Claude Giroux

The Flyers ‘have Mason’s back’

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Steve Mason’s numbers aren’t pretty. In five games, the Flyers’ starting netminder is 0-3-1 with an .878 save percentage.

But Philadelphia captain Claude Giroux had only encouraging things to say about his under-siege goalie after last night’s 4-0 loss in Chicago that saw the Blackhawks score three times on 19 shots in the first period.

“We have Mason’s back,” said Giroux, per CSN Philly. “If it weren’t for Mase, I don’t know what the score would have been.

“We have to stick together when it’s tough times. We’ve got to battle through it. We’ve done it before. We’re not going anywhere. We’ve got to stick together.”

Added coach Craig Berube: “[Mason] got bombarded in the first period and held us in there.”

As if it hasn’t been hard enough already, the Flyers (1-3-2) have four more tough tests to finish the month. Tonight they’re in Pittsburgh. After that it’s games against Detroit, Los Angeles, and Tampa Bay.

No word yet if Mason or Ray Emery will get the start tonight against the Penguins (Update: sounds like Emery). But regardless of who gets the assignment, the Flyers will want to stay out of the penalty box, as Pittsburgh enters tonight’s action with eight power-play goals in its first four games.

“Our penalty kill has to be a strong point,” said Mason. “Right now, it’s not.”

The Flyers allowed two power-play goals versus the ‘Hawks and have allowed four in their last two games.

NHL on NBCSN: Hungry Flyers set sights on rival Penguins

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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Philadelphia Flyers at the Consol Energy Center at 8:00 p.m. ET tonight. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

If their 6-5 overtime victory on Saturday gave the Philadelphia Flyers reason to hope, then Chicago’s decisive 4-0 win over them last night was a bucket of cold water. The Flyers’ season is obviously far from over just because they’ve gotten off to a 1-3-2 start, but they have to work hard to right this ship and that task won’t get any easier tonight when they battle their fierce rivals in Pittsburgh.

“We got to stick together when it’s tough time and we just got to battle through it. We’ve done it before,” Claude Giroux said after the game, per the Flyers’ website.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $15,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Wednesday’s NHL games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $1,500. Starts Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

He’s right of course. The Flyers began the 2013-14 campaign with a 1-7-0 run and still managed to make the playoffs. However, the reason they slumped out of the gate last season was primarily because they couldn’t seem to click offensively. Although they were shutout last night, the Flyers’ main problem this season has been its defense.

That’s not an area you can afford to be deficient in when you’re playing against Pittsburgh. For years the Penguins have been known as one of the league’s best offensive teams and nothing has changed this season.

Sidney Crosby is playing as good as ever with four goals and nine points in just four games. Evgeni Malkin isn’t far behind with two goals and five assists. Even newcomer Patric Hornqvist, who never recorded more than 53 points in a single season with the Nashville Predators, has stepped up with four goals and eight points.

For any other squad, Pittsburgh would be one of the worst teams to face under these circumstances, but this might actually be just what the doctor ordered for Philadelphia. The Flyers are typically capable of stepping up when facing their Pennsylvania rival. They were 4-1-0 against Pittsburgh last season.

Philadelphia might also finally get defenseman Braydon Coburn after he missed his fifth straight game on Tuesday despite taking part in the pregame warmups. The Flyers could certainly use any help they can get on the blueline.

Regardless of the outcome, this promises to be a fun game. For forward Steve Downie, it’s his first chance to experience the rivalry from Pittsburgh’s perspective after his two stints with Philadelphia and this will also be new Penguins head coach Mike Johnston’s first contest against the Flyers.

““I’m excited,” Johnston told the Penguins’ website. “When you look at an 82-game schedule some games just blend into the other games and some games jump right out at you. Heading into the season and looking at games last year when Philly and Pittsburgh played, the intensity and emotion, both in the building and on the ice, I think it adds to the game.”

Giroux nets OT winner as Flyers top Stars

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Philadelphia captain Claude Giroux scored the overtime winner at 2:49 of the extra period as the Flyers edged the Stars 6-5 in a back and forth affair in Dallas.

“Mixed emotions,” Giroux told CSN Philly. “We’re happy to win the game. To battle like that at the end and come back from 4-2, then they score again, we come back. Ugly win, but we’ll take it.”

The Flyers opened up a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes. After Trevor Daley opened the scoring, Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn gave Philadelphia an early edge.

However, Dallas scored three straight second period goals to to take a 4-2 after two periods. Daley had his second while Erik Cole and Jamie Benn had the others.

Andrew MacDonald pulled Philly to within one before the midway mark of the third period and Jakub Voracek tied it 4-4 with less than six minutes remaining in the third.

Dallas took its’ third lead of the night on Jason Spezza’s first of the season, but it was short lived as Michael Raffl scored less than two minutes later forcing overtime.

Voracek finished with a goal and two helpers in the win while MacDonald and Giroux each had a goal and an assist.

For Dallas, Spezza had a goal and three assists while Tyler Seguin assisted on four of the five Stars goals.

Steve Mason allowed four goals on 18 shots and was replaced by Ray Emery who made four saves for the win.

Kari Lehtonen allowed six goals on 37 shots in the loss.

“In the past, we saw couple comebacks. We put ourselves not in a good situation and then we find a way to win it,” said Giroux. “It’s good to get those kind of wins to bring the boys a little close. But let’s not have too many of those.”

The Stars received some bad news post-game as it was learned defenseman Patrik Nemeth will miss a good period of time. Nemeth was cut by the skate of Flyers’ forward R.J. Umberger early in the first period.

PHT Morning Skate: Ovechkin in a music video almost too weird to exist

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell believes that 3-on-3 overtime would “all but kill” the shootout. (The Hockey News)

Fascinating stuff about Taylor Crosby – sister of Sidney – trying to carve out her own niche as a goalie at Northeastern University. (SB Nation)

Speaking of Sidney Crosby, The Score’s Justin Bourne provided a great breakdown regarding why his shot tends to leave goaltenders guessing. (The Score)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $10,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Wednesday night’s NHL games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $1,000. Starts Wednesday at 8pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Jarome Iginla explains that his near-fight with Dion Phaneuf was merely a “heat-of-the-moment thing.” (Denver Post)

Simon Gagne’s signing could mean notable changes for the Boston Bruins’ fourth line. (CSNNE.com)

The Philadelphia Flyers are in a tough spot right now, but fans in need of a pick-me-up merely need to watch Claude Giroux’s ridiculous shootout goal on a loop:

Last, but certainly not least bizarre, Alex Ovechkin appeared in a music video for Katya Lel that’s just … *stares off into space like Ovechkin does for most of that really, really bizarre clip*

That clip comes via Russian Machine Never Breaks by way of Slava Malamud, although kudos are in order for Puck Daddy’s description of the video:

If you ever wanted to see a woman who looks like a mash-up of Robyn and Drea de Matteo groping a stone-faced Alex Ovechkin as he holds in a fart for three and a half minutes … Merry Christmas.

Can’t sum it up much better than that.

Flyers struggle in loss to Bruins: ‘It was like we were scared to make plays’

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The Philadelphia Flyers found themselves in a decent position late in the third period against the Boston Bruins, but saw at least a single point slip away.

The Flyers, playing on the road in Boston, allowed a late goal from Chris Kelly in a 2-1 loss to open the 2014-15 season on Wednesday. Philadelphia got off to a slow start and managed only 20 shots on goal, but managed to somehow stick around, getting a tying goal from Sean Couturier early in the third period.

Not enough, as it turned out.

The Flyers found themselves under pressure, out-shot in two of the three periods.

Based on the comments of their captain, Claude Giroux, held without a point and just one shot on net, it seemed like they were never really got comfortable in this one.

“The first two periods, it was like we were scared to make plays,” Giroux said, as per the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“I don’t know about the other guys, but I would get the puck and I didn’t get the confidence to make a play . . . I need to relax, play the game.”