/The Inside Edge Weekly Recap: Bears move to .500, Flyers flounder, Caps and Phantoms struggle

The Inside Edge Weekly Recap: Bears move to .500, Flyers flounder, Caps and Phantoms struggle

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. 13…

Philadelphia Flyers (8-8-4, 20 points, 8th in Metropolitan)

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Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 – at Minnesota Wild (3-0 loss)

The Flyers were coming off a 1-0 loss to Minnesota in the game prior, and had a feeling of deja vu after being shutout by the Wild again.

The Wild got on the board just 12 seconds into the game. Nino Niederreiter was the one to put the Wild ahead, and they never looked back. Eric Staal and Jason Zucker added empty net goals at the end of the game to beat the Flyers, 3-0.

Brian Elliott saved 17 of 18 shots. Jake Voracek and Dale Weise led the Flyers with five shots each.

Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 – at Winnipeg Jets (3-2 SO loss)

For the Flyers, scoring was an issue the past few games. Against Winnipeg, they scored twice in the first five minutes to take a 2-0 lead.

Jake Voracek and Sean Couturier were the goal-scorers for the Flyers. It was a much-needed boost of scoring for the team, but that lead evaporated. Mathieu Perreault scored midway through the second period to cut the lead down to one, and Mark Scheifele scored in the final minute while the Jets’ net was empty to force the game into overtime.

In the shootout, both teams scored on their first two attempts, with Voracek and Jordan Weal scoring for the Flyers, and Scheifele and Patrik Laine scoring for the Jets. Claude Giroux’s and Blake Wheeler’s shots were both saved in the third round, meaning the shootout had to go to extra rounds. The Jets’ Bryan Little gave Winnipeg the advantage and, after Travis Konecny’s attempt was saved, the win.

Radko Gudas was ejected from the game following a slash to the back of Perreault’s head midway through the first period. The NHL Department of Player Safety later gave Gudas a 10-game suspension.

Brian Elliott saved 31 of 33 shots, including 26 of 27 during even strength.

Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017 – vs. Calgary Flames (5-4 OT loss)

The early-afternoon game always tends to be an interesting one for the Flyers, and that proved to be true against Calgary.

Brandon Manning opened the scoring a minute into the game for the Flyers with a shot from the point that hit both the post and Mike Smith before going into the net. Just minutes later, Johnny Gaudreau scored his ninth goal of the season to tie the game at one. Sean Couturier and Ivan Provorov scored a goal each through the remainder of the first period to give the Flyers a 3-1 lead heading into the first intermission.

In the second, the tables turned in Calgary’s favor, and they were able to score three goals to the Flyers’ one. Sean Monahan completed a hat trick in nine minutes. Nolan Patrick also scored on a backhand shot after the puck bounced off Smith, and after the second period, the score was tied at four.

The third period was uneventful, and overtime was needed to settle the game. Michael Frolik was able to win it for the Flames just over a minute into the extra session.

Elliott saved 26 of 31 shots, although three goals came on the power play. Jake Voracek and Provorov led the Flyers with two points each.

Notes

On Monday, Mark Alt was called up to the Flyers.

 

Washington Capitals (11-9-1, 23 points, 5th in Metropolitan)

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Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 – at Nashville Predators (6-3 loss)

Tuesday night brought the Capitals to Nashville for a matchup against one of the league’s hottest teams.

The game was scoreless until a bit over halfway through the period when a Kevin Fiala Shot was deflected by Craig Smith to make the score 1-0 Nashville. With just over two minutes remaining in the opening frame, a Roman Josi shot got deflected by Nick Bonino past the glove side of Braden Holtby, giving the Preds a two-goal lead. In the second, the Caps brought the score back within a goal when John Carlson blasted a shot from the point that beat Pekka Rinne, the goal coming just under five minutes into the period. Less than two minutes later, a wide open Alex Chiasson buried a one-timer from the slot to beat Rinne high to the blocker side, tying the game at 2-2. Less than thirty seconds later, however, Nashville applied some solid pressure and a Viktor Arviddson tip-in gave the Predators a 3-2 lead. Just over two minutes later, the Preds got another when Kevin Fiala tipped the puck past Holtby after some very sloppy puck handling by the Caps in their own zone caused a turnover. Within another thirty seconds, however, a pass from Chandler Stephenson found a wide open T.J. Oshie who had a wide open net, and brought the score to 4-3.

With just under six minutes remaining in the period, the Caps fell down a second goal again, when Miikka Salomaki took a wrister from high in the zone that beat Holtby high to the glove side, making the score 5-3. With two minutes to go in the second period, the Preds earned their first power play goal of the night when Mattias Ekholm blasted a one-timer from the point, beating Holtby and putting the Preds up, 6-3.

This score would hold out for the remainder of the game, as the Capitals lost in disappointing fashion in a game where Holtby stopped only 25 of Nashville’s 31 shots. – Cody Baldwin

Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 – at Colorado Avalanche (6-2 loss)

Following a disappointing loss in Nashville, the Capitals looked to bounce back against a struggling Colorado team at the Pepsi Center.

The scoring opened just 17 seconds into the game when Gabriel Landeskog skated past three Caps defensemen and blasted a wrister past Philipp Grubauer to give the Avalanche the early 1-0 lead. The Capitals almost got out of the first period down only 1-0 until Nathan MacKinnon found himself all alone against Grubauer and beat him high to the glove side, making the score 2-0 with only six seconds remaining in the period.

The score remained 2-0 until the 12:25 mark of the middle frame when Colin Wilson shoveled a rebound off of Grubauer into the back of the net, making it a 3-0 game. The Caps did get a goal back before the end of the second, when Brett Connolly battled hard in front to push the puck through Semyon Varlomov to make the score 3-1 going into the third period.

Just under five minutes into the third period, Landeskog had an opportunity for his second goal of the game on a penalty shot, and he buried his shot high to the blocker side of Grubauer, bringing the Avs back up to a three goal lead. Before the halfway mark of the period, with the Avs on the powerplay, Mikko Rantanen found himself wide open for a one-timer opportunity, beating Grubauer before he could get into position, and making the score 5-1. Evgeny Kusnetzov , brought the game back to 5-2 on a power play tap-in off of a beautiful pass from T.J. Oshie, but just under seven minutes remained, and the Caps were running out of time. With 25 seconds remaining in the game, Landeskog buried his third, on the power play, from the low slot past the pad of Grubauer, making the score 6-2 and earning himself a hat trick alongside a dominant Avalanche victory. – Cody Baldwin

Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017 – vs. Minnesota Wild (3-1 win)

Back at home after a brief road trip, the Caps looked to bounce back against the red-hot Minnesota Wild.

A beautiful play just under half way through the opening frame found T.J. Oshie all alone in the slot, giving him enough time to rip an Evgeny Kuznetzov pass past the blocker side of Alex Stalock, giving the Caps the game’s first lead on the power play. Just over two minutes later, the Wild bounced back with a power play goal of their own by Nino Neiderreiter, who tipped a pass through the legs of Braden Holtby to tie the game at 1-1. Less than a minute later, the Caps regained the lead off of a bomb from the point by Dmitry Orlov, his second of the season, making the game 2-1 going into the second period.

Early in the second, Niklas Backstrom had a wide open net and a chance to make the game 3-1, but Jonas Brodin came sprawling across the ice and blocked the shot with his foot, keeping the game 2-1. Later in the period, the Wild had a similar scoring chance, with Holtby held up in his crease, he threw out his glove hand at a Kyle Quincy shot, once again keeping the Caps ahead by a goal.

The third period was, for the most part, pretty quiet. The Wild’s best chance to tie came with just over five minutes to go in the game when Mikael Granlund fed Ryan Suter, who beat Holtby but rang the shot off the post. The score remained 2-1 in favor of Washington. On the power play, with just over two and a half minutes remaining in the game, Alex Ovechkin found himself in a prime shooting chance and instead decided to feed Kusnetzov, who shoveled a backhander past the pad of Alex Stalock, giving the Caps a 3-1 lead, which would prove to be the final score. Holtby had another solid game, stopping 30 of 31 Minnesota shots. – Cody Baldwin

 

Notes

The Capitals sent forward Tyler Graovac down to Hershey on Tuesday.

 

Lehigh Valley Phantoms (10-5-0-2, 22 points, 2nd in Atlantic)

Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017 – at Belleville Senators (6-2 loss)

The Phantoms were in Belleville for the third game of a six-game road trip. It was an important one for Phil Varone, who was playing his first game against his former team (then in Binghamton). Lehigh Valley got a key piece back in their lineup as Sam Morin returned from injury. He had a point shot early, but the Senators would score first just three and half minutes in. The Phantoms played well the rest of the period, but Belleville got a goal from a point shot rebound with under a minute left to go up 2-0. They would get another the same way just 45 second into the second period. That was the end of the game for Alex Lyon, who was pulled for Dustin Tokarski.

Mike Vecchione would strike back when he forced a turnover from a Senator defender and scored Lehigh Valley’s first unassisted goal of the season. Nic Aube-Kubel would force another goal three minutes later, getting the puck to Vecchione for his second of the night. Belleville would score early in the third, but the Phantoms poured on the shots, outshooting the Senators 44-30 at one point. But Belleville, scoring two goals in 32 seconds, would end any hopes of a comeback.

The Danick Martel, Vecchione, Aube Kubel line continues to be a powerhouse in the AHL. The trio now have a combined 47 points in 51 games. – Mitch Greene

Friday, Nov. 17, 2017 – at Laval Rocket (5-2 win)

The Phantoms would try to break a two game skid versus a very balanced offense. The Laval Rocket have seven players with double digit points so far, and the Phantoms have six. Laval got off to an early 1-0 lead, but the Phantoms power play, which has been improving steadily, tied it up half-way through the first. The red-hot Mike Vecchione scored with a few mins left to go in the first to give Lehigh the momentum. An early second period power play would see Vecchione score again with a laser in the slot for his fourth goal of the Phantom’s road trip. Vecchione has 17 points in 17 games this season.

Phil Varone would get the Phantoms their 4th unanswered goal early in the third. Laval would get one back half way through the stanza, but it wouldn’t be enough. An untimely slashing penalty taken by Laval’s Daniel Carr put the Phantoms up a man. Vecchione stole the puck from a Laval defender at center ice and went in on a 2- on-1 with Varone. Vecchione drew the defender to him and got the puck to Varone, who finished the play with a goal. The goal was Vecchione’s third point and iced the game for Lehigh Valley. 

The win broke a two game skid. The Phantoms may get Phil Myers back soon, but no definitive news yet. – Mitch Greene

Notes

On Monday of last week, the Flyers called up Mark Alt, leaving the Phantoms needing another defenseman themselves. In response, the Phantoms called up James De Haas from Reading.

 

Hershey Bears (8-8-0-2, 18 points, 6th in Atlantic)

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Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017 – vs. Syracuse Crunch (4-2 win)

The Bears entered this game attempting to claw their way back to .500 against a struggling Syracuse Crunch team. Starting just his fifth game of the season, Pheonix Copley looked to win his fourth of the season, and help the Bears improve their record.

Even after a fast paced first period, the game remained scoreless. Connor Ingram came up big, stopping 11 out of 11 shots, with some help in the first period. After the first horn the Bears took a late penalty during a scrum behind their net, setting up for a physical second period. The Crunch wasted no time to take the lead during this second period, striking 43 seconds in off of a bad angle shot by Anthony Cirelli. The game would remain scoreless, as the Bears failed to capitalize on four power play opportunities, with Ingram stopping all 21 shots coming his way. After dull first and second periods, the floodgates opened in the third period. Jeremy Langois struck just 27 seconds into the period, tying the game 1-1, and allowing Hershey to stop playing catch-up. Shortly after, the Bears executed a perfect 3-on-2, and Chris Bourque scored his first goal of the evening off of a great pass from Wayne Simpson. Shortly after that, a shot off a breakaway hit the post and landed under Copley, prompting the officials to review the play. It was found there was no goal on the play, but Hershey didn’t get to relax much, as Alexander Volkov scored immediately the next play. That would be it for the Crunch, as Chris Bourque scored his second goal of the contest, batting the puck out of the air to put up the Bears 3-2, and Lucas Johansen sealing the Crunch’s fate with an empty netter.

The Bears took this one 4-2, and improved their record back to .500 (7-7-0-2) for only the second time this season. – Noah Eltringham

Friday, Nov. 17, 2017 – at Providence Bruins (4-1 win)

Coming off a strong game against a struggling Syracuse Crunch team, the Bears got ready to face off against the Providence Bruins, who are third in the Atlantic. The Bears came out strong against Bruins goalie Zane McIntyre, who started off the season red-hot, but has come back down to Earth and has had struggles as of late. The Bears exploited those struggles early on, as Riley Barber scored a powerplay goal just 2:22 into the first period to make it 1-0 Bears. Shortly after that, Mathias Bau struck again for his first goal of the contest to make it 2-0. After a two goal first period, the Bears tried to keep their foot on the gas, but only hit the twine once. The lone goal in the second period was scored again by Bau, for his second of the contest. The Bears came out of the second period leading 3-1. Despite giving up an early goal in the third, scored by Justin Hickman, the Bears did not falter, and closed this one out 4-1 with an empty netter scored by Tyler Graovac. With this win, the Bears improved to over .500 for the first time this season. – Noah Eltringham

Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017 – at Providence Bruins (4-1 loss)

Back against the Bruins, in Providence again, the Bears looked to close out the weekend with a pair of wins against the same team. Coming off a confident win  two before, the Bears looked to exploit the Bruins weaknesses again. Rather than striking early, they let up an early goal, courtesy of Providence’s Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson. Despite letting up an early goal, the Bears battled back in the first period with a power play goal from Liam O’Brien, leaving the first period tied 1-1. The Bears tried to take that momentum and turn it into more offense, but to no avail. The Bruins and goalie Jordan Binnington shut the door, keeping Hershey from scoring for the rest of the game. The Bruins tacked on three more goals, and took this game 4-1. Despite going in above .500 for the first time this season, the Bears did not hold on to that momentum, and are now 8-8-0-2 on the year. – Noah Eltringham

Notes

On Tuesday, the Bears sent goaltender Adam Carlson down to South Carolina (ECHL). Also on Tuesday, Washington sent Tyler Graovac to Hershey.

 

Upcoming games

Philadelphia Flyers – Tuesday, 11/21 vs. Vancouver Canucks; Wednesday, 11/22 at New York Islanders; Friday, 11/24 vs. New York Islanders

Washington Capitals – Monday, 11/20 vs. Calgary Flames; Wednesday, 11/22 vs. Ottawa Senators; Friday, 11/24 vs. Tampa Bay Lightning; Saturday, 11/25 at Toronto Maple Leafs

Lehigh Valley Phantoms – Wednesday, 11/22 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins; Friday, 11/24 at Springfield Thunderbirds; Saturday, 11/25 vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Hershey Bears – Wednesday, 11/22 vs. Springfield Thunderbirds; Saturday, 11/25 at Hartford Wolf Pack; Sunday, 11/26 vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Dylan was the President of GNGHockey from its beginnings to January 2018.