Flyers Notes: Lecavalier 'unlucky' on 3-post shot

uspresswire-flyers-vinny-lecavalier.jpg

Flyers Notes: Lecavalier 'unlucky' on 3-post shot

Vinny Lecavalier had never seen anything like it.

Jeff Carter had just scored to give the Los Angeles Kings a 1-0 second-period lead. But seconds later, Lecavalier felt the puck on his stick and sent it in on goalie Jonathan Quick. It wasn’t a perfect shot -- Lecavalier was a little off balance -- but it seemed destined to go in.

The puck clattered off one post, then the crossbar, then the other post. The goal light lit up. The horn sounded. The crowd rose to its feet.

But the official review deemed the puck to have never crossed the goal line. Play never stopped.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Lecavalier said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen three posts -- I’ve seen two. But three, I guess it happens. Nothing we can do about it.”

Another former Flyer, Justin Williams, scored moments later to give the Kings a 2-0 lead on the way to their eventual 3-2 victory that snapped the Flyers’ five-game winning streak (see story). But Lecavalier couldn’t help think that things could have turned out differently had he scored.

He had no choice but to chalk it up to “bad luck.”

“Obviously, I would have liked to tie it up and it might be a different game,” he said. “I’ve got to move on. If it didn’t go in, it didn’t go in. Whether it was three posts or one post, it’s still a post and it’s still not a goal. It was a great opportunity, a great play by my teammates, and I got unlucky.”

Ready for the Rangers
The way Jakub Voracek sees it, the Flyers can actually build off of some elements of Monday’s game as they prepare to take on the New York Rangers on Wednesday. The Rangers surpassed them in the Metropolitan Division after their loss to the Kings, taking over second place by one point.

The Flyers are in agreement that they played poorly for the first 40 minutes of Monday’s loss. However, they did come alive in the third period, tying the game at two and coming close to winning in spite of their ugly start.

“It’s a good sign we got back on the horse in the third period,” Voracek said. “But we’ve got to make sure that we’re ready in New York, because [the Kings] were up only two goals. If we play the way we did for 40 minutes at the Garden, we could be down 5-0. We need to make sure that we’re ready to play.”

And while the Flyers have struggled in recent years at Madison Square Garden, coach Craig Berube isn’t concerned. To him, those struggles are ancient history.

“We’re a different team,” Berube said. “I don’t even think about that. We’re going to go up there and give them our best game. That’s what I believe.”

So long, streak
The Flyers came within striking distance of winning a sixth consecutive game on Monday, it just wasn’t to be.

And, predictably, it was a disappointment to the team, which felt it had been on a roll.

“Yeah, it is,” Matt Read said. “But we have 11 games left. Our main focus is to keep winning games, as many as we can here and find a playoff berth. Every game’s important, every 60 minutes is a huge two points. It’s do or die.”

Loose pucks
Claude Giroux’s six-game scoring streak came to an end Monday. He had posted a goal and nine assists for 10 points during those six games. … The Flyers had 21 shots blocks, the third consecutive game in which they’ve had 20 or more attempts blocked. … Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn were each credited with six hits against their former team, the most on the Flyers.

Ron Hextall, Flyers know what they have in Nolan Patrick

Ron Hextall, Flyers know what they have in Nolan Patrick

CHICAGO — Ron Hextall had no idea which way New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero was leaning.

Would Shero take Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier with his No. 1 pick?

"I asked Ray 10 minutes before he picked and he wouldn't tell me," Hextall said. "I give him credit. That is what he should have done … I didn't have an expectation one way or the other."

Shero wanted a dynamic player to put bodies in the stands at Prudential Center. He chose Hischier.

That made it easy for Hextall at No. 2 to select Patrick (see story).

If rumors were true that Shero was scared off by Patrick's several injuries this past season at Brandon, well, the Flyers weren't.

"What I believe, we gather a lot of information," Hextall said. "There's some stuff out there you want to prove wrong and we did. We're comfortable with the injury part of it. He is a really good young man."

Patrick is a two-way player and a natural center. The Flyers have seven centers right now (see story), including Patrick, who is expected to play now. 

Hextall said he doesn't envision switching Patrick to the wing.

"I would rather have too many centers rather than five wingers on each side and no one to go in the middle," Hextall said.

Interesting that German Rubtsov, last year's top pick for the Flyers, has already been converted to a left winger since coming to North America to play junior.

Will Patrick be a No. 1 center as scouts project?

"Nolan has to answer that," Hextall said. "We see a kid with a big body, extremely high hockey sense, really good skill set. You get drafted today? The work starts now and Nolan has to put the work in.

"This is another level … this is the National Hockey League. In September, he comes to camp. He needs a big summer."

Ron Hextall on Flyers' logjam of centers: 'Someone has to play the wing'

Ron Hextall on Flyers' logjam of centers: 'Someone has to play the wing'

CHICAGO – The Flyers already have a familiar problem coming out of this NHL draft and heading training camp next fall: they’re too deep at center.
 
Friday night, they added three centers and traded another.
 
Brayden Schenn was sent to St. Louis for the Blues’ 27th pick in the first round, plus a conditional 2018 first-round pick and veteran utility center Jori Lehtera (see story).
 
General manager Ron Hextall wanted to trade back into the first round late and he did so by tabbing Morgan Frost at No. 27 with that Blues’ pick.
 
NHL Central Scouting had Frost ranked 31st among North American skaters. He is a 6-0, 170-pound forward from Aurora, Ontario.
 
He has raw speed and skill, but scouts say other parts of his game will need time to fill out. Frost had 20 goals and 62 points for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL this past season.
 
Friday’s other first-round pick, Nolan Patrick, is a natural centerman. Patrick is expected to play in the NHL this season. So right now, the Flyers’ centers are Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, Valtteri Filppula, Mike Vecchione, plus Patrick and now Lehtera.
 
Lehtera had 30 goals and 100 points in 218 games with the Blues. He was both a first- and second-line center for the Blues this past season despite weak numbers — seven goals and 22 points in 64 games.
 
He is a decent playmaker and two-way player, who has centered Alex Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko.
 
“He is utility guy with a well-rounded game and can play in the middle,” Hextall said. “We like the player. Gives coach more options.”
 
Best option: Lehtera can move to left wing if needed.
 
“Someone has to play the wing,” Hextall said. “He can play the wing. Our scouts have seen him play the wing, but he plays center most games. I am assuming he prefers center like most of them. Someone has to play wing.”
 
Schenn had improved every year he was with the Flyers, but too much of his scoring is on the power play and not five-on-five. He had 109 goals and 246 points in 424 career games for the Flyers.
 
This deal seems strange unless you consider the Flyers got another first-round pick (Frost) and a top-10 protected, conditional first-rounder next year. The Blues have the option to defer the 2018 first-rounder to 2019 but if they do so, the Flyers will also receive the Blues' 2020 third-round pick.
 
“It was a combination,” Hextall said of the advantages’ from the Flyers side. “It was one of those [trades] that came out of nowhere. Not like we were shopping Brayden.
 
“This deal came along and we really like the draft next year. We like the late pick this year and Jori. It made sense and we got a couple more young players.”
 
Young players like Frost, whom the Flyers are excited about.
 
“Our whole staff really liked the guy,” Hextall said. “He’s an extremely intelligent player, his No. 1 asset. Really smart. Reads the ice well. He has a very deft touch moving the puck.
 
“Good two-way player who showed up good in the testing. We believe he is a kid with a lot of upside. Good speed, but he dissects the game better than most players.”
 
Frost’s father Andy was the longtime former Toronto Maple Leafs PA announcer.
 
“I talked to them a couple times,” Frost said. “I’d say I had a bit of a gut feeling. I wasn’t too sure, but they took me and I’m super happy about it.
 
“I think first and foremost I’m a playmaker. I think I’m a high-skilled player that likes to use his vision and hockey sense to create plays. I’m working on becoming more of a two-way forward. That’s more of the player I want to become.”