Instant Replay: Flyers 5, Capitals 2


Instant Replay: Flyers 5, Capitals 2


A five-minute major and ensuing power play was a game changer for the Flyers on Tuesday night in the back end of their home-and-home engagement against the Washington Capitals.

Two power-play goals saw them turn a 2-2 tie into a two-goal lead during the Flyers' 5-2 victory at Wells Fargo Center that drew Craig Berube’s team to within one point of a playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division.

Matt Read’s team-high 10th goal at 11:54 of the second period drew the Flyers even at 2-2.

That set up the game’s turning point.

The Flyers were awarded a five-minute power play after Tom Wilson’s charging call against Brayden Schenn (see 10 observations).

The Flyers scored twice on that lengthy man-advantage with Mark Streit drilling one from the point and then Jakub Voracek potting his second goal of the night for a 4-2 lead.

Prior to all that, the Flyers were sloppy starting that period and paid for it as the Caps scored twice.

First, goalie Steve Mason let a rebound elude his glove hand on the ice for an easy 28th goal by Alex Ovechkin during a power play.

Then, minutes later, after Voracek had made it a 1-1 game, the Flyers' top line came down ice with all eyes on Troy Brouwer going into the corner for a puck.

Three different Flyers failed to realize that Eric Fehr was the trail man while he banged home a bad goal shortside on Mason for a 2-1 Caps lead.

Things would change soon after.

Schenn likely was concussed after being slammed head first into the back boards by Wilson, who accelerated into his second-period hit as Schenn turned toward the boards. Schenn struggled to his feet, then collapsed and had to be assisted off the ice. Wilson drew a five-minute major for the hit (see video).

Watchful eye
Claude Giroux drew a minor penalty when Fehr drilled him in the chin for a roughing call in the first period. The hit also pinned Giroux’s right shoulder on the boards, too. The puck was long gone when Giroux got hit. Hence the penalty. Needless to say, any high hit is something to watch for the remainder of the week.

Scott Hartnell had one early and was denied by Caps goalie Braden Holtby. Hartnell felt he was interfered with from behind.

Special teams
Streit drilled one off the right post during the Flyers' only power play in the first period while Holtby got his stick on Giroux’s open shot in the right slot. Then the Flyers scored twice off that five-minute major. They were 2 for 5 in the game. The Caps were 1 for 2.

Stone cold
Mason had several outstanding saves from five or six feet in the slot in the opening period on Nick Backstrom and Marcus Johansson, plus a point-shot save on Mike Green two seconds before Backstrom’s rebound.

Mason miscue
Mason mishandled a shot from Backstrom during the Caps’ carryover power play in the second period and Ovechkin had an easy goal in the paint. Mason’s mishandle of a clearing pass led to Ovie’s game-tying goal Sunday that sent the game into overtime.

Big glove save
By Mason on John Carlson late in the game.

Watching Ovie
Ovechkin had just two shots through two periods. Sean Couturier’s line matched up against him most of the game. Ovie finished with one goal for his lone point of the game.

First point
Chris VandeVelde picked up his first point as a Flyer (fourth overall in NHL) on Streit’s power-play goal with an assist.

Two scouts from the Montreal Canadiens were on hand for this game, including assistant general manager Rich Dudley. One scout was from Winnipeg.

Nothing new here. Defensemen Hal Gill and Andrej Meszaros; forward Jay Rosehill. Forward Vinny Lecavalier (back injury) was the only injured scratch.

Adam Hall decisioned Aaron Volpatti, who is a pretty good fighter in the second period. Nick Grossmann and Wilson fought to a draw when Grossmann went after the Caps’ winger for his hit on Schenn.

Steve Mason, Flyers hope to channel emotion in opener

Steve Mason, Flyers hope to channel emotion in opener

Fiftieth anniversary home opener. Electricity in the stands. And a stirring tribute to the late Ed Snider, the founding father of the franchise.

All of that is on tap Thursday night for the Flyers as they welcome the Anaheim Ducks to the Wells Fargo Center.

Steve Mason, who didn’t get the start in Los Angeles for the season opener, gets the nod in the even larger home curtain lift.

“It’s a special night for everybody who is involved with it,” the Flyers’ goalie said. “This organization is rich in history, largely because of Mr. Snider. 

“It will be nice to see him get the respect he most definitely deserves beforehand. It will be an honor to be part of it.”

Fans attending the game will have lighted bracelets hanging off their seats for the on-ice tribute to Snider. His family will be there, as well.

When the Flyers offered a bracelet tribute to Snider last April in their playoff home opener (Game 3) against Washington, fans threw the bracelets on the ice during a 6-1 blowout loss.

“It’s up to us to give them reasons to keep them on their wrists,” Mason said. “They’re cool introduction shows and you hope everyone is respectful.”

Some of the Flyers said they need to channel the emotion of the evening toward getting off to a better start in the game. The Flyers had poor starts in their recent three-game road trip out west.

“Most guys are pretty excited, it’s going to be a full house and there’s nothing like opening at home,” said Nick Cousins, who is back in the lineup (Roman Lyubimov is out). “I’m looking forward to it. There will be a lot of emotion in the building. 

“Mr. Snider was the heart and soul of the Flyers. Very passionate about the hockey team. Like I said, there’s going to be a lot of emotion in the building. Hopefully, we can get this win for him. The boys are looking forward to it.”

Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said he addressed his club briefly today about channeling their energy off the Snider ceremony into something positive without being consumed by it.

“We discussed it a little bit in a quick team meeting,” Hakstol said. “And really, there’s nothing more to be said. Take that emotion, take that energy and direct in the right way into our game. 

“Sometimes, that’s easier said than done, but our group is veteran enough in here that we will be able to do that.”

On Cousins
Hakstol said he didn’t want to leave Cousins sit “too long.” 

Cousins said the explanation for his benching in Chicago wasn’t punitive and that Hakstol explained to him he wanted to get Lyubimov his first taste of NHL play.

“I really like what Lubey did in his role the other night,” Hakstol said. “I thought he took a step forward. But tonight we got Cuz back in there and the things he brings to the table are important to us.”

Provorov bounce-back
Rookie defenseman Ivan Provorov was minus-5 in the 7-4 loss at Chicago. He was responsible, in part, for three goals.

“It happens to the best of us,” Provorov said, sounding like a veteran. “The best players in the world make mistakes. If nobody made mistakes, the game would end 0-0. 

“The thing that separates the better players from average players is they limit those kind of nights. It happens to all of us. You learn from it and move on.” 



Flyers-Ducks 5 things: An extra-meaningful home opener

Flyers-Ducks 5 things: An extra-meaningful home opener

Flyers vs. Ducks
7 p.m. on CSN, Pregame Live at 6

The Wells Fargo Center will be filled with emotion Thursday night.

It marks the beginning of the Flyers’ home schedule for the organization’s first season without iconic founder Ed Snider, who died in April. The team is planning a special pregame tribute to commemorate the man who birthed the franchise in 1966.

Building blocks Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov will make their regular-season home debuts as 19-year-olds, another significant shift for the franchise.

And hockey returns to South Philadelphia.

The Flyers (1-1-1) welcome the Anaheim Ducks (0-3-1) for their 2016-17 home opener.

Here are five things to know for the game:

1. Schenn returns
With Brayden Schenn’s return from a three-game suspension, the Flyers now see a full arsenal at the head of their lineup, making for a top six head coach Dave Hakstol and the front office likely envisioned when the decision came to keep Konecny.

Schenn will rejoin Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds on the Flyers’ first line, followed by the fast-starting second unit of Konecny, Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek, which has produced 10 points over the opening three games.

"Obviously Brayden coming back is going to be big for us," Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said Wednesday. "He's a physical presence, he scores goals, he's good on the power play. So I think Brayden [will make] a big impact, too, so it's nice to get your lines in how Hak foresees them.”

The 25-year-old forward, with a new four-year deal signed this offseason after a career year, is a huge component to the Flyers’ man advantage, on which he scored the team’s second-most goals (11) and tied for the second-most points (22).

Typically a player that heats up in January and February, Schenn is motivated beginning the season in position to replicate his 26-goal, 33-assist campaign in 2015-16.

"I think I continue to get more confident and get better every year,” Schenn said. “I think heading into this year, I start off with a great opportunity to play with great players throughout the start here and try to run with it. I feel confident, I feel good heading into Game 1 for me.

"I'm going to do everything in my power to try and beat my points from last year."

2. The rookie’s response
That would be Provorov, who endured his first game to forget as an NHLer in the Flyers’ 7-4 loss to the Blackhawks on Tuesday.

The blueliner committed a few mistakes, highlighted by a costly blunder, en route to a game-worst minus-5 rating.

Provorov has spoiled fans thus far with his precociousness. For once, he actually looked 19.

It’ll be interesting to see how he answers in a hyped-up environment such as the home opener. The Flyers are not worried, nor should they be.

"Even though there were a couple of mistakes and a couple of things that didn't go right, he just kept playing,” Hakstol said. “He kept trying to make a difference in the game. I think that shows his overall mentality and his care of the team. Those are things that kind of tell you where his maturity level is at."

3. Not-so mighty Ducks
Anaheim is off to a lousy start.

Winless through four contests, the Ducks are 29th among the NHL in both goals per game (1.75) and goal differential (minus-5).

Interestingly, Anaheim was handed a five-game road trip to start the season. The Ducks also started slow in 2015-16, going 1-7-2 over their first 10 games. However, they finished with an overall goal differential of plus-26 and a playoff berth.

They also went 21-15-5 on the road and boasted the league’s No. 1 power play and penalty kill.

The absences of forward Rickard Rakell (abdomen) and defenseman Hampus Lindholm (contract holdout) have not helped.

4. Keep an eye on ...
Flyers: We’ll say Schenn — who’s “chomping at the bit,” according to Hakstol — makes a dent in his first game. Over his past four season debuts, Schenn has two goals and one assist.

Ducks: Skilled center Ryan Getzlaf is a tough matchup with his 6-foot-4 frame. He also owns five goals and 10 assists in 12 career games against the Flyers.

5. This and that
• Steve Mason will start in net for the Flyers after relief duty in Tuesday’s loss. He’s 5-9-2 with a 3.36 goals-against average and .889 save percentage in 17 games lifetime against the Ducks.

• Anaheim goalie John Gibson is 0-2-1 with a 3.07 goals-against average to start the season. He’s faced the Flyers only once in his career, beating them, 4-2, on Dec. 27 of last season with 24 saves.

• Nick Cousins is back in the lineup for Roman Lyubimov. The forwards were swapped on Tuesday as Cousins was scratched and Lyubimov made his NHL debut.

Michael Raffl is out 10 to 14 days with an upper-body injury. Schenn essentially fills his spot in the lineup.

• The Flyers have lost three of their last four home openers.

• Konecny leads all NHL rookies in assists with four.