Flyers

Predators 4, Flyers 0: Another ugly road trip poses more questions

Predators 4, Flyers 0: Another ugly road trip poses more questions

BOX SCORE

Once again, the Flyers are limping home from a road trip.

The Flyers were routed by the Predators, 4-0, Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena, giving them their third four-game losing streak just 39 games into the season.

After beating the Rangers at Madison Square Garden to open a five-game road swing, the Flyers (15-19-5) stumbled hard out of the three-day Christmas break to drop the next four by a combined score of 15-7.

Not long ago, from Dec. 8-15, the Flyers went 1-3-1 on a five-game road trip, which resulted in Dave Hakstol's firing. The Flyers, who are 6-12-4 since Nov. 13 with a minus-27 goal differential, have more points (35) than just two teams in the NHL — the Blues (34) and Senators (34).

Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher was brought in to produce more progress this season, but the idea of buying at this point, on this team, seems almost crazy.

The Predators (24-15-2), on the other hand, have won two straight after losing six in a row.

• The problems are starting to compound for the Flyers, who scored just two goals over the final three games of the trip.

They did have chances Tuesday, though. 

Travis Konecny struck the post during a 2-on-1, Sean Couturier was denied from point-blank range trying to deke goalie Juuse Saros and Wayne Simmonds was turned away on a third-period breakaway. When Simmonds failed to beat Saros, the Predators came back the other way 40 seconds later and made it 3-0.

• Shayne Gostisbehere's offensive numbers aren't there compared to a season ago but his defense saved the Flyers from falling behind 2-0 (for the time being) midway through the second period. 

With chaos in deep and Michal Neuvirth out of his crease, Gostisbehere denied a Roman Josi shot directly in front and a second later was nailed in the helmet by Ryan Johansen's blast, causing a stoppage in play (see video).

Unfortunately for Gostisbehere, the play wasn't really rewarded as the Flyers surrendered a goal to Nashville less than two minutes later to Viktor Arvidsson.

Travis Sanheim was outmuscled in front by Arvidsson and couldn't stop Johansen's pass, giving Neuvirth little chance to make the save. Sanheim is 22 years old and could still use added strength.

• Craig Smith opened the game's scoring 2:03 into the middle stanza when he jumped into the rush and beat Neuvirth. Arvidsson then tacked on another with that 3-0 breakaway tally to put the game out of reach in the third period.

• Flyers interim head coach Scott Gordon tried some adjustments with the power play by moving Jakub Voracek to the point and Gostisbehere to the wing.

It was a good thought. Voracek can utilize his skill and pass-first mindset up top, while Gostisbehere can fire away from the circle with Claude Giroux lurking in the opposite circle.

The man advantage did create opportunities and hit iron on one chance but went 0 for 2. Overall, it ranks dead last in the NHL and is 9 for 93 (9.7 percent) since Oct. 13.

We'll have to wait and see if Gordon sticks with that tweak in the hopes of getting much-needed results.

• The Flyers survived madness during the second period to keep the game from completely uncoiling at the time when Neuvirth abandoned his crease to impede a potential breakaway. Neuvirth went all out to disrupt the chance but the puck was never cleared, forcing the goalie to scramble back to his crease in the nick of time to prevent a 3-0 deficit.

It didn't matter much at all because things only got worse in the third period, while Neuvirth finished with 26 saves.

• The Flyers got a break by avoiding 2017-18 Vezina Trophy winner Pekka Rinne and instead facing backup goalie Saros. They didn't take advantage as Saros picked up the shutout behind 32 stops.

• The Flyers are off from practice Wednesday before opening a three-game homestand Thursday against the Hurricanes (7 p.m./NBCSP), who will be well-rested coming off a 3-1 win Monday over the orange and black.

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

Senators' Brady Tkachuk fined maximum allowable amount for crosscheck on Flyers' Scott Laughton

Senators' Brady Tkachuk fined maximum allowable amount for crosscheck on Flyers' Scott Laughton

Suffice it to say Scott Laughton got the best of the Senators on Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center.

He was the first star in the Flyers' 4-3 victory, scored the game-winning goal during the third period, added an assist, stood up for his teammates and got under the skin of Ottawa forward Brady Tkachuk.

So much so that Tkachuk went after Laughton, crosschecking the 25-year-old forward in the back and jumping him during the final minute of regulation. The NHL reacted quickly to the play, fining Tkachuk $2,486.56, the maximum allowable under the CBA.

Following his third-period marker, Laughton had words for the Senators' bench. He was fired up, especially after Ottawa's hits on Travis Konecny and Joel Farabee, which led to some fights. Laughton could not partake in the dropping of the gloves because he recently returned following surgery on a broken finger, which is still healing.


I knew it was coming. It’s part of the game when you do that stuff and chirp the bench, you know it’s going to come. I just can’t drop my gloves right now with my finger and everything. I’ve got some padding there so once I do that, I guess it’s a penalty or something. That’s just the way it went.

- Laughton

But Laughton still had the backs of his teammates. He was physical throughout, especially after the first-period hits on Konecny and Farabee. He also allowed his game to do the talking.

Laughton has four goals in his last six contests and the Flyers are 6-1-1 since his return following a 13-game absence because of the finger injury.

Would Laughton have liked to fight?

"Yeah," he said.

He did plenty enough.

Tkachuk's crosscheck and check to the league are proof of Laughton's work.

 

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

Multiple fights, a potential costly injury to Travis Konecny and a different kind of Flyers win over Senators

Multiple fights, a potential costly injury to Travis Konecny and a different kind of Flyers win over Senators

Updated: 4:22 p.m.

BOX SCORE 

The win was ugly.

But a really good one for the Flyers.

A lesser opponent tried to work them up, throw them off, and the Flyers still found a way to pull out a 4-3 decision over the Senators on Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center.

They did so while losing their best player during the first period and despite being outshot 30-21.

Scott Laughton was superb yet again with a multi-point game. He was physical when the game became physical and he scored the game-winning goal, his fourth marker in the last six games.

The Flyers (17-8-5) showed they can win when they’re far from their best, which is a good sign. They are 12-3-4 with 28 points since Nov. 1. The Capitals entered the day with an NHL-leading 28 points over that span.

The Senators (12-17-1) have lost six of their last seven games.

• The biggest storyline to come from Saturday’s game was Travis Konecny leaving the ice and never returning following a crushing hit by Mark Borowiecki in the first period.

The fights then broke out with Jakub Voracek and Joel Farabee doing the honors (see story).

The 22-year-old Konecny already had a goal in the game and has been arguably the Flyers’ most important piece to their turnaround through two months of this season.

Konecny was presumably getting checked for a concussion. If he were to miss any time, it would be a significant loss for the Flyers, who are 2-4-4 when Konecny goes scoreless in a game.

After the game, head coach Alain Vigneault said Konecny had an upper-body injury and the Flyers would have further updates Monday.

• Ivan Provorov kept on humming Saturday, matching his goal total of seven from last season by sending home a third-period missile to put the Flyers ahead 3-2 (see highlights).

The Flyers are 15-5-4 since Oct. 21. Over that stretch, Provorov has six goals, nine assists and a plus-10 mark.

• The Senators’ game-tying goal in the second period was an inexcusable one to give up by the Flyers. Carter Hart and Shayne Gostisbehere misread each other terribly, which allowed Anthony Duclair to swoop in for a shorthanded marker.

Both Hart and Gostisbehere need to be more aware in that situation.

The good news is Gostisbehere continues to push offensively and Hart has been awfully good since Nov. 1 — really, all season for that matter.

Gostisbehere has three goals in five games following a three-game benching. The 26-year-old defenseman had one goal in his previous 22 games.

Hart finished with 27 saves.

• Morgan Frost picked up his first point in eight games on Konecny’s goal.

Before the game, Vigneault expressed his confidence in the 20-year-old center who is centering the Flyers’ top line.

The 2017 first-round pick deserves some patience just like a lot of young players.

• Next week, the Flyers open 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.

More on the Flyers