Flyers Notes: Rinaldo plays strong in loss


Flyers Notes: Rinaldo plays strong in loss

When he first came to the Flyers, Zac Rinaldo had the distinction of having had more suspensions (four) than goals (three) while playing with the AHL Phantoms.

That was back in 2010-11.

Rinaldo has come a long way since then from just being an Italian ruffian to a guy who thinks about what he does on the ice now, actually draws penalties and scores goals. He even almost had himself a Gordie Howe hat trick against the Penguins.

Rinaldo got the goal and assist, but not the fight. The 5-4 loss marked the first two-point game ever for Rinaldo.

All of which meant nothing in what was a terrible loss for the Flyers (see game recap).

“We did get too comfortable with that lead I think,” Rinaldo said about the Flyers' blowing a 4-1 advantage in the game.

“The second period wasn't our best period. We tried to fight back in the third. [They] got that goal and then that's the way it went.”

Some players feel the team lacks a basic killer instinct to put teams away. Rinaldo disagreed.

“I don't think we lack any killer instinct. I just think we need to put a whole game together,” he said.

“We got the start we wanted and I think we just got too comfortable with our lead, and I think every period, no matter what the score is, we have to keep going.”

High stick
Scott Hartnell had an apparent tying goal taken away from him in the third period because his stick was above the cross bar.

On one replay, it looked even.

“I took a look at it on the ice and it’s hard to tell,” Hartnell said. “When you’re at home, you think you get the benefit of the doubt saying it’s a goal.

“If the video says it was too high then there is no goal. It’s kind of tough to make a judgment call like that when they call it no goal already.”

The standings
The Flyers fell from eighth when this week began to 11th. That’s the lowest the Flyers have been in the Eastern Conference after a loss since losing to Montreal on Feb. 16, when they dropped to 12th.

The series
This was the 18th time in the last 24 games between these two that the road team won. One thing seems certain: No lead is safe. Usually, the team leading at the start is the loser at the end.

“You can look at different situations in the games, different bounces and kind of scratch your head a little bit,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. “They certainly played really well in the first period. They came at us real hard. They had their power play going, 18 shots I believe.

“Then we have to answer back. The thing you have to know about these games is that you’re probably going to see something a little head-shaking at some point in time. Again, that is why I really did like our third period. We settled the game down playing the way we did in the third.”

Loose pucks
The Flyers' power play has been hot over the past six games, jumping from 13th in the NHL to sixth coming into the game. Over that span the Flyers have 10 power-play goals, including two in this game. ... According to Elias Sports Bureau, the last time the Flyers had a three-goal lead and lost the game in regulation was Jan. 17, 1993 in a 7-3 loss to Detroit. ... Kimmo Timonen had his first three-point game since Dec. 2, 2011 at Anaheim. It was the 17th time in his career that he recorded three or more points. ... Though he didn’t deserve it, Brian Boucher got tagged with loss. ... Danny Briere was minus-3. ... The Flyers are winless in five games this season when tied going into the third period.

Dave Hakstol did Steve Mason a favor by challenging Sabres' 3rd goal

Dave Hakstol did Steve Mason a favor by challenging Sabres' 3rd goal

Many, though not all hockey games, have a tipping point or pivotal moment that factors into the outcome.
Sometimes it’s obvious what it was and when the moment occurred. Other times, it’s overshadowed by something else on the ice.
Ask the Flyers which moment would define their come-from-behind 4-3 shootout victory over Buffalo on Tuesday and the response will be virtually unanimous: when Dmitry Kulikov leveled Jakub Voracek with a high hit that made contact to the head in the third period.
Voracek was forced off the ice under the NHL’s concussion protocol.
That hit incensed the Flyers, who went on to score two power-play goals and tie game, 3-3. The comeback was on.
Yet there was a less obvious, but significant point that happened late in the second period and it concerned goalie Steve Mason.
Matt Moulson had given Buffalo a 3-0 lead on Michal Neuvirth at 15:43, when Flyers coach Dave Hakstol elected to make a goalie switch.
Rather than call a simple timeout to buy Mason some warm-up time and allow his team to collect itself on the bench, Hakstol challenged the goal, claiming “goalie interference.”
Replays won’t show any direct interference on the shot itself. Mason was speared several seconds before the play developed.
Hakstol knew the goal would likely not be overturned, but his strategy was to buy time for Mason and his team. By using a challenge, he knew the review process would take a lot longer than the 60-second timeout.
Either way, he was going to use his only timeout.
“You know what, I think we needed a timeout at that time, anyway,” Hakstol said coyly. “Pretty low probability of it being successful. Everything worked out well in the end.”
Mason appreciated what his coach did, too. Buying extra time for you?
“Yeah, probably,” Mason replied. “Regardless of the situation, you’re sitting on the bench, you know? You’re not really gauged as much as when you’re playing, obviously. So, you just try and ramp things up as quickly as possible.”
Mason had two saves in that shortened period, five in the third period and one in the overtime to register his second victory.
“There’s a never-quit attitude in this room,” he said. “We showed in Chicago — we were just talking about that. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to close that one out.
“But guys have a belief that you get one [moment] and it comes. [Travis Konecny] got us going with his first NHL goal, which is great. The guys really pushed to capitalize on their chances.” ​

Flyers Notes: Travis Konecny sparks power play with 1st NHL goal

Flyers Notes: Travis Konecny sparks power play with 1st NHL goal

The kid finally has his first NHL goal.

Travis Konecny scored at 4:30 of the third period (see video) during the Flyers' 4-3 shootout win over Buffalo on Tuesday night (see story).  

His was the first of three power-play goals to erase a 3-0 deficit and get the Flyers into overtime.

First markers are always that much more special when they make a difference in a comeback victory, such as this one with the Flyers in a brutal stretch of six games in nine days.

“I am just excited that it happened,” Konecny said. “But the thing for me that was more exciting was coming back after that 3-0 [deficit] and an overall exciting night for us.”

The three power-play goals were a season high for the Flyers.

“We got going those two power plays ... our power plays set a tone,” Konecny said. “When that gets going, it makes it hard for the other team to stop us.

“It’s awesome because we know what they can do [on the top power-play unit]. They have been sticking with it and fighting the puck, whatever it’s been the past couple of games, but you know what they are capable of — you can see it the past couple of years. 

“You knew it was coming and tonight is the perfect night to get it going and I am sure that they are going to keep rolling with it.”

Schultz sits
The decision to sit 15-year veteran blueliner Nick Schultz to get Radko Gudas back into the lineup wasn’t easy but it made sense on several levels. Gudas had been suspended for six games.

First, Schultz doesn’t play on the power play, whereas Andrew MacDonald carries heavy minutes with the power play and penalty kill.

Brandon Manning? Not happening. He’s been the Flyers' best defenseman this season. Mark Streit? Doesn’t work because he quarterbacks the second-unit PP and is essentially teaching that duty to rookie Ivan Provorov.

“It’s real tough,” Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said. “It’s part of the business and [Schultz has] done an excellent job. He’s always very well-prepared.

“We talked about what’s best for our team and we feel like Gudy going in, especially on a back-to-back, gives us fresh legs and a fresh body coming back into the lineup.”

Hakstol recently has had to switch around his defensive pairs to get more defensive coverage and consistency on the ice. For instance, moving Provorov from Streit to Manning.

He discounted Schultz’s age (34) as a true factor in the decision.

“I think the more flexibility you have, the better, whether it be for rest or for the injury situations,” Hakstol said. “First and foremost, I think we’re still looking for the true consistency that we need through our entire team, but certainly your D pairs are a big part of that. 

“Before we start getting to a comfort level of guys playing with different people, first we have to find true consistency. We’ve been pretty good, but we’ve had stretches where the consistency needs to improve, as well.”