Justin Williams

Flyers miss the point for 1st time in nearly a month

Flyers miss the point for 1st time in nearly a month


The Flyers’ streak of points in 12 straight games came to an end Thursday with a 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Former Flyer Justin Williams scored twice and now has 14 goals in 33 career games against the Flyers.

Travis Konecny scored his 16th goal of the season.

Petr Mrazek lost his first game since joining the Flyers as he stopped 31 of 35 shots in the process.

The Hurricanes took the ice with heavy hearts as Carolina center Jordan Staal played his first game since the death of his stillborn infant daughter. 

The Flyers and Hurricanes will meet two more times — March 17 in Carolina and April 5 at the Wells Fargo Center.

• An awful start for the Flyers saw the Hurricanes play with more energy and tempo and force the issue in the opening five minutes. They beat the Flyers to pucks, forced turnovers and won a majority of the board battles. Carolina jumped on the board first at the tail end of a power play as Mrazek couldn’t secure Jeff Skinner’s snap shot that slipped underneath his arm. Skinner gained inside position on defenseman Brandon Manning and Williams rammed home the rebound for a 1-0 Hurricanes lead.

• It wasn’t a good first period for Manning, who followed up that shift with a terrible turnover in his own end right to Carolina’s Brock McGinn that produced a prime scoring chance in the high-danger scoring area. Could have easily been a 2-0 Carolina lead.

• Check out Radko Gudas with the dazzling dangle with 7:45 remaining in the first period. He easily maneuvered around Skinner to set up a wrist shot from the left circle.

• Which one defenseman would you want back in a 2-on-1 situation? Shayne Gostisbehere would be my choice. He’s shown over the course of the season how well he reads and defends odd-man rushes, and that was the case again as he dropped to one knee to break up a cross-ice pass. He makes it look easy.

• Terrible 4-on-4 coverage led to the Hurricanes extending their lead to 2-0. Defenseman Justin Faulk skated unchecked in the neutral zone and built up speed before he gave it up to Teuvo Teravainen, who perfectly executed a give-and-go with Sebastien Aho. Teravainen simply out-hustled Robert Hagg to the net and scored on the feed from Aho.

• The second period didn’t look much different than the first, as Carolina was the quicker, hungrier team. When the Flyers worked the puck deep, they couldn’t build any sustained pressure and the Hurricanes did a very good job of keeping them on the outside while clogging up the middle.

• The Flyers came out of the third period with some speed and jump as they cut the Hurricanes’ lead to 3-1. Konecny and Sean Couturier teamed up for a beautiful play. Couturier set up Konecny with a perfect saucer pass that laid down at the last second right on Konecny’s stick. 

• The Flyers picked up their game and brought more pace, especially in transition after struggling to get the puck into Carolina’s zone. Once again, they looked for the perfect pass or play instead of settling for the obvious shot. Konecny passed up on an obvious shot attempt with about five minutes remaining in the period. 

• This was clearly one of Manning’s worst games over the past few months. He looked indecisive with the puck and made another poor decision trying to play the puck from behind his net. 

NHL Notes: Defenseman Brian Campbell retiring after 17 seasons

NHL Notes: Defenseman Brian Campbell retiring after 17 seasons

CHICAGO -- Defenseman Brian Campbell is retiring at age 38 after playing 17 NHL seasons and winning the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010.

Campbell announced his retirement Monday. The Blackhawks say he'll join their business operations department, assisting with community and youth hockey initiatives and marketing.

"I'm excited to transition into the next step in both my professional career and life," Campbell said in a statement. "I'm grateful to the countless number of teammates, coaches, team staff and fans that I have crossed paths with throughout my playing career in Chicago, Buffalo, Florida and San Jose. The Blackhawks organization has allowed me to take on this challenge, and I'm thankful for this new opportunity."

Campbell had 87 goals and 417 assists for 504 points in 1,082 regular-season games with the Sabres, Sharks, Blackhawks and Panthers. Buffalo drafted the Strathroy, Ontario, native in the sixth round in 1997, and Campbell appeared in four All-Star Games (see full story).

Senators: Pageau agrees to 3-year, $9.3 million deal
OTTAWA, Ontario -- The Ottawa Senators avoided arbitration with restricted free agent forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau on Monday by agreeing to terms on a $9.3 million, three-year contract.

The 24-year-old center will earn $2.6 million next season, $3.3 million in 2018-19 and $3.4 million in 2019-20.

Pageau had eight playoff goals last spring as the Senators reached the Eastern Conference final. He had 12 goals and 21 assists in 82 regular-season games.

"As an organization we are thrilled that we got this contract done," Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said.

"Arbitration is definitely a path we did not want to go down with Jean-Gabriel, especially the way he's performed over the course of the last few seasons. He showed that he was definitely deserving of this contract.

"Any player that has a history of raising his game, whether it was in junior playoffs or (AHL) playoffs or NHL playoffs, I think you have to give credit for what he's accomplished. We're really happy to have him on board for the next three years" (see full story).

Hurricanes: Williams embraces leadership role in return
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes didn't bring back Justin Williams to be "Mr. Game 7."

Not yet, anyway.

The 35-year-old with the reputation for scoring big postseason goals has returned to Raleigh, tasked with bringing veteran leadership and a voice of experience to a young Carolina team.

But there's a fine line between filling that type of role for the Hurricanes, and commanding control of the dressing room. He brushed aside questions about whether he should wear the "C" for a team that has gone without a captain since February 2016.

"I think the worst thing you can do when you come into a new -- even though it's a team I've been on, it's a new team for me -- is trying to be someone you're not," Williams said Monday. "That's a big mistake, trying to be `the guy.' You just want to be yourself, and that's what I've done throughout my career" (see full story).