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. 20…
Philadelphia Flyers (8-9-6, 22 points, 8th in Metropolitan)
Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017 – vs. Vancouver Canucks (5-2 loss)
The Flyers started off their week with a good start against Vancouver, but then subsequently gave up four straight goals to lose, 5-2.
Early in the first, Ivan Provorov scored to put the Flyers ahead, 1-0. The goal was his fourth of the season. Not even two minutes after that, Daniel Sedin scored to begin the Canucks’ rout. Brock Boeser scored 19 seconds later to put the Canucks in front, then he tacked on a second goal two minutes into the second period. Sven Baertschi scored late in the second period to make it 4-1. The Flyers stopped some of the bleeding when Jake Voracek scored midway through the third period, but Loui Eriksson’s empty-netter finished off the Flyers.
Michal Neuvirth started the game, but after giving up four goals on 22 shots, Brian Elliott came in for relief and was perfect, stopping all 13 shots he faced.
Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017 – at New York Islanders (4-3 OT loss)
The Flyers played the Islanders into overtime a few times in the preseason and usually lost. This game was more of the same story.
As they did against Vancouver, the Flyers jumped out to an early lead, as Taylor Leier scored his first goal of the season to make it 1-0. At the end of the first period, Mathew Barzal scored to tie the game. The second period consisted of two goals from each team, with both the Flyers and Islanders re-tying the game after being down by one goal. Micahel Raffl scored his first goal of the season to make it 2-1 for the Flyers, and then Johnny Boychuck and Joshua Ho-Sang scored to make it 3-2, Islanders. Jake Voracek scored to tie the game midway through the second. It remained that way until overtime, where Josh Bailey scored just 32 seconds into the extra period to win the game for the Islanders, 4-3.
Brian Elliott saved 35 of 39 shots, with two goals coming while shorthanded. Samuel Morin played in this game, but he took two penalties.
Friday, Nov. 24, 2017 – vs. New York Islanders (5-4 OT loss)
The Flyers played the Islanders for the second game in a row, and they once again lost in overtime for their seventh straight loss.
Matthew Barzal got the Islanders’ first goal, coming with just 17 seconds left in the first period. Up 1-0 going into the second period, the Islanders faced an onslaught from the Flyers’ offense, as Philadelphia scored four goals in the period to the Islanders’ one. Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds, Shayne Gostisbehere, and Sean Couturier all scored within nine minutes of each other. Down 4-2, Jordan Eberle and Andrew Ladd scored in the third period to tie the game at four, forcing overtime. Nick Leddy scored 2:44 into the extra period to give the Islanders the win.
Brian Elliott saved 32 of 37 shots. Couturier, Giroux, Jake Voracek, and Gostisbehere recorded two points each.
On Wednesday, the Flyers assigned Matt Read and Mark Alt to Lehigh Valley. That same day, they called up Samuel Morin and Danick Martel from the Phantoms. Martel has been one of the top scorers in the AHL this season.
Washington Capitals (14-10-1, 23 points, 4th in Metropolitan)
Monday, Nov. 20, 2017 – vs. Calgary Flames (4-1 loss)
After a win over a streaky Minnesota team, the Caps continued their brief homestand against the red hot Calgary Flames.
The Caps got on the board early, just over a minute into the game, when Jakub Vrana wrapped around the net and gave Lars Eller a pass that left goaltender Mike Smith with no chance of making a save. Just over three minutes later, the Flames got one right back when Sean Monahan tapped the puck through the neutral zone to Johnny Gaudreau who took a wicked wrister past the blocker side of Braden Holtby, tying the game at a goal apiece. Despite some more decent chances either way, the two teams went into the first intermission with the score still knotted at 1-1.
After an Eller penalty, the Caps found themselves down a goal when Matthew Tkachuk pounced on a loose puck in the crease to give the Flames the 2-1 lead just over five minutes into the middle period. Once again, with chances going either way, both Smith and Holtby held their ground and the period again ended, this time with the score 2-1 in favor of Calgary.
Once again shorthanded, the Caps found themselves down two goals when a rebound off a Dougie Hamilton shot found its way to the stick of Mikael Backlund, who buried it through the legs of Holtby to make the score 3-1. Just over two minutes later, a shot from Mark Giordano flew right past Holtby, off the post and into the back of the net, giving Calgary a 4-1 lead with just over 13 minutes to play. Despite the remaining time, the Capitals failed to strike again.
Despite the loss, Holtby played pretty well, stopping 35 of 39 Calgary shots. – Cody Baldwin
Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017 – vs. Ottawa Senators (5-2 win)
After the loss to Calgary, the Capitals looked for a bounce back win at home against a struggling Senators team.
The game remained scoreless and rather quiet until there was 4:39 left in the first period when Jakub Vrana put home the rebound off an Evgeny Kuznetsov shot to give the Caps a 1-0 lead. The Senators almost escaped the period down just one goal until Alex Ovechkin found himself alone against Craig Anderson and flipped a shot past the blocker of Anderson with only five seconds remaining in the period to put the Caps up by two goals heading into the intermission.
The score became 3-0 in favor of Washington with a little over 12 minutes to play in the middle frame when Kuznetsov found himself wide open in the slot, and ripped a wrister past a screened Ottawa netminder, for a power play goal. Just over two minutes later, another shot from Vrana found its way past Anderson, this time, fooling just about everybody in the arena, as it seemed the puck had disappeared, but was really tucked behind the back bar in the top of the net. The Caps had a 4-0 lead. With just under 3:30 to play in the period, Zack Smith beat Holtby high to the blocker side to cut the Capitals lead to three before the intermission.
In the third period, the score remained 4-1 until just over seven minutes to play, after Holtby had made a series of impressive saves, Mike Hoffman found the puck in the slot and shoveled it past his blocker to make the score 4-2. The Sens would eventually pull their goalie, and then find themselves down 5-2 after Alex Chiasson shoveled the puck from just inside his own blue line into the Ottawa cage. It was the final tally of the game, as the Caps walked away from this one with a strong victory on the shoulders of a 29 save performance from Holtby. – Cody Baldwin
Friday, Nov. 24, 2017 – vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (3-1 win)
After an impressive win on Wednesday, the Capitals welcomed the league’s number one team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, to Capital One Arena.
The Bolts opened the scoring early, only 1:22 into the game, when Vladislav Namestnikov had a Nikita Kucherov shot bounce off of his leg and past Philipp Grubauer for the early 1-0 lead. With under two minutes to play in the period, Alex Ovechkin found himself receiving a pass from Tom Wilson right on the tape, where he was able to fire it past the blocker side of Andrei Vasilevskiy to tie the game at a goal apiece before the intermission.
The score remained 1-1 until just under five and a half minutes to play in the second period when a Jay Beagle shot was stopped by Vasilevskiy and the rebound landed right on the stick of Devante Smith-Pelly, who shoveled home the rebound to give the Caps a 2-1 lead headed into the third period.
With the score still 2-1, Namestnikov found himself alone in the slot, but was unable to put a bouncing puck past the sprawling Grubauer, keeping the Caps ahead going into the final ten minutes of the game. With an empty net, the Lightning were pressing to tie the game, but some sloppy play in the offensive zone allowed the Caps to get the puck out, where Jay Beagle eventually flipped a backhander from just inside the Lightning zone into the empty cage, sealing what ended up being a huge 3-1 victory for the team in red.
With this win, Grubauer finally picked up his first win of the season in strong fashion, stopping 25 of Tampa’s 26 shots. – Cody Baldwin
Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017 – at Toronto Maple Leafs (4-2 win)
After a huge win Friday night, the Caps looked for their second win in two nights against a high flying Toronto offense.
The scoring in this game was opened by none other than Alex Ovechkin, who skated into the Leafs’ zone and fired a puck a bit below waste level of Curtis McElhinney to the blocker side, making the score 1-0 in favor of Washington. Just before the end of the period, Ovechkin found the back of the net again when he slapped a rolling puck past the Leafs’ netminder to make the score 2-0 heading into the first intermission.
The trend for the Caps continued into the second period, where with 8:58 remaining in the period, Jakub Vrana beat McElhinney to the blocker side once again, making the score 3-0 with almost nine minutes still to be played in the second period. The score did not change however going into intermission, and the Caps held a 3-0 lead with 20 minutes to go in regulation.
The Caps lead was dented early in the third period when Jake Gardiner beat Braden Holtby just 1:24 into the final frame to cut the lead to 3-1. The slide continued less than five minutes later when Nikita Zaitsev was the recipient of a friendly bounce after throwing the puck on net from just behind the goal line. As he tried to shovel the puck out front, it took a bounce off of Taylor Chorney’s stick and above the shoulder of Holtby to bring the Leafs to within one goal of tying the game. Despite some incredible chances, however, the Capitals did not snap, and with nine seconds remaining in the game, Ovechkin scored his third of the night, earning himself his third hat trick of the season, as well as earning the Caps a 4-2 victory. – Cody Baldwin
Tyler Graovac, sent down to Hershey two weeks ago, was called back up to the Capitals on Friday.
Lehigh Valley Phantoms (12-6-0-2, 26 points, 2nd in Atlantic)
Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017 – at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (4-2 loss)
The Phantoms were in enemy territory on the fifth game of their six-game road trip. This would be the fourth time these rival clubs met so far this season, with the Phantoms 1-1-0-1 through those first three meetings. Just 30 seconds in, a series of bad defensive zone turnovers led to the Penguins’ Ryan Haggerty dangling through the slot and putting one past a sprawling Alex Lyon. Lehigh Valley got on the board about five minutes in when Alex Krushelnyski, a recent call up from Reading, broke down the right side and slid the puck all the way across the slot to Corban Knight, who roofed it home. The Phantoms got one more before the period was out and went into the first intermission up 2-1.
Seven minutes into the 2nd, the Haggerty and Jean-Sebastien Dea broke past Mark Friedman for a 2-on-0 in on Lyon. Haggerty slid it to Dea, who one-timed it in for the tying goal. The Penguins dominated the shot count in the second, as Lehigh Valley took three penalties in the first ten minutes. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton got one more to take the lead heading into the third. The Phantoms would get an early power play, and another nearly half way through the stanza, but were unable to convert. The Penguins put an empty net goal in with just one second to go to ensure the victory.
Going 0-for-4 on the power play won’t cut it against a rival opponent in their home building. The Phantoms had an opportunity to use the advantage to get back on the board, but couldn’t get it done. – Mitch Greene
Friday, Nov. 24, 2017 – at Springfield Thunderbirds (6-3 win)
The Phantoms entered the final game of their road trip 2-3, and were looking to close it out with a win against Springfield to at least get to .500. Dustin Tokarski was the starter. The Phantoms would get on the board first when Phil Varone, who took over as the team’s leading point scorer with Danick Martel gone, flew down the left hand side and dished one to Greg Carey breaking toward the net. Springfield’s Samuel Montembeault had no chance as Carey went bar down. Carey gave one back when he was called for slashing just over five minutes in, and Springfield converted. Each team would convert once more on the man advantage before the first was over, and would head into the second tied, 2-2.
Each team got a goal in the second, with Carey scoring his second of the game and Varone getting his second assist and third point of the contest. Tokarski made a beautiful toe save just one minute into the third to keep the game tied. Five minutes later, Mike Vecchione was called off for high-sticking, but that wouldn’t stop the Phantoms from attacking. Knight and James De Haas went in on a 2-on-2, and Knight got it to De Haas breaking toward the net, who with one hand put it over the goalie’s shoulder to take the lead. Mark Alt would get an insurance marker just over 10 minutes in with an absolute blast off the face off. Oskar Lindblom delivered the final blow with three minutes left. Springfield pulled their goaltender and Lindblom shot it all the way from the defensive zone and scored.
Varone passed Martel with three points in this game, making it 21 points in 19 games so far. He leads the Phantoms now that Martel is with the Flyers. The penalty kill continues to struggle, letting up two goals on five attempts. – Mitch Greene
Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017 – vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (5-4 OT win)
The Phantoms returned home to excited family members and fans alike on Saturday to face the Sound Tigers. Tanner Fritz, the Sound Tiger’s top point scorer, got them on the board just over a minute into the first, as the visitors came out flying. The Phantoms didn’t get a shot until five minutes into the game, and were unable to convert on back to back power plays in the middle of the period. In the second, the Phantoms would get another two power plays back-to-back. On the first, it was a shooting gallery, putting everything on net. They finally got one through when Oskar Lindblom slid a slick pass through the slot to Greg Carey, who buried it.
The rest of the second was back and forth with the score ending up 3-2, Sound Tigers. During the first half of the second, the Phantoms found themselves on a back-to-back penalty kill, and the PK and Lyon stood tall, keeping the game within one. Then the offense went to work, with goals scored by Nic Aube-Kubel and Will O’Neill to take the lead. The home-ice was rocking. Phantoms had to just hold on for the win. But with just 10 seconds left, Bridgeport tied if off a flukey goal that bounced high in the air in the slot. When it dropped, it ended up behind Lyon. This game went to overtime. Just over a minute in, O’Neill and Corban Knight broke in on a 2-on-1. O’Neill elected to shoot and beat Kristers Gudlevskis short side for his second of the night, and the game winner.
The Phantoms kick off their six-game homestand with an energizing win. They came back from being down early, and a heartbreaking late, game-tying goal from Bridgeport. The PK, after struggling all year was instrumental in the win, stopping the opposition all four times. – Mitch Greene
Matt Read and Mark Alt were sent back down to the Phantoms on Wednesday, but Danick Martel and Samuel Morin were called up to Philadelphia that same day… Also on Wednesday, Alex Krushelnyski was recalled from Reading.
Hershey Bears (9-9-0-3, 21 points, 6th in Atlantic)
Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017 – vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (2-1 loss)
The Bears took on the Springfield Thunderbirds on Wednesday, as they continued their struggle to get back above .500 on the season. Pheonix Copley made his sixth start of the season as he continues to boost his stats and tried to backstop his team to victory.
Both goalies played strong first periods, as it remained scoreless through the first 20. Shortly into the second period, the Thunderbirds struck first, courtesy of forward Anthony Greco. The second period remained scoreless, finishing with a score of 1-0 Springfield. Despite being outscored in the second period, the Bears came out swinging in the third. Just three minutes into the final 20, the Bears scored the tying goal from the stick of Dustin Gazley. Making it 1-1, the Bears slightly let off the gas, and where eventually scored on again, making it 2-1 in favor of Springfield. That would be it for scoring in this game, as Springfield goalie Samuel Montembault shut the door and handed the Bears yet another loss. With this loss the Bears fell back below .500, to 8-9-0-2 on the season. – Noah Eltringham
Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017 – at Hartford Wolf Pack (4-1 win)
The Bears headed on the road on Saturday for the first game of a double-header this weekend. Coming off a disappointing loss during close game with the Thunderbirds a few nights earlier, the Bear came out with a chip on their shoulder looking to get back up to .500.
The Bears took that chip on their shoulder and used it to their advantage during the first period. Just 3:18 into the first period, Mathias Bau lit the lamp to give the Bears a 1-0 leading. Several minutes later Riley Barber did the same and the Bears finished the first period strong, with a 2-0 lead. After their strong first period the Bears came out feeling good. About midway through the second period the Bears went down a man, but Zach Sill came up big on the penalty kill, scoring his first shorthanded goal of the season to put the Bears up 3-0. Despite having such a commanding lead, the Bears did not let off the gas, and tacked on one more courtesy of Mason Mitchell. That would be the end of scoring for the Bears, as they did not score for the entire third period. The Wolf Pack got one back late in the third period courtesy of Alex Tambellini, but it would not make a difference as the Bears took this one, 4-1. The Bears improved back to 9-9-0-2 on the season, and looked to take this momentum to string together consecutive wins. – Noah Eltringham
Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017 – vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (3-2 SO loss)
After a dominating win in Hartford the previous night, the Bears came back home looking for some momentum in the form of a win against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
About halfway through the first period Chris Bourque scored a powerplay goal off a quick wrist shot in near the dot. Ten minutes later, he scored his second goal of the contest off a broken play entering the zone to make it 2-0 Bears. Ryan Bourque, Chris’ younger brother returned to Hershey as a member of the Sound Tigers, and scored his second goal of the season just nine seconds later. Goals from the Bourques made it 2-1 Hershey after the first period. After a three-goal first period, no goals were scored during the second. Despite several powerplay opportunities from both teams, both goalies stood tall. Although no goal scoring took place, Colby Williams entertained the fans in the Giant Center by dropping the gloves with Bridgeport player Connor Jones. After an uneventful second period, the Bears continued their same play style for most of the third period. In the last minute of play, the Bears took a slashing penalty and paid the price. The Tigers scored with just a few seconds remaining, to force overtime. Both teams went back and forth in overtime, but no score. So, this game would have to be decided in a shootout.
After scoring two goals in regulation, Chris Bourque would score the only shootout goal for the Bears, as the Sound Tigers scored two on Pheonix Copley. The Bears drop this game in a shootout, and fall to 9-9-0-3 on the season. – Noah Eltringham
Tommy Hughes was recalled from South Carolina on Tuesday… Tyler Graovac was called up to the Capitals on Friday.
Philadelphia Flyers – Monday, 11/27 at Pittsburgh Penguins; Tuesday, 11/28 vs. San Jose Sharks; Saturday, 12/2 vs. Boston Bruins
Washington Capitals – Thursday, 11/30 vs. Los Angeles Kings; Saturday, 12/2 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
Lehigh Valley Phantoms – Wednesday, 11/29 vs. Binghamton Devils; Friday, 12/1 vs. Hershey Bears; Saturday, 12/2 vs. Laval Rocket
Hershey Bears – Friday, 12/1 at Lehigh Valley Phantoms; Saturday, 12/2 vs. Milwaukee Admirals; Sunday, 12/3 vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins