Instant Replay: Flyers 6, Red Wings 3

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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).

Best of NHL: Penguins halt Capitals 9-game streak with wild 8-7 OT win

Best of NHL: Penguins halt Capitals 9-game streak with wild 8-7 OT win

PITTSBURGH -- Conor Sheary scored 34 seconds into overtime and the Pittsburgh Penguins ended the Washington Capitals' nine-game winning streak with a wild 8-7 victory Monday night that included nine second-period goals.

Sheary had two goals and an assist for the Penguins, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Evgeni Malkin picked up his 11th career hat trick during a frenetic second period, and Sidney Crosby collected his NHL-leading 27th goal to go with two assists. Bryan Rust and Nick Bonino also scored for Pittsburgh, and Matt Murray got the win despite allowing seven goals on 28 shots.

The Penguins trailed 3-0 before scoring six goals in less than 11 minutes in the second period, more goals than the Capitals had allowed in a game all season. Pittsburgh led 6-5 after 40 minutes.

Lars Eller scored twice for Washington, and T.J. Oshie, Brett Connolly, Nicklas Backstrom, Justin Williams and Andre Burakovsky also found the net. Philipp Grubauer made eight saves after coming on in relief of Braden Holtby, who was pulled during Pittsburgh's second-period deluge (see full recap).

Eichel scores twice to give Sabres' 4-1 win over Stars
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Jack Eichel scored two goals and the Buffalo Sabres defeated the Dallas Stars 4-1 on Monday.

Tyler Ennis scored 19 seconds into the first period. Ennis returned after missing 30 games with a groin injury that required surgery.

Jake McCabe also had a goal and Robin Lehner made 31 saves after missing the past three games with an illness.

The Sabres snapped a two-game losing streak and beat the Stars for the first time in four matchups.

Radek Faksa scored for the Stars in the opener of a three-game road trip. Kari Lehtonen stopped 25 shots. Dallas has lost two in a row and six of eight (see full recap).

Bishop anchors Lightning to 2-1 win over Kings
LOS ANGELES -- Brian Boyle scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period, and the Tampa Bay Lightning opened a six-game road trip with a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday.

Ben Bishop made an early mistake that led to Kyle Clifford's goal for the Kings, but bounced back to make 31 saves in his second start back from a three-week absence with a lower-body injury.

Tyler Johnson scored in the first period for the Lightning, who won for just the second time in seven games.

Peter Budaj stopped 27 shots for the Kings.

Both teams played without stars due to illness. Kings captain Anze Kopitar missed his first game since Nov. 20, and All-Star defenseman Victor Hedman missed his first game of the season for Tampa Bay (see full recap).

Changes coming? Ron Hextall says Flyers 'not very happy right now'

Changes coming? Ron Hextall says Flyers 'not very happy right now'

WASHINGTON — As the Flyers filed into the visiting locker room of the Verizon Center, no temper tantrums were thrown, nor were any chairs.
 
In the end, “What good does that do?” head coach Dave Hakstol asked.
 
Instead, the Flyers’ dressing area Sunday felt like a morgue. Players quietly and somberly stuffed their gear away. Once all dispersed, in walked Ron Hextall — and none too pleased.
 
“It’s been a tough couple of weeks for us,” he said softly, “and quite honestly, we’re not very happy right now.”
 
For a man that loathes losing more than anyone, nobody expected him to be. That much was already understood during the third-period catastrophe of his team’s demoralizing 5-0 defeat to the Capitals.
 
What wasn’t known was what follows? The Flyers have gone from 10 consecutive victories — the franchise’s longest winning streak in 31 years — to 11 losses over the following 14 games and a state of dismay.
 
As the Flyers limp into their NHL mandated five-day bye week, do players sense an imminent shakeup within the roster?
 
“It’s a good question,” Claude Giroux said, “but I don’t know.”
 
Despite never losing his sense of prudence, Hextall ruled nothing out.
 
“Obviously we always keep an eye on the big club and the Phantoms, as well,” Hextall said. “Right now, we’re going to stick with what we’ve got here and move forward. But on a day-to-day basis, I always look at how we can make our club better and, if there’s something that we think makes our club better, we’ll do it."
 
If Hextall wants to add some fresh blood from within, the organization is not lacking for young and spry prospects full of energy down at Lehigh Valley, where the Phantoms are 24-10-2 and third among the entire AHL entering Monday.
 
For the Flyers, who have surrendered a league-worst 144 goals, could defensemen T.J. Brennan, Travis Sanheim or Robert Hagg be options? Brennan owns NHL experience, has 30 points and is a plus-10 with Lehigh Valley. Sanheim, a big and touted prospect, is also a plus-10 to go along with seven goals and 11 assists. And Hagg, a seasoned 21-year-old, is “just about NHL-ready,” according to Flyers assistant general manager Chris Pryor, via ESPN’s Craig Custance (see Future Flyers Report).
 
“The worst thing you can do is overreact when things aren’t going right and that’s not going to happen,” Hextall said. “But if we can find a way to make ourselves better, we will.”
 
Hextall’s biggest gripe with his current team is its dearth of mental fortitude.
 
“Right now we’re making a lot of mental mistakes and it’s killing us,” he said.
 
And then it snowballs, Hextall said, which good teams prevent from happening.
 
“When things are going wrong, all of a sudden something happens and things tend to really go wrong,” he said. “That’s where we have to get better. Mentally we have to be better, have to be better. If something goes wrong, let’s move on. It happened a lot earlier in the year where things go wrong and we fought through it. Right now, the negative energy seems to be a landslide.”
 
Following the meltdown in Washington, players didn’t question the effort.
 
“We care,” Michael Del Zotto said. “No one likes losing. It’s not fun for anyone. But sometimes effort's not enough. Everyone wants to win in this league. It's a matter of execution. Whether it's offensively or defensively in all situations, we're not doing it.”
 
Hextall believes the effort has been “sufficient.”
 
“Again, the mental mistakes,” he said. “It seems like when something goes against us, it goes against us hard and that’s something we’ve got to battle through. You can’t let a little bit of adversity turn into a lot of adversity. You’ve got to nip it in the bud and we’ve got to do a better job of that.”
 
As for the leadership structure and coaching, Hextall defended both.
 
“Our leaders haven’t been good enough. Neither have our lesser guys,” Hextall said. “Nobody’s been good enough right now. You don’t win 10 and then go through a stretch like this without responsibility being everywhere.
 
“Line changes, different D combinations, flipping [Steve Mason] and [Michal Neuvirth]. Everything that’s there, Hak has tried. In the end, it comes down to our whole group just being better and not reacting the way we do when something negative happens. That’s the game of sports, right?”
 
The game goes away for the Flyers this week (see 10 observations). When it returns, who knows which team we’ll see.
 
“We all have to look at ourselves in the mirror, hold ourselves accountable,” Del Zotto said. “As far as changes and personnel moves, that's out of our control.”
 
That, of course, is up to Hextall.
 
“We’ve got to keep our heads now,” the GM said. “Nobody’s going to get us out of this. It’s the whole group. This isn’t about one thing or one move or one player not playing or one player playing. This is about our whole group.”