Flyers

Wayne Simmonds savors what might have been his final game as a Flyer, a comeback win over Penguins in Stadium Series

Wayne Simmonds savors what might have been his final game as a Flyer, a comeback win over Penguins in Stadium Series

In a very celebratory Flyers locker room, the emotions started to feel sentimental.

After scoring the game-winner in the Flyers' comeback, 4-3 overtime victory over the Penguins on Saturday night at Lincoln Financial Field (see observations), Claude Giroux passed his player of the game helmet to Jakub Voracek, who scored the game-tying goal with 20 seconds remaining. Voracek handed it over to Wayne Simmonds.

And from there, it sat in Simmonds' stall, as more of a lifetime achievement award.

It may be the final time Simmonds wears that helmet or a Flyers sweater with this collection of teammates — guys like Voracek and Giroux he’s been with for the past eight years.

“He’s one of my best friends, so it’s kind of stressful for me, as well,” Voracek said. “There are some things you can not change in the locker room and he knows it. He’s been a warrior.”

It’s widely believed the "Wayne Train" made one final stop here in Philadelphia before he’s off to his next destination, and there’s a sense that the Nashville Predators, with former Flyers coach Peter Laviolette, are now the front-runner to land Simmonds by Monday’s deadline. 

“It quite possibly could [have been my last game with the Flyers],” Simmonds said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. Obviously I’d like to stay here, but it’s out of my hands now.”

Simmonds knows, to some degree, and he’s likely known for quite some time. His agent Eustace King and Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher haven’t made any significant progress toward a long-term extension, and Simmonds is a coveted asset with teams looking to add an element of toughness as they approach the postseason.

If this is the way it goes down, Simmonds couldn’t have scripted it much better as the Flyers scored twice in the final 3:04 of regulation to tie the game before Giroux’s overtime winner.

“You savor it a little more,” Simmonds said. “This has been my home. I’ve lived in Toronto in the offseason and Philadelphia. I can truly say I’ve given everything I’ve had to Philadelphia the last eight years.”

After the game, Giroux was asked about whether he had a last-ditch conversation with Fletcher to keep Simmonds in Philly, but ultimately the business side of these matters takes precedence.  

“You want the full conversation?” Giroux half-heartedly joked. “I don’t like to comment on it right now, because we don’t know what’s going to happen. It doesn’t mean we have to like it. Wayne’s been the best teammate and it’s just frustrating to think about right now.”

Simmonds can handle the transition. He was traded cross-country from Los Angeles to Philadelphia at the age of 22, but his wife Crystal has never quite experienced this type of stress, and to compound matters, she’s six and a half months pregnant with their first child.  

“We've got to figure out what we’ll be doing for the back half of the season and where we’ll deliver our baby," Simmonds said. "It’s been more than just hockey that’s running through my mind. 

“But I’m happy. I’m happy for what I’ve done in this city and I can truly say that.”

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Morgan Frost provides a highlight but Flyers are left looking for more answers following 4th straight loss

Morgan Frost provides a highlight but Flyers are left looking for more answers following 4th straight loss

BOX SCORE

Morgan Frost offered a snapshot of what the Flyers hope is a prosperous future for the skillful playmaker.

The present on Tuesday night did not depict as pretty of a picture.

The Flyers fell behind 4-1 during the second period, Carter Hart was yanked and a 5-2 loss to the Panthers at BB&T Center marked the final result.

Frost gave the Flyers a highlight on a night that didn't feature many for Alain Vigneault's club. The 2017 first-round pick deposited a dazzling goal in his NHL debut but the Flyers (10-7-4) dropped their fourth straight game, a losing skid that has come directly after a season-best four-game winning streak.

The Panthers (11-5-5) can score goals with the best teams in the NHL. They were also allowing 3.55 per game, fourth worst in the league, but kept the Flyers at bay.

• Hart had been so good in November. When he's not on his game, the Flyers can be exposed, which is exactly what happened against Florida.

The 21-year-old goalie entered 4-1-1 with a 1.77 goals-against average and .934 save percentage this month. He wasn't good Tuesday, the Flyers didn't help him and things unraveled.

The first period set the tone when the Panthers' first goal went off Andy Andreoff's stick. Then Hart allowed Brett Connolly to score from a crazy angle off the netminder's back.

Hart had allowed only one first-period goal over his previous five starts. Florida got him twice in the opening frame and ended his night midway through the second period with its fourth goal.

• The Flyers have now allowed more goals (61) than they've scored (60). During the four-game losing streak, they've scored 1.75 goals per game.

Vigneault continues to plead for more from his veterans. They simply have not answered his call and the Flyers are more than a quarter way into the season. The Flyers' record is very indicative of what they've received from their big boys.

Kevin Hayes recorded his first point in 10 games with a first-period assist on Travis Sanheim's goal. He played 19:01 minutes, four-plus at shorthanded. James van Riemsdyk went scoreless and played 12:56, his second-lowest ice time of the season. Jakub Voracek went scoreless, as well, in 15:31 minutes.

That trio has combined for 30 points in 21 games. The Flyers have to find a way to spark those three, along with Claude Giroux.

• Frost was a nice positive. He played with pace, he was active and was consistently a threat. His goal was very Frost-like.

Expect Vigneault to give him another game with Giroux and Travis Konecny.

• Joel Farabee made a costly turnover that led to Aleksander Barkov's second-period goal, which put the Flyers in a 3-1 hole. The Flyers were also slow to get back on the play. Bad all the way around (see highlights).

The 19-year-old was a minus-2 with three giveaways. He's a kid and there will be growing pains. Farabee snapped his stick in frustration when he went to the bench. Now it's a matter of seeing if he can play his way out of some struggles.

• Ivan Provorov and Matt Niskanen were a combined minus-5. Shayne Gostisbehere played only 14:33. While the Panthers pounced on mistakes, the Flyers couldn't fend them off or get much going at 5-on-5.

The Flyers went 0 for 2 on the power play.

• The Flyers stay on the road and visit the Hurricanes Thursday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

 

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Flyers' Morgan Frost scores first career NHL goal in filthy fashion

Flyers' Morgan Frost scores first career NHL goal in filthy fashion

When he received the news on Sunday that he was being called up to the Flyers, Morgan Frost thought about the hard work it took to make the NHL.

The kid scored 106 goals and 310 points in 257 junior hockey games for the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Over his final two seasons, he erupted for 221 points (79 goals, 142 assists) in 125 games.

That's a lot of scoring, which got him noticed.

“It’s obviously cliché, but it’s every kid’s dream, you dream about it growing up," Frost said Monday of being called up to make his NHL debut. "Honestly, after I got that call, I didn’t really know what to do for like an hour. So much joy, just so many things running through your head and everything you’ve worked for. Great feeling.”

Now he has the feeling of scoring his first career NHL goal. And, boy, did he show his skill while doing it Tuesday night against the Panthers at BB&T Center.

When the 20-year-old center gets in deep, he can make these types of plays on a goalie, even Sergei Bobrovsky.

Frost will always remember that one.

 

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