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Wrap: Blues Blank Flyers, 3-0; Flyers Gameday: 1/8/19 @ WSH

January 7, 2019, 10:46 PM ET [576 Comments]
Bill Meltzer
Philadelphia Flyers Blogger •NHL.com • RSSArchiveCONTACT
WRAP: BLUES BLANK FLYERS, 3-0

The Philadelphia Flyers suffered their seventh straight loss (0-5-2) since the Christmas break as they fell to the St. Louis Blues, 3-0, at the Wells Fargo Center on Monday night. It was the sixth time the Flyers have been shut out this season, the 14th in which they've scored no more than one goal and the 19th in which Philly has mustered two or fewer goals.

Bonafide scoring chances for the Flyers were few and far between, with most of the Flyers' offensive zone ventures being of the one-and-done variety. St. Louis bottled up the slots, short-circuited any Phladelphia forechecking pressure, had easy clears/breakouts and frequently hemmed the Flyers in their own zone in stretches of the first period and especially in much of the second period.

"It was not our best effort as far as execution. We had a lot of guys that just didn’t seem to have it, especially handling the puck and making plays," Scott Gordon said.

"One of the things that we talked about after the second period in particular, because it had now built to two periods, I felt we didn’t have any depth on our forecheck, as far as having a third guy, at least top of the circle hashmark area. As a result, I thought it was easy for them to break out of the zone. The other piece to it was, I thought in the second period we spent a lot of time in our zone, even in the first period. I thought we’ve been pretty good at getting out of our zone and I didn’t think we were tonight. A little better in the third, but not much."

Making his NHL debut, rookie Jordan Binnington was scarcely tested as he turned aside 25 mostly unscreened shots. Jakub Voracek had a good chance from the bottom of the right circle on the first period, Oskar Lindblom had a couple looks, Sean Couturier was tied up near the net by Colton Parayko (no shot on goal on the play) and Travis Sanheim created a couple looks in the third. That was about it.

At the other end of the ice, Carter Hart was much busier and more severely tested. He held the Flyers in the game most of the night, but it went for naught. Hart stopped 34 of 36 shots, including bang-bang chances near the net from Jaden Schwartz and fellow rookie Robert Thomas plus several much-needed clean saves that he held for stoppages with his team hemmed in deep.

After a scoreless first period, the Blues got a goal from ex-Flyer Brayden Schenn (9th) in the opening minute of the second period. The score held at 1-0 until Vladimir Tarasenko (12th) doubled the lead at the 11:00 mark of the third period. David Perron (14th) added an empty net goal with 1:48 remaining on the clock.

"There was no jam to our game, we’re one and done every time we get in the zone. They were coming back at us, I don’t know. It’s tough right now. I think when you lose this many games in a row, it’s tough with this team’s confidence and things like that. But it’s no excuse, you have to get in and work. We have to be better," Scott Laughton said.

On the Schenn goal, St. Louis broke up the ice on a 4-on-2 rush with Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny in deep to forecheck and Claude Giroux caught in no-man's land rather than peeling back. Schenn lifted Sanheim's stick to allow a pass to go across to Schwartz. Outnumbered near the net, the Flyers got an initial save from Hart on Schwartz but Schenn quickly deposited the rebound home before Couturier could get to him.

The Tarasenko goal came with the teams skating at 4-on-4 manpower. After a breakout pass from Alex Pietrangelo to Ryan O'Reilly, the puck was sent to Tarasenko. From the top of the right circle, he fired off a wrister that beat Hart to the glove side to make it 2-0.

With Hart pulled for an extra attacker, Perron scored an empty net goal from the neutral zone. Zach Sanford and O'Reilly got the assists at 18:12.

Special teams was a non-factor in this game. The Flyers killed off a mid-second period penalty and went 2-for-2 overall. Philly had a 29-second power play in the third period short-circuited by a Couturier hooking penalty. Tarasenko's goal came during the overlapping 4-on-4 time.

The Blues started the game with 11 forwards and seven defensemen, due to an injury to center Tyler Bozak. They were down to 10 forwards when Alex Steen left the game in the first period and did not return due to an upper-body injury. The club temporarily dropped to nine forwards when Ivan Barbashev missed some shifts but he returned. The depleted forward corps ended up being a non-issue in this game.

The Flyers, now 15-21-6, are in DC on Tuesday to take on the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals.

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Game 43 Preview: FLYERS @ CAPITALS

Interim head coach Scott Gordon's Philadelphia Flyers (15-21-6) are on the road on Tuesday to take on Todd Reirden's Washington Capitals (25-12-4). Game time at the Capital One Center is 7:00 p.m. ET.

The game will be televised on NBCSN. The radio broadcast can be found on 97.5 FM The Fanatic with an online simulcast at FlyersRadio247.com.

This is the first of four meetings this season between the teams and the first of two in DC. The teams will rematch on March 6 and 14 in Philadelphia before the season series concludes back in Washington on the afternoon of March 24. Last season, the Flyers seemed to catch the Caps at the right time, played some good hockey against them and managed to win three of four games.

Flyers Outlook

The Flyers are playing the second half of a back-to-back, for the third time in four nights and for the fourth in six dating back to Thursday's 5-3 loss to Carolina. Michal Neuvirth, now injured again, was in net for the Carolina game. Carter Hart has started the last two, and played well in both games. If new acquisition Mike McKenna makes an appearance, he will become the seventh goaltender to appear in a game for the Flyers this season.

Dating back to the Dec. 29 game in Florida, the Flyers have scored a combined seven goals over the last six games.

Capitals Outlook

The Capitals enter this game atop the Metro Division, two points ahead of Pittsburgh. Washington, which has gone 6-3-1 overall it its last 10 games, has a 12-6-2 home record to date. Washington was idle on Monday but has been a busy team in its right. They, too, will be playing for the fourth time in six night.

On Sunday, the Caps skated to a 3-1 road win over Detroit. The win came on the heels of back-to-back road losses to St. Louis (5-2) and Dallas (2-1, OT).

Entering Tuesday's game, the Capitals have scored an average 3.44 goals per game (6th) and carry a team 2.93 GAA (15th). The power play clocks in at 21.4 percent (T-11th) and the penalty kill at 77.2 percent (25th). Washington has scored 100 goals at 5-on-5 (6th most) and yielded 76 (6th fewest).

Alex Ovechkin (30 goals, 17 assists) leads the Capitals in scoring with 47 points. He is followed by Nicklas Bäckström (10 goals, 34 assists, 44 points), John Carlson (six goals,33 assists, 39 points) and Evgeny Kuznetsov (seven goals, 29 assists, 36 points). Braden Holtby enters the game with a 16-10-2 record, 2.89 GAA, .910 save percentage and two shutouts.

Projected Lines (Subject to change)

FLYERS (Monday's lines)

28 Claude Giroux - 14 Sean Couturier - 11 Travis Konecny
23 Oskar Lindblom - 19 Nolan Patrick - 93 Jakub Voracek
12 Michael Raffl - 21 Scott Laughton - 17 Wayne Simmonds
25 James van Riemsdyk- 21 Scott Laughton - 22 Dale Weise

9 Ivan Provorov - 6 Travis Sanheim
53 Shayne Gostisbehere - 3 Radko Gudas
8 Robert Hägg - 26 Christian Folin

56 Mike McKenna
[79 Carter Hart]

Scratches: 15 Jori Lehterä (healthy), 40 Jordan Weal (healthy), 47 Andrew MacDonald (lower body), 41 Anthony Stolarz (IR, lower body), 30 Michal Neuvirth (lower body), 37 Brian Elliott (IR, lower body), 10 Corban Knight (IR, collarbone), 5 Sam Morin (ACL surgery).

CAPITALS

8 Alex Ovechkin - 92 Evgeny Kuznetsov - 43 Tom Wilson
13 Jakub Vrana - 20 Lars Eller - 77 T.J. Oshie
65 Andre Burakovsky - 72 Travis Boyd - 10 Brett Connolly
18 Chandler Stephenson - 26 Nic Dowd - 25 Devante Smith-Pelly​

6 Michal Kempny - 74 John Carlson
9 Dmitri Orlov - 2 Matt Niskanen
44 Brooks Orpik - 34 Jonas Siegenthaler​

1 Pheonix Copley
[70 Brayden Holtby]

Scratches: 22 Madison Bowey (healthy), 23 Dmitrij Jaskin (healthy), 29 Christian Djoos (IR, thigh surgery), 19 Nicklas Bäckström (illness).
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