Instant Replay: Flyers 5, Senators 2


Instant Replay: Flyers 5, Senators 2


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.

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.

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

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.

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.