Instant Replay: Flyers 3, Blackhawks 2 (OT)

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Instant Replay: Flyers 3, Blackhawks 2 (OT)

BOX SCORE

After shocking the Penguins with a weekend sweep of a home-and-home series, the Flyers tempted fate against the defending Stanley Cup-champion Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night.

Craig Berube’s team came up with another fine effort for a 3-2 overtime win at the Wells Fargo Center. It was one of the best physically-competitive games the Flyers have played this season.

Claude Giroux won it with a blast off the right wing with 4.2 ticks left in overtime.

Embracing a 2-2 tie, the Flyers had five power plays and lots of chances.

Brayden Schenn had a goal waved off late in the game for a high-stick call to Vinny Lecavalier. It was not a reviewable play.

The Hawks came out hot against goalie Ray Emery, who had not played in a game since the end of February, as Chicago built a quick 2-0 lead minutes into the opening period.

After that, however, the Flyers patiently chipped away to draw even by period’s end with two goals from Scott Hartnell.

Now what followed in the second period was rather strange as the game settled into intermittent shots and a 2-2 tie as if both teams were playing for just that -- a tie.

Sean Couturier had the best scoring chance that period on a wraparound attempt even strength, while the Flyers continued to generate chances on their power play, which has been electric of late.

Chicago is 31-1-7 when scoring first this season.

Matchups
Berube went with Couturier’s line against Jonathan Toews; Giroux went up against Ben Smith’s line with Patrick Kane. Through two periods, Toews did not have a shot on goal.

Deadly dozen
This was Game 3 of the 12 games that will pretty much decide whether the Flyers are going to make the playoffs. The Flyers are 3-0 with six points through their last three games.

The West
The Flyers are 13-9-2 against the Western Conference.

Long layoff
Emery’s last start was a 2-1 win over Calgary. His last appearance was in relief of Steve Mason during the Feb. 27 blowout loss to San Jose when he injured his groin.

Brutal start
Both goalies had it rough, especially Emery, who looked very rusty in the first period. A bad drop pass in his own end by Brayden Schenn resulted in Andrew Shaw beating Emery at 2:29 as the Flyers' goalie was slow reacting to the play. A little over a minute later, Duncan Keith ripped a shot from inside the blue line and the puck hopped through Emery’s five hole. Two goals on four shots. Obviously, the Flyers' start against Chicago wasn’t of the Pittsburgh variety.

Backups
Chicago also went with its backup goalie, Antti Raanta. Hartnell made it a 2-1 game at 5:48 when he banged the puck off Raanta’s left skate into the net off a pass from defenseman Braydon Coburn behind the net. Hartnell’s second goal at 16:27 tied the game after Giroux and Matt Read did some nice forecheck work to wear the Hawks down.

The post
The Flyers hit six of them in this game.

Power play
After going 3 for 7 in two games against Pittsburgh, the Flyers were eager to keep it going. Giroux and Mark Streit each nailed the right crossbar in the first period. They had five power plays in the game and a half dozen scoring chances on the first three power plays. On the third one, Wayne Simmonds couldn’t find a puck at his feet in the paint while Brayden Schenn missed a perfect setup from Lecavalier as the puck was just wide of his stick off a redirect. Giroux and Jakub Voracek each nicked the post on the fifth power play. The Flyers finished 0 for 5.

Penalty kill
The Flyers were a perfect 3 for 3 against the Blackhawks.

Birthday boy
Defenseman Kimmo Timonen celebrated his 39th birthday.

Faceoffs
Michal Handzus won a clutch draw off Giroux in the first period with the Hawks facing a 10-second, two-man disadvantage. The lost faceoff allowed Chicago to eat up the seconds and regroup to face a four-on-three.

Fights
Zac Rinaldo and Sheldon Brookbank fought to a second-period draw. Bryan Bickell had a decision over Simmonds in the third period.

Scratches
No changes. Defensemen Hal Gill and Erik Gustafsson; forward Jay Rosehill.

Flyers free-agent goalie fits: Jonathan Bernier

Flyers free-agent goalie fits: Jonathan Bernier

Each day this week until July 1, the day free agency begins, Tom Dougherty, Jordan Hall and Greg Paone will profile the five best goalie options for the Flyers on the open market and project their likelihood of signing.

Jonathan Bernier
Age: 28
Height: 6-0
Weight: 184
Last team: Anaheim Ducks
2016-17 cap hit: $4.15 million

Scouting report
After being drafted 11th overall in 2006, Bernier was a highly-touted goaltender coming up in the Los Angeles Kings system and performed well in a backup role for five seasons in L.A.

But with Jonathan Quick in Los Angeles, Bernier was blocked from getting a viable opportunity to be a No. 1 with the Kings. In June 2013, they shipped him to Toronto.

Bernier did not capitalize on his opportunity with the Maple Leafs, however. He never established himself as a high-end starting goalie in three seasons despite a strong first year.

In 2013-14, Bernier was 26-19-7 with a 2.68 goals-against average and .923 save percentage with the Leafs but that save percentage continually dropped the next two years.

Toronto decided to cut ties with Bernier after the 2015-16 season and traded him to the Anaheim Ducks for a conditional draft pick. He spent last season backing up John Gibson.

Appearing in 39 games last season for the Ducks, Bernier posted a 21-7-4 record with a 2.50 goals-against average, .915 save percentage and two shutouts.

One note about Bernier: Flyers general manager Ron Hextall was an assistant GM in Los Angeles when the Kings drafted him in 2006, so there is a connection there.

Dougherty's projection
I don’t think Bernier is the best option available for the Flyers but the most likely. Maybe I’m putting too much weight on the Hextall connection here, maybe not. We’ll see.

Bernier fits what the Flyers appear to want in a goalie going forward: a short-term veteran option who can share the net with Michal Neuvirth in a platoon situation.

Hextall isn’t looking for the Flyers’ goalie of the future this summer. He believes he has that in the system already but needs to bide time for Carter Hart and Felix Sandstrom.

But he will be looking for a goalie who he can trust playing around 40 games or more next season and give the team quality in net. In that role, Bernier would be a solid fit.

He hasn’t panned out as projected and we could use him as one example of why we don’t see many goaltenders drafted high in the first round. They’re tough to project.

With that said, Bernier has found success in the past, including last season in Anaheim, in either a platoon or backup situation. He’ll come at a reasonable price, too.

A tandem of Neuvirth-Bernier would not be the worst thing in the world for the Flyers; it wouldn’t be the best, either. I think it would give them enough in net to compete.

If I had to predict which goaltender on the market will be here next season, it is Bernier.

Hall's projection
I see Bernier as one of the least realistic options for the Flyers.
 
The 2006 11th overall pick hasn't quite lived up to the hype, but he still has some cachet, probably too much for the Flyers in this spot.
 
He turns only 29 in August and in a backup role last season, his 2.50 goals-against average and .915 save percentage still ranked in the top 15 among NHL goalies that played 39 games or more.
 
The role and price in which the Flyers will offer shouldn't attract Bernier much. From the sound of Hextall, I expect him to be judicious in adding a goalie. This sounds much more like a stopgap, temporary position than anything future oriented.
 
There's a connection with the Flyers' GM here, but that might be it when it comes to the Bernier scenario.

Paone's projection
I find Bernier to be an intriguing option for the Flyers.

First and foremost, there is plenty of familiarity with Bernier within the Flyers' organization. Hextall and current Flyers goalie coach Kim Dillabaugh were both parts of the Kings' organization when Bernier was drafted in 2006 and worked with him during his development into an NHL goaltender. They not only know the type of player and competitor they'd be getting, they also know the type of person they'd be getting and that plays a role, too.

Bernier had a very strong campaign for the Ducks last season. That certainly makes him an attractive option for the Flyers. He did his best to prove he can be a reliable option again after things soured for him in Toronto. But, hey, a lot of things went sour in Toronto during those times.

But that strong campaign with Anaheim last season will have Bernier wanting opportunity and more of it. With Neuvirth entrenched here, how much opportunity would there actually be for Bernier here? Would the Flyers present the type of opportunity he's looking for after last year's showing with the Ducks? My guess is no. He'll likely want an opportunity to take on much more of a workload.

So while the option is intriguing for many reasons and it certainly isn't out of the realm of possibility, I ultimately feel this is an option both he and the Flyers pass on.

Flyers re-sign defenseman Mark Alt to 1-year, 2-way deal

Flyers re-sign defenseman Mark Alt to 1-year, 2-way deal

One day after extending qualifying offers to seven restricted free agents (see story), the Flyers re-signed Mark Alt, who was unrestricted.

The Phantoms' defenseman agreed to a one-year, two-way deal on Tuesday that will play him $125,000 in the AHL and $650,000 in the NHL.

The 25-year-old has played four years with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. 

He had one goal and 11 points last season in 40 AHL games.

Alt's only NHL appearance was his debut as a Flyer on March 28, 2015, at San Jose.

Alt has 68 points (12 goals) in 237 AHL games.