Wrap: Flyers Prevail in Chippy 4-3 Contest vs. Ottawa: Phantoms Blanked
Wrap: Flyers Prevail, 4-3, in Chippy Contest vs. Ottawa
Wrapping up a three-game homestand, the Philadelphia Flyers downed the Ottawa Senators, 4-3, in a chippy game at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday afternoon. The game was very chippy and emotional at times, quite often sloppy on both sides, but the Flyers accomplished their main objective of getting back on the winning track after a loss to Arizona on Thursday.
It wasn't easy. The Flyers held four separate one-goal leads, giving three of them back to the feisty Senators. The powder keg in this game was a Mark Borowiecki open ice hit on Travis Konecny in the late stages of the first period, which Philly felt was both high and late. Konecny left the game and did not return.
Before the injury, Konecny (11th) and Shayne Gostisbehere (4th, 6-on-5 delayed penalty) scored first period goals for the Flyers, establishing 1-0 and 2-1 leads. Brady Tkachuk (10th) and Anthony Duclair (shorthanded, 12th) responded for Ottawa as the game went to the third period tied at 2-2.
Ivan Provorov (7th) restored the lead at 3-2 early in the 3rd period. Duclair scored again to very briefly tie the score at 3-3 but then Scott Laughton (4th) untied it 11 seconds later to put the Flyers ahead to stay.
"I really like some parts our game, I really like the way we started the first four minutes. We dominated early, we had puck possession, then we scored then we seemed to slack off a little bit then that hit. There is some different moments where I thought we were sharp, we executed well. Then there were some other moments where I thought we didn’t particularly check well or execute well on forced turnovers with nobody around. It was a mixed game, but I’ve been in this game long enough to know that you never critique a win," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said.
Pressed further, Vigneault did critique team defense to some degree.
"Especially in front of our net [we played too loose], I totally agree. We had talked to our group about this team one of their biggest tendencies is to look for those open spots and they’ve been good at it and we didn’t do a good job. The third goal is a perfect example of that, we have three guys right in front of our net puck watching, Duclair comes in, puts it in. We’re going to need to be better than that there’s no doubt," he said.
Carter Hart earned the win goal. He stopped 27 of 30 shots.
"Sometimes, it is not always going to be pretty and we just have to grind it out and that is what we did tonight. They get one to tie it up in the third, and we get one back right away. That was huge it really set the tone for the rest of the game. We kept them on their heels and forced them to take some bad penalties. It was a good gritty team win," Hart said.
Craig Anderson and Ottawa got a reprieve on a disallowed Flyers goal (off-side challenge upheld) but struggled in stopping 4 of 6 shots before being pulled at 6:59 of the first period due a recurrent lower-body injury. Anders Nilsson went the rest of the way in net, absorbing the loss while stopping 13 of 15 shots.
The Flyers went 3-or-3 on the penalty kill but 0-for-3 on the power play.
The first period was bizarre; starting right for the get-go as there were three center ice faceoffs in the first 10 seconds of play due to two pucks being chipped into the bench. Philly got off to a fast start -- their best play until the third period.
Morgan Frost's seven-game pointless drought came to an end as he set up Konecny's deflected goal that opened the scoring at 1:45. Claude Giroux got the secondary assist. Tkachuk scored from the doorstep to tie the game at 1-1 at the 4:27 mark off a nice passout from Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
On a lengthy delayed penalty on Ottawa with the Flyers' fourth line on the ice, Gostisbehere scored on an Ottawa-deflected goal to establish a 2-1 lead at 6:16.
At 6:59, the Sens caught a break due the Flyers' Lindblom being offside on an initially allowed sequence that saw Lindblom accidentally bounce a puck into the net from behind the cage. Ottawa challenged the play for an offside -- it was pretty blatant, and there was little suspense as to whether the goal would be overturned. During the delay, the injured Anderson exited the game, and Nilsson entered.
The Wells Fargo Center crowd held its collective breath late in the period as Mark Borowiecki dropped Konecny in open ice with a crushing hit in the neutral zone. Play immediately turned chippy on the next shift, ending finally with Jakub Voracek dropping the gloves with Ottawa's Nick Paul. First period shots were 9-6 in Ottawa's favor.
"TK right now is our top scorer so there was some bad blood on our bench. “Honestly I didn’t see the hit live. I was talking to someone on the bench. Our players obviously didn’t like the hit and a couple guys went out and tried to respond. It led to a chippy game on both sides," Vigneault said.
The chippiness carried over early into the second. Ron Hainsey took exception to an iffy hit at the blueline by Laughton on Pageau, dropping the gloves (yet somehow not receiving an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty) to go after Laughton before that confrontation was thwarted. A moment later, however, Pageau and Joel Farabee fought.
With Konecny unavailable and both Voracek and Farabee in the box for five minutes, the Flyers had to do large-scale line juggling until they were back up to 11 forwards. The second period was a very sloppy one for the Flyers, making numerous low-percentage plays with the puck.
It was also a tough period for referee Tom Chimielewski, who missed some blatant infractions and called Kevin Hayes for a non-existent hooking penalty. After Ottawa got called for too many men on the ice, miscommunication on a botched puck exchange between Hart and Shayne Gostisbehere caused a wraparound shorthanded goal by Duclair at 13:18.
"Yeah, just a miscommunication," Hart said. "I probably should have just chipped it down or passed it to Jake. Just kind of a dumb play, but it happens."
Second period shots were 11-8 in Ottawa's favor. The entire stanza was one where the Flyers were off their game; letting the Sens get under their skin a bit too much.
The Flyers were the better team in the third period, despite a 10-7 shot disadvantage. At 3:17, the Flyers restored the lead at 3-2. After taking an entry pass from Farabee, Provorov's tracer from the top of the left circle -- a clear-sighted shot that Nilsson needed to stop -- restored order for awhile.
Ottawa didn't have a shot on goal for seven-plus minutes in the final stanza but their first of the period saw Hart deny the speedy Duclair one-on-one with a lateral-movement pad save. A moment later, Niskanen prevented a goal near the opposite post with a vital blocked shot.
The Flyers had a defensive breakdown on Duclair's second goal at the 15:00 mark, with three forwards around the net watching the puck. Duclair got open in the slot to take Thomas Chabot's centering pass and score. Philly responded immediately, though, as Kevin Hayes created a 2-on-1, and Laughton buried the fat rebound a mere 11 seconds after the goal.
"He’s a glue guy on our team for sure. He does the dirty work out there, stuff guys don’t normally want to do, sacrifice your body. He’s scoring goals and getting into the other teams’ head," Gostisbehere said of Laughton.
After Duclair buried his next opportunity, Laughton promptly put the Flyers back ahead again, and had some choice words for the Ottawa bench. With Ottawa still trailing by a goal in the final 25 seconds, Tkachuk conceded the rest of the game by cross-checking and jumping Laughton at center ice.
“I knew it was coming," Laughton said. "It’s part of the game. When you do that stuff and chirp the bench you know it’s gonna come. I just can’t drop my gloves right now with the finger and I’ve got some padding there.”
The Flyers will have a complete off-day on Sunday. The team will update Konecny's status on Monday. The club has a light schedule over the next week, until they begin a three-game road trip on Wednesday in Colorado, followed by a weekend back-to-back on Saturday in Minnesota and a Sunday late-afternoon game (CT) in Winnipeg.
Wrap: Phantoms Blanked By Bears
Goals have been hard to come by -- and injuries far too prevalent -- of late for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. One night after losing a 2-1 decision to the Hershey Bears at the PPL Center in Allentown, the Phantoms were blanked, 1-0, by the Bears at the Giant Center in Hershey on Saturday evening.
A power play goal by Hershey's Mike Sgarbossa at 14:16 of the second period was the lone tally for either side. He scored high to the long side from the left faceoff dot.
Vitek Vanecek recorded a 32-save shutout for the Bears, while J-F Berube (19 saves on 20 shots) absorbed a tough-luck loss.
The Phantoms put forth a better performance in general on Saturday as compared to the previous night, and generated a much steadier and more dangerous-looking attack in the third period in particular. Over the course of Saturday's game, Phantoms forward David Kase alone had several Grade A scoring chances but was unable to solve Vanecek. Greg Carey, who generated a whopping 14 shots on goal in Springfield on Wednesday night, had four in this game.
Saturday night's game in Hershey rivaled -- or perhaps even surpassed -- the earlier Flyers vs. Senators game in terms of chippiness and animosity. The No. 1 target of the Phantoms' ire was veteran Kyle Kessy.
At 11:49 of the second period, Kessy knocked Phantoms center Cal O'Reilly out of the game with a dirty-looking hit. Carey was the first to his teammate's defense, and both he and Kessy received double minors for roughing.
On the very next shift, Phantoms rookie Isaac Ratcliffe came in with a elbow high on Hershey's Tyler Lewington. In the ensuing fallout, Ratcliffe collected 14 minutes worth of penalties while Lewington received 12. Sgrbossa's power play tally came during Hershey's 5-on-4.
At 2:38 of the third period, Kessy and Phantoms tough guy Kurtis Gabriel fought off a faceoff. It was a lengthy bout. Things momentarily calmed down and then erupted again as words were exchanged between the benches and the players on the ice. An irate Gabriel attempted to go at Kessy again, and was physically tackled down by a linesman. From the situation, Kessy collected an instigation minor, a fighting major, an automatic 10-minute misconduct stemming from the instigator penalty, and an automatic game misconduct for fighting immediately at the drop of a faceoff. Gabriel got five for fighting and a game misconduct for abuse of an official in trying to continue the altercation with Kessy.
The Phantoms staged a relentless late attack, looking for a tying goal but couldn't get one. With 60 seconds left, Matt Strome had a point blank chance but Vanecek made a 10-bell save to keep it out. There was also a multi-player scramble around the net, and the puck ended up in the net amid the mass of bodies jamming in but the play had already just been whistled dead.
With three straight regulation losses, the Phantoms fell to 10-10-5 on the season. Next up is a home-and-home set with the Wolf Pack at Hartford on Friday and in Allentown on Saturday.