1) 2019 IIHF World Championships -- Group B update: Team Czech Republic won a hard-fought game (via empty-net goal) against Switzerland on Tuesday, 5-4, to finish 6-1-0 in the preliminary round with 18 points. Pool play in Group B wraps up with a 2 p.m. EDT game between Sweden (Oskar Lindblom, seventh defenseman Robert Hägg) and unbeaten Russia (6-0-0). The Russians, Czechs, Swedes and Swiss will all move on to the medal round quarterfinals but seedings are at stake.
With three points against Switzerland -- a power play goal on a 2-on-1 rush and a pair of primary assists -- Czech team captain and Flyers right winger Jakub Voracek now has 15 points (3G, 12A) in seven games played. He is at least temporarily tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs' William Nylander for the tournament scoring lead. Tampa Bay's Nikita Kucherov is one point behind heading into the Russia vs. Sweden game.
Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas finished minus-three in 20:55 of ice time against the Swiss team on Tuesday. For the tournament, he is still +8 in seven games with four points (1G, 3A).
2) 2019 IIHF World Championships -- Group A Update: At 2 p.m. EDT, Team Canada (15 points) will take on Team USA (14 points) in the final game of the Group A round robin. Finland (16 points) was unable to protect a lead against Germany (15 points) on Tuesday and lost in regulation,4-2. Depending on the outcome of Canada vs. USA, any of Canada, USA or Finland could finish first in Group A. Team USA needs a regulation win over Canada to finish in the top spot.
Team Canada, coached by Alain Vigneault, features Flyers center Sean Couturier (1G, 2A), defenseman Philippe Myers (3GP, 1A) and goaltender Carter Hart (3-0-0, 0.70 GAA, .964 SV% with 54 saves on 56 shots). On Monday, amid Canada's 5-0 win over Denmark, Hart was working on his second shutout of the tournament but was removed by Vigneault midway through the third period so that backup goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood (dressed for the first time in the tournament) could get into a game.
Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray (2-1-0, 2.68 GAA, .890 SV%) was given the day off on Monday. He is slated to start the rest of Canada's games, including Tuesday's tilt against Team USA. Team USA features Flyers left winger James van Riemsdyk (2G, 3A in 6 games) is coming off his best game of the tourney in a tough 3-1 win over Germany.
3) 2019 World Championships: On a day where two-time defending gold-medalist Sweden needed an empty net tally for a one-goal (5-4) regulation victory over Latvia -- the Latvians had to win in regulation to stay alive in medal-round contention, thus they pulled their goalie for an extra attacker during a late power play with the game tied at 4-4 -- both of the two games with relegation at stake ended with the underdog team winning in overtime/shootout to remain in the elite pool for the 2020 tournament.
Hours after France was upset by Great Britain in overtime, Austria (0-6-1) was relegated to Div. 1 after a seven-round shootout loss to Italy. Flyers left winger Michael Raffl, who played a strong individual tourney in vain, scored two goals for his team to finish the tournament with four goals in six games. Including a goal sequence that he started with an effective forecheck but was not credited with an assist, Raffl figured in five of the nine goals the Austrian team scored in the tourney. He was rested in Sunday's game against the Czech Republic.
Austria did not have either Michael Grabner or Thomas Vanek available to them for the tournament, which left Raffl as the team's primary threat. Likewise, France -- a team that, in recent years, owned upset wins over Russia, the Czech Republic and Canada at the Worlds -- paid a severe price for having to come to this year's tournament with a severely depleted roster. At the international level, NHL role players such as Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Antoine Roussel become all-situation performers for their national team and elevate them a step above the relegation candidates.
4) 2019 Memorial Cup: The OHL champion Guelph Storm (1-1-0), featuring Flyers left wing prospect Isaac Ratcliffe, take on the WHL champion Prince Albert Raiders (0-2-0) in their final game of Memorial Cup round-robin phase action on Tuesday in Halifax, NS. On Monday, the QMJHL champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies defeated the Raiders by a 6-3 score. The tournament host Halifax Mooseheads (2-0-0) are undefeated thus far.
5) May 21 Flyers Alumni birthdays: Niko Dimitrakos (1979), Reid Simpson (1969), Todd White (1975).
6) Today in Flyers History -- May 21, 1985: The Flyers played nearly a perfect 60 minutes of hockey to defeat the Edmonton Oilers, 4-1, at the Spectrum in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. Mike Keenan's Flyers outworked, out-checked, out-goaltended and out-muscled Glen Sather's Oilers.
Pelle Lindbergh did his part in making the narrow lead stand up and the entire team, especially Ron Sutter in working against Gretzky, frustrated Edmonton by taking away the time and space to make plays. The Flyers out-shot the Oilers 41-26 for the game.
Ilkka Sinisalo opened the scoring with a late first period power play goal on a 5-on-3. In the third period, goals by Ron Sutter at 5:56 and Tim Kerr at 8:07 created some breathing room for the Flyers. Although Pelle Lindbergh's shutout bid was broken up with 3:08 remaining in the game, the Flyers had this one well in hand. Team captain Dave Poulin restored the three-goal margin with a late empty net goal to seal a 4-1 victory.
The next three games -- Game 2 in Philadelphia and Games 3 and 4 in Edmonton -- could have gone either way, but the Oilers prevailed in each to take a three games to one lead in the series. Philadelphia lost Vezina Trophy winner Lindbergh (torn quadriceps) and perennial 50-goal sniper Kerr for the remainder of the series. With Bob Froese in net for Philadelphia in Game 5, the Oilers won in a rout to claim their second straight Stanley Cup. For more, click here.