Every Monday, GNGHockey will recap the past week for the Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals, Lehigh Valley Phantoms, and Hershey Bears.
Here is everything that happened for the week of Oct. 30…
Philadelphia Flyers (7-6-2, 16 points, 5th in Metropolitan)
Monday, Oct. 30, 2017 – vs. Arizona Coyotes (4-3 OT loss)
The Arizona Coyotes came to Philadelphia winless through 11 games. They left with one win in 12.
From the start, the Flyers looked like they couldn’t keep up with the Coyotes. Arizona jumped out to a 3-0 lead, and it took until the third period for the Flyers to finally get on the board. Sean Couturier scored his eighth goal of the year on a power play two minutes in. Then, with less than a minute left, the Flyers scored twice (courtesy of Jordan Weal and Couturier again) to force overtime. After a failed pinch by Travis Sanheim, the Coyotes came back on a two-on-one rush. Alex Goligoski finished off the play with the overtime-winner to give Arizona its first victory.
Ivan Provorov finished the game with a plus-two rating and three assists in 28:07 of ice time.
Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017 – at Chicago Blackhawks (3-0 loss)
Winning a game in Chicago is no easy task, even when the Blackhawks are 5-5-2.
The Flyers dropped another game with a poor offensive showing on Wednesday, getting blanked by Chicago, 3-0. After a scoreless first period, Artem Anisimov and Jonathan Toews scored within 30 seconds of each other in the second to take a 2-0 lead. Alex DeBrincat scored on an empty net with under two minutes left in the third period to make it 3-0.
Ivan Provorov logged 29:51 of ice time. Brian Elliott saved 32 of 34 shots.
Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 – at St. Louis Blues (2-0 win)
On paper, this was a game that the Flyers should’ve lost. They won.
Statistically, the Flyers were outplayed by the St. Louis Blues. The Blues outshot them, 33-23, and played against a defensively-depleted Philadelphia team that was forced to start four defensemen with under 15 career NHL games played (Travis Sanheim, Robert Hagg, Mark Alt, Will O’Neill). Brandon Manning and Claude Giroux scored both goals for the Flyers, with Giroux’s goal being an empty-netter with six seconds remaining in the contest. Ivan Provorov once again proved why he is one of the best young defensemen in the NHL with 10 blocks, which tied a Flyers franchise record, and 27:08 of ice time.
Sean Couturier and Giroux each had two points. Michael Neuvirth saved all 33 shots he faced.
Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017 – vs. Colorado Avalanche (5-4 SO loss)
Facing the surprisingly-surging Avalanche, the Flyers lost a back-and-forth game in the shootout on Saturday night.
Matt Duchene scored with two seconds left in the first period of his final full game with Colorado. The Flyers came back with goals via Valtteri Filppula and Claude Giroux within the first seven minutes of the second to take a 2-1 lead. Black Comeau scored a shorthanded goal late in the second to tie the game, 2-2. Then, with the Avalanche on the power play, Mikko Rantanen’s cross-crease pass deflected off of Robert Hagg’s stick and into the back of the net to put the Avalanche up, 3-2.
In the third, Jake Voracek tied the game back up after one-handing a rebound on a sharp angle into the net. His effort was for naught, however, as Nail Yakupov scored just a minute later to help Colorado re-take the lead, 4-3. Dale Weise went on to score a minute after Yakupov’s goal to knot the game back up at four.
The game would stay 4-4 through the third period and overtime, needing a shootout to decide the winner. Jordan Weal scored the lone goal for the Flyers, and Mikko Rantanen’s goal in the third round proved to be the winner.
Voracek finished with two points. 11 Flyers recorded points. Michael Neuvirth saved 23 of 27 shots.
Nolan Patrick was skating in practice, but he is still considered day-to-day due to an upper-body injury… Radko Gudas was absent for morning skate before Saturday’s tilt with the Avalanche. He is considered day-to-day… AHL journeyman Will O’Neill played in his first NHL game against St. Louis on Thursday.
Washington Capitals (7-6-1, 15 points, 6th in Metropolitan)
Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 – vs. New York Islanders (4-3 win)
After a brief road trip through western Canada, the Capitals were back in Washington to face off against a hot New York Islanders team.
The scoring started just under six minutes into the game when a Taylor Chorney shot gave the Caps a 1-0 lead. The lead was short lived though, as a John Tavares power play goal with just under seven minutes to play in the opening frame had the game knotted at one goal a piece. With just under four minutes remaining in the period, Lars Eller ripped a shot from the high slot to regain the Washington lead, and brought the team into the first intermission up one goal.
The Capitals held the 2-1 lead until just 3:42 remaining in the middle frame when Anders Lee buried another power play tally for the Islanders to tie the game at two. Merely twelve seconds later, a slap shot from the right hand dot off the stick of Alex Chiasson beat Halak low to the glove side, giving the Caps a 3-2 lead heading into the third period.
Seven minutes into the third period, Lee beat Holtby five-hole, once again tying the game at three. The score remained tied until Lars Eller put a beautiful shot right past the ear of Halak to make the score 4-3 in favor of the Capitals, which is the same way the game would end. Holtby looked to be back in Vezina Trophy form, allowing only 3 goals on 39 Islanders’ shots. – Cody Baldwin
Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017 – at Boston Bruins (3-2 win)
Coming off of the win in Washington, the Capitals traveled to Boston to face a struggling Bruins team.
Seven minutes into the game, Tom Wilson buried his first of the season off a sharp angle with Rask getting caught a bit out of position. Rask recovered from this goal with a breakaway save on Alex Ovechkin to keep his team within a goal. Only a few minutes later, however, Ovechkin found himself wide open at the left circle and ripped a one-timer low to the glove side to give the Caps a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
Just over three and a half minutes into the second period, Braden Holtby found himself one on one with David Pastrnak after a great pass from Patrice Bergeron. Pastrnak put the puck through the legs of Holtby to bring his team back within a goal. With just over a minute to go in the period, Tom Wilson deflected a Brooks Orpik shot right past the head of Rask and underneath the crossbar to put the Capitals back up two.
Early in the third, Wilson had an opportunity for the hat-trick but was stopped by Rask on an in tight breakaway chance. The score remained the same until a second Pastrnak goal with just 2:32 to play in the game brought the Bruins back within a goal. Despite a late surge, Holtby and the defense held on and earned the victory with a 3-2 final. Holtby had a fantastic night, stopping 31 of the Bruins’ 33 shots. – Cody Baldwin
After being called up to the Caps last week, Anthony Peluso was loaned back to the Bears on Thursday… Liam O’Brien was called up to the Washington Capitals on Thursday.
Lehigh Valley Phantoms (8-3-0-2, 18 points, 3rd in Atlantic)
Friday, Nov. 3, 2017 – vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (6-5 SO loss)
The sellout crowd at the PPL Center was rocking as the teams took the ice, and the pace was electric from the start. With a little over 7 minutes to go in the 1st, Myers caught the Penguins on a bad change, and raced through center ice. He dished it to Chris Conner on the right hand side, and then charged the net. Conner returned the feed, with DeSmith kicking a rebound to an open Tyrell Goulbourne in front, who tapped it home for the Phantoms’ first tally. The Phantoms could not capitalize on a 4-minute double minor late in the first, but ended the period up 1-0, with a 15-9 shot advantage.
As has been the case so far this season, the Phantoms seemed to let off the throttle in the opening minutes of the second. The Penguins scored three goals, including a shorthanded tally off a bad turn over from Greg Carey. On that same power play however, Martel scored his 11th of the season. T.J. Brennan scored in his return to the lineup, off a tough angle, sneaking the puck over DeSmith’s shoulder from the goal line. The second period saw a total of seven combined goals, and the period ended tied, 4-4.
Two more goals would be scored in the third, and the game would go to overtime. The Phantoms’ Mike Vecchione was penalized for hooking in the extra frame, but four blocked shots kept the game tied. It went to a shootout, but all three Phantoms were stopped. The Penguins’ Christian Thomas then scored in the third round to give them the win.
Philippe Myers left half way through the second with an undisclosed injury. Special teams continued to struggle. – Mitch Greene
Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017 – at Binghamton Devils (6-5 loss)
The Phantoms entered the second night of a back-to-back-to-back looking to avenge a close shootout loss the night prior. Alex Lyon was the starter. The Devils opened the scoring, once at 5v5 then another at 4v4. The Phantoms would get on the board when a heavy forecheck from Phil Varone and Chris Conner led to the puck popping out to Cole Bardreau in front, who chipped away until the puck hit the back of the net. Lehigh was unable to score on a 5-on-3 man advantage to end the first, and they went into the second down, 3-1
Six minutes into the second, Tyrell Goulbourne was hit from behind, the Devils’ Nathan Bastian was given two minutes for boarding. This time, the Phantoms would make the man advantage count. Mike Vecchione slid the puck from the half boards to Conner behind the net. He came out the other side and fed a beautiful pass to Martel who wristed it home, giving Martel his AHL leading 12th goal and a tie game for the Phantoms. McDonald took a penalty for a knee-on-knee hit, which almost got him ejected. The Devils capitalized on the ensuing power play off a point shot, putting them back on top, 4-3.
The Phantoms elected to pull Alex Lyon and go with Dustin Tokarski to start the third, as Lyon only had 11 saves on 15 shots, and appeared visibly frustrated. Just 2:15 into the period, Varone, Bardreau, and Conner went to work on the forecheck. Varone pulled the puck off the boards and got it to Conner waiting in the low left circle, who netted it for his third goal, and eighth point in just two games. The Phantoms netted two more goals from T.J. Brennan and Nicolas Aube-Kubel. The Devils pulled the goaltender with two minutes to go, and were able to get one back. However, the Phantoms held on for the win, 6-5.
The power play capitalized on two of six chances, and that was the difference. It was a moral victory for the defense, who are dealing with losing Morin, Myers, and Alt. Chris Conner is red hot, with eight points in two games. – Mitch Greene
Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017 – vs. Toronto Marlies (5-1 loss)
Sunday’s matchup against the Toronto Marlies was the first of the year for the Phantoms. Last season, the Phantoms were 2-0 against Toronto and hoped to improve that streak to 3-0 to start the season. Dustin Tokarski and Calvin Pickard were in net for Lehigh Valley and Toronto, respectively.
The scoring started just three minutes into the first period, with Danick Martel setting up Nicolas Aube-Kubel. Toronto later retaliated on the power play with a greasy goal in the crease by Chris Mueller. Toward the end of the period, there was some scuffle in front of the net when Dmytro Timashov shoved Cole Bardreau’s helmet off, and Bardreau responded with a couple fists to his face. Both players received fighting majors, but Bardreau came up with a misconduct and an instigation as well. The next goal wouldn’t come until halfway through the second period when Trevor Moore got a few screens in front of his shot for a snap-shot goal. About five minutes later, Ben Smith fired a puck under Tokarski’s arm for the final goal of the second period.
Third period scoring did not happen until there was about seven minutes left in the game. Nikita Soshnikov scored, and five minutes later, Trevor Moore fired a laser through Tokarski’s five-hole to seal the game completely with a 5-1 score. Toronto finished off the game by dumping the puck into Lehigh Valley’s zone every chance they got. Pickard was the better goalie Sunday, facing 36 shots and allowing only one goal. Tokarski on the other hand, did not have the same luck. Five goals allowed on 37 shots for him. – Andrew Ostrosky
Will O’Neill returned to the Phantoms Sunday after his stint with the Flyers… Mark Alt and Samuel Morin were called up to the Flyers earlier in the week. Morin is currently injured… James De Haas was re-called by the Phantoms from Reading to help the depleted Phantoms blueline… Reading Royals defenseman Adam Comrie was signed to a PTO by the Phantoms on Saturday.
Hershey Bears (4-6-0-2, 10 points, 7th in Atlantic)
Friday, Nov. 3, 2017 – at Rochester Americans (7-6 SO loss)
Coming off of a four day break, the Bears looked to continue their winning streak against the Rochester Americans. The Bears started off strong in the first period, posting three straight goals courtesy of Travis Boyd, Chris Bourque, and Anthony Peluso. The lead did not last long though, as the Americans scored six goals, five unanswered, in the second period. The Bears also struck about halfway through to make it a 6-4 game. In the third period goaltender Adam Carlson held the Americans scoreless, and with goals from Lucas Johansen and Hubert Labrie, the Bears tied it at 6-6. After a scoreless overtime, the Bears eventually lost in a shootout, with the final score being 7-6, Americans. – Noah Eltringham
Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017 – vs. Toronto Marlies (4-1 loss)
After a disappointing loss the previous night in Rochester, the Bears came back home looking to get back on their feet against the Toronto Marlies. The Bears went down 2-0 in the first period before a goal came from captain Garrett Mitchell, trying to provide a spark for the team. Unfortunately, that spark fizzled out, and the Bears were not able to score for the rest of the evening, eventually losing, 4-1. – Noah Eltringham
Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017 – at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (3-2 SO win)
The Bears headed up north on I-81 to face the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Sunday afternoon, playing their third game in three days. The Penguins wasted no time, going up 1-0 off a goal from Daniel Sprong just 1:18 in the game. Later in that period the Bears tied it up off a goal from Wayne Simpson. Travis Boyd increased the lead in the second period with his third goal of the season. The Bears could not hold the lead though, as the Penguins scored once in the third period to make it a 2-2 game. After an uneventful overtime, the Bears went to the shootout. Wayne Simpson scored, and Pheonix Copley made the game winning stop, as the Bears took this one, 3-2. – Noah Eltringham
Parker Milner and Vitek Vanecek were both sent down to the South Carolina Stingrays. Vanecek is on a rehab assignment… Kelly Zajac and Paul Geiger were called up from the Stingrays… Liam O’Brien was called up to the Capitals… Connor Hobbs will be out six-to-eight weeks after fracturing his left wrist during Saturday’s game against Toronto.
Philadelphia Flyers – Thursday, 11/9 vs. Chicago Blackhawks; Saturday, 11/11 vs. Minnesota Wild
Washington Capitals – Monday, 11/6 vs. Arizona Coyotes; Tuesday, 11/7 at Buffalo Sabres; Friday, 11/10 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins; Sunday, 11/12 vs. Edmonton Oilers
Lehigh Valley Phantoms – Wednesday, 11/8 vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers; Saturday, 11/11 at Hershey Bears
Hershey Bears – Wednesday, 11/8 at Springfield Thunderbirds; Saturday, 11/11 vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms; Sunday, 11/12 vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Dylan was the President of GNGHockey from its beginnings to January 2018.