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Flyers stock watch: Scott Laughton seeing increased production, ice time

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Flyers stock watch: Scott Laughton seeing increased production, ice time

After a 1-0 loss to the Golden Knights on Saturday, the Flyers find themselves with a 2-3-0 mark through five games.

Who are the risers and fallers in our weekly stock watch? 

Stock up

Scott Laughton
Laughton’s three even strength goals leads the Flyers through five games. Starting the season on the fourth line, Laughton has also seen an increase in ice time as he’s jumped up to play with Mikhail Vorobyev and Wayne Simmonds. The left winger has also proven to be an invaluable contributor on the Flyers’ penalty kill leading all forwards in PK minutes. Saturday against the Golden Knights, Laughton’s aggressiveness led to a shorthanded breakaway. If Oskar Lindblom misses significant time, Laughton may even jump up to the Flyers’ second line once Nolan Patrick returns.

Radko Gudas
Radko Gudas should have no concerns that he’ll be replaced by Christian Folin anytime soon after Folin’s poor performance in Colorado. Gudas has not only contributed offensively with three assists in a 7-4 win in Ottawa but he’s been a steadying presence for Travis Sanheim, who is starting to develop a cohesion with Gudas as the team’s third defensive pairing. While he may be a below average puck mover, the puck possession metrics also favor Gudas despite starting a majority of his shifts in the defensive zone. 

Dale Weise
Weise started the season as the Flyers’ 14th forward and appeared to be a healthy scratch until injuries and ineffectiveness forced Dave Hakstol to utilize the 30-year-old winger. To Weise’s credit, he's effective when he plays with an edge, which he has done in his past two games. He has the speed to jump in hard and strong on the forecheck, creating takeaways and giving the Flyers’ fourth line a spark and some much-needed energy. Weise recorded two assists against Ottawa for his first multi-point effort in his last 47 games.  

Stock down

Andrew MacDonald
It’s been a slow start for MacDonald, who revealed on Friday that he’s not playing at 100 percent after coming back early from an offseason injury sustained prior to training camp. MacDonald also believes the two preseason games he played may have been premature. As a result, the Flyers’ defenseman has struggled in the first week and a half, allowing a team-high six goals at even strength. The MacDonald-Hagg pairing has also yielded a lot of time in the Flyers’ zone and a significant amount of shots on net.

Travis Konecny
Two games into the season, Dave Hakstol was ready to abandon Konecny’s role on the top line with Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux. Konecny’s ice time has taken a direct hit, playing nearly 16 minutes in the opener in Vegas to just under 12 minutes in each of his past two games. With just one assist in his first five games, Konecny doesn’t seem to be playing with the same degree of confidence he had at the end of last season when he scored 18 goals over a 33-game span. He still hasn’t weeded out the high-risk plays that can lead to opposition scoring chances.

Nolan Patrick
For a player that many expected a big sophomore season out of, it’s been a tough start for Patrick. He didn’t have a strong preseason and it appears it has carried over into the start of the regular season. Patrick left the game in Ottawa in the first period with an upper-body injury and never returned. Prior to that game, Patrick was a minus-5 over his first three games, failing to register a point centering a line with Oskar Lindblom and Jake Voracek. We haven’t seen the jump and assertiveness in Patrick’s game that we saw when he finished his rookie campaign strong.

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Flyers vs. Senators: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers vs. Senators: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

For just the fifth time in the last 23 games, the Flyers failed to pick up at least a point when they lost to the Coyotes, 3-1, Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Before a three-game road trip, the Flyers (16-8-5) will look to get back into the points business Saturday as they host the Senators (12-16-1).

Let's get into the essentials:

When: 1 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 12:30 p.m. ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• For the most part, the Flyers were pleased with their game Thursday despite leaving the night empty-handed. Their points were valid, though.

The Flyers held the Coyotes to only 18 shots while putting up 29 themselves. On the season, the Flyers have recorded the NHL's 10th-most shots per game (32.8) and have allowed the fourth fewest (28.9). They own 10 wins when outshooting their opponent, tied for second most in the league.

What's most important is they're playing head coach Alain Vigneault's preferred style, which, more often than not, will result in points. It's a big reason why they're 14-5-4 since Oct. 21.

When you look at all the numbers after tonight, we’ll be double in possession, double in shots, double in everything. But we couldn't find a way to beat their goaltender. I like the way we worked, but execution-wise with the puck, we were a little off. A lot of people say they defended well, we had the puck all night. So that's what happened.

- Vigneault after loss to Coyotes

• Carter Hart is 7-2-2 with a 1.86 goals-against average and .931 save percentage in his last 11 starts. The 21-year-old has allowed more than two goals in only two of those 11 outings.

• The Flyers have only two regulation losses at home (9-2-4) and haven't gone back-to-back games without a point since Oct. 27-29.

• The Senators are 1-5-0 in their last six games, a stretch in which they've scored 1.83 goals per game.

Projected lineup

Forwards

Claude Giroux-Morgan Frost-Travis Konecny
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Scott Laughton-Kevin Hayes-Joel Farabee
James van Riemsdyk-Mikhail Vorobyev-Tyler Pitlick

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim-Justin Braun
Philippe Myers-Shayne Gostisbehere

Goalies

Carter Hart
Brian Elliott

 

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Flyers brought back to earth by Coyotes, suffer a first since Oct. 19

Flyers brought back to earth by Coyotes, suffer a first since Oct. 19

BOX SCORE

Despite putting up 21 goals over their five-game winning streak, the Flyers had a propensity to score them in bunches when an opponent started derailing.

On Thursday night, the Flyers never got going and were pulled back to earth in a 3-1 loss to the Coyotes at the Wells Fargo Center.

Arizona goalie Darcy Kuemper was the biggest difference. The 6-foot-5 netminder who brought an NHL-best 1.97 goals-against average and .936 save percentage to Philly stopped 28 shots.

With 4:43 left, Matt Niskanen scored the Flyers' lone goal and it ricocheted off a Coyote. Arizona iced the game with an empty-netter (see highlights).

The Flyers (16-8-5) suffered just their second regulation loss at home (9-2-4). The last time they failed to pick up a point at home was Oct. 19 when they lost to the Stars, 4-1.

Thursday night's defeat halted the Flyers' winning streak at five games and their point streak at seven. The Flyers had earned at least a point in 18 of their previous 22 games.

The Coyotes (17-9-4), who were allowing the NHL's second-fewest goals per game at 2.31, improved to 10-3-3 on the road.

• The Flyers went on two power plays in the final six minutes of the second period but could not solve Kuemper.

During those two man advantage opportunities, the Flyers put five shots on Kuemper and also misfired three times.

James van Riemsdyk found Morgan Frost with a slick backhanded pass from behind the net but the 20-year-old missed wide.

• Speaking of Frost, he had a tough game. The rookie had a turnover and some difficulty making plays.

He has gone scoreless over his last seven games following his loud start in which he scored three points in his first two games.

Maybe head coach Alain Vigneault takes him off the first line to relieve some pressure.

"Young player, in my estimation, has got a lot of confidence in himself, which is real good," Vigneault said postgame. "Tonight, there were a couple of plays with the puck, like some of our other guys, that the execution might have been a little bit off. But I think overall, the young man is working hard and trying to get better."

Will he stay on the top line?

"I'm going to watch the game and make [changes], if I have some changes to make, [Friday]," Vigneault said. "I like what the young man can bring to the game."

• Vigneault opted to play seven defensemen instead of slotting call-up Mikhail Vorobyev in at fourth-line center.

It's not a bad approach when you have seven healthy blueliners playing well. It also could mean the Flyers aren't ready to trust Vorobyev on the fourth line again.

The Senators game on Saturday looks like a better matchup for Vorobyev, who is in his fifth stint with the club since the start of last season.

• Brian Elliott hadn't lost in regulation since Oct. 29. The Flyers' backup goalie finished with 15 saves.

He allowed a first-period power play goal to Phil Kessel after Claude Giroux was whistled for a ticky-tacky slashing penalty. He then yielded a backbreaking third-period goal to Conor Garland with 7:03 left in the game.

The goalie was not the problem, though.

Sean Couturier was not a problem, either.

• The Flyers wrap up their three-game homestand Saturday when they welcome the Senators (1 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Next week, the team opens a three-game road trip, which features matchups with the Avalanche on Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN), the Wild on Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and the Jets on Sunday (5 p.m. ET/NBCSP+).

 

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.

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