Turnovers, lethargic play at fault in Flyers' loss

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Turnovers, lethargic play at fault in Flyers' loss

BOXSCORE

They had three turnovers that led to three Anaheim goals.

They stopped skating, stood around and watched, instead of react.

They allowed the Ducks to make a strong push on them without so much a smidgen of a push back.

That’s what the Flyers did Tuesday in a 3-2 loss (see Instant Replay), as all positive vibes of the two straight wins evaporated rather quickly for coach Craig Berube.

“It started in the second [period],” he said. “We got real sloppy in our play and were turning the puck over too much. It’s tough when you lose the puck and turn it over too much.

“You’re not skating too much and you’re in your end too much. We didn’t do a very good job with the puck. Half in the second or in the third period at all, that caused all the problems.”

They had a 2-0 lead and lost it, and then lost the game.

“We go into the third period up one goal and I think we didn’t have the effort we needed to close out the game,” said goalie Steve Mason, who had 34 saves but was under siege with 16 shots in the final period.

“Anaheim was in our zone for a majority of the period and we just had trouble getting out and we were running around a little bit, and when that happens, you’re not going to win hockey games.”

Most troubling again is the fact the Flyers cannot score in the third period. They have now been outscored 14-5 that period.

“We obviously didn’t answer,” Wayne Simmonds said. “It’s really disappointing. We had the game. We were up 2-0 and we just stopped playing.

“We stood around and we were watching. That’s all I can really say. We stood and around and started watching them instead of playing ourselves.”

The turnovers consisted of an errant breakout pass from Nicklas Grossmann, a giveaway by Vinny Lecavalier, then another Lecavalier turnover for the game-winner

Kyle Palmieri’s steal off of Lecavalier for the first goal of the final period stole the game's momentum for Anaheim -- for good.

“He’s such a skilled player and such a dynamic player that just trying to take away his time and space up there,” Palmieri said stripping Lecavalier.

“Obviously, it was kind of a weird play with their defenseman going down, but I was able just to try to get in front of it and keep him in front of me and the puck took a nice bounce for me and I was able to get down to the races.”

Berube put it squarely on the line, too.

“They also had good pressure on us. We just were soft at times, no support and a combination of things,” he said. “But we’ve been pretty good the last two, three games about not turning over the puck. Tonight was the opposite.”

Though he scored a power-play goal, the turnovers left Lecavalier a minus-2 for the game.

Instead of moving up in a Metropolitan Division that isn’t as strong as everyone thought it would, it’s another opportunity lost for the Flyers.

“We have to move up,” Lecavalier said. “Every game is important right now, especially with the start we got at the beginning of the year.

“We started the way we wanted to [in this game]. We got the lead we wanted. And I don’t know what happened in that second half. We were a little flat.”

They were a lot flat.

NHL Playoffs: Rangers ride Zuccarello to 3-1 win in series-clinching Game 6

NHL Playoffs: Rangers ride Zuccarello to 3-1 win in series-clinching Game 6

NEW YORK -- Mats Zuccarello scored twice in the second period and the New York Rangers beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 in Game 6 on Saturday night to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Derek Stepan also scored and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 27 shots to help New York get past the first round for the fifth time in six years. The Rangers won three straight after falling behind 2-1 to beat Montreal for the ninth time in 16 postseason series.

The Rangers will face the winner of the Ottawa-Boston series, which the Senators lead 3-2.

Alexei Emelin scored for Montreal and Carey Price finished with 20 saves. The Canadiens, winners of the Atlantic Division after missing the playoffs last year, were bounced from the postseason by the Rangers for the second time in four years. In 2014, it was in the conference finals (see full recap).

Paajarvi's OT goal gives Blues 4-3 win to oust Wild in 5
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Magnus Paajarvi scored at the 9:42 mark in overtime, giving the St. Louis Blues a 4-3 victory over Minnesota on Saturday in Game 5 of their playoff series, eliminating the Wild.

The Blues advanced to play Nashville in the second round.

Jake Allen made 34 saves for the Blues, who led 2-0 and 3-1 before a furious rally by the Wild to try to keep their season alive forced the extra frame.

Paajarvi's first career playoff goal gave Blues coach Mike Yeo the satisfaction of beating the team that fired him a little over a year ago.

Mikko Koivu and Jason Zucker scored to bring the Wild back from their second two-goal hole, a deficit that held past the midpoint of the third period (see full recap).

Flyers excited for full-season upgrade of Valtteri Filppula

Flyers excited for full-season upgrade of Valtteri Filppula

As the Flyers packed up for the offseason much earlier than they had hoped, the focus started shifting to the outlook for 2017-18.

There was some optimism provided by Valtteri Filppula.

It wasn't anything he said. Instead, it was what he did in 20 games.

Make that a full sample size and the Flyers are excited about the possibilities.

Filppula, a well-rounded, 33-year-old center, was acquired at the March 1 trade deadline in the Mark Streit deal. He added five goals and three assists in his 20 games.

"I felt like later in the year, we had more bullets in our gun," Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said last week as the team held exit interviews and cleanout day. "(Jordan) Weal comes in and does a good job. Filppula comes in and really gives us stability. Really upgraded our top nine. So when you're talking 5-on-5 play, just to depend on five or six guys, all of a sudden you have nine guys you can count on."

The Flyers were 27th in the NHL with 128 goals at 5-on-5 -- a significant factor in their postseason absence.

But Filppula should bring more than simply a 5-on-5 boost.

The Flyers desperately needed depth at the center position to relieve some pressure from Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier. Filppula, who came from the Lightning and played seven seasons with the Red Wings -- winning a Stanley Cup in 2008 -- is a sound matchup center and plays on the penalty kill, too.

"I think with Fil coming in this year, it really helped our depth," Giroux said. "He brings a lot to the team. He kills penalties, power plays, very good defensively and he's a smart player. When you bring a guy in like that, you kind of get excited a little bit."

From Filppula's first game on March 2 to the end of the regular season, the Flyers scored 56 goals, 12th most in the NHL over that span and 2.80 per game -- both improvements from their ranking of 21th on the full season and 2.59 per game.

"Now that we feel like we have nine guys that are legit top-nine forwards," Hextall said, "we've got good balance."

Couturier saw immediate benefits when the Flyers acquired Filppula. Couturier started playing with Dale Weise and Brayden Schenn, which turned out to be the team's best line combination to finish the regular season.

"I think it just brought some depth to our lineup," Couturier said of Filppula acquisition. "I had the chance to play after that with Schenn and Weiser and we just found chemistry right away and things went really well."

It provided head coach Dave Hakstol greater flexibility.

"The addition of Val Filppula to our group up front made our group of forwards better," Hakstol said. "Not just his presence, which I think he's an outstanding hockey player, a good hockey player and a real good veteran, but it just allowed some of the others to come together. I think there's real substance there."

The Flyers hope it shows with a full season of Filppula.

"I think when Filppula came in, the balance that seemed to come with him entering our lineup helped us both with and without the puck," Hakstol said. "Will that cohesion help us generate more offensively on an 82-game basis, not just a short-term basis? I think the answers to those things are yes."