James van Riemsdyk

Hurricanes call off celebrations just as Flyers turn to Cam Talbot

Hurricanes call off celebrations just as Flyers turn to Cam Talbot

VOORHEES, N.J. — There will be no celebration for the Carolina Hurricanes in the event of a victory over the Flyers on Saturday.

According to team captain Justin Williams, who sent out a tweet Thursday afternoon, the Hurricanes are shutting down their celebratory “Storm Surge” — a cub scout-like on-ice skit that has brought an energy and excitement level to PNC Arena following the team’s victories this season.

The creativity and enthusiasm of the "Surge" took off after Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry labeled the Hurricanes players as “a bunch of jerks” for their antics. The team immediately responded by mocking Cherry and selling T-shirts that read “Bunch of Jerks” across the front.

James van Riemsdyk, whose brother Trevor is a defenseman with Carolina, has found a certain amusement with the celebration that even included Trevor showcasing his basketball skills. 

“It definitely seemed a little wacky at first, but as athetes, we’re here to be entertainers as well, so if that’s part of it, then that’s part of it," van Riemsdyk said. "Some of them have been pretty clever. I don’t really have a problem with it. My parents have gone down to a bunch of the games, and they’ve even noticed a difference from last year to this year. The fan experience and the engagement of the fans has been night-and-day different.”

Regardless of whether the Hurricanes shut down their postgame antics or not, Cam Talbot wants to ensure the 'Canes have no reason to celebrate on Saturday. Talbot will start the game in Carolina, another sign the Flyers' organization is turning its focus toward next season.

“I think that’s pretty much why they brought me in is more or less an audition,” Talbot said. “It’s taken me a little bit longer to get this opportunity. Have to do my best with it even though it has been a long layoff and get back into it as quick as possible.”

Talbot has played just two games with the Flyers since the team acquired him from Edmonton on Feb. 16, and he’s made only one start — a 6-3 win over the Devils on March 1.

Interim head coach Scott Gordon said earlier this week he’d like to get Talbot “two or three” starts over their final five regular-season games. 

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Flyers 3, Blackhawks 1: Carter Hart with another 40-save effort, James van Riemsdyk with another goal

Flyers 3, Blackhawks 1: Carter Hart with another 40-save effort, James van Riemsdyk with another goal

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO — The Flyers continue to hold on to dear life in their playoff pursuit, beating the Blackhawks, 3-1, Thursday night.

Goaltender Carter Hart turned aside 40 shots as the Flyers completed a season sweep of the Blackhawks for the first time since the 2015-16 season. 

Here are my observations from the United Center:

• It was interesting to see interim head coach Scott Gordon start with Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier together on the same line when it had been Nolan Patrick on that top line. I’m wondering if it was a strategic move with the Blackhawks loading up their top line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Near the end of the second period, Gordon had split Giroux and Couturier up again. 

• The Flyers had two centers (Patrick, Scott Laughton) along with Travis Konecny on the ice for Erik Gustafsson’s 1-0 goal. The breakdown came as Laughton and Konecny were caught on the same side of the ice with Patrick battling Toews down low. By the time defenseman Travis Sanheim recognized the poor coverage, he was too late and Gustafsson blew a wrister past Hart.

• Hart has regained his mojo. Chalk up three straight starts for Hart, who has been consistently solid in making the saves he’s expected to make, and coming up with some timely saves that only a goaltender with his athleticism can make. It was the first time in 52 games that an opponent had held the Blackhawks to under two goals dating back to Nov. 16. 

• A solid all-around shift for the Flyers' fourth line that started with Justin Bailey breaking free on a breakaway, although his shot didn’t have much on it and was an easy save for Corey Crawford. Bailey picked up the assist on Corban Knight’s snap shot from the slot.

That fourth line is one area I would like to see more production from next season, especially when you look at the production teams like the Lightning and Islanders get out of their bottom lines.

• Ryan Hartman was a popular interview subject of the Chicago media as the Chicagoland native returned to the place where his career started.

Hartman had a rough third period as he was checked hard and was sent to the ice. On his next shift, he blocked a Brent Seabrook shot from about 10 feet away. He also committed a holding penalty, giving the 'Hawks a third-period power play.

While he doesn’t bring consistent effort to every shift, I thought Hartman had some bite to his game playing in front of family and friends.

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

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

VOORHEES, N.J. — We’re down to the final 10 games of the regular season.

The Flyers can close to within four points of the final wild-card position and one point of the Canadiens with a regulation win on home ice Tuesday night.

Other important games vital to the Flyers' playoff chances:

• Pittsburgh at Carolina, 7 p.m.
• Columbus at Calgary, 9 p.m.

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: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• The illness bug that plagued Claude Giroux has worked its way around the room and has now afflicted defenseman Philippe Myers, who did not participate in the morning skate and is a game-time decision.

• Goaltender Carter Hart will earn his second straight start after one of his finest performances of the season as he stopped 41 shots in the Flyers' 2-1 victory Sunday in Pittsburgh.

Hart has two wins this season with 40 or more saves while allowing one goal or less. He’s the first rookie to do that in the same season since Columbus' Steve Mason in 2008-09.

Hart is expected to go against his idol Carey Price, who has lost three of his last four starts, including the eight goals he allowed against the Ducks on March 8. Price has won just three of his last 10 starts on the road.

• James van Riemsdyk has scored 19 goals over his last 29 games and is second in the NHL since Jan. 10 behind only Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl (20).

Sometimes it's funny with guys who are goal scorers where it doesn’t look like there’s much to it. There’s lots of things you’re trying to time and it comes to chemistry. I’ve been getting into a good rhythm in the games. You want to expand your range as a player and that’s something I’ve worked really hard at. You look at where all the goals are scored, it’s no secret that goals are scored within 15 feet in front of the net. 

— van Riemsdyk

• The Canadiens were the third-place team in the Atlantic Division on the day they made the trade for Dale Weise and Christian Folin. Since then, Montreal is 6-10-1 and have fallen out of the playoff picture to ninth place in the Eastern Conference.

Folin is expected to play against the Flyers, while Weise, who has yet to score in nine games with the Canadiens, will be a healthy scratch.

• If you think the Flyers have a dismal power play, the Canadiens have been epically bad. Montreal is ranked last in the league at 11.9 percent. It would be the worst percentage on the man advantage since the 2013-14 Florida Panthers converted just 10 percent.

Former Flyer Jordan Weal is part of Montreal’s first power-play unit. Weal’s last power-play goal came on Feb. 18 as a member of the Arizona Coyotes.

Projected lineup

Forwards
James van Riemsdyk-Nolan Patrick-Claude Giroux
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Michael Raffl-Scott Laughton-Travis Konecny
Phil Varone-Corban Knight-Ryan Hartman

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

Goalies
Carter Hart
Brian Elliott

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