Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News,
The story is no longer of potential, of the future, of a few more pieces.
The story is of now, now, NOW, a hairy 4-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday night the latest evidence that this edition of the Flyers can handle mounting adversity, emerge from it, be strengthened by it even.
Possibility has replaced potential. The pieces, long considered insufficient or even borderline dormant, are here now, creating the exciting, unlikely and undoubtedly unnerving narrative that has made the final three-plus weeks of this regular season more relevant than I thought possible when the season began.
The Flyers are now within a point of Detroit for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. And it gets better. They have two more games left to play than the Red Wings, and they are undoubtedly playing better - despite a slightly precarious third period in which they were outshot 21-9.
The Red Wings have lost five of their last seven games and are in danger of not reaching the postseason for the first time in the last 25 seasons. The Flyers won for the seventh time in their last nine games and have now registered points in 16 of their last 21 games.
And really, who saw this coming? This season was supposed to be about next season, and the season after that.
from Brian Smith of PhiladelphiaFlyers.com,
Monday was one of those strange days where the most interesting thing to happen at Flyers practice had nothing to do with the game the next day.
As the practice wrapped up, Jake Voracek emerged from the locker room for his first skate with his teammates in three weeks. He received a hockey team’s version of a standing ovation, with a lot of hollering and sticks banging the ice. Fortunately nobody got carried away and stick-tapped him anywhere near the lower-body injury that’s kept him out of the lineup since late February.
“It was amazing,” Voracek said. “It felt really good. I’m not going to lie. It was a great feeling and I’m really happy the boys did something like that.”
However, it was just a first day back. Voracek disqualified himself from being ready for Detroit tomorrow, and didn’t sound optimistic about the Chicago game on Wednesday, saying he needs time to recover the conditioning he lost during his long layoff since he couldn’t skate at all.
“You’ve got to do everything in the gym,” he said. “Miss three weeks of skating, it’s hard to catch up on. That’s why I need a couple of practices. [I have] no idea about Chicago. I’m going to go day-by-day and see how I feel.”
from Craig Custance of ESPN,
Custance: You've now moved from NHL rookie to folk hero. How has this ride been for you?
Gostisbehere: It's definitely been a wild ride. It's pretty crazy. If someone told me this was going to happen at the beginning of the year, I'd have said 'You're pretty crazy.' It's been a fun ride and to experience it with my teammates, coaches and everything has been a lot of fun.
Custance: What was the one point this season where you were like, 'I can't believe this is happening?'
Gostisbehere: Just when you get called up and you're in the NHL and you're scoring goals and doing stuff that you know you're typically not supposed to be doing. I think some of the OT winners, I've been like, 'What is going on?' It's a wild ride. It's crazy. It's been a lot of fun for sure.
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
“We control our destiny.”
They are four words usually used incorrectly, often by a team that requires a minor miracle to leapfrog four other teams to grab a playoff spot, to somehow suggest that fate may have played a role in the first 60 games of their season.
Except, in the case of this year’s Philadelphia Flyers, it’s actually true.
The Flyers don’t need help from anyone to return to the Stanley Cup playoffs for just the second time since 2012.
They have 17 games remaining. They trail the Red Wings and Penguins by two points for the final Eastern Conference wild card spot — and they have one game in-hand.
They will face the two teams they’re chasing — Detroit (twice) and Pittsburgh (three times) — a combined five times over their final 15 games.
In other words: the Flyers can thank NHL schedule-maker Steve Hatze Petros for an opportune matrix. Without it, their playoff hopes would be at the mercy of others.
“It’s a perfect scenario for us,” Wayne Simmonds said Wednesday. “We can talk as much as we want, but now it’s up to us to deliver on it.”
Philadelphia’s phantastic rookie defenceman, San Jose’s blueline beast, Kopitar, Stempniak, Jones, fantasy and more in Scott Cullen’s Statistically Speaking.
Shayne Gostisbehere – The Flyers rookie emerged from his biggest slump of the season, during which he had no goals and one assist in six games, to score two goals in a 4-2 win against Tampa Bay. Gostisbehere has 14 goals in 47 games. Since the 1990-1991 season, there is one defenceman to score more than 14 goals as a rookie (Dion Phaneuf, 20 in 2005-2006). And, a reminder, Gostisbehere has done this in 47 games!
Brent Burns – While we’re on goal-scoring defencemen, the San Jose blueliner put up a goal and an assist in a 2-1 overtime win at Calgary, giving him 15 points (6 G, 9 A) in the past 13 games. Burns leads all defencemen with a career-high 24 goals, and 282 shots on goal, this season.
continued at TSN...
from Ian McLaren of The Score,
There's hope in the City of Brotherly Love.
With a win over Tampa Bay on Monday, the Philadelphia Flyers moved to within two points of Detroit for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
A recent 7-2-1 run has greatly increased their chances of qualifying for the playoffs, something that seemed like a pipe dream as the calendar turned to 2016.
Now within striking distance of both Detroit and Pittsburgh with 17 games remaining for each club, here's three reasons why the Flyers will indeed be one of the final 16 teams left standing at the end of the regular season.
Ghost Bear, Gudas & Co.
The big story, of course, has been the one they call "The Ghost Bear," who's been nothing short of spectacular since being called up in mid-November. Through 47 games, 22-year-old Shayne Gostisbehere has recorded 14 goals and 23 assists, and only Erik Karlsson, Kris Letang, Brent Burns, and John Klingberg are averaging more points per game among defensemen.
While Gostisbehere is rightfully being lauded for helping right the Flyers' offensive ship with his breakout performance on the blue line, the emergence of Radko Gudas as a stellar defenseman is also going a long way towards propelling Philadelphia's upward climb.
from Brian Smith of PhiladelphiaFlyers.com,
When the weather starts to get warm, excitement starts to build in most NHL locker rooms. That’s because warm weather generally means the playoffs are coming. For the Flyers, the playoffs aren’t a lock yet by any means – they remain three points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final wild card spot in the East. The other wild card spot and a Metropolitan Division automatic berth are each three points beyond that.
But as the team returned to the ice yesterday after having a sunny, 60-degree Tuesday off, there was a noticeable confidence in the locker room. Nobody would profess to Pittsburgh’s loss to Washington on Tuesday night being a part of that, but you can bet the players were aware that the Penguins had used up their game-in-hand on the Flyers without picking up any points. It’s no secret that several of the teams chasing the Flyers in the East gave up top forwards at the trade deadline, while GM Ron Hextall kept his team intact.
In reality, the Flyers currently are in control of their own destiny. With 20 games to play, they are within striking distance of either of those wild card spots or could even make it into the third divisional slot. What’s working in their favor is they have three games against the Penguins yet to play – including one on the final weekend of the season. They are there because they’ve swept their way through the first half of a homestand where they felt they needed 10 and possibly all 12 available points to become contenders in the race.
via the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that they have signed 6-0, 200-lb forward Michael Raffl to a multi-year contract extension, according to general manager Ron Hextall.
Raffl, 27 (12/1/1988), is one of three Flyers to have appeared in all 61 games this season where he has recorded 17 points (8g-9a) while averaging 14:17 of time-on-ice per-game.
In his third NHL season, all of which he has spent with the Flyers, Raffl has posted 38 goals and 29 assists for 67 points in 196 games played. He owns a plus-minus rating of plus-13, while seven of his 38 goals and have been game-winning goals.
A native of Villach, Austria, Raffl originally signed as a free agent on May 31, 2013 and recorded 22 points (9g-13a) in 68 games as a rookie in 2013-14. He signed a multi-year extension on Mar. 22, 2014 and followed his rookie season up with a career-high 21 goals and 28 points in 2014-15.
First up is Michael Neuvirth to save a win for the Philadelphia Flyers and below is Pekka Rinne in a win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
from Tom Dougherty of CSN Philly,
With the NHL trade deadline five days away, the Flyers' game plan hasn't changed much.
Even with the orange and black sitting five points out of the second wild card.
"We're not going to add," general manager Ron Hextall told Comcast SportsNet's John Boruk in a 1-on-1 interview Wednesday afternoon. "We feel like we have depth, quite honestly.
"I feel like we have a couple guys up in Lehigh Valley that can help us, so we feel that we have enough depth right now to make it through the year.
"If someone goes down, we got good fillers for them. We're going to hold. If something comes up that we can make ourselves better for the future, we'll at least look at it."
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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