Special teams play was critical, particularly on the penalty kill as the Hurricanes were unable to convert on a four-minute high-sticking penalty to defenseman Andrew MacDonald late in the second.

• The Flyers finally broke past Ward as Konecny redirected Travis Sanheim’s shot from the point and evened the score 1-1 with 11:41 remaining. The celebration was short-lived as Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin carried the puck in from the blue line with enough space between him and Raffl to let a wrist shot go that found the short side over Lyon’s shoulder.

Once again, the Flyers had to battle back to even the score.

• Left all alone in front of Ward, Voracek took a feed from the left corner off Oskar Lindblom’s stick and deked the keeper and scored on the backhand as he fell to the ice.

• Maintaining their offensive pressure, a clear up the boards from the defensive zone from Simmonds put Filppula alone on a breakaway.

A backhand-forehand dangle and a quick shot to Ward’s blocker side put the Flyers ahead 3-2 with 5:49 to play.

• Raffl launched the puck from center-ice and scored the insurance empty-netter with 1:50 left.

• Walking away with a hard-earned two points, the Flyers travel home to face the Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals on Sunday.

Flyers re-sign restricted free agent Anthony Stolarz

Flyers re-sign restricted free agent Anthony Stolarz

General manager Ron Hextall is nearly finished wrapping up contracts for his restricted free agents.

And his goalie picture is now clear for 2018-19.

The Flyers on Wednesday re-signed netminder Anthony Stolarz to a one-year, two-way contract. The deal is worth $761,250, according to a report by hockey writer John Hoven.

With Stolarz back, defenseman Robert Hagg remains the Flyers' lone restricted free agent.

Stolarz, a 2012 second-round pick, underwent a nightmarish 2017-18 season just a year after he made his NHL debut and performed well in seven games with the Flyers. The 24-year-old tore the meniscus in his left knee during early September, the same injury he suffered at the end of 2016-17 with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

He played in just one AHL game and three ECHL contests as a result. In 2016-17, he made his way to the big club and put up a 2.07 goals-against average and .928 save percentage in a small sample. Then the injury occurred with the Phantoms and it's been an uphill battle ever since for the 6-foot-6, 210-pounder.

Stolarz will have his work cut out for him — if he hasn't already — as playing time will be earned at Lehigh Valley with Alex Lyon back in the fold and Carter Hart joining them.

"It's just competition. No one is going to go in there and hand you a job, so you have to earn it,” Stolarz said in June after an on-ice workout at Flyers Skate Zone. "I think the thing for me is to prove I'm healthy. I don't think I've skated since the end of January. I had the one flare up before one of my games and it had nothing to do with my knee injury. It was a separate injury. I think the biggest thing is proving I'm healthy and going out there and working to prove I'm still a high-caliber goalie."

The Flyers' goaltending tandem is set with Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth, both of whom are in the final year of their contracts. Things obviously can change this offseason, as Neuvirth and Stolarz seemed like realistic trade candidates.

But as of now, it's Elliott and Neuvirth with the younger trio pushing and competing.

"I'd rather have too many goalies than too few," Hextall said earlier this month. "If something makes sense and we can make something happen, we'd at least look at it. We saw it last year. All of a sudden, a couple goalies go down and you're scrambling for goalies. If we start with five, we start with five. Not a perfect situation, but again, I'd rather start with five than with three."

More on the Flyers' goalies

• Following 'gloomy' time, what's next for Elliott?

• Why Neuvirth's NHL career hinges on this offseason

• Hart says so long to Twitter, hello to pro life

• No arbitration needed for Flyers and Lyon

• Sandstrom hungry to prove he's not the 'other' goalie

Former Flyers goalie Ray Emery dies at 35

Former Flyers goalie Ray Emery dies at 35

Former Flyers goaltender Ray Emery died Sunday morning. First responders pulled his body out of Hamilton Harbour, where he had been swimming with friends. An investigation into the cause of death is still ongoing. 

Emery was 35.

According to local authorities, Emery was checking out a friend’s boat docked at Royal Hamilton Yacht Club when the group he was with decided to jump in the water around 6:30 a.m. Emery’s body never surfaced and was eventually recovered around 2:50 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Hamilton police say Emery’s body was recovered in close proximity to where he was last seen.

Emery was last seen publicly with a handful of his former teammates Saturday night as the goaltender participated in Zac Rinaldo’s charity hockey game in Hamilton. Emery can be seen standing during the playing of “O Canada.”

"The Philadelphia Flyers are stunned and extremely saddened to hear of the tragic passing of former Flyers goaltender Ray Emery," president Paul Holmgren said in a statement from the team. "Ray was an outstanding teammate and an extremely gifted goaltender. He had exceptional athleticism, was a fierce competitor and battled in every game he played with the Flyers.

"His performances through the 2009-10 season were a very big part of the team's success in making the playoffs and reaching the Stanley Cup Final. Ray's talent, work ethic and determination helped him enjoy a successful 11-year NHL career. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time."

Several of Emery’s former teammates over the years offered their condolences via Twitter after learning of the tragedy.

Former Flyer Daniel Carcillo shared the he was crushed by the news (NSFW).

Jakub Voracek also shared his condolences (NSFW).

Emery joined the Flyers in June 2009 on a one-year contract, shutting out the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0 in his Flyers debut. The goaltender’s first stint in Philadelphia was cut short when he suffered a muscle tear in his abdomen in December missing the remainder of the season. Emery was later diagnosed with avascular necrosis — a degenerative condition to the bone tissue in his hip.

After undergoing successful surgery, Emery eventually joined the Ducks before winning a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2013. Impressively, Emery finished the regular season with a 17-1-0 record. He re-signed with the Flyers that summer as a backup to Steve Mason.

Emery’s most infamous moment in Philadelphia came during an ugly 7-0 loss to the Washington Capitals on November 1, 2013, as the Flyers netminder pummeled Caps goalie Braden Holtby during a line brawl in the early stages of the third period.

Emery faced criminal charges over a handful of off-the-ice incidents and altercations. Most recently, he was arrested for assault with a weapon in 2017 against former fiancé Keshia Chanté. 

Emery played a total of 287 NHL games, 88 with the Flyers.