Morgan Frost, Claude Giroux star in much-needed win for Flyers over Hurricanes

Morgan Frost, Claude Giroux star in much-needed win for Flyers over Hurricanes

Updated: Friday, 1:10 p.m.


Call this one the Morgan Frost and Claude Giroux show.

In his second NHL game, Frost looked like the 100-point junior hockey stud he was with the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. In his 842nd NHL game, Giroux looked like Giroux.

Together, the two pushed the Flyers to a much-needed 5-3 win Thursday night over the Hurricanes at PNC Arena.

The Flyers (11-7-4) halted a four-game losing streak. They have two regulation wins since Nov. 5, both against Carolina.

The Hurricanes (13-8-1) entered on a four-game winning streak in which they were scoring 5.25 goals per game.

• There was a chance Frost's call-up to the NHL would be a short one. The 20-year-old rookie isn't going anywhere for now with a roster move ahead.

Frost has lived up to the billing with three points and two goals in two games. He'll be centering Giroux and Travis Konecny at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday.

An intriguing facet to Frost's game is the threat he poses playing shorthanded. His junior coaches liked him on the penalty kill because of the pressure he put on the opposition's power play. Frost scored eight shorthanded goals over his final two seasons with the Greyhounds.

His second career NHL goal came on the PK right off Giroux winning the faceoff.

Per NHL public relations, Frost is the sixth player in franchise history to score a goal in each of his first two career games, while the last Flyer to do it was David Laliberte in 2009.

The Flyers were looking for an offensive jolt and Frost has given them one through two games (see highlights).

• The Flyers played seven defensemen and healthy scratched forward Andy Andreoff, who seems like a soon-to-be roster casualty with the way Frost is playing.

Scott Laughton is expected to be activated off long-term injured reserve and return to the lineup Saturday. To make room for Laughton, cap-wise, the Flyers can loan Andreoff to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. He does not have to clear waivers after being with the Flyers fewer than 30 days and 10 games.

• Giroux had a Giroux game the Flyers have sorely needed. The Flyers' captain put up three or more points for the first time this season, notching two goals and two assists. His first marker was off a pretty feed from Konecny when the Flyers were in an early 2-0 hole. His second goal was the game-winner in the third period after a magnificent play by Frost.

Last season, Giroux had six games in which he scored three or more points. Before his big night, Giroux had one point (a goal) over the last six games.

• With the way he moves laterally, Ivan Provorov has become a real threat at the point when the Flyers' power play gets situated.

“If I can create space, get pressure toward me and dish it out, I will," Provorov said Nov. 4. "If both sides are taken away and I have a clear lane, I’m going to take that shot all day.”

The 22-year-old has been letting it rip — and accurately. During the first period, he scored his fourth man advantage goal of the season after scoring just two in his first three seasons.

Provorov has been a major positive after signing his new deal.

• Shayne Gostisbehere, on the other hand, was not particularly sharp and played only 10:57.

• Let's not forget how good Konecny was against the Hurricanes. He had three assists and with 15 helpers on the season, he is on his way to shattering his career high of 25 set last season.

• Give some credit to Brian Elliott, who recovered well after a bad start in which he allowed two goals in the game's opening five minutes. Elliott made a massive save late in regulation as Carolina was all over him eyeing an equalizer.

Elliott finished with 33 stops.

• The Flyers play five games in the next eight days, starting Saturday when they host Johnny Gaudreau and the Flames (1 p.m. ET/NBCSP).


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'You know that word that starts with B?' — Alain Vigneault makes his point after frustrating Flyers loss

'You know that word that starts with B?' — Alain Vigneault makes his point after frustrating Flyers loss

Every so often, ever since training camp in mid-September, Alain Vigneault will remind everyone he wasn't here last year or the years prior.

He'll do so amicably when questions arise about a past season or trend with the club he now coaches. Vigneault likes to focus on the present and what's ahead.

After all, he doesn't want to act as if he's openly criticizing what happened before him. 

"It's the start of a new era, a new group," he said Sept. 13, Day 1 of training camp.

If he didn't know, the type of loss the Flyers suffered Thursday night has become a recurring theme in recent years, the kind that drives the fan base up a wall. One night, the Flyers will look like world-beaters against the NHL's elite. Another night, they'll lose a game that had victory written all over it, leaving fans scratching their heads.

Except, Flyers fans are no longer dumbfounded by those types of losses because, quite frankly, their team has tended to suffer them predictably.

On Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers lost, 4-1, to the Canadiens, who are on the outside looking in at the playoff picture and had lost nine of their previous 11 games. What made the defeat particularly maddening was that the Flyers had just made a significant statement by beating the league's three best teams — the Capitals, Bruins and Blues — in the past four games.

The win over defending champion St. Louis came Wednesday night on the road. So on Thursday night, the Flyers were facing the second game of a back-to-back set, coming off the high of beating the champs in their building, and playing without either of their regular two goalies (see observations).

When "emotional letdown" was brought up at his postgame press conference, Vigneault wouldn't even tiptoe the line.

“You know that word that starts with B?" Vigneault asked.

Begins with bull and ends in ... ?

"I mean, these are big games," Vigneault said. "There’s almost nothing separating teams. And tonight, it’s a couple plays. I understand emotionally, but points are the same. This game was worth two. Last game was worth two. You’ve got to get up for it, you’ve got to get yourself ready, it’s going to be a battle.

"You do know the word I’m talking about, right?”

Sure do.

And his Flyers know those losses can't become a theme.

Vigneault will call out that bulls--t if he sees it.

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Flyers upended by Canadiens for the type of loss that always seems to anger fans

Flyers upended by Canadiens for the type of loss that always seems to anger fans


These ones irritate Flyers fans the most.

After playing up to the competition for four straight games and generating bona-fide excitement, the Flyers played down to the competition in a 4-1 loss Thursday night to the Canadiens at the Wells Fargo Center.

Sure, Montreal boasts a big-named goalie, but it had lost nine of its last 11 games before upending the Flyers, who had just won three games over the top three teams in the NHL.

This was a letdown any way you slice it for the Flyers (25-17-6) following victories over the Capitals, Bruins and Blues.

The Canadiens (21-21-7) salvaged the final game of the three-game regular-season series with the Flyers after dropping the first two matchups in overtime.

• The Flyers were coming off an emotional high of beating the defending champs on the road and playing the second game of a back-to-back set, but everyone should expect more than losing by three goals on home ice to a team outside of the playoff picture (see story).

On Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers should come out like gangbusters against the Kings, who are near the basement of the West.

• With Carter Hart (right lower abdominal strain) out two to three weeks and Brian Elliott playing an overtime game on the road Wednesday night, Alex Lyon made his first start of the season for the Flyers.

The 27-year-old has played well in his fourth season with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

“Alex has put in a lot of time,” Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said before the game. “He spent the summer here in Philly to work out. I thought he had a good camp and he's been playing well. This is his best start in Lehigh Valley. He is just coming off a shutout and he deserved a chance to play.”

Lyon became the third goalie to suit up for the Flyers. At this date last season, the Flyers had already played seven goalies.

He was strong until he allowed a goal with 55 seconds left in the first period. From the end of the opening stanza to the beginning of the second frame, Lyon allowed three goals in a span of three minutes, 14 seconds.

The tallies weren’t all on Lyon. The Flyers were a step behind on all three. The second was a power play goal in which the Flyers allowed Shea Weber all kinds of room to wind up a slap shot and create a rebound in front (see highlights).

Lyon made 35 saves.

Montreal goalie Carey Price, who won his previous two games with 72 saves on 73 shots, enjoyed the lead and finished with 40 stops to beat the Flyers for the 16th time in his career.

• In the wins over the Capitals, Bruins and Blues, the Flyers were forced to kill 14 of 15 power plays. That’s a lot of work for the PK and it felt like the rising number of trips to the box would eventually burn the Flyers.

They allowed Ilya Kovalchuk’s go-ahead power play goal early in the second period and then the Canadiens scored another marker 11 seconds later to seize a 3-1 lead.

It was a momentum-changing sequence all started by a penalty, albeit a cheap hooking call on Kevin Hayes.

The Flyers also hurt themselves by going 0 for 4 on the power play.

• Kovalchuk, who signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Canadiens two weeks ago, gave Montreal a 2-1 lead on the second-period power play goal. He tacked on the fourth and final goal.

The 36-year-old winger has seven points (three goals, four assists) in seven games with the Canadiens.

Should the Flyers have been interested?

• Recalled a day after being loaned to the Phantoms for the purpose of creating space for Lyon, Joel Farabee scored a big goal to open the game’s scoring.

The marker was Farabee’s first in 16 games. The 19-year-old has offense to add to the Flyers — and if he can show it on the fourth line, his role will grow as the games grow bigger.

“I'd like him to get a little bit more than nine or 10 minutes but we've seen that go up and down, and my expectation is that that’ll come back,” Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said Tuesday.

With the addition of Connor Bunnaman, the Flyers’ fourth line has been a positive over the past three games.

• Before the game, Vigneault said he was very optimistic about defenseman Justin Braun’s return Saturday from a groin injury.

• The Flyers play two more games, both at home, before their NHL-mandated Jan. 22-30 bye week — Saturday vs. the Kings (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and Tuesday vs. the Penguins (7:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN).

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