Hyka a bit disappointed not to return to Flyers


Hyka a bit disappointed not to return to Flyers

PITTSBURGH Tomas Hyka was only a little bit disappointed when it wasnt the Flyers who called his name at the second day of the NHL draft.

After all, its hard to be upset when its the recently crowned Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings welcoming you to their organization. The Kings nabbed Hyka, 19, in the sixth round (171st overall) on Saturday.

Just a little bit disappointed I wont be returning to Philadelphia, Hyka said. It was a really good experience to be there, but Im really happy to be with a new team, new opportunities.

Hyka, you might remember, earned himself an offer to attend the Flyers training camp last summer, after being passed over in the 2011 draft. He entered camp as a relatively unheard of Czech prospect but by the time he left, he was both a pleasant surprise and a huge mistake.

Initially, he was one of those endearing stories that always come out of prospect camps and training camps. He was one of the first players to be cut, before being called back by general manager Paul Holmgren to remain around for some preseason ice time. He continued to shine, showing off his speedy skating and demonstrating a knack for being in the right place at the right time.

Im sure it will help me a lot, Hyka said, of his time in Philadelphia.

But just days later, his tenure with the Flyers came to a screeching halt. Hyka was returned to his QMJHL team in Gatineau the same club that once called Claude Giroux a member because the Flyers learned they were barred from signing him.

We misunderstood somewhere there when we were talking to the league, assistant general manager Barry Hanrahan told at the time. He came up into the system as a Canadian junior hockey player which he is.

We cant sign him because of Section 8.9 in the CBA. He played in Europe last year. Its not where you are currently playing, its where you played the previous year. ... Had he played in North America last year, he would have been unrestricted.

And so, meeting the media at the CONSOL Energy Center Saturday afternoon, a beaming Hyka wore the black and silver jersey of the Flyers West, the L.A. Kings.

I feel awesome, Hyka said. I was so nervous today. Im so glad it happened, and Im going to do everything I can to play in the NHL.

To make matters just a bit worse, the Kings nabbed Hyka with the 171st-overall selection a pick that, at one point, had belonged to the Flyers.

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

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

The hottest team in hockey will finally host the team that hasn’t turned down the heat all season.

With an NHL best 12-2-1 record since Jan. 12, the Flyers (28-24-7, 63 pts.) will continue their frenzied push for a playoff spot as they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning (45-11-4, 94 pts.) for the final time this season.

The Flyers will look to avoid their first season sweep against the Lightning since the 2013-14 season.

Let's take a look at tonight's essentials: 

• When: 7 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. 
• Where: Wells Fargo Center
• Broadcast: NBCSP
• Live stream: and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• The Flyers recalled goaltender Brian Elliott from his conditioning loan with the Phantoms and have activated him from injured reserve to the active roster (see story). Elliott will back up Carter Hart for tonight’s game against the Lightning.

Hart will be the fourth different Flyers goaltender the Lightning have faced in their last four meetings with Michal Neuvirth, Cal Pickard and Petr Mrazek as the others. 

After a 2-4-1 start to his career, Hart is 11-2-0 with a 2.46 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage over his last 13 appearances. 

• Tonight’s matchup is the 100th meeting between the Flyers and Lightning with the Flyers owning a 47-37-8-7 advantage.

In the first matchup at the Wells Fargo Center on Nov. 17, the Lightning became the sixth team in league history to cough up a four-goal lead in the third period before winning 6-5 in overtime. Ironically, the Flyers matched that same dubious feat when they lost a 5-1 lead to the Red Wings on Saturday before Travis Konecny pulled through with the game-winner in overtime.

In the Dec. 27 rematch at Amalie Arena, the Flyers battled back from a three-goal deficit in the third period, tying the game before Tampa Bay won it again in the OT period.  

• The speed of Lightning has been blinding so far this season. Tampa Bay needed just 58 games to reach the 90-point plateau. Only eight teams in NHL history have topped 90 points prior to their 60th regular-season game.

It’s a good test. If we find a way to squeak into the playoffs it’s a possible matchup for us. We’re excited about this game. The games we’ve played against them have been fun to play. I don’t see why tonight won’t be fun.

-Claude Giroux

Would you believe the 1979-80 Flyers hold the record? Pat Quinn’s team ripped off a 35-game unbeaten streak and started that season with a 39-4-13 mark for 91 points in their first 56 games.

• Tampa Bay is also the first team since the 1995-96 Pittsburgh Penguins to have three 70-point scorers before the 60-game mark of the season. 

Remarkably, the NHL’s leading scorer and Hart Trophy favorite Nikita Kucherov is on pace to finish with a whopping 135 points. Even if Kucherov finishes with 101 points, he will have increased his point total every season since entering the league in 2013-14.

Kucherov comes to Philadelphia on a five-game point streak with seven goals and 11 assists, an average of 3.6 points per game.

Projected lineup

James van Riemsdyk-Claude Giroux-Travis Konecny
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Jake Voracek
Scott Laughton-Nolan Patrick-Wayne Simmonds
Michael Raffl-Phil Varone-Justin Bailey

Ivan Provorov-Travis Sanheim
Andrew MacDonald-Shayne Gostisbehere
Robert Hägg-Radko Gudas

Carter Hart
Brian Elliott

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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Flyers recall Brian Elliott from conditioning assignment with Phantoms

Flyers recall Brian Elliott from conditioning assignment with Phantoms

VOORHEES, N.J. — Brian Elliott will be back in a Flyers sweater for the first time since Nov. 15. 

The 33-year-old goaltender was recalled Tuesday from his conditioning assignment with the Phantoms and is expected to back up Carter Hart for Tuesday’s game against the Lightning.

It will be interesting to see what Elliott’s future in Philadelphia is for the remainder of this season with the addition of Cam Talbot, who wasn’t with his new team for Wednesday’s morning skate in Voorhees.

Elliott could be traded to a contending team with no roster restrictions after the Feb. 25 deadline, although NHL teams still have to be compliant with the salary cap.

Once again, the Flyers have three goaltenders on the active roster with Hart, Elliott and Mike McKenna. McKenna could be placed on waivers as soon as Talbot is cleared to join the team.

Elliott played admirably in his 14 games prior to his injury with a 2.59 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage. However, his 6-7-0 record doesn’t reflect that. He appeared in two games for the Phantoms over the weekend.

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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