April 8, 2012 |
PITTSBURGH - To paraphrase a certain Russian goalie, the Flyers' regular season was a six-month journey through the humongous big schedule, and it produced more highlights than lowlights, more thrills than spills. Here is a look at some of the best and worst: Biggest surprise: Scott Hartnell went from a laughingstock for his falls to an all-star. From someone most fans wanted traded to one of the league's best power forwards. Hartnell began the season on the third line with rookies Sean Couturier and Matt Read.
March 25, 2012 |
Defenseman Erik Gustafsson had a car waiting for him after the Adirondack Phantoms' 1-0 win at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday night. The ride to Philadelphia is a familiar one for the 23-year-old defenseman, who was recalled to the Flyers before Saturday's game at the Wells Fargo Center against the Montreal Canadiens. Earlier this season, Gustafsson missed a little more than two months after undergoing wrist surgery. Since then he has been recalled three times by the Flyers, and the drill never gets old. "You get happy every time you get the call coming up and it is a confidence booster every time," Gustafsson said before the game.
March 23, 2012 |
ERIC WELLWOOD is an elevator player. That's not a crack at his seemingly incessant trips up and down between the Flyers and Phantoms throughout his career as he's gotten to see plenty of the scenic I-87 thruway this season. Instead, in hockey speak, Wellwood is a player who can be seamlessly elevated from line to line without feeling out of place. For that, the left winger has made a mark and caught coach Peter Laviolette's eye during his current 11-game stint with the big boys.
March 21, 2012 |
The players on the Flyers' (black and) blue line got a lot bigger - and more experienced - on Tuesday night against Florida. In: Veterans Pavel Kubina (6-foot-4, 258 pounds) and Andreas Lilja (6-3, 220). Out: Rookies Erik Gustafsson (5-10, 180) and Brandon Manning (6-1, 195). The Flyers went for size over speed on defense as they tried to continue their domination of the Panthers. Kubina and Lilja returned from injuries; Gustafsson and Manning were sent to the AHL's Phantoms on Tuesday.
March 21, 2012
THE DANGER of being an offense-first team is that sometimes it works so well that, well . . . sometimes you think anything will work. Especially against a team you feel superior to, a team you had outscored entering last night's game by 51 goals, a team that leads its division despite allowing 16 more goals than it has scored, a team you beat up just 12 days before, 5-0. The Flyers had the jump of a team chasing first place against Florida....
March 20, 2012 |
The Wells Fargo Center had all the electricity of a neighborhood funeral parlor for most of Tuesday's matchup against upstart Florida on Tuesday night. There were lots of empty red seats. Lots of sleepy play by the home team early in the game. Lots of missed Flyers chances on the power play. The Flyers, who two days earlier scored an epic overtime win with less than a second left, dropped a 2-1 decision to Florida before an announced sellout crowd. (Wink, wink.) The Flyers lost despite outshooting the Panthers, 36-13, and their season-best, five-game home winning streak came to an end. Florida goalie Scott Clemmensen made several saves in the closing seconds to hold off a Flyers flurry.
March 16, 2012 |
UNIONDALE, N.Y. - There is an old cliche in hockey: the team's best penalty killer is always the goaltender. For much of this season, that hasn't been the case for the Flyers. Whether it was the result of a breakdown in coverage or a simple rebound that landed on the stick of the opponent, neither Ilya Bryzgalov nor Sergei Bobrovsky could make the key save to get the unit off the ice unscathed. The Flyers entered last night's win against the Islanders ranked 18th in penalty killing.
March 11, 2012 |
TORONTO - Call them the Ilya-delphia Flyers. The Flyers, with goalie Ilya Bryzgalov recording his third shutout in the last four games, extended their winning streak to five on Saturday night with a 1-0 shootout win over Toronto at the Air Canada Centre. Claude Giroux scored the game-winner on a nasty move and forehand shot in the shootout. "It's not fair," a smiling Bryzgalov said about Giroux's deke. "I call it the Datsyuk," Giroux said of the move, which he said he copied from his idol, Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk.
March 9, 2012 |
A 40-year-old winger coming off an injury in his previous game is not supposed to make a quick recovery. Then again, the Flyers' Jaromir Jagr is not your typical 40-year-old. On Wednesday, general manager Paul Holmgren said he didn't expect Jagr to play Thursday because of a hip injury suffered against Detroit Tuesday. But Jagr, a future Hall of Famer, was in the lineup against visiting Florida on Thursday. Because the Flyers didn't want him to overdo it, he began the night on the fourth line with Eric Wellwood and Jody Shelley.