Matt Read snaps long goal drought, the unlikely hero in Flyers' win over Canadiens

Matt Read snaps long goal drought, the unlikely hero in Flyers' win over Canadiens

He began the season by scoring five goals in five games.
Matt Read was on fire.
Then he flamed out.
One goal over the next 33 games until Thursday night, when the 30-year-old winger became a most unlikely hero with a wicked shot from the circle — off the rush, no less — that beat Carey Price.
Yeah, Price.
It became the game-winner, as the Flyers won, 3-1 over the Canadiens (see game story).
No one knew Read could fire a puck that hard. So where has this shot been all season?
“I wish I knew,” Read said. “I just had an opportunity to shoot the puck, shot as hard as I could and I got lucky. The good man upstairs is looking out for me tonight.
“Right when I touched it, it came up on its edge and I looked up to see what was around. Then I put my head down and swung as hard as I can … when I looked up, it was coming out of the back of the net.”
It was Read’s first goal in 27 games. His teammates noticed.
“Really nice to see,” Wayne Simmonds said. “It was a heck of a shot, a game-winning goal and it was really good for him and the team as well. He beat him clean, top corner.”
Read’s line, centered by Sean Couturier with Nick Cousins at left wing, was outstanding defensively, holding Montreal’s top line to just three shots while scoring two goals.
Couturier chipped in with an empty-netter.
Read admits he’s been frustrated with his lack of offense this season.
“I try to show up every night to work hard,” he said. “I do as much as I can to help the team. When things don’t go your way, it is obviously frustrating.
“But you've got to have fun out here and help the team as much as you can. The most important point is getting a win, getting two points and keep climbing the standings.”
The victory allowed the Flyers to retain the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with 58 points. Overall, it was a solid all-around defensive effort. Efforts like this win playoff games. Not offense — defense.
“The whole team was skating well and doing things with the puck and putting pucks in areas where we can get them back,” Read said. “I thought, if we play like that every night it’s going to be hard to beat us.”
The Flyers managed the puck well. They didn’t turn it over. They didn’t give the Habs anything cheap like they did at Carolina on Tuesday, and they held Montreal to 16 shots.
“You know, it’s all about consistency in this league as individuals and as a team,” Mark Streit said. “During that winning streak, 10 games, a lot of times, we played that way.
“We were patient, we played smart and we’re going to need that in the next few months in order to be successful because all the teams are going to grind. All the teams are going to play well defensively. You just can’t give up too many shots or too many opportunities.”

Former Flyers goalie Ray Emery dies at 35

Former Flyers goalie Ray Emery dies at 35

Former Flyers goaltender Ray Emery died Sunday morning. First responders pulled his body out of Hamilton Harbour, where he had been swimming with friends. An investigation into the cause of death is still ongoing. 

Emery was 35.

According to local authorities, Emery was checking out a friend’s boat docked at Royal Hamilton Yacht Club when the group he was with decided to jump in the water around 6:30 a.m. Emery’s body never surfaced and was eventually recovered around 2:50 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Hamilton police say Emery’s body was recovered in close proximity to where he was last seen.

Emery was last seen publicly with a handful of his former teammates Saturday night as the goaltender participated in Zac Rinaldo’s charity hockey game in Hamilton. Emery can be seen standing during the playing of “O Canada.”

"The Philadelphia Flyers are stunned and extremely saddened to hear of the tragic passing of former Flyers goaltender Ray Emery," president Paul Holmgren said in a statement from the team. "Ray was an outstanding teammate and an extremely gifted goaltender. He had exceptional athleticism, was a fierce competitor and battled in every game he played with the Flyers.

"His performances through the 2009-10 season were a very big part of the team's success in making the playoffs and reaching the Stanley Cup Final. Ray's talent, work ethic and determination helped him enjoy a successful 11-year NHL career. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time."

Several of Emery’s former teammates over the years offered their condolences via Twitter after learning of the tragedy.

Former Flyer Daniel Carcillo shared the he was crushed by the news (NSFW).

Jakub Voracek also shared his condolences (NSFW).

Emery joined the Flyers in June 2009 on a one-year contract, shutting out the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0 in his Flyers debut. The goaltender’s first stint in Philadelphia was cut short when he suffered a muscle tear in his abdomen in December missing the remainder of the season. Emery was later diagnosed with avascular necrosis — a degenerative condition to the bone tissue in his hip.

After undergoing successful surgery, Emery eventually joined the Ducks before winning a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2013. Impressively, Emery finished the regular season with a 17-1-0 record. He re-signed with the Flyers that summer as a backup to Steve Mason.

Emery’s most infamous moment in Philadelphia came during an ugly 7-0 loss to the Washington Capitals on November 1, 2013, as the Flyers netminder pummeled Caps goalie Braden Holtby during a line brawl in the early stages of the third period.

Emery faced criminal charges over a handful of off-the-ice incidents and altercations. Most recently, he was arrested for assault with a weapon in 2017 against former fiancé Keshia Chanté. 

Emery played a total of 287 NHL games, 88 with the Flyers. 

Flyers' Danick Martel accepts qualifying offer; team re-signs Taylor Leier and Tyrell Goulbourne

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Flyers' Danick Martel accepts qualifying offer; team re-signs Taylor Leier and Tyrell Goulbourne

Updated: 9:44 p.m.

Three young forwards will all be staying in the Flyers organization, at least for one more year.

Sunday, the team announced that Danick Martel accepted his qualifying offer on a one-year contract, and that restricted free agents Taylor Leier and Tyrell Goulbourne signed one-year deals.

Restricted free agent goalie Anthony Stolarz has also accepted his qualifying offer of $761,250, according to a report from John Hoven. Stolarz, 24, played in just one game for the Phantoms in the 2017-18 season after undergoing surgery on a meniscus tear last summer. A second-round pick by the Flyers in the 2012 draft, Stolarz went 18-9 and posted a 2.92 goals against average with Lehigh Valley in 2016-17.

Though the team didn't include any salary details, Martel's deal is reportedly a two-way contract worth $715,000.

The 23-year-old Martel made his NHL debut last season, finishing with no points and six shots over four games. He scored a career-best 25 goals for Lehigh Valley.

With Leier, the Flyers avoided a possible arbitration hearing. According to CapFriendly, Leier's contract is a one-way deal for $720,000. Leier's hearing was scheduled for Aug. 3. The team also earlier avoided a hearing with Alex Lyon, their other player who filed for arbitration, signing the goalie to a two-year deal.

A fourth-round selection in 2012, Leier had one goal and four assists in 39 regular-season games with the Flyers as a rookie.

Goulbourne, who made his NHL debut on Jan. 6, appeared in nine regular-season contests, with 15 hits.

If Stolarz is indeed back in the fold, Robert Hagg would be the team's only remaining restricted free agent. 

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