Instant Replay: Sharks 7, Flyers 3

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Instant Replay: Sharks 7, Flyers 3

BOX SCORE

They were trying to take two games from the Sharks for the first time since November 1999.

The Flyers' stretch run -- 23 games in 46 days -- began in earnest Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center, and a season sweep wasn’t in the picture as the Sharks routed the Flyers, 7-3.

All eyes focused on the start and both teams seemed up to speed, but the Sharks seemed to have an added gear in the second period as they scored three unanswered goals quickly to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead.

Starting goalie Steve Mason fought the puck all night and was replaced by Ray Emery at 10:57 in the second period after Logan Couture made it a two-goal lead.

San Jose was extremely aggressive at the net on the attack, scoring a total of five unanswered goals, including one by Raffi Torres with 2.2 ticks left in the period.

Both Torres and Couture returned from long absences and scored twice apiece.

Mason returned to the net in place of Emery with 9:11 left in the game. Matt Read scored soon after for the Flyers.

The start
You might think after a 19-day layoff it would be a sluggish start for both teams, but the skating was good. Naturally, timing and such were off on passes, creating some offsides and icings. San Jose moves the puck quickly around the ice, too, even when not on the power play.

Debut
Torres made his season debut for the Sharks coming off an extended injury.

Scores first
That would be San Jose at 4:25 of the first period when Mason thought he had trapped Jason Demers' point shot. In fact, it was loose to Mason’s right when Torres bounced it over him into the net.

Two quick ones
The Flyers overcame the 1-0 deficit with two goals in 22 seconds.

Andrej Meszaros, who has played well in February, tied it at 10:38, hustling to knock in his own rebound when goalie Alex Stalock failed to handle his shot.

Then Brayden Schenn chased down a puck behind the net and backhanded it into the slot off Demers’ skate for a 2-1 lead at 10:58.

Hat trick
The Sharks tied the game 2-2 at 4:23 of the second period with a power-play goal from Joe Pavelski, who took Patrick Marleau’s pass in the paint, changed hands and scored on Mason. That was Pavelski’s 30th goal, and he got another a few minutes later with a shot from distance that went off Mason’s blocker into the net. His third goal came with less that six minutes left in the second period, making it 5-2.

Special teams
The Flyers were 0 for 5 on the power play. San Jose was 1 for 5.

Shorthanded
The Sharks had a two-on-one rush during an abbreviated Flyers power play in the final 1:36 of the first period, but Logan Couture shot the puck over the net.

Five goals
The Flyers gave up five goals in the second period. They last did that on Dec. 11 during a 7-2 loss at Chicago.

Scratches
Defensemen Hal Gill and Kimmo Timonen were healthy scratches, as was forward Jay Rosehill.

Loose pucks
The Flyers outshot the Sharks 10-4 in the opening period. ... San Jose outshot the Flyers 16-8 in the decisive second period. ... The Flyers defeated the Sharks, 5-2, in the first game earlier this month on the West Coast. ... After a lengthy review in Toronto on what could have been a hat trick for Couture, the “no-goal” call on the ice stood.

Battling for Phantoms job, goalie Alex Lyon solid in NHL preseason debut

Battling for Phantoms job, goalie Alex Lyon solid in NHL preseason debut

When the Flyers signed Yale goalie Alex Lyon last April, they knew they were getting a competitive guy who was a finalist for the Mike Richter Award.
 
What they didn’t know, however, was likely how he could stand on his head and keep an undermanned squad in an exhibition game with just three NHL players on his side.
 
The Flyers lost 2-0 to the Devils on Monday night against a New Jersey lineup that was far superior and kept the puck in Lyon’s end two-thirds of the game.
 
Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers open their home preseason schedule against the Islanders with a legit lineup.
 
Lyon, who posted a 1.64 goals against average and .936 save percentage last season in college, was outstanding against the Devils with 28 saves on 29 shots (one empty netter).
 
“I had shaky legs until the middle of the first and then I felt I had settled in,” the 23-year-old said. “I guess I didn’t expect that.”
 
Exhibition games don’t mean much but this was a performance worth noting because Lyon showed he will challenge Anthony Stolarz for the starter’s job with the Phantoms this season. 

“Alex Lyon had a solid performance right from start to finish,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. “Great demeanor and presence. Just a real steady performance all the way through.”
 
The kid seemed undaunted by the Devils' lineup in what was his first-ever start against an NHL club. Notice anything different from college?
 
“The biggest difference is six months ago, I watching Travis Zajac on TV and now I am playing an exhibition game against him,” Lyon replied. “It was pretty cool going up against those guys.”
 
The Devils attacked him mostly with angled shots. So eager they were to test him, they put a shot on goal from their own blue line in the opening minutes of the game, which Lyon saved.
 
“Yeah, I think they were trying to throw some pucks and my rebound control wasn’t as good as it usually is,” Lyon said. “I think it’s because I was a little nervous. I was just trying to stop the puck to be honest, that is all I was thinking about.”
 
Lyon stopped two breakaway attempts from Beau Bennett, both coming in the opening two periods. The only goal from Nick Lappin came on a second rebound in the crease.
 
“They got their point shot through and I saw it clearly the whole way and didn’t react to it,” Lyon said. “I thought it was going to be tipped. There was a forest of sticks as Keith Allain (Yale coach) would say, in front of me.
 
“I was trying to get big in front of it and they took a couple of whacks and subsequently it bounced right to their guy.”
 
While exhibition games mean little to fans, it meant something to him.
 
“I told my roommate in Philly I was playing my first NHL game,” Lyon said. “Yeah, it’s preseason but going from college, it’s the best feeling in the world.”
 
Lyon won’t play Tuesday night against the Islanders.
 
On Provorov
Rookie defensive prospect Ivan Provorov, who logged a whopping 28:48 ice time during the loss in New Jersey, will play tonight against the Islanders.
 
The staff wants to get an idea of how he plays with heavy minutes in back-to-back games.
 
“I want to get him into two of the three (exhibitions), assuming he earned it,” Hakstol said. “He did a good job last night. His minutes got high but we wanted to get him into a good situation.
 
“He did a good job and the minutes didn’t seem to wear on him. It will be a challenge playing back-to-back. But that’s one for him and a few others where they have to meet the challenge.”
 
Provorov will be paired with Andrew MacDonald as Hakstol has one vet paired with one prospect in this game.
 
World Cup returnees
Jakub Voracek and Sean Couturier both say they want to play games right now to keep themselves in game shape but Hakstol is biding time with them, insisting they get some rest off the ice.
 
“I feel like I’m in midseason form already,” Voracek quipped. “I don’t want to sit around. If I take more than 3-4 days off, I'll put on six pounds. ... I wouldn’t mind playing but obviously, we've got to get some rest. ”
 
Loose pucks
• Other defensive pairs: Nick Schultz and Travis Sanheim; Michael Del Zotto and Philippe Myers.  

• The lines: Jordan Weal will again center Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds; Andy Miele will handle Michael Raffl and Matt Read; Nick Cousins centers Scott Laughton and Dale Weise, which has been a line in camp; and Scott Gordon will center Chris VandeVelde and Roman Lyubimov.

• Steve Mason will be in goal and Stolarz will back him up.

• Forward Travis Konecny will not play.

Ivan Provorov displays durability, versatility in Flyers' preseason loss

Ivan Provorov displays durability, versatility in Flyers' preseason loss

BOX SCORE

NEWARK, N.J. — How much of a horse is Flyers defensive prospect Ivan Provorov?

Well, consider this:

The 19-year-old logged a game-high 28:48 of ice time Monday night during the Flyers' 2-0 split-squad loss to the Devils in which he also quarterbacked the first-unit power play (8:03) and had the most penalty kill time (3:58) (see story).

“I thought I played well,” Provorov said. “It took me a few shifts to get into the game. I competed as hard as I could.”

He said he was used to playing more than 25 minutes in Brandon (WHL), anyway.

“Of course, this is a better league, high pace and it will take a few games to adjust,” Provorov said.

Because the Flyers have yet to work on power play, the results aren’t there. They were 0 for 7 in the game.

“We haven’t done anything on the ice, but have done some video on the PK on the board but nothing on the power play,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “There’s other priorities now with so many players (64) in camp.”

Provorov worked both points on the power play and had just one official shot in the game.

“We didn’t get to do much power play [in camp],” he said. “It will get better as the preseason goes on.”

Rookie forward Travis Konecny worked the low slot on the top power play. He logged 18:34 of ice time, including 6:01 PP time. Konecny had two shots in the game.

He was on Andy Miele’s line with Scott Laughton. Konency had the only shots on his line.

Hakstol said Konecny and Provorov each “settled in” as the game went on. Hakstol isn’t sure if one or both will play Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center against the Islanders.

Konecny’s body language in camp exudes confidence unlike a year ago when he was skittish in his first-ever Flyers training camp. Now he sits back, takes it all in and has that look on his face of been there, done that.

In fact, he was trying to calm down some of his buddies, Anthony Salinitri and Connor Bunnaman, who were seeing the lights before the game.

“Me and [Ivan] Provorov were just talking,” he said. “We feel a lot more comfortable this year.

“I’ve been in this position here. I have my guys Salinitri and Bunnaman, we all hang out together and it’s their first year.

“They’re excited for their first preseason game just like I was last year, but I’m not thinking, ‘Wow, it’s an NHL arena.’ I’m thinking about the game and getting ready to play.”

Konecny was impressive last fall as an 18-year-old and Hakstol said he takes everything into account with more emphasis on the now than the past.

“Your body of work includes your season last year,” Hakstol  said. “Includes everything. The most important information is what you do right now. No question in my mind. I take everything into account.”

Take this into account: Alex Lyon is going to be a contender with Anthony Stolarz for the starting job in goal with the Phantoms this season. He was outstanding with 28 saves on 29 shots.

“They spent some time in our zone and had their big guns out there,” Lyon said of being under siege for two-thirds of the game. “They had a few shots but we did a good job keeping them to the outside. No super grade A opportunities.”

Lyon stopped two breakaways by Beau Bennett, one within three minutes of play.

“I felt like a newborn deer and could barely stand up,” quipped the former Yale goalie. “I was so nervous. It felt good to stop the first one.”