Flyers

Senators pull off improbable comeback

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USA Today Images

Senators pull off improbable comeback

OTTAWA, Ontario -- Matt Duchene scored his second goal of the game seven seconds into overtime and the Ottawa Senators capped a four-goal comeback with a 6-5 win over the San Jose Sharks on Friday night.

Down 5-2 to start the third period, the Senators got goals from Derick Brassard, Duchene and Mike Hoffman. Ryan Dzingel and Mark Stone also scored for Ottawa, and Craig Anderson made 30 saves.

Hoffman and Duchene raced for a 2-on-1 off the OT faceoff, and Hoffman slipped a backhand pass across the slot to Duchene, who pushed the puck past goalie Aaron Dell.

Tomas Hertl led the Sharks with two goals. Melker Karlsson, Chris Tierney and Brett Burns also scored. Dell stopped 37 shots (see full recap).

Penguins shut out Islanders
NEW YORK -- Sidney Crosby had a goal and three assists, Tristan Jarry stopped 31 shots for his second shutout of the season and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the New York Islanders 4-0 Friday night.

Daniel Sprong had two goals and an assist, Evgeni Malkin also scored and Dominik Simon added two assists for the Penguins, who had dropped four of six and were coming off a 4-0 loss at home to Carolina the previous night. The two-time defending Stanley Cup champions pulled within one point of the Hurricanes for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.

Jaroslav Halak finished with 31 saves as the Islanders lost their season-high fifth straight -- all in regulation -- while getting outscored 25-8 during the skid.

The Islanders lost right wing Josh Bailey to a lower-body injury early in the first period and he did not return. Bailey leads the team with 38 assists and is tied with captain John Tavares for tops with 50 points (see full recap).

Golden Knights keep rolling
CHICAGO -- Reilly Smith had a goal and two assists, and the Vegas Golden Knights topped the Chicago Blackhawks 5-4 on Friday night for their ninth win in 10 games.

Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson each had a goal and an assist as expansion Vegas got the win in its first trip to Chicago. Alex Tuch and Cody Eakin also scored, and Malcolm Subban made 28 saves.

The game was tied at 4 when Smith stole a pass and beat Jeff Glass on a breakaway for his 11th of the season 13:53 into the third. The Blackhawks pulled Glass in favor of an extra attacker with about two minutes left, but the Golden Knights held on.

Vinnie Hinostroza had a goal and two assists for Chicago, which was coming off a 2-3-1 trip. Jonathan Toews had a goal and an assist, and Glass finished with 38 stops (see full recap).

Samuel Morin's future with Flyers grows murkier with torn ACL

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Samuel Morin's future with Flyers grows murkier with torn ACL

Samuel Morin is taking the long and winding road to the NHL, one that’s now more rugged and elongated than ever.

The Flyers confirmed Thursday that Morin tore the ACL in his right knee when his skate caught a rut on the ice in Charlotte while he was attempting to check an opponent. The injury took place in the first period of the Phantoms' epic five-overtime game against the Checkers two weeks ago.

General manager Ron Hextall told the Courier-Post's Dave Isaac that Morin is facing a nine-month recovery process and that the 6-7 defenseman is “probably out until February” as he recovers from surgery — which Morin will undergo sometime in the near future.

Morin’s 2018-19 season will now be spent rehabbing from injury and utilizing what’s left of the regular season working his way back with the Phantoms.   

The Flyers' 2013 first-round pick is also a restricted free agent after playing out the final year of his three-year entry-level contract. In the five years since he was drafted, Morin has suited up for just three NHL games. 

Expect the two sides to reach an agreement on a one- or- two-year extension rather easily since Morin doesn’t have much leverage in negotiations at this point. Since Morin signed his rookie deal at the age of 18, he also had a five-year (or 160-game) waiver exemption that has now expired.

In other words, the Flyers will no longer have the luxury of shuttling Morin back and forth from Lehigh Valley without exposing him to the rest of the league if they attempt to send him back to the minors.

The Flyers have no choice but to give Morin the necessary time to ensure he’s not only ready physically, but also that his game can be trusted at the NHL level.  

Hextall has preached patience in the deliberate development of the organization’s prospects.

Right now, Samuel Morin is the poster child for that process.

Phantoms' Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers pairing can't be trusted with Flyers ... yet

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Phantoms' Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers pairing can't be trusted with Flyers ... yet

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — The Flyers' general manager who was able to construct an entire blue line through trades and free-agent signings was once asked, "What's the number one trait you look for out of a defenseman?"

Paul Holmgren’s response was decisive and to the point. Paraphrasing, Holmgren said, "The one who can get the puck out of his zone as quickly as possible."

As much as the game of hockey has been broken down into advanced metrics and analytics, it’s rather simple at its core. The more time a team spends in its end of the ice, the greater likelihood it'll be on the wrong side of the scoreboard.

The AHL playoffs have served as an ideal test site for Travis Sanheim and Philippe Myers, who have been stalwarts throughout the Phantoms' postseason run. 

However, Game 3 at the PPL Center Wednesday night further exemplified the necessary strides the Flyers' defensive prospects must take in order to develop into reliable, everyday NHL blueliners.  

Oftentimes, less is more when you have the puck in the defensive end of the ice, and it took roughly 62 seconds into the game on Sanheim’s opening shift for the 22-year-old to make a major gaffe that gave the Toronto Marlies a 1-0 lead. 

Instead of making the simple play of a quick pass up the boards, Sanheim elected to keep it, reversing his field and was suddenly stripped with the attacking forward trailing. Roughly two seconds elapsed from the moment Sanheim lost the puck to when it was behind goalie Alex Lyon in the net. 

“On that particular play, we have full possession of the puck and the opportunity to advance it," Phantoms head coach Scott Gordon said. "Instead, we go back behind the net to where their guy is. That’s just playing into their hands. In that situation, and in a few of our breakouts, there were opportunities to move forward with the puck and we didn’t.”   

However, the gaffes involving the Sanheim-Myers pairing didn’t stop there. Sanheim was stripped of the puck at his own blue line during the first Phantoms' power play. Myers inexcusably lost his edge skating with the puck through the neutral zone. Toronto’s Andreas Johnsson muscled his way around Sanheim to generate a quality scoring chance, and then another terrible pass and turnover inside the Phantoms' zone.

And that all came in the first seven minutes of the game. 

If Dave Hakstol had been behind the bench (he was actually watching from the PPL Center press box), Sanheim is likely sitting in front of him for the remainder of the game. That’s essentially what transpired in mid-January at the Prudential Center in New Jersey when Sanheim’s play landed him back in the minors for a month and a half. 

Chalk this up as one bad game. Game 3 of the AHL’s Eastern Conference Finals was simply another teaching moment as the Phantoms were blown out, 5-0, falling behind 3-0 in the series. Both players will be back there together logging close to 25 minutes as the Phantoms try to avoid elimination Friday night.    

As exciting as it is to watch Sanheim and Myers generate offense within the Phantoms' system with their size and skating ability, there’s no way Hakstol and the Flyers can depend on that pairing defensively next season. Together, they’re still young, inexperienced and unreliable. 

If anything, expect the competition between Myers and Sanheim as something worth watching when Flyers camp opens in September. Myers has closed the gap in his first full season in the AHL. 

And the guy who can clean up their play defensively will likely be the one that starts next season with the Flyers.