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[#] Fri Oct 14 2016 06:21:09 EDT from Kelly Hinkle

Subject: Friday Morning Fly By: IT'S FINALLY HERE!

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*If you do nothing else today, watch the Flyers' new hype video over and over and over again. [BSH]

*So PEBs. Is he going to score more? YOU'RE DAMN RIGHT HE IS. [Daily News]

*Over/Under part two in which we are all super positive because it's going to be a FUN FUN YEAR. [BSH]

*Realistic expectations for Travis Konecny? ONE HUNDRED POINTS IF YOU ASK ME LET'S GO! [BSH]

*Jakub Voracek is ready to have a big season this year and YOU ARE DEFINITELY GOING TO YOU GINGER BEARDED BEAUT WOO! [CSN Philly]

*You (me, really) might keep forgetting that Boyd Gordon is a thing but guess what? He's going to make this team better! [BSH]

*You know what else is going to be fricking great this season? The Phantoms that's what! GET HYPED FOR ALL THE LEVELS FOLKS. [Sons of Penn]

*Our boys aren't the only teenagers trying to make it in this crazy league this season. [Sportsnet]

*DGB is bringing us a lot to enjoy this week, the first of which is a bullshitter's guide to the NHL. [Vice Sports]

*He's also outlined five storylines we should watch for during this hockey season. [The Guardian]

*Since you're all a bunch of stats nerds around here, enjoy these 30 numbers, one for each team. [Sportsnet]

*Perhaps you've heard of the biggest award in the hockey universe. Well now you get to hear the origin story behind it. [BSH]

*And finally, as the new season gets underway we are super pleased to be adding some new talent to the Broad Street Hockey family, most notably we've now got the two best personalities in all of Philly Sports media hosting BSH Radio! Boy oh boy are we going to have a fun year, kids. [BSH]

[#] Fri Oct 14 2016 09:24:09 EDT from Kelly Hinkle

Subject: BSH Radio #79: We're back, baby! Let's preview the 2016-17 Flyers season.

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The new and improved Broad Street Hockey Radio is back just in time for a new season of Flyers hockey with hosts Steph Driver and Bill Matz!

Just when you thought that opening day of the 2016-17 Philadelphia Flyers hockey season couldn't get any better, we've got a new episode of Broad Street Hockey Radio for you to enjoy while you pretend to work today!

Charlie O'Connor and Kelly Hinkle joined our new podcast hosts Steph Driver and Bill Matz for a rousing discussion about Radko Gudas, what we expect from the team's key players this season, and why we made the over/under picks we did. We're thrilled to have Steph and Bill on board and we think you're going to love the podcast going forward.

For now you can find the show on Soundcloud or embedded below, but we are coming soon to iTunes and the awesome (free!) Liberty Pods app on your smartphone (iTunes, Google Play) in the very near future. Promise.

Enjoy, and please follow the show on Twitter @BSH_Radio.

[#] Fri Oct 14 2016 11:10:54 EDT from Travis Hughes

Subject: Flyers vs. Kings preview: It’s hard not to be excited for the 50th season of Flyers hockey

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The 50th year in some ways feels like it could be the first.

It’s here. The Philadelphia Flyers kick off their 50th season tonight at 10:30 p.m. local time against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center, and it’s the most anticipated season of Flyers hockey probably in the last five years, at least.

It’s not that we necessarily have Stanley Cup hopes nine months from now. We don’t, really. This isn’t a team that we expect to be in the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference with the top two teams in the Metropolitan Division — their names will go unmentioned on this, a happy day. Sure, maybe there’s always an outside chance they could go on a playoff run, but much like last year’s run to the postseason, it’s not expected. This season isn’t a bust if they don’t win the Cup.

No, we mostly see this as a season of true rebirth. A team on the rise. The Flyers surprised everybody by finding a playoff position a year ago in their first season under coach Dave Hakstol. This is how we closed last season, putting a first-round scare into a Presidents’ Trophy winner:

Congrats to the Washington Capitals. The better team won. Glad we could put a scare into ya, though. The future is bright for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Posted by Broad Street Hockey: For Philadelphia Flyers Fans on Sunday, April 24, 2016

The top comment on that post reads as follows:

Guys! Provorov. Sanheim. Morin. Konecny. Ghost. This is a power house waiting to happen. The last six games have been icing on a cake. You. Me. Everyone else thought this team was going to be a dumpster fire. Instead we got six games of playoff hockey. This was a fun run. It's going to be more fun next year, and even more fun the year after that. Thanks for a great season. Let's go Flyers!!!!!

More fun next year. Even more fun the year after that. Well, here we are. It’s next year. And we’re expecting to have a lot of fun, just like we did last year, even if this doesn’t end in a Stanley Cup just yet.

We have Shayne Gostisbehere entering his first full season of NHL hockey. We have Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny making this team just a year after being drafted, way before schedule. And we have Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds who are all poised to continue being some of the NHL’s most fun players to root for. We have a year-long goalie battle between Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth, and that’s going to be intense but ... let’s be real, hopefully very fun to watch.

Maybe this year ends with another standing ovation at the Wells Fargo Center after a playoff loss. But it’s the journey between now and then that’s, God willing, shaping up to be one of the most fun years of Flyers hockey in recent memory.

And it all kicks off tonight in Los Angeles. #FlyersAfterDark, youze guys. Let’s go.

We’ll have lineups and starting goalies for you later after the team’s morning skate in California. Tonight’s game is a 10:30 p.m. start, and it can be seen on CSN Philly (locally), FS West (in Southern California), NHL Center Ice and (everywhere else).

[#] Fri Oct 14 2016 11:26:09 EDT from Travis Hughes

Subject: This season, you win when the Flyers win with BSH and Philly Phaithful

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Click here to visit Philly Phaithful and get 15% off with code BSH2016 at checkout.

During the 2016-17 season, a Philadelphia Flyers win is good news for more reason than just your mental sanity.

Every time the orange and black pull out a victory this year, Broad Street Hockey and Philly Phaithful will be giving a free shirt away to a loyal reader.

All you have to do is give us a follow on our various social media accounts. After each Flyers win, look for the prompt on each account and follow the quick instructions.

So, be sure to give us those follows:

And Philly Phaithful:

Let’s go Flyers!

[#] Fri Oct 14 2016 12:11:54 EDT from Kyle Phillippi

Subject: Flyers excited to see Sean Couturier lead this new-look, talented second line

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And you should be too.

Sean Couturier’s most common linemates last season were Matt Read and Wayne Simmonds. There’s certainly some offensive capability in there, specifically with the 30-goal scorer in Simmonds. But Wayne brings a different type of offensive skill -- one that pairs better with a Claude Giroux or Brayden Schenn, and that’s why they’re the top line this season.

Couturier’s offensive game reached career highs last season – well, almost. He was on pace for his first 50-point season had it not been for a string of injuries he dealt with, resulting in only 63 games played. Still, he managed to get 28 assists, the most he ever had in his four-year career.

Some of that had to with the linemates he played alongside. The aforementioned pairing with Simmonds certainly helped. He also saw time with Michael Raffl, Sam Gagner and a little bit of time with Jake Voracek.

The latter is the most important.

In a brief showing with Voracek on his wing, Couturier showed what having a talented, playmaking forward who can create his own shot can do for his game.

At his exit interview in April, Couturier spoke on that: “When they put me with Simmer and Jake, that helped too, two good offensive guys. The puck was moving, everything was going pretty well, we were scoring, producing offensively at 5-on-5. From there on, I really kind of gained confidence and I think it kind of carried the rest of the season and I really felt more and more dominant and confident in my game after that.”

Management must have read that transcript.

Couturier will skate on opening night with the two most talented, skilled wingers he’s ever shared a line with in Travis Konecny and Voracek.

"Coots is a very good player,” said general manager Ron Hextall. “Coots is an under-rated player visually. If you really watch him closely he does a lot of really good things. Now with Jake on his wing that seems to be a good fit and that's going to help him.

“I think in the past, maybe he hasn't had enough help. But right now he does. He does have enough help and it's going to be interesting.”

This won’t be a breakout season for Couturier. He’s already done enough to prove he’s capable of handling his own out on the ice. What this move does, though, is give the Flyers a second line that may be able to score just as much as the top line, Couturier included.

The organization knows what Couturier brings to the table. He can go out on any given day and shut down the opponent’s top scorer. He can also contribute in the offensive zone.

The Flyers are hoping to see even more of that production in his fifth season.

“I saw a development of it last year in terms of the purpose that Coots is playing with,” said head coach Dave Hakstol. “There was a real two-way purpose but there was a hunger there offensively.”

The second-year coach then went on to provide an example of what exactly Couturier can do with those two skilled wingers.

He used the preseason game against Boston as an example. Couturier, on multiple occasions, was “doing his job” in the defensive zone, retrieved the puck and spring-boarded either Voracek or Konecnt with an outlet pass.

“But he’s not stopping there,” Hakstol continued. “He’s then jumping in and adding to the offensive attack.”

That’s the difference with Couturier and his role this year. With Simmonds or Read or Raffl, Couturier never really had an outlet option, someone who can blow by the defenders at the blue line and create his own shot.

Now he has two… and now he’s in the best position of his career.

[#] Fri Oct 14 2016 14:13:54 EDT from David Strehle

Subject: Today in Philadelphia Flyers history: Streak begins, Propp late GWG, Neuvirth perfection

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'The Hammer' celebrates birthday by KO'ing DET with goal, first game of 'The Streak', Propp's goal with 0:25 left beats Caps, Roussel blanks Isles, Rathje rescues daydreaming Niitty, and Neuvirth comes up perfect for second straight time highlights October 14

A sometimes frequent look back at how the Philadelphia Flyers have fared on this day, recalling some of the more memorable moments, achievements, and events that have shaped the organization throughout the club's storied history
The Flyers have posted an 8-6-1-3 record in 18 all-time October 14 contests as they prepare to faceoff against the Kings tonight in Los Angeles to kick off their 50th anniversary season. It's rather appropriate that the team appears in L.A. on this date, because they did so in their very first October 14 outing back in 1967.

Philadelphia won their last October 14 decision -- last year at home against the Chicago Blackhawks -- snapping a four-game winless skid in games played on this date (0-2-2), dating back to 2005.

The Flyers have been involved in four contests that have gone beyond regulation time on October 14, having won once (2005) while dropping three in overtime and another in a shootout.

1973 -- Birthday boy Dave Schultz snapped a 2-2 deadlock late in the second period as Philadelphia spotted the visiting Detroit Red Wings an early two-goal lead before scoring five times in a 5-2 triumph at the Spectrum.

Goals from Detroit's Nick Libett and Mickey Redmond staked the visitors to a 2-0 lead midway through the first period, but rugged defenseman Barry Ashbee cut the Flyers' deficit in half late in the opening stanza.

It was all orange-and-black in the middle frame, as the Flyers outshot the Wings by a 20-7 count. Don Saleski scored a shorthanded goal with Andre Dupont serving a slashing minor as the midway point of regulation approached, before Schultz -- who was much better known for his fists than he was for his goal-scoring hands -- celebrated his 24th birthday by netting his first of the season to give Philly their first lead at 3-2 before the second intermission.

It was much the same in the third as the home squad continued to besiege Detroit netminder Roy Edwards, pouring 17 more shots on net and collecting the lone two strikes -- a shorthanded marker from Rick MacLeish and an even-strength tally from Simon Nolet -- to win going away at 5-2.

Schultz did give the crowd more of what they wanted, as he fought Tom Mellor early in the final session.

Goaltender Bernie Parent -- who had celebrated his return to the Flyers after being reacquired in an offseason trade by pitching a pair of shutouts to open the campaign -- recovered from allowing the two early goals and finished with 26 saves to improve to a perfect 3-0-0 record.

1978 -- Rick MacLeish broke a 1-1 tie with the Flyers skating two-men short early in the second period and Bernie Parent stopped 27 of 28 shots sent his way as the Flyers went on to down the Red Wings by a 3-1 score at the Detroit Olympia.

Paul Woods got things started off on the right foot for the Wings by beating Parent 8:59 after the opening faceoff, but Bill Barber knotted it up late in the period with a power play goal just 10 seconds after Detroit defender Reed Larson was whistled for boarding.

MacLeish's shorthanded goal gave the visitors a 2-1 lead heading into the third stanza, and Parent had to be good as the Red Wings carried play and outshot the Flyers, 11-6. With goalie Jimmy Rutherford pulled for an extra Wings attacker, rookie defenseman Behn Wilson hit the empty net with 0:27 remaining to solidify the victory.

1979 -- Bob Kelly's goal with 3:16 left in regulation proved to be the difference in a 4-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Spectrum.

Coming on the heels of a 9-2 thrashing at the hands of the Flames in Atlanta the day before, little did anyone know this victory would be the first game of what would eventually become a historic 35-game undefeated streak, as the club would not drop another decision all the way into the new calendar year.

Rookie Brian Propp notched his first multiple point game, recording a goal and an assist as the Flyers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the span of 5:29 late in the opening session. Paul Holmgren potted his team-leading third of the campaign, and the LCB Line teamed up with Reggie Leach finishing things off just 1:10 later. Leach then set up Propp to make it a three-goal Philadelphia cushion, but Lanny MacDonald responded only 38 seconds later to make it a 3-1 contest after one.

Darryl Sittler managed the lone marker of the middle stanza, beating Pete Peeters 0:33 into the frame to cut the lead to 3-2 heading into the third.

Kelly put the puck past Toronto's Paul Harrison to give the Flyers some breathing room, and it would become very important when MacDonald netted his second of the contest on a penalty shot with just 10 seconds left on the clock to set the final at 4-3.

1981 -- Brian Propp scored his second goal of the game with 25 seconds left in regulation to lift the Flyers to a hard-fought 5-4 triumph over the Washington Capitals at the Cap Center in Landover, Maryland.

Reggie Leach also scored twice, and Bill Barber added a shorthanded marker for Philly, who had squandered a late 4-2 lead by allowing goals to Caps Ryan Walter and Roland Stoltz to set up Propp's late-game heroics.

The Flyers dominated the final two periods to the tune of a 3-14 shots on goal advantage, but Washington goalie Dave Parro gave his team a chance and finished the contest with 37 saves. Pete Peeters ended up with 20 saves to pick up the victory.

1982 -- Consecutive goals from Mark Howe (shorthanded), Darryl Sittler and Tim Kerr staked the Flyers to a 3-1 lead, and Ray Allison added an insurance marker late in the third as Rick St. Croix outdueled Jacques Cloutier in a 4-2 Philadelphia win over the Buffalo Sabres at the Spectrum.

1989 -- Mark Howe and Dave Poulin scored to erase a two-goal third period deficit and complete a Flyers rally all the way back from 3-0 for a 3-3 deadlock with the New York Islanders at Nassau County Coliseum.

Down 3-0 in the second period, Doug Sulliman began the comeback 7:56 into the middle frame before Howe and Poulin's strikes knotted the contest in the final session.

Having dodged defeat was only a temporary relief for a struggling Philadelphia squad -- who were now 1-3-1 on the year -- as they continued to suffer from a lack of speed and scorers and were still reeling from goaltender Ron Hextall's ongoing six-week holdout in a contract dispute with the club.

1995 -- Mikael Renberg shattered a scoreless tie 8:02 into the third period and Dominic Roussel pitched a 19-save shutout in his first start of the season in a 3-0 triumph over the New York Islanders at Nassau County Coliseum.

The Isles held a 9-6 shots advantage during the opening 20 minutes, but it was all Flyers the rest of the way as they put rubber on Tommy Salo 30 times in the final two frames, while Roussel saw just 10 shots in the final 40 minutes.

Rod Brind'Amour added an insurance tally with just under eight minutes left, and Eric Lindros capped things off with a late empty-netter.

2005 -- Defenseman Mike Rathje blew a slapshot past goaltender Sebastien Caron 3:17 into overtime for his first goal as a Flyer, as the club overcame squandering a four-goal lead in a 5-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Wachovia Center.

On the strength of a pair of goals and four points from Simon Gagne, Philly built a commanding 5-1 lead midway through regulation. But the Pens kept chipping away, getting goals from Ryan Malone and rookie Sidney Crosby to make it 5-3 by the second intermission, and another via the power play from Dick Tarnstrom early in the third.

Nursing a 5-4 lead, goaltender Antero Niittymaki cost the Flyers when he was caught daydreaming. Max Talbot won a faceoff at center ice and flipped the puck into the Philadelphia zone from his own side of the red line, hoping to get to the bench for a line change.

What happened next was beyond belief, as the Philly goalie allowed the puck to bound off of him and into the net to knot the score at 4-4 with 8:08 remaining.

It was Talbot's first NHL goal, and he never even saw it go in.

"I turned around ready to change," the first-year Penguin said, "and the guys were like 'It's in! It's in!'"

Niittymaki admitted he had been watching a video on the jumbotron, and hadn't seen Talbot send the puck his way.

"It was a stupid mistake," he said after the contest.

Philadelphia had a golden opportunity to win it in the late stages of the third, but Caron -- who relieved rookie Marc-Andre Fleury after he was shelled for four goals on just 20 shots -- made a spectacular save. After a shot hit the goal post, Caron, who was lying flat on his back in the crease, reached over with his glove to rob Flyer Brian Savage with 1:11 left on the clock.

The Flyers were given a two-man advantage when Crosby was called for holding with 13 seconds remaining in regulation and Sergei Gonchar went off for tripping at 1:24 of the overtime, but Philly couldn't capitalize until Crosby had returned and Rathje's shot beat Caron to salvage the two points.

Peter Forsberg racked up four assists in the win, giving the new Flyer points in each of his first four outings and nine assists over that span.

2015 -- Sam Gagner scored his first goal as a Flyer and Michal Neuvirth stopped 30 shots to record his second straight shutout in a 3-0 whitewash of the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.

It was the 12th consecutive victory over the Hawks on home ice for Philadelphia, dating back to November 9, 1996.

Neuvirth, filling in for number one goaltender Steve Mason -- who remained out due to personal family reasons -- and coming off a 31-save blanking of the Florida Panthers, was again spectacular in the Philly cage as he extended his streak of not yielding a goal to 132:05.

Gagner deposited the puck past Corey Crawford 5:35 into the second period, while Claude Giroux -- playing in his 500th NHL game -- doubled the lead before Matt Read closed out the scoring in the third.

The Flyers held an emotional pre-game ceremony in which they honored defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who retired after winning the Cup with Chicago after Philadelphia dealt him to the Windy City at the NHL trade deadline.

October 14 Flyers birthday

Dave Schultz was born in Waldheim, Saskatchewan on this day in 1949. Drafted by the Flyers in the fifth round of the 1969 draft, "The Hammer" was viewed as the ringleader of The Broad Street Bullies during their glory days in the mid-1970's. Schultz racked up 1,386 penalty minutes in just 297 contests with the Flyers, and holds the NHL record for most penalty minutes in a single regular season, a staggering 472 during the 1974/75 campaign and is a mark that many believe will never be equaled. He also picked up 139 PIMs in only 17 playoff games during the drive to the 1974 Stanley Cup, and totaled 363 in just 61 postseason games while with Philadelphia.

Schultz could also score, notching a pair of hat tricks and posting a 20-goal season in 1973/74. He registered the overtime-winner in Game 4 of the 1974 Stanley Cup quarterfinal that eliminated the Atlanta Flames and propelled the Flyers onto the next round as they continued on the journey in securing their first-ever championship.

[#] Fri Oct 14 2016 21:20:54 EDT from Travis Hughes

Subject: Flyers vs. Kings: Lineups, game time, TV coverage, live stream and discussion thread

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Flyers hockey. It’s happening.

flyers-kings october 14 2016

Get the Los Angeles perspective at Jewels From The Crown.

Tonight’s game is on CSN Philly and 97.5 The Fanatic locally. In Los Angeles, the game is on FS West. Elsewhere, the game can be found on NHL Center Ice or live streaming on

Actual puck drop, due to season-opening ceremonies for the Kings, won’t be until almost 11:00 — 10:56 p.m., to be exact. So grab a Red Bull or a coffee and join us for the night ahead. Flyers hockey is back.

Philadelphia lineup


  1. Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds
  2. Travis Konecny(!) - Sean Couturier - Jakub Voracek
  3. Nick Cousins - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Dale Weise
  4. Chris VandeVelde - Boyd Gordon - Matt Read


  1. Andrew MacDonald - Shayne Gostisbehere
  2. Ivan Provorov(!!) - Mark Streit
  3. Nick Schultz - Brandon Manning


  1. Michal Neuvirth
  2. Steve Mason

Scratches: Roman Lyubimov

Injured: Michael Del Zotto, Scott Laughton

Suspended: Radko Gudas, Brayden Schenn

Los Angeles lineup


  1. Dustin Brown - Anze Kopitar - Devin Setoguchi
  2. Teddy Purcell - Jeff Carter - Tyler Toffoli
  3. Dwight King - Nick Shore - Trevor Lewis
  4. Kyle Clifford - Andy Andreoff - Jordan Nolan


  1. Jake Muzzin - Drew Doughty
  2. Brayden McNabb - Alec Martinez
  3. Derek Forbort - Andy Greene


  1. Jeff Zatkoff
  2. Peter Budaj

[#] Sat Oct 15 2016 01:56:15 EDT from Kurt R.

Subject: Flyers at Kings recap: Flyers open up season with win, Travis Konecny cements status as the world’s greatest human being

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The Flyers used an outstanding — and fun! — second period to cruise their way to a season-opening win.

There are a lot of things you’re usually hoping to see when you watch your favorite team begin their season, but for Flyers fans on this night, there were likely two things in particular they were looking for as they watched the orange and black take the ice against the Los Angeles Kings: a win, and strong performances from their two prized rookies making their NHL debut.

Check, and check.

A four-goal second period saw the Flyers jump out to a lead that they’d never relinquish, as they beat one of the West’s best by a final score of 4-2 and did so in a way that will only further excite this fanbase.

The Flyers’ first period of the season was not exactly them getting off to the fastest start, as it became apparent pretty quickly that the Kings’ full lineup would provide a bit more of a challenge than the teams the Flyers had skated against in the preseason. L.A.’s quick forecheck proved to be a bit much for the Flyers, who needed 13:08 to get their first shot on goal of the contest and were outshot 10-4 in the period as a whole.

Still, it was the Flyers who would get the best chance of the period. Following a penalty by Andy Andreoff for boarding Travis Konecny, it was Konecny himself who’d thread a pass to Mark Streit beside the net. Streit, however, was denied the first goal of the Flyers’ season by way of Jeff Zatkoff’s glove.

With that, both teams would head to the first locker room scoreless. And then a lot of things happened.

Just under four minutes into the second period, the Flyers managed to strike first and pick up their first goal of the season in the process. Was it one of the team’s star forwards? Was it Shayne Gostisbehere from the point? Was it Konecny or Ivan Provorov, the aforementioned star rookies?

No, obviously, it was fourth-line center Boyd Gordon, he of two goals last season, off of a great pass by Nick Cousins.

If you had Boyd Gordon down as your guess for “person to score the first goal of the Flyers’ season”, you’re quite the human being.

But with due respect to Mr. Gordon, the fun really began a couple of shifts later — because that’s when this game became the Travis Konecny And Sean Couturier show.

Konecny’s first NHL point would come less than a minute after the Flyers’ first goal, as Zatkoff would let up a juicy rebound on a long shot from the rookie and Couturier would make no mistake in slamming it home.

And later in the period, the two would hook up yet again for a goal, this time via a wonderful move and pass by the rookie:

But there was more! The youth movement continued! Streit would atone for his near-miss in the first by burying a chance down low, and it was set up by a shot wide from none other than Ivan Provorov, who collected his first NHL point on the play.

The Kings would get one back before the period came to a close, but the damage was already done. A period that saw the Flyers outscore the Kings 4-1, outshoot them 21-9(!), and outskate them up and down the ice gave the road team all they’d need to close this game out.

An early goal by Brayden McNabb in the third made things interesting for a bit, but the Flyers were able to largely slow the Kings down in the final frame, killing a penalty, playing sound defensive hockey, and getting strong goaltending from Michal Neuvirth en route to their first win of the season.


  • Again, the big story of the night was the Konecny-Couturier-Voracek line, which looked every bit as electric as it did in the preseason. Konecny at no point looked out of place against actual NHLers at actual NHL speed, and even more than the outcome of the game itself, that’s maybe the most encouraging thing we saw tonight.
  • Ivan Provorov also played tonight! His assist on Streit’s goal was the highlight, but he steadily improved as the game went on. He had a rough first period in which he misplayed the puck and even turned it over a couple of times, but it seemed like he was just fine by the time the second period rolled around, making the kind of low-key but helpful plays we’ve already grown accustomed to his making. Certainly an encouraging first 20:18 of NHL action for him.
  • Shayne Gostisbehere almost got his face sliced open about two minutes into the game, but he’d manage to only end up with a big cut on his face. Thankful that this didn’t end up a lot worse.
  • Michal Neuvirth was good! Made a few nice saves in the first to keep it 0-0 while the Flyers were finding their game, and tough to fault him on either of the two goals — a screened point shot from Doughty and another point shot that bounced off of Mark Streit’s stick. Steve Mason will presumably start tomorrow in Arizona, but Neuvirth’s opening argument for more playing time went fairly well.

Comment of the Night:

So I guess we better give Giroux some more defensive zone draws to free Gordon up to score


Observations will be up in the morning. Flyers are back at it in Arizona tomorrow night at 9:00. 1-0 and it feels wonderful. Go Flyers. Now get to bed, people.

[#] Sat Oct 15 2016 10:23:49 EDT from Charlie O'Connor

Subject: Flyers 4, Kings 2: 10 things we learned from an ideal start to the year

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Through twenty minutes of play, it looked like the Flyers were about to deliver yet another slow start to the season. Then the second period happened.

Morning Observations is a feature where we break down the previous night's game with an analytical eye.

#1: Dominant second period erased a sloppy start

The NHL scheduling algorithms did the Flyers no favors this season, forcing the club to start their season on the west coast and against a high-end opponent already playing their second game of the year, fired up for their home opener. As a result, it wasn’t surprising to see Philadelphia look a bit off to start the contest. The Flyers’ forecheck showed flashes of effectiveness, but they could extract little value out of that offensive zone time, and the team’s passing in the neutral and defensive zones was nothing short of disastrous. Only the strong play of Michal Neuvirth kept the game a scoreless tie, as the Czech goaltender stopped 10 shots and faced five high-danger chances in the period.

During the intermission, the easy excuse was that the Flyers were rusty and facing a Kings squad that was just a bit more dialed in due to their game on Wednesday. But considering Los Angeles finished 2015-16 with 48 wins, it was fair to worry that maybe Philadelphia just wasn’t in their league from a team-quality standpoint. Consider that theory demolished. From the start of the second period, the Flyers took it to the Kings, scoring four goals and winning every key statistical category. They outshot LA 21-9, posted a Corsi For percentage of 60%, and generated eight high-danger chances to just two for the Kings.

It was a total mauling, and it all began in the defensive zone via efficient breakouts. Their first two goals came directly as a result of great plays by defensemen (Brandon Manning on goal one, Shayne Gostisbehere on #2), allowing the forwards to work their magic on the attack. The Kings live and die by their forecheck, and the best way to beat them is to make quick, smart decisions under pressure via the breakout. The Flyers from two years ago would have wilted under that forecheck, but this is a better-coached team with much-improved passers on the back end. That showed last night.

#2: A nice low-event third period

There’s always a concern that a team will fall into a passive state in the final period while holding a big lead, allowing the trailing team to put the outcome in doubt late. The Flyers were not immune to these "score effects" last season — in fact, third period collapses were a major issue throughout the year. So when Philadelphia entered the final stanza up 4-1 and then gave up a quick tally just three minutes into the period, it briefly looked like the same old story.

But the Flyers regrouped, and actually put together a pretty stifling final period. At 5v5, they allowed just five shots on goal, ten total attempts at the net, and not one high-danger scoring chance. That’s not to say that the Kings didn’t have puck possession, but Philadelphia was able to both disrupt rushes in the neutral zone and render long cycles in the offensive zone by LA fruitless from a shots on goal standpoint. Aesthetically, it was a boring period of hockey, and that’s exactly the way that the Flyers wanted it to be. Report and Highlights | Corsica.Hockey Games Homepage | | | | BSH Recap | Meltzer’s Musings

#3: Konecny’s passing ability is already at a high-end NHL level

Entering last night’s game, all eyes were on the Flyers’ two 19-year old rookies, Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny. Philadelphia wasn’t particularly active in free agency during the offseason, so Provorov and Konecny essentially functioned as the team’s biggest additions for the 2016-17 season. While Provorov certainly had his moments, Konecny put on an absolute show, specifically with his passing ability.

Even in the nearly-disastrous first period, Konecny provided the only bright spot — a picture-perfect pass across the slot to Mark Streit on the game’s first power play. Only a miraculous save by Jeff Zatkoff kept Streit from giving the Flyers the early lead. Learning his lesson, Konecny chose a new target for his passes, earning two primary assists on Sean Couturier tallies in the second period. The first was just a shot-turned-rebound that Couturier gobbled up, but the second was all Konecny’s skill. After helping to force a turnover via the forecheck, the 19-year old made himself a target for a Jakub Voracek feed into the slot, before sending a no-look backhand pass over to Couturier who easily beat Zatkoff. It was the kind of pass that you see from perennial all-stars, not a teenager in his first meaningful NHL game.

In addition, Konecny finished with a solid 52.38% Corsi For percentage and was +6.23% relative to his teammates, implying that it wasn’t just a few great plays for the youngster. He was regularly pushing play in the right direction, and then helping to turn all that pressure into goals.

#4: Provorov made his mistakes, but also made plays

Ivan Provorov’s first NHL regular season contest wasn’t perfect. The rookie blueliner was out-of-sorts early in the first period, turning the puck over on a few occasions and looking flustered with the ferociousness of the Kings’ forecheck. While he delivered a few nice passes, the preternatural calm from the preseason was mostly absent at the start of the contest.

That poise quickly re-emerged in the second period, however. Suddenly, Provorov was jump-starting the offense with clean passes, and even pinching deep into the offensive zone on cycles — something he was hesitant to do even during his impressive preseason. Also, his primary assist came on a play that only veterans think to make, as he purposely shot wide of the net since he lacked a clean lane, allowing for Mark Streit to recover the carom off the boards and beat Zatkoff.

While he made a few more mistakes in the third period (some blind passes up the wall in the defensive zone that became turnovers), it was clear he was a far more confident player by minute 55 than he was at minute five of the game. He even pulled off a Gostisbehere-ian spin-o-rama late in the contest. After all was said and done, Provorov finished the game with an even 50% Corsi For percentage at 5v5, +3.85% relative to his teammates. Expect to see him finish in the black in that metric quite a lot this season.

#5: Boyd Gordon the big surprise

One of the fun start-of-season questions among fans is always which Flyers player will score the first goal of the year. There’s usually obvious choices (Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek), solid darkhorses (Sean Couturier, Shayne Gostisbehere) and then the off-the-board longshots. But there probably wasn’t a player in the lineup with longer odds than Boyd Gordon, the defensive-minded center who scored just four points in 65 games last year. Of course, it was Gordon who kicked things off, trailing a rush led by Brandon Manning(!) and sniping a top corner shot past Zatkoff.

The signing of Gordon was a bit controversial, especially in stat circles. Gordon has been used as a defensive zone/PK faceoff specialist in recent years, but even accounting for that role, his advanced metrics were uninspiring and his scoring metrics had fallen off a cliff. Combine that with an unimpressive preseason, and the doubters were growing louder and louder. But Gordon certainly didn’t look cooked last night. He seemed to have an extra skating gear versus how he looked in preseason, lending support to the theory that he was purposely conserving energy during the meaningless games.

He also proved no liability by the advanced metrics, either, finished at an even 50% Corsi For in his 9:52 of 5v5 ice time. The Flyers did not even allow one Kings scoring chance with Gordon on the ice. It remains to be seen how his season will play out, but the Boyd Gordon who showed up in Los Angeles was the guy who had Hextall so excited this summer. Hopefully he sticks around for the long haul.

#6: First line mostly silent

If you had to pick out a negative from last night’s game, it would have to be the performance of the top line of Claude Giroux, Michael Raffl and Wayne Simmonds. Not only did the trio not factor into any of the four goals, Giroux and Simmonds specifically struggled in terms of advanced metrics. Neither forward posted a positive Corsi rating, and they led the Flyers in on-ice scoring chances against. The Kings were regularly creating dangerous offense with Giroux and Simmonds out there at 5v5.

Much of their struggles can be attributes to tough matchups. Giroux spent about eight-and-a-half of his 14:22 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time battling the Kings’ top pairing of Jake Muzzin and Drew Doughty, and nearly eight minutes against reigning Selke winner Anze Kopitar. It was Kopitar who really got the better of Giroux, with Los Angeles racking up seven scoring chances and allowing just one when the two 1Cs went head-to-head.

The Kings’ star center is obviously a fantastic player, but Giroux is as well, so you would have liked to have seen him handle the matchup a little better. Still, it’s a testament to the team’s newfound depth that the Flyers could score four goals against an elite defensive club without any help from Giroux and company. The top line just can’t make a habit out of this type of performance.

#7: Penalty kill successful, more aggressive

Last year, the Philadelphia Flyers’ penalty kill was a major weakness of the club, and proved to be one of the biggest reasons that the team fell to the Washington Capitals in the first round of the playoffs. In response, the Flyers promised that tactical shifts were coming, with increased aggressiveness supposedly the major change. Last night, we had our first look at the new and improved Flyers penalty kill, and it definitely included some tweaks.

First and foremost, it’s obvious that the team will be employing more defensive zone pressure. Not only are they using the Czech Press — meaning that the high forward in Philadelphia’s formation will actively challenge the PP point man up top and "press" down on the forwards on the half boards — but the lower players in their shorthanded formation were also providing pressure to the flankers on the boards.

As for their neutral zone play, the Flyers appeared to be primarily employing an aggressive variation of the 1-3, which succeeded in forcing a number of dump-ins. At least on the scoreboard, the new tactics worked (LA went 0-2 on the power play), and we’ll see if that continues through the remainder of this west coast trek.

#8: Brandon Manning was all over the place

He may have been in the starting lineup tonight, but there’s no guarantee that Brandon Manning has a spot on this roster once all of the team’s regular defenseman are healthy or no longer suspended. Unless the Flyers plan to keep eight blueliners, Ron Hextall will have to make a choice between Manning and Andrew MacDonald at some point, and considering the praise thrown at the latter during the preseason from members of the organization, the former seems more likely to be sent down. Last night, it sure looked that Brandon Manning was fully aware of his precarious position and planned to do everything he could to impress the coaching staff and the front office.

Manning was the only Flyer who had any jump in the first period during 5v5 play, whether it was pinching in the offensive zone to try and create chances or throwing his weight around in the neutral zone. But his best play came in the second period, when Manning jumped into the rush and executed a variation of a center lane drive, opening up space in the slot for the trailer (Boyd Gordon) to wrist a shot past Zatkoff for a 1-0 Flyers lead. The 26-year old defenseman unsurprisingly did have a few bad moments, most notably on Drew Doughty’s late second period goal as Manning was caught floating in the defensive zone rather than covering his man in front. But at least last night, the good outweighed the bad for Manning.

#9: Couturier’s offensive breakout looking likely

The line that caught the eye of most fans going into the season opener was not the top unit centered by Claude Giroux, but line two of Jakub Voracek, Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny. It makes sense — Voracek looked back to his old self in preseason, and Konecny was obviously the talk of the town after his electrifying push towards a roster spot. The expectation was that these two dynamic wingers would help Couturier dramatically in finally achieving his supposed offensive upside over a full season. It’s hard to argue that narrative after last night’s opener. Couturier scored twice, both due to a combination of dangerous offensive situations created by the wingers and stellar instincts from the heady Couturier to get to the slot area.

When you talk to individual Flyers players, to a man they all call Couturier the smartest forward on the roster. However, through most of his career, that hockey IQ has mostly been used in the defensive zone, due to tough assignments and (most importantly) poor quality linemates who have forced him to spend more time defending than creating offense. Last year, that finally changed and Couturier posted the best offensive rate statistics of his career. This season, he’ll be shooting for the raw numbers — a 20-goal, 50-point year that finally silences the skeptics. A two-goal night in the season opener is one heck of a start.

#10: Usage decisions by Hakstol

Due to injuries and suspensions, the Flyers are currently rolling a roster that is missing a top-line winger and their entire projected first defensive pairing. As a result, Dave Hakstol has been forced to make tough decisions regarding the roles that his players will take while the roster is in a state of flux. A few of those decisions stood out. First, Shayne Gostisbehere actually led all blueliners in 5v5 ice time with 17:33 minutes, and more importantly, was taking regular shifts late in the third period. Last season, Hakstol often sat Ghost when trying to protect a lead, but it seems like the days of heavy score-related sheltering may be over for the 23-year old defenseman.

As for the penalty kill, the top duos were Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Chris VandeVelde at forward and Nick Schultz and Andrew MacDonald on defense. Many have questioned the continued presence of VandeVelde in the lineup, but if he somehow continues to be dressed even after Brayden Schenn returns from suspension, it will likely be Hakstol’s trust in his PK ability that keeps him in the lineup.

Despite his prominent role last night, however, MacDonald might not have the same protection. It’s not hard to envision the top-four defensemen in terms of penalty kill ice time being Schultz, Gudas, Del Zotto and Provorov (who was 3rd among Flyers d-men in 4v5 minutes last night), once all of the regular blueliners are active. MacDonald will instead have to earn his spot by outplaying Brandon Manning at 5v5 during the coming weeks.

[#] Sat Oct 15 2016 19:37:40 EDT from Travis Hughes

Subject: Flyers vs. Coyotes: Lineups, game time, TV coverage, live stream and discussion thread

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flyers-coyotes october 15 2016

Get the Arizona perspective at Five For Howling.

Tonight’s game is on CSN Philly and 97.5 The Fanatic locally. In Arizona, the game is on FS Arizona. Elsewhere, the game can be found on NHL Center Ice or live streaming on SiriusXM also has radio coverage.

Philadelphia lineup


  1. Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds
  2. Travis Konecny - Sean Couturier - Jakub Voracek
  3. Nick Cousins - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Dale Weise
  4. Chris VandeVelde - Boyd Gordon - Matt Read


  1. Andrew MacDonald - Shayne Gostisbehere
  2. Ivan Provorov - Mark Streit
  3. Nick Schultz - Brandon Manning


  1. Steve Mason
  2. Michal Neuvirth

Scratches: Roman Lyubimov

Injured: Michael Del Zotto, Scott Laughton

Suspended: Radko Gudas, Brayden Schenn

Lines are assumed to be the same as in last night’s game in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles lineup


  1. Max Domi - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
  2. Tobias Rieder - Christian Dvorak - Anthony Duclair
  3. Jordan Martinook - Brad Richardson - Shane Doan
  4. Lawson Crouse - Laurent Dauphin - Ryan White


  1. Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Connor Murphy
  2. Alex Goligoski - Luke Schenn
  3. Jakob Chychrun - Jamie McBain


  1. Mike Smith
  2. Louis Domingue

Lines via’s Sarah McLellan.

[#] Sun Oct 16 2016 00:15:46 EDT from Kyle Phillippi

Subject: Flyers at Coyotes recap: Oy, that OT didn’t end pretty

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Hello, overtime, we meet again.

In a game where the Flyers never led, they managed to claw their way back to force overtime.

They also were inches away from leaving the Gila River Arena with two points in hand but Mike Smith had other plans in mind. Despite dominating the extra five minute period, the Flyers fell victim to an Oliver Ekman-Larsson game-winner in the final two minutes of overtime for a 4-3 loss.

Prior to that, possession was controlled by the Flyers as they fired five shots on net. Matt Read had a golden opportunity to end it but an unreal sprawling save by Smith denied that hope. The Coyotes had just two shots in overtime.

Nonetheless, the Flyers come out of their opening back-to-back with three points. That’s certainly nothing to fret about.

In order to get to overtime, though, the Flyers needed to first find an equalizer. Before being robbed in overtime, Read played the unlikely role of hero in the final 20 minutes of regulation.

On a feed from none other than Travis Konecny, Read took the breakout pass and deked his way by Mike Smith to even the score at 3-3 about five minutes into the third period. That — or the beautiful pass from the rookie who now has three points in two games -- proved to be the spark the Flyers needed in a game that was uphill for much of the night.

Within the first 10 minutes of the games, the Flyers handed Arizona three power play opportunities. The Coyotes converted on their third man advantage when Shane Doan poked one past Steve Mason. The score, though, was marred in controversy.

It appeared as though Mason was bumped inside the crease as Doan shot it in the net. The officials reviewed it and determined that wasn’t the case. For what it’s worth, former NHL referee, Kerry Fraser, said on Twitter he disagreed with the call.

They would respond, though, as Michael Raffl potted his first goal of the season about four minutes later. Nick Schultz and Brandon Manning each had an assist. Last season, it took Raffl until his 13th game to get a score.

Raffl’s score nearly snowballed into more offensive production.

The Flyers were thisssss close to having their first lead of the game.

Seconds after the officials ruled there was inconclusive evidence on Boyd Gordon’s would-be first period goal, Arizona took play the opposite direction where Martin Hanzal slid one past Steve Mason to give the Coyotes the 2-1 advantage.

It was a sudden, emotional turn of events that left the Flyers fighting an uphill battle.

Trailing by a goal, the Flyers began the second period with over a minute to go on the power play. Seventeen seconds into the period, a turnover from Shayne Gostisbehere in what looked like a communication gaffe between he and Claude Giroux, resulted in a breakaway the other way that Brad Richardson capitalized on, lifting it right over Mason’s left pad.

Almost seven minutes later, the Flyers and Wayne Simmonds would answer to cut the deficit to 3-2. Simmonds followed up a Giroux shot that bounced off of Mike Smith’s pad back into the slot. On the play, Giroux dangled his way by his man to create his shot. That was a reassuring sight to see for Flyers fans who wondered what the captain would look like after offseason surgery.

It also would set the stage for the thrilling third period and overtime.

Other things that happened:

  • Matt Read had a chance to even the contest with about eight minutes to go in the second period. Jake Voracek threaded one by two defenders to give Read an open look at the doorstop. Smith was up for the challenge, though.
  • In net, Steve Mason stopped 31 of the 35 shots he saw. It was one of those games where Mason dealt with unfavorable situations, but also had a few hiccups, including one instance late in the game where he appeared to misread an easy wrister that ricocheted off of his glove.
  • Travis Konecny came very close to his first NHL goal being a thing of beauty.
  • Had Gordon’s goal counted, he would have matched his season total from last season. Yes, he had two goals all of last year. Nonetheless, Gordon looks like a solid signing in the early going.
  • Speaking of Gordon: he won the final faceoff of regulation in the defensive zone with five seconds to go. That’s exactly why the Flyers brought him in.
  • The Flyers were outshot 8-0 at one point in the first period against Los Angeles. They found themselves in an 8-1 hole about halfway through Saturday’s first period.
  • Shayne Gostisbehere, who escaped a scary injury the night before, undressed a handful of Arizona defenders in this contest, most notably Luke Schenn. The second-year defenseman appeared to skate effortlessly — per usual — in this game and got more aggressive as the game progressed.

Comment of the night

Will Chris Pronger get any ice time tonight?

- Jester2891

[#] Sun Oct 16 2016 12:17:27 EDT from Charlie O'Connor

Subject: Coyotes 4, Flyers 3: 10 things we learned from the first overtime loss of the year

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Another spotty first period resulted in the Flyers chasing the game from the start, but they still tied the game in the third before falling in overtime.

Morning Observations is a feature where we break down the previous night's game with an analytical eye.

#1: Even strength play not the issue in this one

Generally, when we evaluate the overall quality of a hockey team, we look first and foremost at their performance at even strength. That’s not to say that the other situations aren’t important, but the vast majority of NHL games are played at 5v5, so the teams who are most efficient at outshooting and outscoring their opponents during those stretches will probably win a fair amount.

The Flyers were unable to earn a win last night, but they still largely carried the play at 5-on-5. Their score-adjusted Corsi For on the night was 56.76%, and they exceeded 50% in each of the game’s periods. Philadelphia won the shot quality battle as well, leading in 5v5 Expected Goals, 2.31 to 1.70.

So how did they end up losing? Frankly, it was a bit of a fluky result. Arizona’s first goal came off a faceoff at the start of the Coyotes’ third power play of the game’s opening ten minutes, and easily could have been waved off due to goaltender interference. Goal #3 was caused by a rare power play miscue from Shayne Gostisbehere, who carried the puck into traffic in the neutral zone and then turned it over, leading to a breakaway. And the Coyotes’ game-winner in overtime came on a delayed penalty, just seconds after the officials ignored an obvious holding-the-stick infraction committed against Jakub Voracek. That’s three goals that weren’t exactly the result of a process that an opponent can expect to repeat. On the whole, the Flyers may have lost, but they looked the superior hockey team.

#2: Strong start to the season

Obviously, it’s always tough to swallow an overtime loss, especially when it comes to a team not expected to make the playoffs, like the Coyotes. But don’t lose sight of the fact that three-points-in-four-games is still an impressive start to the season, especially considering the circumstances. The Flyers faced a rare season-opening west coast road trip, first battling a strong Kings club who was already in their second game of the year, and then the very next night faced an Arizona club just beginning their own season. Back-to-backs are always tough, and seemingly tougher considering the time difference and the fact that their second night opponent obviously wasn’t dealing with fatigue.

Especially encouraging is how the Flyers have earned their 1-0-1 record. In both games, Philadelphia won the 5v5 battle, and currently sit with a strong 55.14% score-adjusted 5v5 Corsi (7th in the league) and 57.56% in 5v5 Expected Goals For percentage (also 7th). There are other promising signs as well. The penalty kill looks far more aggressive this year, even if the shorthanded units did allow their first goal of the season last night. Claude Giroux looked healthy and impactful, lessening concerns that he might be on the verge of a steep statistical dropoff. And finally, youngsters Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny have been two of the most effective players on the team so far.

If the Flyers are unable to retain their 5v5 gains from the latter part of 2015-16, or if the penalty kill continues to flounder, or if Giroux struggles like he did late last year, or if the kids aren’t as good as fans hoped — all of these scenarios have the potential to sink the Flyers’ season. Instead, everything is coming up favorable thus far. And don’t forget — the Flyers are also playing without three key players in Brayden Schenn, Michael Del Zotto, and Radko Gudas. Add them to an already-humming machine, and this season could turn from good to great very quickly. Report and Highlights | Corsica.Hockey Games Page | | | | BSH Recap | Meltzer’s Musings

#3: A return to normalcy

Friday night was a classic #FlyersAfterDark game, in that many of the key contributors for Philadelphia were role players and not the ones you’d expect to be carrying the team on opening night. Sure, the Couturier line was dominant. But few could have predicted that Boyd Gordon would score the Flyers’ first goal of the season, or that Brandon Manning would be one of the most impactful defensemen on the night. In addition, the first line centered by Claude Giroux was basically silent, leaving the scoring duties up to the Couturier unit and the bottom-six.

Against the Coyotes, however, the "best" players on the Flyers played like it, while the guys at the bottom of the depth chart showed why they fill limited roles. A quick glance at the Corsi charts tells us that Streit, Giroux, Provorov, Raffl, Simmonds, Voracek, Gostisbehere, Konecny, Couturier and Read were the Philadelphia players who finished above 50 percent, while the rest of the lineup fell in the red. With the exceptions of Streit and Read, the above list is a pretty comprehensive look at who most would describe as the high-end players on the roster.

On the other hand, the depth players struggled a bit. Manning had some positive moments, but he also gifted the Coyotes the puck on a number of occasions. Nick Schultz’s bad pinch directly resulted in Arizona’s second goal of the night, and Andrew MacDonald’s decision-making in all three zones was inconsistent at best. The bottom-six (aside from Read) also delivered little in the way of impactful play. None of this should come as a major shock — after all, there’s a reason why Manning, Schultz and MacDonald are bottom-pair defensemen when all are healthy, why third and fourth liners belong in that role, and why the Flyers’ best players generally have higher cap hits than the depth guys. Last night was just a reminder of that fact.

#4: The Giroux line is back

Against the Kings, Claude Giroux’s unit struggled to push play in the right direction while primarily facing Los Angeles’ top pairing of Doughty and Muzzin and their top line center by Anze Kopitar. The Coyotes do not possess that degree of high-end talent, and the Flyers’ top line took full advantage.

By the numbers, the top line was Philadelphia most effective unit all game long. Not only did they add two even strength goals courtesy of Wayne Simmonds and Michael Raffl, they spent the bulk of the contest on the attack even when not putting the puck in the net. All three forwards finished with a 66.67% Corsi For percentage, and were even more impressive by the quality-adjusted xG, which placed them all over 75 percent. The line’s performance should have extinguished any lingering worries that the Kings game was a harbinger of things to come, even if their strong play didn’t result in a victory for the Flyers this time

#5: Giroux looked far more like the Claude Giroux of old

One of my big concerns going into the 2016-17 season was the effectiveness of captain and superstar Claude Giroux. More than any other player, he’s the engine that makes this team go, and as a result, he’s justifiably paid like an elite forward in the NHL. However, as I noted in the offseason, Giroux’s underlying metrics noticeably declined last season, continuing a trend that began back in 2014-15. His play especially dropped off in the final few months of 2015-16, culminating in a playoff series that saw Giroux and his linemates get taken to the cleaners by Nicklas Backstrom and company.

The captain did have a solid excuse. A painful hip ailment was apparently hindering him, and Giroux underwent surgery in the offseason to correct the issue. As a result, all eyes were on the Flyers’ star this weekend to see which Claude Giroux would show up — the Hart Trophy contender, or the plodding bottom-sixer from the playoffs. While it was just one game, on Friday he worryingly looked more like the latter. Last night, however, we saw the Giroux of old. His best moment came on Wayne Simmonds’ goal, as he stormed through the neutral zone and past multiple Coyotes defenders before letting a dangerous shot rip from the slot, creating a rebound that Simmonds would promptly deposit past Mike Smith.

The numbers backed up the eyes as well — after an awful 26.25% Expected Goals percentage at 5v5 versus the Kings, Giroux pasted the Coyotes to the tune of 81.93% last night. The captain’s skating had the obvious burst that it lacked in March and April of last year, and he showed a willingness to attack the high-danger areas on the cycle rather than limit himself to the perimeter. The Flyers will certainly hope that this is the Claude Giroux that shows up for the majority of their games this season, and if he does, a playoff berth is a near-certainty.

#6: Provorov lived up to his pedigree

In his NHL regular season debut, Ivan Provorov started slow on Friday. In the first period, he especially struggled to deal with the vaunted Los Angeles forecheck, resulting in a few ugly turnovers. While Provorov improved as the game progressed, to the point that he picked up a primary assist and pushed his advanced metrics into the black by night’s end, it wasn’t the dominant performance that some fans expected. Against the Coyotes, however, Provorov looked far more like the future top-pair defenseman that fans so desperately want him to become, particularly at 5v5.

A far cry from his issues in the first period on Friday, Provorov was at his best last night in the defensive zone. Rush after rush began quietly with perfect Provorov passes, delivered in stride and right on the tape to a speeding forward. His play without the puck was nearly as impressive, as he used leverage and positioning to win battles behind the net and prevent Arizona from ever executing their cycle game. Provorov’s 66.67% Corsi For percentage showcases the degree of efficiency in his game — the Coyotes weren’t creating much in the way of offense with the 19-year old on the ice. He did appear to sag a bit at the end of regulation, which may have contributed to Dave Hakstol’s decision to sit him for the overtime. But that’s to be expected for a young player at the tail end of his first NHL back-to-back. On the whole, Provorov was great.

#7: Matt Read had a statement game

Read may be the biggest beneficiary of the rash of injuries and suspensions that the Flyers are dealing with in the early season. After an underwhelming 2015-16 season, Read didn’t exactly turn heads in camp and has begun the season as a fourth line winger, at the bottom of the team’s depth chart. Considering Chris VandeVelde’s heavy penalty killing responsibilities, it seemed like Read would be Hakstol’s most likely choice to be scratched once Brayden Schenn returns from his suspension. That was before last night, however.

The "same old Matt Read" chorus was swirling on social media after Read was unable to capitalize early in the game after receiving a perfect pass from Voracek. But that play should have instead been a hint that Read was due — after all, the chance occurred right in the "dirty area" that Read himself noted in his exit interviews that he had unconsciously avoided last season. Even if he didn’t finish that opportunity, the process was sound.

He proved it early in the third period, taking a pass from Travis Konecny in the neutral zone and outmuscling rookie Jakob Chychrun to manufacture a breakaway for himself, before fooling Smith with a slick move to tie the game. Read was the only bottom-sixer to finish with a Corsi over 50% last night, and the eyes matched the numbers. He was one of the team’s most effective forwards, and this performance really should have been enough to jump him over VandeVelde on the forward depth chart, keeping him out of the press box.

#8: Slight tweak to PK neutral zone forecheck so far

Through the first two games, it’s been obvious that the Flyers made tactical adjustments to their penalty kill this season. Whereas last season, Philadelphia employed active defensive zone pressure just 27.8% of the time, this year it seems like they’re utilizing a Czech Press at every opportunity. The result has been less time for power play forwards to survey the offensive zone and make decisions.

But there have been changes to the team’s neutral zone formations as well. Philadelphia has primarily used a "Passive" 1-3 forecheck in the neutral zone this year, with one forward (F1) ahead of the other penalty killers in the center of the ice, while the remaining three line up across the ice, parallel to the red and blue lines. In 2015-16, their version of the 1-3 had the center PKer (usually F2) in the line be granted the freedom to attack the puck carrier if the opportunity presented itself, while the flankers hung a bit further back, ready to retrieve dump-ins.

This year, however, the penalty killer in the center (F2) has hung back, while the flankers (often defensemen) are the more aggressive ones. So far, the tweak has been effective in forcing a number of uncontrolled entries, as power plays seem insistent upon entering the offensive zone along the boards, at least thus far. It will be interesting to see if the tactic (and its effectiveness) holds as the year progresses.

#9: Bellemare as 3C experiment not quite working

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare was praised by many for his eye-opening play in the World Cup of Hockey with Team Europe, and the Flyers’ coaching staff apparently concurred with that assessment. To start the year, Bellemare was granted the role of third line center, despite almost exclusively functioning as 4C in his NHL career up to this point. The line did a decent job of creating chances against the Kings, but last night they ran into a regular issue — repeated struggles to get the puck out of the defensive zone. All three forwards on the line finished with Corsi For percentages below 43 percent, bringing up the rear on the Flyers’ charts.

Aside from the defensemen, the center on a line is most responsible for moving play out of the defensive zone. He sits low in the zone, providing an easy outlet for his blueliners who are under forechecking pressure. Bellemare is not awful at this job, but it’s a bit confusing why he would be used in this role when Nick Cousins is far superior at it and is instead playing wing on that same line. Cousins was even more effective at generating zone exits last season than Claude Giroux or Sean Couturier, so not using him in the center role seems a waste of his talents. Watching the Bellemare line be repeatedly pinned in the defensive zone last night, it was impossible not to wonder how much longer Hakstol will keep Bellemare at 3C, especially when there’s a better option right next to him.

#10: Ultra-aggressive defense still a hallmark of Hakstol’s tactics

As the Flyers’ play improved in the final months of 2015-16, the mantra from the players was that they finally had a full handle on the ins-and-outs of Dave Hakstol’s system. A key aspect of Hakstol’s tactics involves activating his defensemen early and often in the neutral and offensive zones. Often, you’ll see a Philadelphia defenseman move below the goal line on the cycle, as he gets replaced up top by a forward. This helps to extend cycles and keep opponents off balance, even if it does add some risk by potentially forcing a forward to defend against a quick transition rush.

In addition, defensemen have the freedom to attempt aggressive reads in the neutral zone, cutting off passes or skating routes with the goal of quickly generating another offensive zone entry. Both strategies show no signs of disappearing in Year 2 of the Hakstol era. It did burn them once last night, as Nick Schultz took himself out of the play on an aggressive neutral zone pinch that caused a Jakob Chychrun rush and a Martin Hanzal goal. But the active blueliners also have been a big reason why the Flyers have won the possession battle in both games this year. Expect the tactics to only become more effective when players like Michael Del Zotto and Radko Gudas return to upgrade the defense, pushing two of Schultz, Andrew MacDonald and Brandon Manning out of the lineup.

[#] Mon Oct 17 2016 06:20:33 EDT from Kelly Hinkle

Subject: Monday Morning Fly By: Not a bad start eh?

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*And just like that we are right in the swing of hockey season. Feels good, right? Our boys got off to a great start Friday night, taking it to the Los Angeles Kings. RECAP!

*Charlie brings us ten things from that awesome late-night victory. [BSH]

*Saturday night's game in Arizona wasn't quite a good, but you know what? Still got a point! 3 of 4 to start the season isn't a bad way to get things going. RECAP!

*You know who's been a pleasant surprise so far? Boyd Gordon. Not bad at all. [Sons of Penn]

*Not surprising? The fact that Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny had two pretty solid games. [Inquirer]

*The second line, as it stands right now, looks pretty sexy. [CSN Philly]

*Couturier in particular looks pretty dang great. He's going to have a big year folks get ready. [Inquirer]

*Scariest moment of the opening weekend was Shayne Gostisbehere taking a skate to the face. Thank the gods, it's just a scratch. [Inquirer]

*Imagine continuing to pretend that Andrew MacDonald is an effective player at the NHL level... [Inquirer]

*The Flyers' rookies weren't the only ones to impress in the opening games of the season. There's a serious youth movement in the NHL right now. [SB Nation]

*Role players don't have a place in this league anymore. Which is probably for the best. [Puck Daddy]

*And finally, in case you missed it, BSH Radio made its triumphant return last week and the new show is freaking fantastic. We'll be back again this week, so get ready! [BSH]

[#] Mon Oct 17 2016 13:42:47 EDT from Kyle Phillippi

Subject: A newly-confident Pierre-Edouard Bellemare looking to add offense to his game

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Despite being one of the older players on the team, Bellemare believes he still has a lot of room to grow

He may be just one of four Flyers that are pointless through the first two games, but Pierre-Edouard Bellemare isn’t letting that faze him.

Nor is he letting his age be a cause for concern.

Sure, 31 years old doesn’t seem like much to an everyday person. James Mirtle, who produces a yearly team-by-team comparison for age, height and weight lists 27.3 as the median in the league. That places Bellemare four years older than the average, and he’ll be turning 32 before the season ends.

On the Flyers roster, he finds himself as the fourth oldest to suit up behind Mark Streit, Nick Schultz and Boyd Gordon. Those three, though, have 41 years of NHL experience altogether.

Bellemare? This is just his third year, making him an interesting case study.

“I know people keep saying an old guy can’t improve no more,” Bellemare said. “But that’s what I’ve been trying, trying to learn and to get my game better.”

There’s been an adjustment period for Bellemare since arriving to Philadelphia on June 11, 2014 from the Swedish Hockey League. In his final season overseas, he scored 20 goals with 15 assists in 52 games. When he arrived to the Flyers, he assumed a different role on a checking line with players like Ryan White and Chris VandeVelde.

Establishing himself as one of the better penalty killers on the team, Bellemare wants to take another step forward this season. He wants to regain some of his offensive touch.

“I think that the next step is to be a better player offensively and to help the team,” Bellemare said.

“The confidence is going to help quite a lot.”

What he’s referring to is the confidence he gained from playing on Team Europe in the World Cup of Hockey. He took on a different role there, one more familiar to him in the SHL. Bellemare scored one and assisted on another in six tournament games. He played on the third line and held his own against high-end competition.

“You go to a tournament where you play against the best players in the world every single shift, you can’t make a fool out of yourself,” Bellemare explained. “That helps a person gain confidence.”

Head coach Dave Hakstol says management was watching the tournament very closely and caught wind of what Bellemare was doing. They liked what they saw, so much so that they opted to begin the season with Bellemare centering the third line.

He remains there for now, but for how long remains the question. The lineup will shuffle a bit once Brayden Schenn fulfills his three-game suspension after Tuesday’s game.

If Bellemare remains where he’s at, it’ll be because of the faith the Flyers have in him to carry out a more offensive role.

“We're going to ask him to make a few more plays,” Hakstol said before the season began.

The second-year coach calls Bellemare “a strong two-way centerman.” He doesn’t believe he’ll have to change much moving up a line, citing his minutes as last season as “third line minutes” anyways.

Bellemare agrees.

“The fact that I’m getting the third line spot does not change the way I play,” Bellemare said.

“The only thing now… it’s not only about helping the top two lines to rest or losing momentum, we’re going to have to create the momentum more than you do with the fourth line. That’s the small difference.

The French native has certainly takes forward in his young NHL career. He says his play with the puck is faster which makes his decision-making second-nature finally. He wants his third improvement to be attacking the net.

For the second time in about six months, Bellemare referenced Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn as guys he wants to model his game after. At his exit interview, he applauded Simmonds for how he could run over anyone to get his spot in front and how Schenn took a big step forward last season doing the same.

Now he wants to take that step.

“That’s something I still have to improve but it’s getting better since I’ve been here,” he said. “To be in the places where Brayden Schenn is, where Simmy is, this is the thing I’m trying to improve on and what I want to do.”

He may be among the oldest on the team, but just like his linemate Nick Cousins or either of the 19-year-old rookies, Bellemare is still developing. The only difference with him is that he’s also trying to defy father time.

[#] Mon Oct 17 2016 14:43:47 EDT from Travis Hughes

Subject: Flyers prospect Pascal Laberge concussed after taking vicious elbow to head

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He’ll be out indefinitely.

Flyers forward prospect Pascal Laberge was concussed and will be out of the lineup for an indefinite amount of time after an absolutely brutal elbow to his head on Saturday night during a QMJHL game.

Laberge, who plays for the Victoriaville Tigres, was selected with the 36th overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft by the Flyers. His agent, prolific Twitter user Allan Walsh, reported that he did indeed suffer a concussion and that he is symptomatic.

Moncton’s Zachary Malatesta, who has a history of such hits, has been suspended indefinitely by the league.

[#] Tue Oct 18 2016 06:29:36 EDT from Kelly Hinkle

Subject: Tuesday Morning Fly By: GAME DAY EDITION!

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*YAAAAAAAAAAAS welcome to the first game day Fly By of the 2016-2017 hockey season! At some point, Flyers hockey will be played in our time zone. That day is not today. Our boys are in Chicago and the puck drops at 830LEGGOFLOOORS

*Looks like we'll see Michal Neuvirth again this evening. GOALIE CONTROVERSY OOOOOOOOH. [Inquirer]

*Pierre-Edouard Bellemare is hoping to add a little offense this season. That'll be good, PEBs. [BSH]

*The Flyers off to a 1-0-1 start? NOT TO SHABBY! [Inqurier]

*So far so good for new guy Boyd Gordon. [CSN Philly]

*The Phantoms are looking good so far too. Let's meet this year's team, shall we? First up the goalies, and the we move on up to the defense, and finally the forwards. Going to have a fun year in Allentown it looks like.

*Speaking of the Phantoms, local boy T.J. Brennan was a big part of their season opening win. [Sons of Penn]

*The Phantoms will be without Pascal Laberge for a little while after the poor kid took an absolutely vicious hit over the weekend. Good lord. [BSH]

[#] Tue Oct 18 2016 11:50:52 EDT from Travis Hughes

Subject: Flyers vs. Blackhawks preview: Season-opening road trip comes to close in Chicago

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There are a few changes to the bottom-six as the Flyers wrap up their season-opening road trip.

The Philadelphia Flyers close out their season-opening three-game road trip with an 8:30 puck drop against the Chicago Blackhawks this evening at United Center. The real debate before this one is if it qualifies as #FlyersAfterDark ... 8:30 starts are pretty rare, particularly on Central Time. But ... here we are.

The Flyers will likely start Michal Neuvirth in net tonight, although that will not be confirmed until after the team takes its morning skate in Chicago today. We’re expecting a few lineup changes: Matt Meat Read is bumping up to the third line, seemingly playing his way off the edge after a very strong pair of games to start the year. Nick Cousins has been bumped down to the fourth line, and it’s possible that Roman Lyubimov will make his NHL debut on that fourth line as well. Chris VandeVelde would likely be the one to come out should that happen.

We’ll see. Again, all of these lineup changes are based off of practice Monday and could change between now and game time.

The Blackhawks come into the evening with a 1-2-0 record through their first three games, with all three of their top scorers from a year ago — Artemi Panarin, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews -- without a goal so far. Holding those guys scoreless is one way to beat this team, for sure, but it’s also unlikely to continue for long. Let’s hope their early season slump continues for another night.

Special teams will likely be key. (That’s one of those BS game preview transition sentences that feels so stupid to write and I apologize for it.) The Blackhawks were a great power play team last year and have been solid early on, while the Flyers penalty kill has been among the NHL’s best in the early going. Both teams have taken quite a few penalties so far this season, too, with the Flyers racking up 40 minutes through two games and the Blackhawks racking up 38 in three. (To be fair, the Flyers numbers are skewed thanks to the end-of-game misconduct handed to Jakub Voracek on Saturday night.) So ... you know, special teams. Key.

Tonight’s game will be on CSN Philly and 97.5 locally. CSN Chicago has the game in the Blackhawks market, while NBCSN will cover the game nationally. You can live stream the game nationally through NBC Live Extra. Our friends over at Second City Hockey have more coverage for you from the Blackhawks perspective.

Here’s what we’re likely looking at for lineups:

Philadelphia lineup


  1. Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds
  2. Travis Konecny - Sean Couturier - Jakub Voracek
  3. Matt Read - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Dale Weise
  4. Roman Lyubimov - Boyd Gordon - Nick Cousins


  1. Andrew MacDonald - Shayne Gostisbehere
  2. Ivan Provorov - Mark Streit
  3. Nick Schultz - Brandon Manning


  1. Michal Neuvirth
  2. Steve Mason

Scratches: Chris VandeVelde

Injured: Michael Del Zotto, Scott Laughton

Suspended: Radko Gudas, Brayden Schenn

Chicago lineup (subject to change?)


  1. Tyler Motte - Jonathan Toews - Richard Panik
  2. Artemi Panarin - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane
  3. Vince Hinostroza - Nick Schmaltz - Marian Hossa
  4. Dennis Rasmussen - Marcus Kruger - Jordin Tootoo


  1. Duncan Keith - Niklas Hjalmarsson
  2. Michal Kempny - Brent Seabrook
  3. Gustav Forsling - Brian Campbell


  1. Corey Crawford
  2. Scott Darling
flyers blackhawks october 18 2016

[#] Tue Oct 18 2016 13:07:07 EDT from Travis Hughes

Subject: Hey, we have some new Flyers shirts for you

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New stuff!

As you may have seen last week, we’ll be partnering with our friends at Philly Phaithful all season long to give away a free Flyers shirt each time the squad wins a game this season. (Congrats to @RichiePasq on the shirt from Friday’s win!)

Our giveaway lets you pick any one of Philly Phaithful’s selection of Flyers shirts, and starting today, we have two more ready for you to select from.

Aside from our giveaway after each win this season, BSH readers can earn 15% off any purchase they make before the end of October using promo BSH2016 at checkout.

Head over to Philly Phaithful to check out the selection.

[#] Tue Oct 18 2016 13:37:37 EDT from Travis Hughes

Subject: Nick Cousins, not Chris VandeVelde, to sit for Roman Lyubimov vs. Blackhawks

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It’s likely a special teams-driven decision

So we wrote our game preview earlier with the knowledge that Roman Lyubimov would likely make his NHL debut in Chicago tonight, and ... OK, cool. You can argue it’s good, even.

Lyubimov was one of the better forwards in training camp among the bottom-six, and he certainly earned his spot on the team to start the season. You could understand deciding to sit him to start the year, however, particularly with Brayden Schenn out of the lineup for the first four games due to suspension. It’s early, you’re short a guy, and you want to go with those you know. Lyubimov has never played in the NHL, so it’s a bit riskier than running with guys who have played in the NHL before.

That said, after two games it’s good to see Lyubimov get into the lineup here tonight against the Blackhawks. He will indeed get to play on the fourth line with Boyd Gordon and Chris VandeVelde.

Wait, VandeVelde? We expected him to be the odd man out tonight with Lyubimov coming in. To any objective observer, CVV is the weakest of any of these bottom-six forwards so that would make sense. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Nick Cousins, Matt Read, Dale Weise, Boyd Gordon, VandeVelde.

So it’s a little annoying that VandeVelde will remain in while, as it turns out, Cousins will find his way out of the lineup this evening. If you’re trying to build the best roster, one theory is that you simply go with the best players at your disposal, and I don’t think many would disagree that Cousins is better than VandeVelde.

But this is likely a roster move justified by special teams in coach Dave Hakstol’s eyes. VandeVelde is among the team leaders in penalty kill time, and the penalty kill is probably the one thing he does that’s above average. Cousins, meanwhile, has been a power play contributor here in the early going, but that was always going to change when Brayden Schenn came back from suspension anyway.

We worry that there’s some blind loyalty going on here between Hakstol and VandeVelde, who were together at the University of North Dakota. CVV has been seemingly untouchable since Hakstol became coach, and despite his spot on the penalty kill, there are definitely other players here that could fill that role.

But hopefully this is just one of many combinations the Flyers head coach tries out as the beginning of the season rolls on. Lord knows there’s more talent on the bottom-six than we are used to, and it might take a while to find the combination that helps the Flyers best win hockey games.

[#] Tue Oct 18 2016 17:41:37 EDT from Travis Hughes

Subject: Flyers vs. Blackhawks: Preview, lineups, game time, live stream and discussion thread

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The Flyers are in Chicago for the first and (probably) only time this season.

flyers blackhawks october 18 2016

Get the Chicago perspective on tonight’s game at Second City Hockey.

Tonight’s game can be streamed live online in the United States with NBC Live Extra.

Locally, the game tonight can be found on CSN Philly and 97.5 FM. In Chicago, the game will be shown on CSN Chicago. Elsewhere, the game can be seen on NBCSN.

Philadelphia lineup


  1. Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds
  2. Travis Konecny - Sean Couturier - Jakub Voracek
  3. Matt Read - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Dale Weise
  4. Chris VandeVelde - Boyd Gordon - Roman Lyubimov


  1. Andrew MacDonald - Shayne Gostisbehere
  2. Ivan Provorov - Mark Streit
  3. Nick Schultz - Brandon Manning


  1. Michal Neuvirth
  2. Steve Mason

Scratches: Nick Cousins

Injured: Michael Del Zotto, Scott Laughton

Suspended: Radko Gudas, Brayden Schenn

Chicago lineup


  1. Tyler Motte - Jonathan Toews - Richard Panik
  2. Artemi Panarin - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane
  3. Vince Hinostroza - Nick Schmaltz - Marian Hossa
  4. Dennis Rasmussen - Marcus Kruger - Jordin Tootoo


  1. Duncan Keith - Niklas Hjalmarsson
  2. Michal Kempny - Brent Seabrook
  3. Gustav Forsling - Brian Campbell


  1. Corey Crawford
  2. Scott Darling

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