/The Inside Edge Weekly Recap: Capitals, Bears climbing the standings, Flyers, Phantoms battle tough losses

The Inside Edge Weekly Recap: Capitals, Bears climbing the standings, Flyers, Phantoms battle tough losses

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 Nov. 6…

Philadelphia Flyers (8-7-2, 18 points, 7th in Metropolitan)

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Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017 – vs. Chicago Blackhawks (3-1 win)

For the Flyers, to beat the Chicago would serve as retribution for their loss to the Blackhawks the previous week. And retribution it was.

The game was a show of the force that the Flyers’ top line has brought to the ice this year, as Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, and Jake Voracek – racked up seven points in total. Each scoring a goal apiece, Giroux opened the scoring in the first, Voracek scored seven minutes afterward, and Couturier scored just under four minutes into the second period. The only player other then those three to record a point in the game for the Flyers was Shayne Gostisbhere, who assisted on Voracek’s goal in the second. That point was the 100th of his career.

Connor Murphy scored with four minutes remaining in the second period to give the Blackhawks a chance, but they were no match for the Flyers in this game.

Brian Elliott saved 38 out of 39 shots.

Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 – vs. Minnesota Wild (1-0 loss)

The Flyers and Wild played the first game of a two-game home-and-home series on Saturday, and it was the Wild that came away with the first win.

The game for the Flyers wasn’t a poor showing by any means. They took 32 shots on Devan Dubnyk, who was able to stop them all. For the Wild, scoring just one goal on Brian Elliott was enough for the two points, as Jason Zucker scored just a minute into the third period. On a shot that went wide and bounced off the boards behind the net, Zucker pounced on the puck, swatting it off the back of the sliding Elliott and into the net.

Pulling their goalie for the extra attacker wasn’t enough, and the Flyers lost, 1-0.

Sean Couturier and Radko Gudas each led the Flyers with six shots apiece. Wayne Simmonds and Claude Giroux were unable to get a single shot on goal. Elliott saved 26 of 27 shots.

Notes

Mark Alt, who was called up Oct. 30, was sent down to Lehigh Valley on Saturday. On Monday, he was called back up to serve as the seventh defenseman for the Flyers’ two-game road trip… Nolan Patrick and Andrew MacDonald are closing in on a return to action. They are expected to practice this week.

 

Washington Capitals (10-7-1,  21 points, 3rd in Metropolitan)

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Monday, Nov. 6, 2017 – vs. Arizona Coyotes (3-2 OT win)

The lamp was lit early when Coyotes’ rookie Clayton Keller opened the scoring on a goal low to the blocker side of Braden Holtby. The ‘Yotes tallied again with at the 6:42 mark of the opening frame when Christian Dvorak sent a pass to Christian Fisher who deflected the puck past Holtby to give Arizona a 2-0 lead. Following a sloppy breakout attempt, Devante Smith-Pelly shoveled a shot low on Scott Wedgewood to bring the Caps back within a goal with 11:19 remaining in the first. Taylor Chorney nearly tied the game with just under four minutes to play in the period, beating Wedgewood with a rocket from the point, but couldn’t keep the puck below the crossbar. The Caps went into the first intermission down a goal.

With a bit under eight minutes to go in the middle frame, T.J. Oshie had a chance to tie the game off of a John Carlson pass, but couldn’t collect and fire the puck into the back of the net before Wedgewood got a pad on it. A few minutes later, Carlson found Alex Ovechkin at the top of the left circle, who pounded the puck past Wedgewood, and led the team to intermission tied 2-2.

With multiple scoring chances in the third, the Caps looked very strong, but were unable to score. The game continued into overtime. In the extra frame, the Caps had a late three-on-two opportunity, where Oshie fanned on a shot that ended up right on the tape of John Carlson, who fired the puck between Wedgewood and the near side post, winning the game with only 45 seconds remaining in the extra frame. It was a strong game for the Caps, who put 40 shots on net, while Holtby made 24 saves. – Cody Baldwin

Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 – at Buffalo Sabres (3-1 loss)

In the second half of their back-to-back, the Capitals looked to knock off a struggling Sabres team on the road.

The first period, though exciting and including some scoring chances for both teams, ended at a quiet 0-0.

In the second, Evander Kane whacked home a pass from behind the net by Jack Eichel to give the Sabres the 1-0 lead just over two and a half minutes into the period. With just over two minutes remaining in the period, however, Alex Ovechkin received a pass in the slot from Devante Smith-Pelly, and ripped a shot past a sprawling Robin Lehner to tie the score at 1-1.

The third period was a disappointing one for Washington. Only three and a half minutes into the frame, Benoit Pouliot marched through the neutral zone, going by two or three Washington defenders, before beating Philipp Grubauer high to the glove side to make the score 2-1. The rest of the period was quiet offensively, including when Grubauer, who had 29 saves on the night, abandoned the net. Evander Kane put home his second of the game with twenty seconds remaining, sealing the game for Washington with a disappointing 3-1 loss. – Cody Baldwin

Friday, Nov. 10, 2017 – vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (4-1 win)

Friday brought Washington’s biggest rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins, to town for a matchup between two teams fighting to prove themselves.

The scoring started with just under six minutes to go in the first, when a John Carlson point shot deflected off the stick of a penalty-killing Penguin and went over the blocker of goalie Matt Murray, giving the Caps the lead heading into the intermission.

Pittsburgh tied the game just under halfway through the second period when an attempted Phil Kessel pass deflected off Dmitry Orlov and past Braden Holtby. With just a few seconds remaining on a power play late in the period. Carlson provided more offense when his shot was deflected again, this time by T.J. Oshie, past the glove of Murray, once again giving the team a one goal lead heading into intermission, this time by a score of 2-1.

Thanks to the strong play of Braden Holtby, the Caps fended off all of the Penguin’s scoring chances in the final period. The lead was doubled with just under six and a half minutes to go when Chandler Stephenson buried a pass from Nicklas Backstrom to double the lead. The Penguins pulled Murray with just under three minutes to go, and Jakub Vrana capitalized on this chance early by tipping the puck past Brian Dumolin and out of the defensive zone, where he eventually caught up to the puck and shoveled it into the net, sealing a 4-1 win for the Caps. Holtby made 27 saves in the win. – Cody Baldwin

Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017 – vs. Edmonton Oilers (2-1 SO win)

The last game of the week for the Caps brought in a struggling Edmonton team looking to recover from an ugly start.

The first and second periods of this game were both kept scoreless, with both Laurent Broissoit and Braden Holtby having strong performances. The Oilers briefly believed that they had the game’s first lead with 13:45 to go when Oscar Klefbom put a shot past Holtby, but goaltender interference was called and the goal was disallowed.

Early in the third, Jujhar Khaira put a puck past Holtby after he had made a nice save on a wrap-around attempt, but was unable to control the rebound. This lead lasted until the 5:14 mark of the third period when Dmitry Orlov received a give and go pass from Tom Wilson and wristed the puck to the glove side of Laurent Broissoit to knot the game at one goal a piece. This score lasted to the end of regulation, forcing overtime in a tight, low scoring affair.

The highlight of overtime was a forced turnover by Connor McDavid, who burst past Orlov in the neutral zone for a partial breakaway against Holtby, but was unable to finish the play. The score remained 1-1, bringing the game to a shootout. T.J. Oshie was the first shooter for the Caps, who used his go-to and fired a shot through the legs of Broissoit. This would be the only goal the Caps scored in the shootout. However, Leon Draisaitl hit a post, and Connor McDavid missed the net high to the glove side. It only took a save by Holtby on Mark Letestu to win the game for the Capitals, and that is exactly what happened. The Caps wrapped up the week 3-1-0, as Braden Holtby made 29 saves for his third win of the week. – Cody Baldwin

Notes

After calling up Liam O’Brien from the Hershey Bears, the Capitals used him sparingly. He was sent back to Hershey on Saturday.

 

Lehigh Valley Phantoms (9-4-0-2, 20 points, 3rd in Atlantic)

Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017 – at Bridgeport Sound Tigers (4-2 win)

The puck was dropped in Bridgeport early at 10:30 AM. The Phantoms were in Bridgeport for the second game of the series between these two teams, the first of which Lehigh won at home, 5-2. The Sound Tigers took the lead in the first with goals from highly-touted prospects Sebastian Aho and Josh Ho-Sang. Bridgeport’s second goal came on the powerplay, as Lehigh’s penalty kill continues to struggled. The Phantoms could have fallen down 3-0 towards the end of the first, were it not for a great save from Alex Lyon.

The Phantoms would fight back in the second. When the the Sound Tigers took an early penalty, the power play converted when T.J. Brennan got a shot through from the point, and Phil Varone wristed home the rebound for his third goal of the season and his 14th point. Less than a minute later, Nic Aube-Kubel forced a turnover that kept the puck in at Bridgeport’s blue line. He got it across ice to Danick Martel, who sniped one home from the right circle. It was his league leading 14th goal, and 6th straight game with a tally. The Phantoms would take the lead with six minutes left to go in the 2nd, when Martel fed it from behind the net to a waiting Oskar Lindblom, who one-timed it home. Tyrell Goulbourne would add an insurance marker in the third to make it four unanswered goals, and the Phantoms started their six-game road trip with a win. Lyon was impressive after being pulled in the last game. He stopped 42 of 44 shots from the Sound Tigers. – Mitch Greene

Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 – at Hershey Bears (6-1 loss)

The Phantoms were up against the team that booted them from the playoffs in the first round last year. That should have had the team come out with some fire, but unfortunately, this was not the case. The Hershey Bears scored three first period goals. One came on the power play, when a point shot led to Alex Lyon sliding way out of his net, and giving up a rebound to Mathias Bau in front. He tapped it home for an easy goal as the penalty kill continued to have problems. The Bears had 16 shots in the first 20 minutes, the Phantoms just three.

The Phantoms came out strong in the second period. They received two early power plays. Chris Conner had a great chance in the slot, but Bears goaltender Phoenix Copley made a great glove save. The Bears were supercharged by the penalty kills and rode the momentum for the rest of the period. Hershey’s Wayne Simpson beat Lyon stick side half way through the stanza for make it 4-0.

With Lehigh being one of strongest offenses in the league, a comeback was not out of the question. But an early goal in the third period from Riley Barber put this one a little too far out of reach. The Phantoms had a few good chances shorthanded, but Copley was sharp and made the stops. With time winding down on that same power play, Bau got his second of the night off a cross ice feed from Boyd which gave Lyon no chance. The Phantoms would get a late power play goal from Greg Carey to keep from being shut out. After a dominating win in the home opener, and a shoot out win on Oct. 15, the Bears took this one to bring the series between these two clubs to 2-1. – Mitch Greene

Notes

The Phantoms got a much needed Mark Alt back from the Flyers. Philippe Myers and Samuel Morin are inching closer to a return as well. Dustin Tokarski is out with an injury. In his absence the Phantoms have called up Mark Dekanich from the Reading Royals. – Mitch Greene

 

Hershey Bears (6-7-0-2, 14 points, 5th in Atlantic)

Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017 – at Springfield Thunderbirds (3-1 win)

With goalie Pheonix Copley finally healthy, the Bears looked to their number one goaltender to carry to a win over the worst team in the American Hockey League. The Bears wasted little time in this one, scoring a powerplay goal early in the first period, courtesy of leading goal scorer Wayne Simpson. With Copley standing tall, the game remained scoreless until again in the second when newcomer Mathias Bau scored his third goal of the season, putting the Bears ahead 2-0. Chris Bourque potted the empty net goal at 17:52 of the third period, to give the Bears a 3-0 lead. The Thunderbirds scored with 1:56 left in the game to make it 3-1. Hershey gained a crucial two points over a divisional opponent, to push them to 5-6-0-2 on the season. – Noah Eltringham

Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 – vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (6-1 win)

Looking to win the first game of a back-to-back series, the Bears faced off against their rivals a couple hours east. The Phantoms are a powerhouse in the league this year, coming in third only behind the Toronto Marlies and the Charlotte Checkers. Like last game, the Bears wasted no time getting on the board, taking the lead just 5:13 into the first period on a goal from team captain Garrett Mitchell. The Bears struck twice more in the first, courtesy of Mathias Bau and Tyler Lewington. Hershey left the first period leading, 3-0. In the second, the Bears increased their lead to 4-0 off of a goal halfway through the period from Wayne Simpson. The Bears came into the third period feeling good offensively, and only continued to pile on the goals. Riley Barber and one from Bau added two more goals for the Bears. The Phantoms later converted on the power play to score their lone goal of the game, making the final score 6-1. The Bears came away winning a crucial divisional game and made it to .500 for the first time this season. – Noah Eltringham

Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017 – vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (5-1 loss)

Looking to win three consecutive games for the first time this season, the Bears remained at home to face their interstate rivals, the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. The Bears fell behind early on, being scored on just 2:39 into the first period. The Bears continued to have defensive struggles and were scored on again roughly five minutes later, making it 2-0 Penguins. Although they were scored on twice in the first, the Bears did not give up, scoring a goal from Tyler Gazley to make it a 2-1 game. The Penguins then scored two consecutive goals courtesy of Thomas DiPauli and Daniel Sprong, who made a sick move off a breakaway. Penguins goalie Casey DeSmith continued his strong play throughout the third period, shutting the Bears down, even though they controlled puck possession throughout most of the period. Penguins forward Colin Wilson eventually scored an empty netter to make it 5-1 Penguins. DeSmith stopped 32 of 33 shots, earning a blowout win for the Penguins. With this division loss, the Bears have yet to win three consecutive games, and fell back below .500. They will look to get back to the .500 mark on Wednesday, against the Syracuse Crunch. – Noah Eltringham

Notes

Vitek Vanecek was called up from his rehab stint with the South Carolina Stingrays… Kelly Zajac was sent back to South Carolina… Liam O’Brien returned from Washington.

 

Upcoming games

Philadelphia Flyers – Tuesday, 11/14 at Minnesota Wild; Thursday, 11/16 at Winnipeg Jets; Saturday, 11/18 vs. Calgary Flames

Washington Capitals – Tuesday, 11/14 at Nashville Predators; Thursday, 11/16 at Colorado Avalanche; Saturday, 11/18 vs. Minnesota Wild

Lehigh Valley Phantoms – Wednesday, 11/15 vs. Syracuse Crunch; Friday, 11/17 at Providence Bruins; Sunday, 11/19 at Providence Bruins

Hershey Bears – Wednesday, 11/15 at Belleville Senators; Friday, 11/17 at Laval Rocket

Dylan has the goal of one day becoming a professional sports broadcaster. He is the President of Good Night, Good Hockey, and he runs the WFC Takeover.