Instant Replay: Blue Jackets 5, Flyers 2


Instant Replay: Blue Jackets 5, Flyers 2


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Thursday night's Flyers-Blue Jackets game could have been played in the New Jersey Governor’s Mansion. This matchup had some meat on it, and it was full of intriguing subplots.

The Jackets were playing the 1,000th game in their checkered history. They had won their previous seven, a franchise record. Their goaltender, Sergei Bobrovsky, was making his first start against his former team.

The Flyers were skating through a touch of mid-winter adversity. They played a snow-postponed game at the Wells Fargo Center the night before, flew from one frigid city to another and had to find a way to finish an unplanned back-to-back.

The real measure of the game, of course, was in the standings.

The Jackets defeated the Flyers 5-2 in front of 15,571 at Nationwide Arena. With that, the Jackets (26-20-4) moved ahead of the Flyers (25-21-6) and into third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Ray Emery was in the net for the Flyers. He has allowed 10 goals in two starts against the Jackets this season.

The Flyers have lost two in a row. They are 2-4-2 in their past eight games.

The Jackets took a 3-2 lead into the third period. Brandon Dubinsky (wrist shot from the hash marks) and Nathan Horton (undressed Andrej Meszaros and beat Emery top-shelf) scored within 3 minutes, 25 seconds of one another to put it out of reach.

Bobrovsky is 9-0 in his last nine starts.

First shot
As they did against Carolina on Wednesday, the Flyers got off to a slow start in Columbus. Their first shot on net came at 5:38, a Brayden Schenn wrist shot that Bobrovsky handled easily. (Their first shot against Carolina came at 7:54.)

First goal
It was a funny one. Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson tossed an innocent-looking floater in from the right wall. The puck went off the inside of Luke Schenn’s knee, backwards through Schenn’s legs and found the inside of the left post.

It was Johnson’s first goal since Game 4, a span of 45 games. It gave the Jackets a 1-0 lead at 8:20 of the first period.

Special teams
Scott Hartnell took a double-minor -- two for tripping, two for slashing -– at 8:20 of the first period. Hartnell didn’t like the one penalty, or maybe the other, it was hard to tell. In any case, the Flyers did yeoman’s work killing off the four minutes. They did not allow the Jackets a shot in that span.

Vincent Lecavalier scored a power-play goal on a one-timer from the right circle at 7:21 of the second period. It was the Flyers’ seventh power-play goal in eight games. It gave them a 2-1 lead, which was short-lived.

More special teams
The Jackets apparently made some tactical adjustments to their own power play. With a man advantage late in the second, the Jackets totally hemmed in the Flyers. It was a shooting gallery. Emery held until the final seconds of Braydon Coburn’s holding penalty -- and then Matt Calvert scored, on the doorstep, with a twist of his right skate. That gave the Jackets a 3-2 lead.

Still more special teams
The Flyers had a man advantage, and a brief, two-man advantage, over the last 1:41 of the second period.

They had 19 seconds of two-man advantage followed by 76 seconds of man advantage at the start of the third period.

They did not cash in.

Riding Mason
Flyers goaltender Steve Mason would have started this game if not for the snowstorm, and the unplanned back-to-back. Mason, of course, won the Calder Trophy during the playoffs in 2008-09 -– when he carried the Jackets to their lone playoff appearance.

For some reason, Columbus fans forget that and focus more on the struggles Mason had in subsequent seasons.

They were chanting, “We want Mason” in the third period.

Defensemen Erik Gustafsson and Hal Gill and winger Jay Rosehill were healthy scratches.

Brandon Manning-Ivan Provorov pair to get another shot after strong showing

Brandon Manning-Ivan Provorov pair to get another shot after strong showing

VOORHEES, N.J. – Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol hasn’t had much consistency in his lines early on this season thanks to an array of injuries and suspensions. On the back end, though, the pairings have remained mostly constant through the first five games.

Yet, Hakstol decided to mix things up a bit and put the suddenly productive and confident Brandon Manning with the heralded rookie Ivan Provorov for Saturday’s game with Carolina.

Turns out, that pairing jelled and made an impact in the Flyers' 6-3 victory over the 'Canes.

“I thought they were pretty efficient as a pair,” Hakstol said following Sunday’s practice. “They defended well, they moved pucks out of the zone well and they added to the offense. It was a solid night for that pair.”

Provorov contributed a pair of assists while Manning scored on what Hakstol called “the play of the game," a dazzling goal that saw Manning get 'Canes goalie Eddie Lack down on the ice with a deke and then tuck it home as he skated around the net. Provorov logged 19:36 of ice time with his new partner recording a season-high 18:41.

“I thought we did well as a pairing,” Provorov said. “It was easy, shift after shift, just trying to keep the momentum going.”

The two were together again on Sunday and are expected to team up for their second straight game when the Flyers begin the week with a trip to Montreal to face the Canadiens at the Bell Centre.

In their first outing as defensive partners, it was pretty evident the two worked well together, with both picking their spots to attack on offense with the other laying back. They each have a solid two-way game, as well, proving to complement to one another.

“He’s an easy guy to play with,” Manning said of the 19-year-old Russian rookie. “His English is great. I think he’s just going to keep getting better and better.”

Provorov returned the sentiment, adding that whomever he lines up next to, the goal is to get the most out of each other. He felt that’s exactly what they did Saturday against Carolina.

After five games, Manning (four points - one goal and three assists) and Provorov (three points, all assists) rank second and third in defensive scoring behind Shayne Gostisbehere’s five points (one goal and an assist).

With Radko Gudas set to return to the lineup on Tuesday night against Buffalo as just one more game remains on his six-game suspension and Michael Del Zotto nearing a return, Hakstol will once again be shuffling his defensive pairs in the near future.

Considering how much Gudas and Del Zotto played together last year, they’ll likely return as a pair, meaning another strong showing from the newly formed Provorov-Manning pair against Montreal could cement the two together once the Flyers' have their full arsenal of blue liners available.  

Future Flyers Report: Carter Hart named to Team WHL

Future Flyers Report: Carter Hart named to Team WHL

The Flyers’ season is in full force, with four games on the slate this week beginning Monday in Montreal in the first of a back-to-back set with the Canadiens and Sabres.

Before the puck drops to start the Flyers' week, it’s time for our weekly check-in on the Flyers’ prospects playing in the AHL, overseas and at the junior and college levels.

In this edition, we feature a goalie general manager Ron Hextall is high on, another making his pro debut and head overseas to check in on a red-hot Swedish winger.

Carter Hart, G, 6-1/181, Everett (WHL)
The highlight of the week for Hart came Thursday, when the Flyers’ 2016 second-round pick was named to Team WHL for the 2016 CIBC Canada Russia Series, which begins Nov. 7 in Prince George, British Columbia. Hart will share the net with Kamloops netminder Connor Ingram, a 2016 third-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

It was an up-and-down week for Hart with the Silvertips, however, the week ended with his best performance of the season in a 3-1 win over Victoria on Saturday night. The 18-year-old stopped 37 of 38 shots, making 20 saves in the third period as the Royals went full throttle in an attempt to come back. (Victoria outshot Everett, 38-13, for the game.) Hart was solid Tuesday, turning aside 21 of 23 shots in a 2-1 loss to Spokane, but was pulled after yielding two goals on five shots in the Silvertips’ 4-3 overtime loss to Kelowna on Wednesday night. It’s been a strong start of the season, though, as he’s 6-2-1 with a 2.08 goals-against average, a .919 save percentage and one shutout.

Alex Lyon, G, 6-1/201, Lehigh Valley (AHL)
The Yale product had a rough professional debut Saturday night, a 5-4 overtime loss to Hartford, but to be fair, it wasn’t a great night for the Phantoms’ defense, either. Lyon surrendered five goals on 34 shots against, but did show glimpses of promise. He faced 18 shots in the second period and stopped 16 of them. He held the fort down in the third period, allowing the Phantoms to tie the game and force overtime. As the AHL schedule ramps up, it’ll be interesting to see how Lehigh Valley head coach Scott Gordon splits time between Lyon and Anthony Stolarz. After the game, Lyon said, via Highland Park Hockey’s Tony Androckitis, about the AHL, “It’s a little bit different (than college). The mood in here after is different. In college, you only get 30 games. Every time you lose a game, you want to sit in for the next 48 hours. Obviously feel it out, get a little bit better.”

Travis Sanheim, D, 6-4/202, Lehigh Valley (AHL)
Sanheim, another first-year pro, picked up his second assist of the season Friday night in Lehigh Valley’s 5-2 loss to the Sound Tigers, picking up a secondary helper on veteran Colin McDonald’s second-period marker. On Saturday, however, Sanheim had a bumpy performance against the Wolf Pack. With his partner, Robert Hagg, the pair combined for six penalty minutes and quite a few turnovers. Sanheim was whistled for two stick infractions, and two failed clears on one sequence led to Hagg getting caught for a cross check. Rough night.

Oskar Lindblom, LW/RW, 6-1/192, Brynäs IF (SHL)
If it appears we’re highlighting Lindblom a lot this season, it’s because we are. The 20-year-old continued his scorching start to his campaign last week with a goal and an assist. After 11 games, Lindblom is third on Brynäs IF with 10 points. Last week, Lindblom potted his fifth goal of the season in a 4-2 loss to Karlskrona on Thursday, and then added his fifth assist of the year in a season-high 17:13 during his team’s 5-3 defeat at the hands of Malmö on Saturday. Another productive week for the 2014 fifth-round pick.

Tanner Laczynski, C, 6-0/174, Ohio State (NCAA)
It’s been a pretty impressive start to Laczynski's freshman campaign with the Buckeyes. Laczynski had himself a four-point weekend against Bowling Green, racking up a goal and an assist in each of Friday and Saturday’s games, respectively. He has six points in five games with Ohio State. Laczynski is another curious story. He was eligible for the 2015 draft, but went undrafted. This past June, the Flyers plucked him in the sixth round. He impressed during the World Junior evaluation camp for Team USA in August, and is a candidate to make the team for the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship. It’ll be fun to track his development at OSU, too.

Quick hits
• It was a tough week for goalie Felix Sandstrom, who surrendered four goals in his only game last week for Brynäs IF, a 4-2 loss to Karlskrona.

Mark Friedman picked up two assists in Bowling Green’s 5-4 loss to No. 19 Ohio State on Friday night.

• Djurgårdens IF defenseman David Bernhardt enjoyed his best week of his young SHL career, scoring his first career goal Friday in a 5-4 loss to Linkoping and picking up an assist Wednesday against in a 3-2 shootout loss to Färjestad.

German Rubtsov had two goals and two assists in three of the Russian Knights’ games last week. He did not play last Monday. He was 42.1 percent in the faceoff circle.

David Kase was pointless in two games last week. He had registered seven points in his previous eight games entering the week.

Connor Bunnaman added a goal and two assists in three games last week for Kitchener. Bunnaman now has seven goals and 11 points in 10 games this season.

• It was a big week for Sarnia’s Anthony Salinitri, who had a hat trick and an assist Thursday against Peterborough and an assist the next night against Oshawa.