FLYERS VS. HURRICANES: GAME PREVIEW (3:30 AM EDT)
Looking for their first one in three tries during the 2013-14 regular season, the Philadelphia Flyers (0-2-0) travel to Raleigh, NC, to take on the Carolina Hurricanes (0-0-1). Game time is at 5 p.m. eastern. The game will be televised locally on CSN Philly and nationally in Canada on NHL Network Canada.
This is the first of four meetings this season between the new Metropolitan Division clubs. They will play again in Raleigh on Nov. 5, followed by games in Philadelphia on Jan. 21 and April 13.
The Hartford/Carolina franchise is one that the Flyers have traditionally dominated. Philly has won 15 of their last 17 games against the Canes, including a sweep of the three-game season series last season. All-time, the Flyers are 74-26-14-4 against the Whalers and Hurricanes.
The Flyers are coming off a desultory 4-1 loss in Montreal on Saturday night. Last night's game suggested once again that the team is still plagued by the same major flaws that doomed them to missing the playoffs last season.
The Flyers struggle offensively and defensively against teams that play with discipline and attack with speed. At five-on-five, they spend far too much time in their own end of the ice. The puck support is often lacking, and the Flyers lose too many battles along the walls even against smaller players. Philadelphia also takes too many minor penalties, sometimes out of desperation to prevent scoring chances but just often are lazy infractions.
Managing energy is a challenge whenever a team plays the second match of back-to-back games, especially when the opponent did not play the previous night. The task becomes that much tougher when the club is coming off a game in which it found itself shorthanded nine times, as the Flyers were last night.
The Flyers have yet to score an even strength goal in their two games to date. At least against Toronto, the Flyers generated their share of good scoring chances. That was not the case last night in Montreal. Philly spent most of the game either killing penalties, hemmed in deep in their own end of the ice and/or unable to work the puck much past the red line. They got outshot by a 34-23 margin.
Steve Mason is expected to get the start in goal tonight. Ray Emery played better last night than his statistical line would suggest.
The Hurricanes were unable to nail down a one-goal lead in Friday's opening night game against the Detroit Red Wings, yielding a tying goal in the final 20 seconds and then losing in overtime. The final score was 3-2.
Radek Dvorak and Nathan Gerbe scored goals for the Canes in the opener. Cam Ward stopped 35 of 38 shots in a losing cause.
Entering the season, the biggest question mark for the Hurricanes is the team's defense corps. Up front, there is solid talent, especially through the middle with centers Eric Staal, Jordan Staal and highly regarded rookie Elias Lindholm. Last season, Alexander Semin led the team's wingers with 44 points in 44 games.
PROJECTED LINEUPS (Subject to change)
19 Scott Hartnell - 28 Claude Giroux - 10 Brayden Schenn or 93 Jakub Voracek
24 Matt Read- 40 Vincent Lecavalier - 17 Wayne Simmonds
25 Max Talbot - 14 Sean Couturier - 93 Jakub Voracek or 10 Brayden Schenn
37 Jay Rosehill or 45 Kris Newbury - 18 Adam Hall - 36 Zac Rinaldo
44 Kimmo Timonen - 5 Braydon Coburn
32 Mark Streit - 22 Luke Schenn
8 Nicklas Grossmann - 41 Andrej Meszaros
35 Steve Mason
[29 Ray Emery]
Scratches: Kris Newbury or Jay Rosehill (healthy), Erik Gustafsson (healthy), Hal Gill (healthy), Chris Pronger (LTIR, post-concussion syndrome).
19 Jiri Tlusty - 12 Eric Staal - 28 Alexander Semin
14 Nathan Gerbe - 11 Jordan Staal - 39 Pat Dwyer
53 Jeff Skinner - 20 Riley Nash - 18 Radek Dvorak
42 Brett Sutter - 16 Elias Lindholm - 21 Drayson Bowman
27 Justin Faulk - 4 Andrej Sekera
73 Brett Bellemore - 65 Ron Hainsey
44 Jay Harrison - 7 Ryan Murphy
30 Cam Ward
[31 Anton Khudobin]
Scratches: Mike Komisarek (healthy), Kevin Westgarth (healthy), Tim Gleason (concussion), Tuomo Ruutu (IR, lower body), Joni Pitkänen (IR, left heel surgery).
FLYERS STUMBLE IN MONTREAL
Saturday night in Montreal, the Flyers got thoroughly outplayed in a 4-1 loss to the Canadiens. It looked like a clone of many Flyers games from last season.
Philadelphia trailed, 1-0, after two periods, as Ray Emery and a slew of shot blocking kept them close in the game despite being outplayed. Brian Gionta scored a first period goal from in close for the only goal either team scored through 40 minutes.
The Flyers had trouble all night in coping with Montreal's speed and transitional game. Equally disturbing was the fact that the mostly undersized Habs won the majority of the battles on the walls. For much of the game, there seemed to be two red jerseys to every white one around the puck.
In the opening seconds of the third period, the Flyers turned a puck over and yielded a goal to Lars Eller. From there, they yielded a 5-on-3 power play tap-in goal by Brendan Gallagher, and fell into a nearly insurmountable 3-0 deficit. Vincent Lecavalier finally got the Flyers on the board on a power play rebound but that's as close as they got. Rene Bourque added Montreal's second power play goal of the period in the final minute to restore the three-goal margin of victory.
Both teams lost a would-be goal last night to ill-timed whistles in what was a rather poorly officiated game in general.
In the first period, Montreal goaltender Carey Price was unable to control a rebound and never had the puck covered at all but the official was on the other side and lost sight of the puck. Play was blown dead just as Matt Read stashed the loose disc in the net. In the third period, Montreal seeming scored a jam-in goal just ahead of the whistle, but the official had already decided Ray Emery had covered the puck (it was wedged under his skate blade).
Moments before Montreal scored its 5-on-3 power play goal, the officials momentarily and incorrectly awarded them a goal on a one-timed puck that hit the outside of the mesh and disappeared from view.
Clips from NHL.com
PHANTOMS OPEN SEASON WITH OVERTIME WIN
The Adirondack Phantoms opened the 2013-14 regular season with a comeback 4-3 road victory in overtime against the Hershey Bears. Defenseman Brandon Manning capped the game with the winning tally in overtime after Ben Holmstrom, Tye McGinn and Brandon Alderson (power play) scored in regulation. Yann Danis stopped 25 of 28 shots for the win.
The Phantoms rushed out to a quick 2-0 lead in the opening 3:48 of regulation.
At the 1:13 mark, Michael Raffl ripped a shot on net from the right circle. Hershey goaltender
Phillipp Grubauer made the initial save but Holmstrom quickly potted the rebound. Alderson earned the secondary assist.
A little more than two minutes later, Phantoms rookie Nick Cousins stickhandled around a Bears defender and snapped the puck on net. Grubauer again made the first save but could not prevent a rebound. This time, McGinn did the honors of stashing the loose puck in the net. Jason Akeson was credited with the secondary helper.
The Phantoms took their 2-0 lead to the first intermission only to see the Bears roar back for three unanswered goals in the second period.
In the opening minute of the middle stanza, Hershey rookie Nate Schmidt beat Danis up high with a 20-foot shot. Midway through the period, the Bears tied the game on a shorthanded breakaway goal. Michael Latta poked the puck away from Akeson in the neutral zone and then went in alone to beat Danis.
Six minutes later, the Bears took a 3-2 lead on another shorthanded goal. This time, Latta intercepted a giveaway and then fed the puck to Derek Whitmore for a one-time blast that overpowered Danis.
In the third period, Alderson re-tied the game at 3-3 with a power play goal at the 8:25 mark. Defenseman Matt Konan received a pass from defense partner Mark Alt and wheeled the puck up the ice from his own end of the ice. Konan then carried it over the red line, over the blue line and all the way to the slot. With three Hershey players going toward him, Konan fed the puck to Alderson in the lower right circle. The forward roofed the puck.
The game remained tied through the remainder of regulation, and moved to overtime. At the 3:22 mark of four-on-four sudden death play, the game came to an end. Akeson intercepted a puck in the defensive zone, and sped off on a two-on-one rush along with rookie forward Petr Straka. Straka received the puck and tried a backhanded shot. Grubauer stopped the shot but a pinching Manning claimed the loose puck and put it in the net to win the game.
The Phantoms return to action on Friday. They will start a weekend home-and-home set with a visit to play the Hartford Wolf Pack. The teams will rematch in Glens Falls the next night in the Phantoms' home opener.
EUROPEAN/JUNIOR PROSPECT WEEKEND ROUNDUP
* SHL: Robert Hägg was minus-one with no points in Modo's 3-2 overtime win against Örebro on Saturday. On Tuesday, Modo hosts defending champion Skellefteå AIK.
* KHL: Valeri Vasiliev was even with no points and a two minute interference penalty in the third period of Spartak's 2-1 loss to Dynamo Moscow. He skated 14:56 over 20 shifts. On Tuesday, Spartak hosts Donbass Donetsk, featuring former Flyers Ruslan Fedotenko and Michael Leighton.
* OHL: Anthony Stolarz stopped 26 of 28 shots in the London Knights' 7-2 win over the Guelph Storm. London returns to action on Thursday, visiting Sarnia.
* OHL: Scott Laughton, who has six points (two goals, four assists) in his first two games since being returned by the Flyers to the Oshawa Generals, was idle last night. The team has a home game tonight against Guelph.
* QMJHL: Samuel Morin remains out of action for Rimouski with a hand injury. On Saturday, Rimouski lost to Drummondville, 5-4. The Flyers' first round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft should return to practice this upcoming week and could be available to play when Rimouski hosts Moncton next Saturday.
* WHL: Taylor Leier had a goal and an assist for the Portland Winterhawks in a 6-3 loss to the Kelowna Rockets. The Hawks host Kamloops next Saturday.
* WHL: Tyrell Goulbourne had no points or penalty minutes for Kelowna in their 6-3 win over Portland. The Rockets are in Spokane on Tuesday.
* USHL: Fredric Larsson had his first point (an assist) and his first fight (vs. Alec McCrea) in the USHL in the Youngstown Phantoms 6-3 loss to Waterloo on Saturday. He was even in plus-minus in the match. His team hosts Chicago on Friday.
* USHL: Terrance Amorosa did not record a point and was minus-one in Sioux City's 2-1 loss to Sioux Falls on Saturday. His team visits Tri-City on Friday.
* USHL: David Drake was even with one shot on goal in Des Moines' 1-0 loss to Tri -City on Saturday. His team visits Fargo on Friday.
* EJHL: Merrick Madsen got his second start of the season and was the losing goaltender in the Minot Minotauros' 3-2 loss to Wenatchee. Madsen stopped 29 of 32 shots. Minot hosts Aberdeen on Friday.
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