Flyers Notes: Team reacts to Boston Marathon bombings


Flyers Notes: Team reacts to Boston Marathon bombings

MONTREAL -- Like many people across the U.S. and Canada on Monday afternoon, the Flyers had their televisions tuned to the news, as they followed along with the latest on the Boston Marathon bombings.

But for Flyers coach Peter Laviolette, who is a native of Franklin, Mass., the events hit particularly close to home.

The Flyers snapped a four-game losing streak in Montreal, winning 7-3 (see story). But Laviolette was in a somber mood following the victory nonetheless.

“It’s terrible,” Laviolette said. “It really is. My family’s from there, my sister was there. It’s just devastating. You read the reports, and I’m sure it’s going to get worse and more gruesome as it unfolds. A real tragic event that happened today.”

Flyers scout Patrick Burke was in Boston as well, competing in the marathon on behalf of his You Can Play organization. He was unharmed, but made the events that occurred in Boston that much more chilling to the organization as a whole.

“When I woke up from my nap, I check Internet and check what’s going on,” Kurtis Foster said. “It was on TSN, CNN, so I took a look and see what’s happening. You do pay attention to it before the game, it was on the TV in the room and guys talking about it.

“It’s something’s awful and it’s something that you never want to see, but you’ve just got to put it in the back of your mind for the night and go to work.”

Ilya Bryzgalov, clearly affected by what he’d seen, declined to talk about the bombings, saying only he “can’t handle” circumstances like that which happened in Boston.

Voracek’s personal success
In a season full of disappointments, Jakub Voracek’s emergence has been one of very few silver linings.

Voracek, 23, scored his 18th goal of the season in Monday’s 7-3 thrashing of the Montreal Canadiens, tying the career high he set last season.  

This time, though, he hit the mark in 36 fewer games.

That said, as much as he’s happy to have taken yet another step forward in his career, Voracek would trade his offensive success in a heartbeat for a better Flyers season.

“I would change all my points to be sitting in a playoff spot right now, there’s no doubt about it,” Voracek said. “It is what it is, I try to leave it all out on the ice like everybody else in this room, and try to get better as a player and a guy every day and get some experience.”

Scott Hartnell registered his seventh career hat trick on Monday, his sixth as a Flyer. It was the first time he scored three goals in a game since Jan. 22, 2012, against the Boston Bruins.

And it was a big sigh of relief for the player who was the Flyers’ leading scorer last year, but for whom the goals haven’t come so easily this season. Hartnell has seven goals in 26 games this season.

“He got hurt, and obviously when you come back from an injury it’s not easy,” Claude Giroux said. “But he’s been great for us.”

Plenty of time
Luke Schenn played a whopping 33:15 Monday, thanks in great part to a stretch of time during which the Flyers had only four defensemen on their bench.

It’s the most time on ice by a Flyer since Braydon Coburn played 33:39 against the Carolina Hurricanes on Dec. 11, 2008, and the most a Flyer has played in a regulation game since Eric Desjardins played 33:14 vs. Montreal on Feb. 27, 2001.

Best of NHL: Penguins beat Panthers in Sidney Crosby's debut

Best of NHL: Penguins beat Panthers in Sidney Crosby's debut

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby scored in his season debut as the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied to beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Crosby, who scored on a power play, missed the team's first six games with a concussion. Carl Hagelin and Eric Fehr also scored for the Penguins, who extended a seven-game unbeaten streak against the Panthers.

Marc-Andre Fleury, who has started the first seven games of the season for Pittsburgh, stopped 20 shots. Matt Murray, who backstopped the Penguins to a Stanley Cup in June, served as the backup to Fleury after missing the first six games with a broken hand.

Reilly Smith scored a power-play goal and Mark Pysyk also scored for the Panthers, who have lost 11 of 12 against the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

James Reimer made 19 saves in his second start of the season (see full recap).

Kings top Blue Jackets in overtime
LOS ANGELES -- Alec Martinez scored 1:14 into overtime, and the Los Angeles Kings rallied to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 Tuesday night for their third straight victory.

Drew Doughty scored the tying goal with 5:57 left in regulation for the Kings, who won their third straight overtime game after an 0-3-0 start to the season. Captain Anze Kopitar also scored, and third-string goalie Peter Budaj stopped 19 shots in his third consecutive win.

Cam Atkinson scored a tiebreaking power-play goal late in the second period, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 27 saves for Columbus. Brandon Saad also scored for the Jackets, who had won two straight after an 0-2-0 start.

Martinez ended it by putting a rebound into an open net for the defenseman's second goal of the season (see full recap).

Lightning strike for seven goals in win
TORONTO -- Steven Stamkos matched a career-high with four points -- two goals and two assists -- and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-3 on Tuesday night.

Frederik Andersen gave up seven goals on only 24 shots, the third time in five starts he has allowed at least five goals and fourth time he's allowed four or more. The 27-year-old has an .851 save percentage so far this season.

Alex Killorn, Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov and Jonathan Drouin added goals for Tampa Bay, while Ben Bishop made 40 saves.

William Nylander, James van Riemsdyk and Auston Matthews scored for the Maple Leafs, who outshot the Lightning 43-24 (see full recap).

Flyers pull off huge comeback over Sabres in shootout

Flyers pull off huge comeback over Sabres in shootout


All it took to provide a jolt of energy to a band of weary skaters was a rookie scoring his first goal and a veteran getting laid out on the ice.
Travis Konecny’s first NHL marker (see video) and then Dmitry Kulikov’s ill-advised charging hit to Jakub Voracek released the beast inside of the Flyers on Tuesday night as they climbed from a three-goal canyon to a 4-3 shootout win over the Buffalo Sabres at the Wells Fargo Center (see Instant Replay).
“It was amazing,” Voracek said. “They didn’t get frustrated and go after Kulikov. They got focused and tried to tie the game up. We’ve been down so many times this season and come back. That’s the big character of this group.”
They were behind 3-0 in the third. Fans had already left the building when Konecny scored the first of a Flyers season-high three power-play goals at 4:30.
A few minutes later, Kulikov went high on Voracek, leaving him wobbly. Under the NHL concussion protocol, the Czech winger left the ice for a few minutes. He returned in the final two minutes of regulation.
By then, Mark Streit had set up one goal for Brayden Schenn — his first — and scored himself on a scramble in front of goalie Anders Nilsson to make it 3-3.
The drama only increased during a dominant overtime session for the Flyers, followed by a shootout in which goalie Steve Mason aggressively challenged and stifled two Sabres shooters before Claude Giroux and Voracek nailed it shut with goals (see highlights).
“You try different things and we did shootout practice a week ago and I did very well so, you try what works,” said Mason, who made eight saves in relief of starter Michal Neuvirth and earned the win.
“They both tried going five-hole and it was good to get the saves with some goal support in the shootout.”
Goal support has always been the Flyers' shootout nemesis.
Now if Dave Haktol’s squad looked fatigued, well, it had reason, given this six-games-in-nine-days torture trial (three in five days) and a late arrival on Tuesday morning from Montreal.
Neuvirth wasn’t very sharp — three goals against on 17 shots — and has been pulled twice in three starts. Somehow he’s also gotten two no-decisions to remain unbeaten with a save percentage well under .900.
Mason came in, made a couple of stops, then watched the comeback begin. In some ways, it was reminiscent of last week in Chicago when the Flyers came back with four goals, only this time, they won.
“We wanted to go out and play hard for each other in the third period,” Hakstol said. “Tough situation down 3-0 in your building, back-to-back night, not a whole lot going right.
“Not able to really get a whole lot of things going … get that first one, anything can happen.”
And it did, starting with Konecny’s goal.
“I felt excited — everyone was excited we got a goal on the board,” the 19-year-old winger said. “But what got us motivated to go was when we saw that hit on Jake. It’s not what you want to see, one of your best players go down like that … that got us motivated to go.”
The Flyers scored twice more in 1:05 to stun the Sabres, who had not played in five days.
“He’s a tough guy,” Giroux said. “He was more mad he had to go off the ice for protocol. He’s a warrior. Don’t tell him I said that.”
Giroux didn’t use tiredness as an excuse for the first two periods.
“We played some bad hockey,” he said. “We know we’re a better team than this. Our work ethic got us back in this game. Emotions and fans behind us, it was a fun third period.”
Fun even though he still doesn’t have a goal — outside of the shootout, which doesn’t count. Hakstol gave him a pep talk.
“He knows I am not happy with my play right now,” Giroux said. “I have to find a way to play better.
“We need everyone in this locker room if you want to be successful. If individually you play some good hockey, if everyone does that, as a team you will be good.”
Incidentally, Hakstol changed up his top line. Schenn, who was hot during preseason, was in a rut since coming back from his suspension. Schenn dropped down to the third line and Matt Read — the team’s leading goal scorer with five — took his spot on Giroux’s unit.
“It’s not easy,” Schenn said. “You get ready for the season, you play preseason and then you sit two weeks. Especially the World Cup guys are fresh, guys are playing well, then you take your two-week break, but it keeps coming.
“I feel it getting better game by game. It’s nice to get on the board tonight and hopefully that builds confidence.”
These comebacks should provide that confidence for his teammates, as well.