Flyers

Scott Gordon talks decision to return, Flyers' coaching staff and Ivan Provorov-Shayne Gostisbehere

Scott Gordon talks decision to return, Flyers' coaching staff and Ivan Provorov-Shayne Gostisbehere

VOORHEES, N.J. — Scott Gordon was back at Flyers Skate Zone as the team's annual development camp kicked off Tuesday. Following a morning session, Gordon made his way up to the media room wearing a long-sleeved Phantoms pullover.

He is head coach of the Phantoms again. In mid-April, he was told he would no longer be the Flyers' head coach after serving on an interim basis since Dec. 18. The Flyers hired Alain Vigneault as their new bench boss, creating a decision for Gordon following some disappointment of not landing the full-time gig with the big club.

How long did he mull over the opportunity to return as head coach of AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley?

"Not long," Gordon said.

"I kind of went into it with the expectation of that's where I was going to end up."

Gordon said he "didn't have any interest in being an assistant with the Flyers" and made that clear to Chuck Fletcher prior to the general manager's decision on the head coaching job. Gordon said there were "a couple of situations" regarding interest from other NHL teams, but no conversations about head coaching jobs.

Gordon was ready to be back in Lehigh Valley. After all, there's plenty of appeal to the Phantoms. Not only has Gordon had success in Lehigh Valley, but the Phantoms are also expecting a rush of young talent infusing their roster.

Names like Joel Farabee, Morgan Frost, Isaac Ratcliffe, Matthew Strome, Maxim Sushko, Felix Sandstrom and Kirill Ustimenko are all potentially joining the likes of Carsen Twarynski, Mikhail Vorobyev, German Rubtsov and Mark Friedman, just to name a handful.

"Part of the thing that makes the job great down there is we do have some great prospects," Gordon said.

"It's something that has been building over time."

While Gordon would love to be leading the Flyers, he's impressed with the club's mostly new coaching staff and is excited to work with it. Vigneault, Michel Therrien and Mike Yeo all bring vast experience to the table. Vigneault has two Stanley Cup Final appearances on his résumé, Therrien owns one and Yeo hoisted the Cup in Pittsburgh as an assistant. Altogether, the trio has 2,512 games of NHL head coaching experience.

"All three of those guys have had levels of success in the NHL," Gordon said. "Pretty remarkable to have three quality coaches on one staff. It should be a good thing for the Flyers."

Gordon has also liked the additions of Matt Niskanen and Justin Braun, specifically because of what the two accomplished blueliners can do for Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere.

"As good as Provy and Ghost are, they're two veteran defensemen who have been in the league [only] three or four years," Gordon said. "Those guys, whether they end up playing together anymore or end up playing with Niskanen or Braun, they're playing with people that aren't cutting their teeth while they're still young in their careers. That's a huge thing for the team — guys that have been in the Stanley Cup Final, winning the Stanley Cup, that's huge for the development of the those guys." 

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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

BOX SCORE

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 place Andreoff on waivers for the purpose of the 28-year-old reporting to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

• 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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Flyers at Hurricanes: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

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

The Flyers on Thursday night will look to avoid a season-worst fifth straight loss.

So far, they've lost four consecutive games twice. To avoid topping that, the Flyers (10-7-4) must beat the Hurricanes (13-7-1) on the road.

Let's get into the essentials:

When: 7 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: PNC Arena
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• Alain Vigneault is trying everything and anything to spark his veterans.

On Monday, Vigneault said, “Whoever we’ve played with Coots has played well."

The Flyers' head coach is so desperate to get Jakub Voracek going that he's moving the winger to Sean Couturier's line with Oskar Lindblom.

After Vigneault put Voracek, Kevin Hayes and James van Riemsdyk together at the start of Tuesday's 5-2 loss to the Panthers, the trio has been split up, per NBC Sports Philadelphia's Taryn Hatcher. Hayes will center Joel Farabee and Tyler Pitlick, while van Riemsdyk heads to the fourth line with Michael Raffl and Andy Andreoff.

Will all of this work? At this point, the Flyers have to give it a shot. During the team's four-game losing streak, Claude Giroux, Voracek, Hayes and van Riemsdyk have combined for one goal and two assists.

"I expect more from James, I expect more from Kevin, I expect more from Jake as far as 5-on-5 play," Vigneault said Monday. "You’d ask those guys, they’d tell you the same thing. They need to be better for our team to get into the playoffs and we’re aware of that."

• The Flyers are scoring 2.18 goals per game on the road, fourth fewest in the NHL, while the power play is 4 for 37 (10.8 percent) away from home.

• The Hurricanes are scoring four goals per game at home, tied for the second most in the NHL. Carolina has won four straight contests, a stretch in which it has scored 5.25 goals per game.

• Outside of Ivan Provorov (three points), Flyers defensemen have scored three points during the Flyers' four-game skid.

• Just how valuable have Travis Konecny and Lindblom been to the Flyers this season?

The team is 0-3-3 when Konecny goes scoreless and 2-5-1 when Lindblom goes scoreless.

The two have gone scoreless in the same game only twice this season.

Projected lineup

Forwards

Claude Giroux-Morgan Frost-Travis Konecny
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Joel Farabee-Kevin Hayes-Tyler Pitlick
James van Riemsdyk-Michael Raffl-Andy Andreoff

Defensemen

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

Goalies

Brian Elliott
Carter Hart

 

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