Flyers

Nick Ritchie an unlikely hero as Ducks win in 11-round shootout

ap-nick-ritchie-anaheim-ducks-shootout.jpg
AP Images

Nick Ritchie an unlikely hero as Ducks win in 11-round shootout

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Nick Ritchie isn't one of the first players called upon for the Anaheim Ducks in a shootout.

He wasn't among the first 10 shooters Saturday.

Yet, Ritchie scored in the 11th round of the shootout and John Gibson stopped the final seven shooters in the Ducks' 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild.

"It seems like once it gets over five or six (rounds) it can go over 15 sometimes, so there was a good chance I was going to get a shot there and I capitalized on it," said Ritchie, whose quick shot split the pads of Devan Dubnyk. Ritchie missed his other shootout attempt this season.

Prior to the goal, the teams combined for 13 straight misses.

"Anytime you win a shootout that goes that long, you feel fortunate you get the extra point. Some big stops from our goaltender, and we found a guy who scored the big goal. We'll take it," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. (see full recap).

Raanta saves 39 shots in shutout win for streaking Coyotes 
GLENDALE, Ariz. — The customized title belt the Arizona Coyotes pass around for a top performance in a victory was already in Antti Raanta's possession after a win two days earlier against Montreal.

Raanta did even more to earn the belt Saturday, though he handed it off to defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson. Raanta made 39 saves for his first shutout of the season and the Coyotes won their fourth straight, scoring on their first shot in a 1-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.

Raanta had his ninth career shutout, helping the Coyotes earn points for the fifth time in six games.

"You never get the shutouts just by yourself, you need a good team in front of you," Raanta said. "It shows you how much better we are right now ... I went with `Hammer' because Hammer's been blocking more shots than I have sometimes saved."

Cam Talbot made 31 saves for Edmonton. The Oilers have lost six in a row (see full recap).

Lundqvist pulled in Rangers' loss to Senators
OTTAWA, Ontario —  The Ottawa Senators' quick start led to an early exit for Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

Derick Brassard had a goal and two assists and Ottawa defeated the New York Rangers 6-3 on Saturday.

Lundqvist allowed five goals on 27 shots before being replaced by Brandon Halverson with 13 minutes remaining.

Halverson stopped five of the six shots he faced for New York in his NHL debut.

Matt Duchene and Mark Stone both added a goal and an assist for Ottawa, which has won two straight. Craig Anderson also stopped 35 shots and Johnny Oduya, Magnus Paajarvi and Thomas Chabot also scored (see full recap).

Lack saves 48 shots as Devils beat Lightning
TAMPA, Fla. — Eddie Lack made 48 saves and the New Jersey Devils beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on Saturday night.

Making his third appearance as the backup since being recalled from Binghamton of the AHL on Feb. 4, Lack made a terrific glove save on Brayden Point's in-close shot midway through the second.

Ben Lovejoy, Nico Hischier, Pavel Zacha and Miles Wood scored for the Devils. Taylor Hall had an assist and has a point in each of the last 17 games he has played in.

Tampa Bay got goals from Chris Kunitz, Point and Steven Stamkos, and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 24 shots (see full recap).

Capitals 3, Flyers 1: Swept by defending champs as 2018-19 run nearing end

Capitals 3, Flyers 1: Swept by defending champs as 2018-19 run nearing end

BOX SCORE

WASHINGTON — The Capitals completed a four-game season sweep of the Flyers for the first time since the 2006-07 season following a 3-1 win Sunday at Capital One Arena.

Back-to-back losses to the Islanders and Capitals will almost ensure the Flyers won’t qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The highest point total the Flyers can finish with is 92, if they can run the table over their final six games.

Here are my observations from Capital One Arena:

• The Flyers entered this game having surrendered an average of 42 shots per game over their last five games — the most they’ve allowed in any five-game stretch this season. Against the Capitals, though, they were clearly the better team, controlling play as they dominated in shot attempts by an overwhelming 44-10 margin in the second period alone, but couldn’t generate the game-tying goal. You have to wonder where that energy level was Saturday against the Islanders.

• The Flyers need a Tom Wilson-type player for next season. Wayne Simmonds was that kind of player in his prime, but no longer. The closest they had was Scott Hartnell, who played a similar style.

Wilson was a first-round pick because of his skill level combined with the edge he brings to the ice. The Caps simply don’t win the Stanley Cup without his feisty and chippy play, which was a difference maker in the Cup Final. With his 1-0 goal in this game, Wilson now has a career-high 22 goals this season, four of those against the Flyers.

• Sean Couturier will be my vote for the Bobby Clarke award as the Flyers' MVP this season with his all-around, two-way play, and a second straight 30-goal season.

However, I don’t think Couturier has had a Selke-worthy season like he showed in 2017-18 when he finished second to Anze Kopitar. Couturier was nearly flawless last season in his defensive positioning and his puck management in his end of the ice, but not quite as good this season. He had one of those miscues that led to the Caps' second goal of the game.

• The defensive pairing of Robert Hagg and Radko Gudas had apparently run its course. After the Hagg-Gudas pair looked awful in the game against the Islanders, it wasn't much better in the opening 10 minutes of this game.

The Flyers played much better defensively once interim head coach Scott Gordon paired Hagg with Philippe Myers and Gudas with Shayne Gostisbehere. However, the Flyers were exploited with the fourth line on the ice and Hagg pinching deep with no recognition from the forwards, which led to Jakub Vrana’s breakaway goal.

• Jakub Voracek scored a power-play goal, giving him 20 goals for the season and the sixth time in his last seven seasons in Philadelphia. While Voracek will never be considered a pure goal scorer, this puts him near exclusive company. Only 20 current players have six 20-goal seasons over the last seven seasons.

• Did you catch the delay before the opening faceoff? Phil Varone’s name was on the lineup card submitted to the official scorer, but Varone was a healthy scratch in favor of Justin Bailey. Had the change not been made prior to the faceoff, Bailey would have been ruled ineligible, according to rule 5.2 in the NHL rulebook, and the Flyers would have been forced to play with 11 forwards (which they’ve done a handful of times over the past month).

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers

Flyers at Capitals: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers at Capitals: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Can the Flyers avoid their first sweep to the Capitals since the 2006-07 season?

The Philadelphia Flyers (36-31-8, 80 points) will face the Washington Capitals (43-24-8, 94 points) for the fourth and final time this season. 

The Flyers enter Sunday seven points out of the wild card chase behind the Montreal Canadiens with seven games remaining in the regular season for both teams.

Other games vital to the Flyers’ playoff chances:

• Montreal at Carolina, 7 p.m.
• Columbus at Vancouver, 10 p.m.

Let's take a look at today's essentials:

When: 12:30 p.m. EST
Where: Capital One Center
Broadcast: NBC
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• After Saturday’s 4-2 loss to the Islanders, head coach Scott Gordon now has the same number of regulation losses (15) and overtime losses (4) as Dave Hakstol had this season. However, Gordon has amassed twice as many wins (24 to Hakstol’s 12).

Gordon mentioned that an element of fatigue has set in with a bug spreading its way throughout the locker room, coupled with the Flyers’ high level of play since mid-January.

“I think that we just need to dig down and we all have more, we all have better, and including myself. I think we just all need to dig down deeper.” - Flyers goaltender Carter Hart.

• Over their past five games the Flyers have allowed an average of 42 shots per game. It’s their most allowed over a five-game stretch this season.

• Claude Giroux comes into Sunday’s game with a five-game point streak after adding an assist in a 4-2 loss to the Islanders Saturday.

With that point, Giroux topped 60 assists for the third time and hit the 80-point mark for the fourth time in his 12-year career.

Since 2011-12, only Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby has more 80-point seasons (6) than Giroux, who’s tied with Toronto’s John Tavares.

• With his goal on Saturday, defenseman Robert Hägg extended his career-best season with five goals and 19 points, more than double his rookie season total of eight points.

• Over the Flyers last eight games the penalty kill has successfully killed off 22 of 23 power play opportunities. Against the Islanders, it was exceptionally good, successfully killing all five chances including 2:35 of a 5-on-3 advantage.

• For winning the 2018 Stanley Cup Championship, the Washington Capitals will visit the White House Monday. Goaltender Braden Holtby and forward Brett Connolly have declined the invitation and will not join their teammates.

Projected lineup

Forwards
Oskar Lindblom - Sean Couturier - Claude Giroux
James van Riemsdyk - Nolan Patrick - Jake Voracek
Ryan Hartman - Scott Laughton - Travis Konecny
Michael Raffl - Corban Knight - Justin Bailey

Defensemen
Ivan Provorov - Travis Sanheim
Shayne Gostisbehere - Philippe Myers
Robert Hägg- Radko Gudas

Goalies
Brian Elliott
Carter Hart

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers