Instant Replay: Flyers 6, Red Wings 3

usa-readgoal-slideshow.jpg

Instant Replay: Flyers 6, Red Wings 3

BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- Three goals in four games.

That’s what Sean Couturier’s stats read after the Flyers' 6-3 comeback victory over the Red Wings on Wednesday night at Joe Louis Arena.

Couturier drove the net and took a long pass from Steve Downie on the right boards for a go-ahead goal in the third period and then Scott Hartnell added an insurance goal on the power play.

The Flyers had trailed 3-1.

It took 57 ticks of the clock Monday night in Minnesota for the entire complexion of the hockey game to change against the Flyers in a 5-2 loss.

It took a wee bit longer -- 1:49 in the second period. The Red Wings -- much like the Wild -- got a pair of goals to erase a 1-1 tie and make it 3-1.

Yet the Flyers would not go quietly into Motown. First, Matt Read got one late in the second period off a fine pass from Coututier, who was in traffic.

Then the Flyers' slumping power play scored its second of the night with Claude Giroux flipping a puck from the left circle under the crossbar on Jimmy Howard to make it a 3-3 game.

The Flyers got a huge break in that Todd Bertuzzi, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg all missed the game with injuries.

Bottom line? They should take advantage of that and they did. The six goals were a season-high for the Flyers.

Two quickies
First Johan Franzen took a terrific breakaway pass from Stephen Weiss after a complete breakdown of the Flyers' defense and ripped one past Steve Mason. Then Steve Downie got caught holding the stick and Zac Rinaldo went off for tripping, giving the Red Wings a five-on-three power play for 1:52. Tomas Tartar made the Flyers pay dearly with his second goal on the night, as the Wings crashed the net, the Flyers looked discombobulated, and it was 3-1.

Penalties
Didn’t coach Craig Berube and his players say repeatedly they could not take penalties against Detroit because of its still-lethal power play? Well, through two periods, the Flyers had taken six penalties.

Scored first
Detroit did at 10:18 of the first period on a breakdown play three ways. First, Brayden Schenn lost a faceoff to Joakim Andersson. Then Andrej Meszaros lost a board battle to Drew Miller, who fed a tight pass into the slot where Wayne Simmonds lost sight of Tatar. He one-timed the puck high on Mason for a 1-0 lead.

Bad numbers
Detroit was 11-2-1 when scoring first; the Flyers were 1-10-1 when the opposition scored first.

Worse numbers
Since the 1988-89 season, the Flyers were 1-16-2 at The Joe. Their last win here was on Jan. 2, 2011 (3-2).

Special teams
Hey, the Flyers snapped a three-game drought by scoring a power-play goal. Downie made it a 1-1 game at 13:48 of the first period with a hard shot that hit Detroit’s Brian Lashoff and snuck past Howard. Detroit was 1 for 7 on the power play. The Flyers were 3 for 3.

The goalie
Mason was his usual strong self with 32 saves.

Five-on-three
Detroit had two such power plays and scored once on Tartar’s second goal of the game.

Will be reviewed
Luke Schenn’s charging call against Justin Abdelkader will get a review from the league office for certain. Abdelkader went off the ice but did not appear seriously injured. He was in a bad position when hit -- he was far from boards -- and went into the boards head first.

Close call
That would be Abdelkader, who got a breakaway off a Flyers' turnover late in the first period and shot it off the left post, although it appeared Mason got a piece of it with the top of his glove. Bad news was the Flyers had too many men on the ice and got nailed for the penalty on the stoppage.

Faceoffs
Brayden Schenn was saying at the morning skate how “comfortable” he felt at center. Well, through 40 minutes, he was 0 for 10 on faceoffs. Seven of those lost draws came against Andersson.

Scratches
Vinny Lecavalier (back spasms), Erik Gustafsson and Hall Gill. Gustafsson and Gill were healthy.

Loose pucks
The Flyers charter to Dallas on Thursday morning, hours ahead of a major ice storm that is expected to strike late Thursday and go all the way into Friday morning. Ever seen Texans try to drive on ice? They can’t. … Bertuzzi missed the game for Detroit with a shoulder injury, along with Zetterberg (herniated disk) and Datsyuk (concussion).

Ron Hextall on Flyers' logjam of centers: 'Someone has to play the wing'

Ron Hextall on Flyers' logjam of centers: 'Someone has to play the wing'

CHICAGO – The Flyers already have a familiar problem coming out of this NHL draft and heading training camp next fall: they’re too deep at center.
 
Friday night, they added three centers and traded another.
 
Brayden Schenn was sent to St. Louis for the Blues’ 27th pick in the first round, plus a conditional 2018 first-round pick and veteran utility center Jori Lehtera (see story).
 
General manager Ron Hextall wanted to trade back into the first round late and he did so by tabbing Morgan Frost at No. 27 with that Blues’ pick.
 
NHL Central Scouting had Frost ranked 31st among North American skaters. He is a 6-0, 170-pound forward from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.
 
He has raw speed and skill, but scouts say other parts of his game will need time to fill out. Frost had 20 goals and 62 points for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL this past season.
 
Friday’s other first-round pick, Nolan Patrick, is a natural centerman. Patrick is expected to play in the NHL this season. So right now, the Flyers’ centers are Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, Valtteri Filppula, Mike Vecchione, plus Patrick and now Lehtera.
 
Lehtera had 30 goals and 100 points in 218 games with the Blues. He was both a first- and second-line center for the Blues this past season despite weak numbers — seven goals and 22 points in 64 games.
 
He is a decent playmaker and two-way player, who has centered Alex Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko.
 
“He is utility guy with a well-rounded game and can play in the middle,” Hextall said. “We like the player. Gives coach more options.”
 
Best option: Lehtera can move to left wing if needed.
 
“Someone has to play the wing,” Hextall said. “He can play the wing. Our scouts have seen him play the wing, but he plays center most games. I am assuming he prefers center like most of them. Someone has to play wing.”
 
Schenn had improved every year he was with the Flyers, but too much of his scoring is on the power play and not five-on-five. He had 109 goals and 246 points in 424 career games for the Flyers.
 
This deal seems strange unless you consider the Flyers got another first-round pick (Frost) and a conditional first-rounder next year. The Blues keep the pick if it falls in the top 10. If that happens, the Flyers get a 2020 first-round pick and third-round pick.
 
“It was a combination,” Hextall said of the advantages’ from the Flyers side. “It was one of those [trades] that came out of nowhere. Not like we were shopping Brayden.
 
“This deal came along and we really like the draft next year. We like the late pick this year and Jori. It made sense and we got a couple more young players.”
 
Young players like Frost, whom the Flyers are excited about.
 
“Our whole staff really liked the guy,” Hextall said. “He’s an extremely intelligent player, his No. 1 asset. Really smart. Reads the ice well. He has a very deft touch moving the puck.
 
“Good two-way player who showed up good in the testing. We believe he is a kid with a lot of upside. Good speed, but he dissects the game better than most players.”
 
Frost’s father Andy was the longtime former Toronto Maple Leafs PA announcer.
 
“I talked to them a couple times,” Frost said. “I’d say I had a bit of a gut feeling. I wasn’t too sure, but they took me and I’m super happy about it.
 
“I think first and foremost I’m a playmaker. I think I’m a high-skilled player that likes to use his vision and hockey sense to create plays. I’m working on becoming more of a two-way forward. That’s more of the player I want to become.”

'Special day' for Nolan Patrick after being selected by Flyers at No. 2

'Special day' for Nolan Patrick after being selected by Flyers at No. 2

CHICAGO – Nolan Patrick was ready for this moment as far back as being a youngster, sitting on a sofa with his father Steve and uncle James, both former NHL players.
 
The youngster wasn’t watching videotape of hockey players.
 
He was dissecting them.
 
“I was watching hockey more than other kids,” said the 18-year-old centerman from the Brandon Wheat Kings, who was chosen No. 2 overall by the Flyers during the first round of the NHL on Friday at United Center (see story).
 
“Not just watching it with my dad and uncle, but I was picking apart the game when I was 5, 6 and 7. I think that might have helped me now. I always loved the game and always wanted to be in the NHL. I studied the game, where players go on the ice and things.”
 
Steve and James Patrick were his biggest role models. Obviously, the family lineage here bodes well for the Flyers.
 
Patrick was in a two-man race with Nico Hischier to go No. 1 overall to New Jersey. However, Devils general manager Ray Shero, who usually picks North American players, chose the Swiss-born Hischier, who played in North America just one season.
 
“I kinda had a feeling I was going to end up in Philly,” said Patrick, who is 6-foot-2, 198 pounds. “I’m real excited about the chance to go there. It’s tough to put in words right now, but it’s a special day for me and my family.
 
“Me and Nico are completely different players. He might be a little more offensively dynamic than me. I might be more defensive than him. [The Devils] wanted him. It’s not like I’m sitting here mad because they didn’t want me.”
 
There were question marks about Patrick’s health and whether that would impact Shero’s decision.
 
Flyers general manager Ron Hextall was equally concerned. So much so, he brought Patrick into Skate Zone this month to be medically tested by the club’s own physicians. Patrick missed a large portion of games this past season with two sports hernias and a knee injury.
 
Asked if he felt he was almost having to sell himself to the Flyers as a healthy player, Patrick replied absolutely not.
 
“It doesn’t really matter to me,” he said. “If you don’t want to draft me, then don’t draft me. I’m really happy I am here. I think they just wanted me to see their doctors.”
 
Injuries limited him to just 33 games last season. And yet, Patrick still scored 20 goals for the Wheat Kings with 46 points. He had 41 goals and 102 points the previous season.
 
When judging a prospect, Hextall said it’s important to weigh the entire body of work — not just one season. Same with injuries.
 
“I guess I showed as much as I could that [previous] year,” Patrick said. “Watching hockey [when injured] sucks. No one ever wants to be injured. I hate watching and not being able to contribute to my team.
 
“And then playing and not being a 100 percent. I didn’t play one game this year feeling [like] myself. I’ve got the summer to get where I need to be.
 
“My skating was kinda bugging me throughout the season. I needed to get my conditioning back to where I wanted it to be. I did as much as I could, but I wasn’t pouting about it.
 
Scouts are unanimous in predicting Patrick will play this season in the NHL. He turns 19 during training camp.
 
“I need a good summer of training to get bigger and stronger,” he said. “Everyone in the NHL can skate. I’m a strong player, so that’s my main thing.”
 
Patrick said he became friends with Hischier hanging out this week and was happy that the latter became the first player in Swiss history to go No. 1 overall in the draft.
 
Patrick lauded his coaches, past and present, at Brandon for helping push him to achieve more and become a top NHL draft pick. 
 
His teammate two seasons ago was Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov. They’re close friends and have been talking regularly in the weeks leading up to this draft.
 
He’s also close with Brayden Schenn, another former Brandon player of years earlier, who was actually traded by the Flyers to the Blues on draft night (see story).

Patrick feels having at least one familiar face in training camp this fall could be beneficial.
 
“When you’re going somewhere and don’t know anyone, it’s tough for a guy to step in,” Patrick said. “[Knowing Provorov], it will help me make the transition.”