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Flyers' special teams melt down in Game 3 blowout at home

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Flyers' special teams melt down in Game 3 blowout at home

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The Wells Fargo Center flickered with light-up bracelets doled out to fans from the rink-side seats to the nosebleeds.

But as the Flyers unraveled Monday evening and the glow dimmed, the bracelets went from flickering in the stands to fluttering to the ice.

It was the culmination of a special night gone awry and a series gone wrong.

In Game 3 of their best-of-seven first-round playoff series against the Capitals, the Flyers went from a 1-0 lead in the opening 57 seconds to a 6-1 catastrophe as their season now reaches the edge of the plank — a 3-0 series deficit to the NHL’s best (see Instant Replay).

“Well, emotional roller coaster, for sure,” Mark Streit said. “To have such a touching ceremony and we came out flying, scored a goal right away, and then somehow we lose that momentum — that can’t happen, especially against a team like that.”

The night started with such promise for the Flyers before fans ditched their bracelets and filed for the exits (see story). The arena lit up like a Christmas tree while Flyers Stanley Cup Playoff logos flashed on the ice. The pregame pump-up gave way to a beautiful video tribute and moment of silence honoring and remembering the life of beloved founder Ed Snider, who died on April 11.

In what seemed like seconds after “God Bless America” was sung, Michael Raffl sent the crowd into bedlam by giving the Flyers their first lead in the series.

“I thought we came out and had a great start,” Wayne Simmonds said. “We kept pushing.”

The Flyers did, but eventually the special teams blues reared their ugly head.

Washington went on the game’s first power play and, as it did in Game 2, promptly cashed in on the first shot taken when Marcus Johannson deflected it past Steve Mason for a 1-1 tie at 4:43 of the opening period.

At 8:50 of the second frame, the lead was gone.

Alex Ovechkin sprung out from standing behind a referee in front of the Capitals’ bench, quickly gathered the puck and ripped it just between the post and a slow-reacting Mason.

As Washington capitalized, the Flyers sputtered. The power play, already 0 for 8 in the series entering the game, looked so out of sorts it was hard to decipher which team had the extra man.

The Flyers went goalless on their first three power plays, registering just one shot.

“Yeah, I mean, we can talk about the power play all we want,” Shayne Gostisbehere said. “It is a big part of the game, but five-on-five is more important to us. It is our chance to capitalize on the power play, but if it’s not coming, it’s not coming.

“We’re going to keep pushing, doing our plays, doing our sets, our breakouts. You know, hopefully we’ll get one.”

They never did Monday.

The Flyers finished 0 for 5 and are 0 for 13 over the series. Including the regular season, the Flyers have just three goals on their last 30 man advantages.

“Obviously, it’s not going for us,” Simmonds said. “There’s nothing we can do about it, all you have to do is you’ve got to make your bounces. You’ve got to keep working, keep working and hopefully things will change.

“You’ve got to make sure you go out there and work your butt off and make your chances. This is not going to change easy. It’s up to us to go out there and take responsibility and be the team that we can be.”

The Capitals then morphed into the team they’ve been, blitzing the Flyers and running the fans out of the building. Washington reeled off four power-play goals in the final stanza, flipping a one-goal cushion into a five-goal blowout.

It started when Mason had trouble gloving a wacky bounce off the stanchion, allowing Evgeny Kuznetsov to flush an easy puck 1:58 into the third period.

Not long after John Carlson sniped his third goal of the series for a 4-1 Capitals lead, the Flyers’ frustrations boiled over. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Radko Gudas and Ryan White were all tossed at 12:17 after a scrum just as the bracelet fiasco commenced.

“It’s not too fun,” Claude Giroux said. “We take a lot of pride playing in front of our fans and we want to play hard — that’s our identity. It’s not too fun.”

Washington tacked on two more for good measure and the meltdown was complete.

“The game got away from us in the last 10 minutes,” Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said. “You have to be able to separate that out. The third goal against, the way it happened took the wind out of our sails a little bit.”

Not just the game, but also the series.

“They’re a good team,” Giroux said. “They dominated all year. We just have to find a way to beat them.”

And do it four times.

Former Flyers share their favorite all-time teammates

Former Flyers share their favorite all-time teammates

As my family has spent a great deal of time together at home the last few months, I found myself repeating the same thing (as parents often do) to my children, ages 9 and 11: Help out when you can, be a good teammate.

That led me down the path to ask a handful of former Flyers players this question: Who was your favorite teammate when you played in the NHL?

Chris Therien (Flyers defenseman, 1994-04, 2005-06)

"That's a good question and there was a lot of great ones. I roomed with John LeClair and played with a lot of really, really high-caliber guys that were high-caliber people, as well.

"I'm going to say, at the end of the day, Luke Richardson was the best teammate on the ice and probably the best teammate off the ice, as well. He had great leadership qualities. He knew team bonding. You understood the long season that guys deal with. He helped me keep the room light a lot of the time. Just an absolutely sensational human being.

"Easily a person I will never forget until the day I die because of those great qualities that he possessed as a friend, a teammate and a leader."

Rick Tocchet (Flyers right winger, 1984-92, 2000-02)

"Craig Berube is definitely one for me. Whether he played two minutes or 15 minutes, he always thought of the team. A very unselfish player and was an excellent leader even though sometimes he didn’t play a lot in some games. Kept the room loose and serious at the same time."

Brian Boucher (Flyers goalie, 1999-02, 2009-11, 2013)

Phantoms, 1997-98:


Neil Little

"The greatest guy I played with! This guy was always willing to lend a hand, advice, share a story and laugh. He was my first goalie partner in pro hockey and he set the bar incredibly high. To this day, he’s still helping me. He was responsible for getting me back to Philly from San Jose and also helped land a spot for my son Tyler to live in Plymouth, Michigan, by setting him up with his childhood buddy Chris Osgood while he’s playing for the U.S. national team development program. He’s the best!

"

Flyers, 1999-00
:

Mark Recchi

"As a rookie that year, Rex always made me feel welcome to dinners, golf and whatever else was going on. He always was generous too!

"

Rick Tocchet  

"Late addition to the team but had instant respect the minute we got him. He too like Rex always included me and made me feel like I had been a teammate for years. Extreme work ethic and showed me as a young guy how hard you have to work to be a pro.

"

Keith Jones

"Same as the other two guys. He was great to me. He always had a line for me the minute Beezer (former Flyers goalie John Vanbiesbrouck) gave up a goal. He’d say, 'Start stretching, kid!' He’s always been there for me. Even up to this day! Love Jonesy!

"

Later years:

Jody Shelley

"Played with Jody in Columbus, San Jose and Philly. Team guy! Great friend. Spent lots of time with him doing extra practice because we weren’t playing much."



Joe Thornton

"Never met a guy who loves being at the rink and being with the guys as much as Jumbo. He rarely had a bad day. Played with him in San Jose.
"

Bill Clement (Flyers center, 1971-75)

"Bernie Parent: He was never in a bad mood. All he did was smile and laugh and keep us loose. No matter how difficult certain situations seemed, he was the messenger that let me know life would go on and be better than it was yesterday. Maybe it was because he knew he could single-handedly control outcomes on the ice."

Keith Jones (Flyers right winger, 1998-00)

Craig Berube. Protected my [butt] on a game-to-game basis!”

Anything else made him a great teammate?

“Nothing!”

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Flyers sign prospect Linus Hogberg to entry-level contract

Flyers sign prospect Linus Hogberg to entry-level contract

One down, a few more to go?

The Flyers on Saturday signed prospect Linus Hogberg to an entry-level contract. The rights to Hogberg would have expired Monday if the Flyers didn't ink the 2016 fifth-round pick.

During 2019-20, Hogberg, a 21-year-old Swedish defenseman, had 14 points (five goals, nine assists) through 50 games with the Vaxjo Lakers playing against men in the SHL. The 6-foot-1, 176-pounder is regarded as a strong skater and intelligent passer.

Hogberg will start the 2020-21 season with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. The Phantoms are gaining on the blue line with prospects Egor Zamula and Wyatte Wylie turning pro, as well.

(Joe Siville/Philadelphia Flyers)

Lehigh Valley could be gaining more with Wyatt Kalynuk and David Bernhardt, who remain unsigned. Bernhardt, another Swedish defenseman, needs to be signed by Monday or his rights will expire. It's uncertain if the Flyers will ink the 2016 seventh-round pick.

It appears Kalynuk has decided to forgo his senior season at Wisconsin as he plans to turn pro in 2020-21.

Kalynuk is an offensive-minded defenseman who has developed a ton with the Badgers. His rights were set to expire next summer. Now that he is leaving Wisconsin, it would be surprising if he's not signed soon by the Flyers.

"Philly has had lots of people here and been very instrumental in his growth as a player," Wisconsin head coach Tony Granato said. "I think when they drafted him, they recognized out of the gate that this guy could be a big part of their organization moving forward. They’ve been hands on, they’ve been here a lot, they’ve done it respectfully in a way that they’ve helped him a ton in preparing to get ready for the next step.”

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More on the Flyers