2010 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 2: Blackhawks stun Flyers in 2nd period

End of 2nd: Chicago Blackhawks 2, Philadelphia Flyers 0

Blackhawks lead series 1-0

No sooner had I finished published the last update, extolling how the Flyers were back to normal thanks to the out of control nature of Dan Carcillo and the great performance by Michael Leighton, before the Chicago Blackhawks unleashed their fury upon the Flyers and scored two goals mere seconds apart.

It started with a scrum around the Flyers net, with the Blackhawks converging on a rebound in front of Michael Leighton. Marian Hossa, who has been beleaguered all postseason long, kept pounding away at the puck before bouncing it over Leighton and into the net.

It was a garbage goal, an unfortunate one to allow by Leighton who had been playing so well, and one you could almost forgive. You’d hope for better coverage in front, but it was essentially a bad bounce.

Then Ben Eager carried the puck into the zone, and the entire feel of the game changed.

Just 28 seconds after Hossa’s score, Eager pulled off a nifty toe drag to pull the puck right into his wheelhouse and into a position where Leighton would be perfectly screened by his defender. Eager unleashed a wicked wrist shot that exploded off his stick, painted the top shelf and was buried over Leighton’s shoulder.

Until that point, you could say the Flyers had been playing one hell of a game. They were putting the pressure back on the Blackhawks and only a number of tremendous saves by Antti Niemi kept the Flyers from taking the lead. Leighton looked calm and comfortable in net.

In the span of just 30 seconds, it all fell apart.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.