It was only the first practice of the season, but the Flyers liked what they saw from new linemates Vincent Lecavalier and Wayne Simmonds.
“I thought [Lecavalier] looked great,” GM Paul Holmgren said, as per NHL.com. “He was out there a lot with Wayne and the two of them seemed to have some chemistry right away. They both like to control the puck down low and they can move around.”
Head coach Peter Laviolette was equally effusive with his praise.
“To get him out there in that first group, to see a big body like that moving up and down the middle of the ice, I thought he looked terrific,” Laviolette said. “His skating was great.
“You can tell that he came here and he wants to dig in and enjoy this, and the way he’s working and the way he’s fitting in with the guys, he’s going to be a big piece for us this year.”
Lecavalier, 33, does bring a physical dimension the Flyers haven’t had at the center position in recent years. The 6-foot-4, 208-pound veteran often uses his strength to ward off defenders and create space for others.
Simmonds, who was one of Philly’s bright spots in an otherwise disappointing 2013 campaign, projects to open on the second line as Lecavalier’s winger, along with Brayden Schenn.
It’s a nice fit for Lecavalier, a noted table-setter.
Simmonds, who has scored at a 0.34 goals-per-game clip in each of the last two seasons, should be pushing for his first 30-goal campaign with Lecavalier in the middle.
But the chance for at least a single point slipped at the worst possible time, as Jonathan Toews scored with 1:18 left in regulation and then set up an empty net goal from Marian Hossa just a few seconds later to secure the 4-2 win.
The Canucks remain stuck at five wins — just five wins — on the road. They have the 29th-ranked road record in the entire NHL. Only the Arizona Coyotes have been worse away from home ice. So, that’s a problem that needs to be fixed down the stretch.
Vancouver had a chance to move into a wild card spot. Instead, they let the Blackhawks regain momentum as the period went on, and as a result, they remain on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture for right now.
Corey Crawford earned his 200th career win, making 26 saves. That’s a milestone night for him. For Toews, that’s his most productive night of the season, as he factored into all four Chicago goals, which, of course, included the winner.
So overtime against the New York Islanders seemed like a perfect time for captain Claude Giroux to bust his scoring slump.
Without a goal in his last 12 games, or since Dec. 21 before the holiday break, Giroux finished the Flyers comeback with an overtime goal to give Philly a 3-2 victory on Sunday. Jakub Voracek did great work along the boards to force a turnover from John Tavares, and Shayne Gostisbehere followed up his chance with a quick pass to a wide-open Giroux at the top of the crease.
That comeback win — Philly trailed by two goals early in the second period — bumps the Flyers back into a wild card spot.
Steve Mason had a big game in net for Philly, with 36 saves, while the Flyers fired 47 shots on goal toward Thomas Greiss, although it’s a difficult task trying to re-set and stop Giroux — an accomplished scorer in the NHL — on the doorstep.
Goals, goals and more goals! Blue Jackets outlast Senators for overtime win
Plenty of goals. A little three-on-three overtime. Seemed like an enjoyable afternoon of hockey between the Ottawa Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Well, maybe the goalies, Mike Condon and Joonas Korpisalo, didn’t enjoy it as much.
The Blue Jackets prevailed for a 7-6 overtime win, with Cam Atkinson scoring just 1:09 into the extra period. That’s his 23rd goal of the season. Only two players — Jeff Carter (24) and Sidney Crosby (28) — have scored more goals than Atkinson this season.
With the win, and the Capitals sitting idle today, the Blue Jackets move back into a tie with Washington at 68 points in the fight for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
There were some anxious moments for Columbus.
Rookie defenseman Zach Werenski was hurt blocking a shot in the third period. He briefly left the game, unable to put any pressure on his right leg as he was helped off.
The good news: He only missed a few minutes, returning late in regulation and for the overtime as well, which is important for the Blue Jackets.
#CBJ Zach Werenski said on @FOXSportsOH post-game he "thought it was broken" and "long term" injury when he blocked the shot.
“He’s made a couple of huge mistakes in a game and he comes to the bench, shakes it off and then goes out and makes a great play. For a 19-year-old playing that position and the amount of time he’s getting in key situations with this organization, it’s pretty impressive.”