Instant Replay: Flyers 5, Senators 2

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Instant Replay: Flyers 5, Senators 2

BOX SCORE

They may have lost their win streak, but there’s still one left that counts.

The Flyers stretched their point streak to five games Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Center with a 5-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators.

Sean Couturier broke a 25-game goal skid (going back to last season) early in the game and Kimmo Timonen broke a 21-game overall slide late, as the Flyers scored two goals just 23 seconds apart to break a 2-2 tie.

One-goal games heading into the third period have become the norm for the Flyers most of the season. A goal up or a goal behind most of the time.

Ill-timed penalties have killed them. Like Steve Downie’s penalty that tied the game in the third period at Winnipeg last week.

And like Zac Rinaldo’s hook between the legs of Zack Smith that allowed the Senators to tie the game, 2-2. It was only close because of goalie Steve Mason, who was again spectacular with 34 saves.

Soon after, Nick Grossmann had a skate save on Kyle Turris in the paint. The Flyers then came out and scored twice to take the edge off the game.

The Mason
He had a number of terrific saves in this game, including a highlight reel one on Clarke MacArthur in the final minute of the second period with the Flyers clutching a shaky 2-1 lead.

The entire sequence began as a turnover from Jakub Voracek went to MacArthur. He dished to Bobby Ryan, who gave him a spinarama return pass in the slot for a tip-in attempt.

Mason stopped Turris on a penalty shot in the final minutes, as well.

Over .500
With the win, the Flyers improved to 8-7-2 under coach Craig Berube. Overall, the Flyers sit at 8-10-2.

Poor start
The Flyers, besides looking a tad lethargic, took a penalty in the first minute of play and more or less waded into the game instead of diving into it. They were fortunate that Mason was on his game. He has solid kicks save on Cory Conacher during that power play and got help from the post on Jason Spezza’s slapper. Later, Mason stopped Ryan, who simply snail-darted around Sean Couturier for a lane to the net.

Where’s the juice?
The opening period was frightfully dull, unlike the three-goal, quick-skating first period at Winnipeg last Friday night when the Flyers last played.

Open net
Couturier had the puck on his stick and stared down an open net in the first period. The net won. His shot was wide of the far post. Couturier came into the game without a goal this season but …

He got it … finally
Couturier scored along the left goal line near the corner from a ridiculous angle shortside on goalie Robin Lehner to make it 2-0 in the second period. That was his first goal in 20 games this season.

Penalties
Thanks to back-to-back Flyer delay of game penalties, the Senators enjoyed a brief two-man advantage that the Flyers were able to survive.

They say your best penalty killer should be your goalie, and Mason looked sharp that first period. Ottawa’s crisp puck movement during the end of that five-on-four saw Mason make a nice cradle save on Turris’ shot from the left circle. The Flyers had three delay of game penalties on the night.

Power play
Four straight games now the Flyers have scored on the power play. Claude Giroux ripped a shot off some fine passing from Voracek to the captain in the left circle for the only goal of the opening period. Giroux is on pace for just 20 power-play points this season, well below his career-high of 38 two years ago. He has to pick it up if the power play is going to get its act together.

Penalty kill
Things are different on the penalty kill. Ottawa’s MacArthur scored a power-play goal to make it 2-1 in the second period off a screen shot (Luke Schenn). Ottawa also got a power-play goal from Turris in the third period. The Flyers’ PK units have now given up five power-play goals in the last three games.

Fights
Colin Greening and Schenn threw down with 1:02 left in the second period. A lot of throws in a draw.

Scratches
Defensemen Hal Gill and Andrej Meszaros and forward Michael Raffl.

Loose pucks
Did we mention this marked the first time all season the Flyers gave up two power-play goals in consecutive games? ... There was a nifty takeaway at the blue line off Couturier by Spezza in the second period for an excellent scoring chance by Milan Michalek, whose backhander was wide of the right post, ... Luke Schenn has three fights this season … TSN’s Darren Dreger reported that the Flyers have quietly let it be known that Brayden Schenn could be available in a trade involving larger pieces. The Flyers denied it. ... Adam Hall’s shorthanded goal ended his goal drought, as well.

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.