Tonight in the NHL: Capitals look for first win


Tonight in the NHL: Capitals look for first win

The Flyers are in search of their first win tonight when they play the Devils (see story).

Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov has struggled according to his numbers, but a poor penalty kill unit has played a factor in his performance. Bryzgalov, in his second year with the Flyers, has actually played well looking beyond the stats (see story).

Now, here's a look at the action tonight around the NHL:

Jets at Capitals, 7 p.m.
The Washington Capitals are back home and hoping that Alex Ovechkin's top line will make amends for a poor first game.

The Capitals have won 10 straight home openers heading into Tuesday night's matchup with the Winnipeg Jets.

Washington has not dropped its Verizon Center opener since a 4-1 defeat to Los Angeles in 2000-01.

The Capitals are looking to regroup after Saturday's 6-3 loss at Tampa Bay.

The top line of Ovechkin, Marcus Johansson and Nicklas Backstrom failed to produce a point, with Ovechkin taking all four of his shots in the first period. Coach Adam Oates is sticking with that group Tuesday.

Lightning at Hurricanes, 7 p.m.
The Carolina Hurricanes couldn't get much going in their first game in more than nine months.

Maybe they'll get energized by beginning their home schedule against a Southeast Division rival.

Carolina opens a stretch of four of five on its own ice Tuesday night against a Tampa Bay Lightning club trying to avoid back-to-back road losses.

Back from the extended NHL lockout, the Hurricanes had a rough start in what they're hoping is their first playoff season in four years, losing 5-1 to Florida on Saturday.

Kings at Avalanche, 9 p.m.
If the Los Angeles Kings are to bounce back from a rough opener, the reigning Stanley Cup champions must play better against the Colorado Avalanche than they did last season.

The visiting Kings look to avoid a fifth consecutive defeat to the Avalanche on Tuesday night.

Aside from the raising of the franchise's first Stanley Cup championship banner, Los Angeles had little to celebrate after a 5-2 loss to Chicago on Saturday. Displaying more speed and skill, the Blackhawks scored on a 5-on-3 advantage 3:41 into the game and added two more first-period goals en route to spoiling the Kings' special day.

"We took a moment to appreciate it, to look back, but now we've got to move forward," said defenseman Rob Scuderi, who matched his goal total from last season when he scored late in the second period. "If we use last season as a focus and a crutch to lean on, we're going to be out of this season pretty quick."

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Flyers beat Hurricanes with offensive explosion, bounce-back game for Ivan Provorov

Flyers beat Hurricanes with offensive explosion, bounce-back game for Ivan Provorov


You know it’s a good night when seven players are plus-2.
When your rookies have strong bounce-back games.
When Jakub Voracek scores his first two goals of the season.
And when Matt Read, ladies and gentleman, climbs atop the NHL leader board with five goals.
All of which unfolded Saturday night as the Flyers snapped a three-game losing skid and earned their first home victory, 6-3, over the Carolina Hurricanes at the Wells Fargo Center (see Instant Replay).
“It was pretty solid and the goals we let in there were our own mistakes,” said Steve Mason, who picked up his first win in four games with 27 saves.
“We need to clean that up but when it came down to third period we needed to lock it up, it was a pretty good test, there.”
There’s still work to be done. Things like bearing down on the faceoff and open men in the high slot where Mason again twice faced tee shots without support.
Yet the good outweighs all that. The Flyers again rallied, this time from a two-goal deficit, to score four times in the second period to take over the game.
Few players could be happier than 19-year-old rookie Ivan Provorov.
The Russian defenseman has had a tough week on both sides of the puck. He set up two goals and almost three with a flip pass to Read for a breakaway chance that led to a Flyers power play that ended with Wayne Simmonds’ tipping one home to put the game out of reach late at 5-3
“I felt comfortable from the first shift and built on that,” Provorov said. “It helps when the whole team plays a great game.”
Flyers coach Dave Hakstol changed his partner to Brandon Manning but didn’t think that impacted much on the kid’s offensive performance.
“He played a good hockey game,” Hakstol said. “There were a lot of questions coming in how he handled things. We all felt inside our locker room that he has handled things well through some ups and downs.
“He was a solid player tonight. Sometimes, a little change for the sake of change is a good thing.”
Although they weren’t setting the net afire, the Flyers did have a better start to the game. Carolina is a speed team which forces you to match their pace and the Flyers responded in kind.
Carolina scored twice off coverage gaffes in the opening three minutes of the second period before Brandon Manning, surprisingly the club’s best defenseman thus far, went forehand/backhand on Eddie Lack for a clutch goal that gave the Flyers life.
Couple minutes later, Provorov set up Voracek, then Read with excellent point drives to turn the deficit into a 3-2 lead.
“It happens in games – you fall behind,” Provorov said. “All you have to do is stick with it. That’s what we did.”
Voracek now has seven points which leads the Flyers in scoring. He promised a bounce-back season after last year’s disappointment.
“He’s been pretty consistent right from camp all the way through,” Hakstol said.  “Tonight was one of his better 60-minute performances. He played at a high level, start to finish.”
Meanwhile, Read was impressed with how Provorov responded after consecutive minus efforts. You can’t underestimate the importance of getting point shots through to generate goal scoring.
“He’s such a smart, heads-up player out there,” Read said. “He had a minus in Chicago, a couple bad bounces, things happened and he had a tough game.
“I still think every game, for a 19-year-old defenseman, making plays the way he is playing, it’s fun to watch out there. He keeps playing like this, he is gonna be a good D in this league for a long time.”

Instant Replay: Flyers 6, Hurricanes 3

Instant Replay: Flyers 6, Hurricanes 3


A four-goal outburst in the second period enabled the Flyers to overcome a two-goal deficit en route to a 6-3 victory Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
The win – first at home this season -- snapped a three-game losing skid.
Matt Read scored his fifth goal in as many games which ties him for the NHL goal lead while four other players had two points.
Defensemen Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere both had strong rebound games after struggling earlier this week.
Wayne Simmonds gave goalie Steve Mason some breathing room late in the third period with a power play goal to make it 5-3.
Notable goals
Jakub Voracek’s first goal of the season: a redirect in the paint off  Provorov’s point drive to make it 2-2 in the second period. He had a goal late, as well.
Goalie report
Mason needs to get some help in front. It’s not all on the defense, either. The forwards are being slack in coming back up ice. Too much room in the slot for guys to tee it up on Mason.
Power play
More entry problems and not enough quality shots on Eddie Lack at the outset. Read’s goal late in the second period off a Provorov drive came one second after a power play ended and it gave the Flyers their first lead at 3-2. Provorov had a very strong game, springing Read for a breakaway in the third period that resulted in a power play (tripping) leading to Simmonds' goal. The Flyers were 1 of 4 on the man advantage overall.
Penalty kill
Despite traffic in front, Carolina’s Justin Faulk found all net with a point shot on the Canes' carryover power play in the second period.
Strange call
I can’t remember ever seeing a charging call at center ice. Almost always happens along the boards. Yet Konecny was given one on Joakim Nordstrom, who’s four inches taller. That aside, it was a clean shoulder hit. Konecny never made contact with the head.
Flyers again having trouble, losing 60 percent of them in the first period.
Radko Gudas (suspended) and Dale Weise (suspended); Scott Laughton (knee), Michael Del Zotto (knee), and Michael Raffl (abdominal pull).  
Up next
The Flyers will practice Sunday at Skate Zone, then travel immediately to Montreal for Monday’s game against the Canadiens.