Instant Replay: Flyers 5, Red Wings 0

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Instant Replay: Flyers 5, Red Wings 0

BOX SCORE

After getting beat up pretty bad over the weekend, the Flyers enacted a little payback on unsuspecting Detroit on Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Center with a 5-0 rout over the Red Wings.

They also restored a little bit of normalcy Tuesday night to their infrastructure.

Goalie Steve Mason bounced back from his recent struggles to stop 33 shots in recording his second shutout of the season.

It was a strong offensive game from a number of players, including Scott Hartnell, who had two early goals.

Now comes the real hard part -- a six-day, three-game road trip to California where the Flyers will face the top three clubs in the Pacific Division.

Mason badly needed to have a good game after being yanked twice in his last three starts and he turned in a pretty good one against the Red Wings.

It snapped a six-game streak in which Mason had given up at least three goals in a game.

There was, however, potentially real bad news for the Flyers. Kimmo Timonen, who has had his share of foot injuries as a Flyer, took a shot early in the game, left after the mid-point of the second period, and did not return. Timonen will be reevaluated on Wednesday, but coach Craig Berube said the defenseman should be fine.

Timonen's exit forced Berube to rotate his remaining five defensemen the rest of the night.

Despite a slow start, the Flyers actually scored first and held the lead, even fattening up on it in the second period.

Hartnell, bothered by an aching left foot that isn’t fractured but it still causing him pain, didn’t seem too bothered as he scored twice for the Flyers for a 2-0 lead.

It was 3-0 after two period before Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier really put it away in the third period.

The Flyers, who beat a depleted Red Wings team earlier this season at Joe Louis Arena, got the same break in this one.

Pavel Datsyuk (lower body), Henrik Zetterberg (back) and Johan Franzen (concussion) all missed the game with injuries.

Injuries
Timonen blocked a shot in the first period and skated gingerly to the bench. He missed the final 8:46 of the second period and did not return. The last thing this club needs is to be missing one of its few defensemen who can move the puck.

Banged up
The Red Wings came into the game with a stunning 230 man games lost due to injury. Nineteen different players have missed games this season. Only Drew Miller and Kyle Quincey have played in every game for them.

Big line
Hartnell and linemates Giroux and Jakub Voracek had a very good game together, combining for three goals and four assists for seven points.

First whistle
Who would have guessed it came at 6:44? Pretty good given the state of things with the Flyers.

Breakout
It’s been a huge problem for the Flyers, of late, and might be why they dropped all three forwards back into the zone to help the defense. It didn’t help but only congested things even worse.

Best chances
Wayne Simmonds had a gift rebound from goalie Jonas Gustavsson early in the game with an open net but the puck appeared to jump past his stick. Matt Read flubbed a pass into the slot on another scoring chance as the Flyers seemed skittish early in the game.

Penalties
All the talk about eliminating them … the Flyers had three in succession late in the first period, including back to back four-on-four situations.

Special teams
As bad as the Flyers were in the opening period, they grabbed the lead at 13:42 with a power-play backhand tip from Hartnell for a 1-0 lead. The Flyers were 1 for 2 on the power play in the game, while Detroit was 0 for 4.

Four-on-three
Detroit had one late in the opening period and Mason made a terrific glove save on Gustav Nyquist.

Saved by the post
Detroit had a shot hit the left post in the second period that dangled dangerously on the goal line before Mason tied it up for a faceoff.

Tricky shot
Adam Hall’s turnaround backhander in the slot with 8:58 left in the second period gave the Flyers a 3-0 and forced Wings coach Mike Babcock to call his timeout. Hall has two goals in January and just three all season. His shot seemed like a curveball the way it wrapped around Gustavsson inside the post.

Stone cold
Mason was sharp in the final seven minutes of the second period with a point blank save on Luke Glendening, then while sitting on his fanny. Now he appeared to block Quincey’s follow shot into the netting above, but replays showed it hit the crossbar first. He had several fine saves in the game and faced 33 shots.

Scratches
Defensemen Hal Gill and Andrej Meszaros; forward Jay Rosehill. All were healthy. Zac Rinaldo (left ankle sprain) missed his 10th straight game.

Flyers Weekly Observations: More flashes, more frustration

Flyers Weekly Observations: More flashes, more frustration

The Flyers’ playoff hopes are all but buried alive, but we still have plenty to discuss after a busy week of hockey.

The Flyers took the ice four times and finished up with yet another inconsistent showing last week.

They pulled off a 4-3 overtime win over the visiting Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday, dropped a disappointing 3-2 decision to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday, impressed with a strong 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday and then were stifled in a frustrating 1-0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday afternoon.

Let’s take deeper dive into the week that was for the Flyers.

• While it was another one of those up-and-down weeks for the Flyers that we’ve all become used to, Sean Couturier stuck out in a good way this past week. Two plays, in particular, stuck out, and not just because the puck ended up in the back of the net each time. Sunday in overtime against Carolina, Couturier revved up on a quick and powerful solo rush up the ice, broke in on goalie Cam Ward and created a prime scoring opportunity that Brayden Schenn cleaned up for the game-winner. It was something we don’t see often enough from Couturier. He has the size with his 6-foot-3, 211-pound frame and can be tough to stop when he gets in gear the way he did in OT on Sunday night. That could be such a weapon for the Flyers if he could do it on a more consistent basis. His goal Thursday in Minnesota was a thing of beauty. He took a slick pass from Schenn, maneuvered the puck through his legs and beat Devan Dubnyk five-hole. Between the pass and the lovely finish, it might have been the prettiest goal the Flyers scored all season. But it was Couturier’s skill that finished it off. So he again showed flashes of mixing his size and skill this week to create offense. Queue the broken record, but the Flyers, who average just 2.50 goals per game heading into Sunday night’s tilt in Pittsburgh, really need Couturier to do those kinds of things much more consistently.

• Steve Mason was not out of line to question his teammates after Tuesday’s disheartening loss in Winnipeg. Heading into that game, the Flyers talked about how, even though their playoff hopes were slim, they still thought they had a real chance to reach the postseason. Entering the third period on Tuesday, the game was tied at 1-1. The Flyers had 20 minutes to vanquish a Jets team that was missing five regular defensemen in the lineup. Instead of playing like a team hungry for the playoffs, the Flyers sat back and let the Jets carry play to predictably terrible results for the Flyers. Think about this: the Flyers had just two shots in the period 13:34 into the frame. I know Mason mentioned the eight straight minutes of penalties the Flyers took in the second period, and, while frustrating, that happens sometimes. The two shots through more than half the third period can't happen. Urgency anybody? They did respond nicely Thursday against a good, albeit stumbling, Wild team. That may have been the Flyers' best all-round effort of the year.

 • In response to Tuesday’s lackluster effort in Winnipeg, Dave Hakstol again switched up the Flyers’ lines ahead of Thursday’s game in Minnesota. One of the changes saw rookie forward Travis Konecny slide down to the fourth line next to Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Chris VandeVelde. That’s a curious move. Think about this: the Flyers’ playoff hopes are virtually toast, right? What does Konecny get out of playing fourth-line minutes now? Shouldn’t he be further up the depth chart in an effort to find some chemistry with more skilled linemates heading into next season? I get that he has defensive deficiencies. But he’s a rookie and all rookies have those. At the end of the day, the kid is a skilled scorer. And these are important minutes for him to get more and more comfortable in a top-wing role. You’ve got to take the good with the bad, especially with the Flyers’ goal-scoring needs.

• The Flyers’ power play continues to be a debacle. After an 0-for-3 showing Saturday in Columbus, the Flyers’ power play is 3 for 43 in the month of March. It’s not just that the power play is stagnant right now. It’s that it’s giving the opponent momentum and helping turn games around against the Flyers. It’s more deflating than anything else. More often than not, it just seems that opponents have more quality chances while shorthanded than the Flyers have with the man advantage. Gotta give the Flyers’ power-play units credit on Saturday, though. They fired 10 power-play shots on goal, but Sergei Bobrovsky had every answer. He was superbly flawless all game long for the Jackets, for that matter.

• Want a telling stat? Try this on for size: heading into Sunday’s games, 16 teams have positive goal differentials for the season and 14 teams have negative goal differentials for the season. Those 16 teams with positive goal differentials are in the current playoff picture. The 14 teams with negative goal differentials, well … I’ll let you fill in the blank. FYI, the Flyers’ goal differential is -27.

• Was going over some stats on Sunday morning and, oh, those poor Avalanche fans. Colorado has just been abysmal this year. As of Sunday morning, the last-place Avs are 20 points behind the next team in the standings, Arizona. Twenty! The Avs’ goal differential on the season is -104. That’s an astounding number that’s 44 goals behind the next worse number, coincidentally Arizona’s. So for you Flyers fans angry at how this season has soured, just remember it’s worse somewhere else. Much, much worse. … If that’s any consolation.

Coming up this week: Sunday at Pittsburgh (7 p.m./NBCSN), Tuesday vs. Ottawa (7 p.m./TCN), Thursday vs. New York Islanders (7 p.m./CSN), Saturday vs. New Jersey (7 p.m./CSN)

Flyers-Penguins 5 things: Final long road trip of season ends in Pittsburgh

Flyers-Penguins 5 things: Final long road trip of season ends in Pittsburgh

Flyers (34-32-8) at Penguins (46-17-11)
7 p.m. on NBCSN/CSNPhilly.com and NBC Sports App

The Flyers conclude their final four-game road trip of the season on Sunday night in Pittsburgh against a Penguins team with its playoff ticket already punched.

Let's take a closer look game at No. 75 for the Flyers.

1. Power outage
The theme remained the same for the Flyers in their 1-0 loss to Columbus on Saturday: a lifeless power play leads to little offense in a must-win game that killed any realistic, however slim, hope of making a last-second run at the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot.

After going 0 for 3 against the Blue Jackets, the Flyers' power play is now 3 for 43 in March, 0 for its last 14 and 2 for its last 25. On Sunday night, they face a Penguins penalty kill that is lingering near the bottom 10 of the league at 19th overall with an 80.3 percent kill rate.

"We're getting our chances and it's not going in," Shayne Gostisbehere said Saturday. "It's not like we're not getting shots, so it's a matter of sticking with it and it'll come."

In their 4-0 shutout win over the Penguins on March 15, the Flyers were 1 for 4 on the man advantage and it was the last game the team found twine on the power play.

2. Mr. 100
After winning his 100th game as a Flyer on Thursday night Minnesota -- only the third goalie in franchise history to reach 100 wins -- Steve Mason had Saturday afternoon off.

Without context, rolling with Michal Neuvirth on Saturday was a surprising move considering Mason has been the better goalie of the two and the team believed its season was not yet over. But it was the first game of a back-to-back against two of the East's elites.

Neuvirth appeared rusty in the opening period but settled down in Columbus, but Mason is expected back in between the pipes Sunday against the Pens, whom he shut out 11 days ago.

On Sunday, he's expected to make his 50th start of year. Mason will be the first goaltender in Flyers history to start over 50 games in four consecutive seasons. He's appeared in 53 games this season in total heading into Sunday night's tilt.

Mason is 2-3-1 with a 2.62 goals-against average and .910 save percentage in March and owns a 2.73 goals-against average and .906 save percentage overall this season.

3. Playoffs … playoffs?
With Saturday's 1-0 loss, the Flyers' playoff hopes are realistically dead -- not as if they weren't already. The Flyers have eight games left and are eight points out of the playoffs.

One has to believe the Flyers have to win out and acquire all 16 possible points to have any legitimate chance at the playoffs. That's not taking into account help needed elsewhere.

Let's do some math. If the Flyers were to earn all 16 points on the table, they'd finish the year with 92 points. Is that enough to get into the playoffs? Not unless the four teams ahead of them crash and burn. The Flyers are not officially eliminated, but the playoffs are a pipe dream.

4. Keep an eye on …
Flyers: Let's go with Sean Couturier, who has three goals and seven assists in his last 11 games. He had a goal and an assist with a career-high eight shots vs. the Pens 11 days ago.

Penguins: Nick Bonino has seven goals in his last 10 games and nine points in his last 12 games. Bonino has one goal in three games against the Flyers this season.

5. This and that
• The Penguins will wear their gold Stadium Series jerseys against the Flyers on Sunday.

• The Flyers have scored just 20 goals in their last 17 losses.

• This game was originally set for 12:30 p.m. but was rescheduled earlier in the season.

• Pittsburgh is 3-0-2 in five contests since losing to the Flyers on March 15. The Pens are 8-1-3 in their last 12 games and are coming off back-to-back shootout losses.