Ivan Provorov

How Flyers' Ivan Provorov 'saved the game' with the lunge of a lifetime

How Flyers' Ivan Provorov 'saved the game' with the lunge of a lifetime

PITTSBURGH — Standing in the visitor’s locker room at PPG Paints Arena, Ivan Provorov joked it’s the reason why he puts himself through such a rigorous offseason training regimen.

He may not be considered the fastest or most elusive skater, but Provorov’s effort with 1:18 remaining in regulation was arguably the best non-Carter Hart save of the season.

An empty-net goal would have given the Penguins a 2-0 lead and would have turned the lights out on the Flyers' postseason chances. 

Now, there’s a glimmer with the Flyers pulling within six points of the Columbus Blue Jackets after a 2-1 overtime win Sunday night (see observations).

Provorov outraced Nick Bjugstad just in the nick of time, as well as Patric Hornqvist, as he was able to send the puck to the boards. 

“I had no doubt in my mind,” Provorov said. “At that point, you’re giving everything you have and for the team a lot of guys did that tonight.” 

Another element of that play that doesn’t get discussed is how Provorov maintained his balance following his lunging dive and didn’t lift the net off its pegs, which may have resulted in a penalty and/or a faceoff in the Flyers' end of the ice, resulting in Hart having to come back out onto the ice.

“He saved the game, he saved the game,” Flyers interim head coach Scott Gordon said. “I don’t know where he was in his shift, but it looked like [Bjugstad] had a little bit more jump in his step. He was able to get himself in position and swipe at it so they couldn’t get an opportunity.”

Thankfully for Provorov and the Flyers, he had just stepped out onto the ice just 10 seconds earlier, but nonetheless, an impressive game-saving play when the Flyers needed it most.

And perhaps even season-saving.

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Flyers 6, Devils 3: Travis Konecny has plenty to say in lopsided win

Flyers 6, Devils 3: Travis Konecny has plenty to say in lopsided win

BOX SCORE

NEWARK, N.J. — The Flyers got all the bounces, for once.

Playing in front of their eighth different goaltender Friday night, the Flyers took down the Devils, 6-3, at the Prudential Center to keep their playoff hopes alive.

James van Riemsdyk and Travis Konecny scored twice and Jakub Voracek added three assists (see highlights).

Here are my observations:

• The Flyers came out of the gates looking as if they were stuck in quicksand. They allowed the Devils to fly around and control the puck for the opening five minutes. Fourth-line winger Kurtis Gabriel took much of that momentum away after clobbering Nolan Patrick in the back up against the glass, which led to a five-minute major.

NBC Sports Philadelphia Flyers analyst Chris Therien called it "the dumbest hit I’ve seen all year."

• As a result of the hit on Patrick, you could sense that things would blow up between these two teams once the score got out of hand, and there were a handful of skirmishes, pushing and shoving after the whistle.

The theater continued into the penalty box during the third period with Travis Konecny jawing with Damon Severson, who took a crosscheck from Konecny that started the fracas.

• However, the Flyers' power play was completely out of sync and it actually gave up more shots (four to two) to New Jersey’s PK during that five minutes. The Flyers had no business getting out of that first with a 2-0 lead.

• A good start for Cam Talbot in his Flyers debut as he came up with a big save on a Blake Coleman’s shorthanded breakaway chance. He was certainly under pressure early on. His first goal allowed came after making the first save on Kenny Agostino, but his rebound was kicked right out to Severson. 

Talbot’s second goal was much of the same as he deflected the initial shot to his right, but Jesper Bratt had enough time to backhand the rebound in for a goal. While he had no shot at stopping the first rebound goal, Talbot was a little slow to react on the second one. Can’t help but wonder if this has been a root of his issues over the past few years in Edmonton.

• After an impressive Flyers debut for Ryan Hartman, I thought the Flyers' winger took a step back with a bad charging penalty and a trip that he got away with. Hartman wasn’t much of an offensive presence on the Flyers' third line, as well. However, he had a beautiful no-look pass from behind the net to JVR to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead.

Plays like that show a skill set that makes him versatile if interim head coach Scott Gordon needs to move him up and down the lineup. 

• Gordon continues to give Philippe Myers more responsibility. The defenseman was paired with Robert Hagg on the Flyers' second-period penalty kill, and Myers even felt confident to jump in offensively and try to catch the Devils' power play sleeping.  

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Flyers 3, Red Wings 1: After allowing 4-goal 3rd period, Carter Hart silences Detroit

Flyers 3, Red Wings 1: After allowing 4-goal 3rd period, Carter Hart silences Detroit

BOX SCORE

There’s no place like a home-and-home, especially away from home on Hockey Day in America. 

The Flyers swept their three-game regular-season series with the Red Wings thanks to a 3-1 win Sunday in Detroit.

It’s the Flyers' first season sweep of the Wings of two games or more since the 1982-83 season.

Oskar Lindblom scored twice in the victory. 

Here are my observations on the game at Little Caesars Arena.

• I suspected this would be a game in which the Red Wings would come out hungrier than the Flyers and show some pride in their building and in front of their crowd. The Flyers allowed the Wings to dictate the pace with zero speed through the neutral zone, while being soft on pucks through the first 40 minutes, a near 180 from the game at the Wells Fargo Center. 

• With goals in two of his last three games, Ivan Provorov has picked up his scoring touch recently with six goals this season. The Flyers' defenseman won’t come close to last year’s career-high 17 goals, but I still think he knocks on the door of double digits. He had eight shots in the game against Pittsburgh, scored a big goal against the Wild and has been more active offensively.

Provorov’s third-period goal was his fourth career game-winner and first of the 2018-19 season. 

• In his NHL debut, Philippe Myers was terrific as the team’s seventh defenseman, taking the spot of right winger Justin Bailey. I’m not exactly sure what interim head coach Scott Gordon’s reasoning was for making the move. Perhaps it was a way to ease him in the lineup, but everything came instinctual to Myers in this game. His only mistake was an errant turnover in his own zone off a backhanded pass late in the second period.

• I think on a personal level Carter Hart wanted to prove he could produce a solid game in back-to-back situations. With the Phantoms, Hart was 0-3-0 with an .870 save percentage in the second game of back-to-back starts. His worst play wasn’t even a goal against, but rather a bad play with the puck that nearly led to a goal in the opening minute.

Hart’s rebound control was outstanding and he was very reactive and on top of the puck for most of this game, finishing with 37 saves. One of his best performances of the season.

• He may not know whether he’ll even be with this team a week from now, but Wayne Simmonds' dedication to his teammates and the organization never ceases to impress. After Anthony Mantha crosschecked Claude Giroux in the back of the head Saturday in Philadelphia, it was Simmonds who dropped the gloves with Mantha in the opening minutes of this game (see story)

If Simmonds is traded, who’s the player on this team that stands up for teammates and makes the opposition accountable? It’s something general manager Chuck Fletcher has to consider. 

• For the second straight game, the Flyers couldn’t take advantage of a cold goaltender coming off the bench. Jonathan Bernier was barely tested after Jimmy Howard was pulled once the Flyers scored their fifth goal Saturday. In this game, Bernier left after the first period with an upper-body injury after Dylan Larkin collided with him in the first period. In both instances, the Flyers failed to take advantage of a goaltender who had very little time to warm up. 

• Andrew MacDonald takes a lot of criticism and rightfully so. MacDonald had a horrific turnover in the first period that led to a Mantha scoring chance, but bounced back with a huge block on Larkin that could have easily been a goal had he not blocked it. Overall, MacDonald had a game-high seven blocked shots against the Wings.  

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