Philadelphia Flyers

Lightning’s terrible night: Game vs. Flyers, Johnson, Hedman all lost


The Tampa Bay Lightning suffered a 7-3 blowout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers tonight. It was the Lightning’s worst defeat of the season and that wasn’t even the low point of the night for them.

Tampa Bay announced that forward Tyler Johnson and defenseman Victor Hedman both sustained lower-body injuries during the contest. Hedman was forced to exit the game late in the first period while Johnson’s night ended in the second frame.

The extent of their injuries wasn’t immediately apparent, but any length of time Tampa Bay has to go without those two would be trying for the club. Johnson, who was named to the All-Star roster, has 17 goals and a team-leading 46 points in 43 contests. Hedman was averaging 22:21 minutes per contest and had 20 points in 25 games before Monday’s game.

Although Tampa Bay held its own early in this contest, the tide turned when Jakub Voracek and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare scored 51 seconds apart in the second period to give the Flyers a 4-1 edge. Tampa Bay responded by pulling goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, but Ben Bishop didn’t fare any better.

That took the pressure off Flyers goaltender Rob Zepp, who was playing in his second career game because Steve Mason has a knee injury. Zepp stopped 21 of 24 shots, which proved to be more than enough for him to improve to 2-0-0.


Braydon Coburn sustains lower-body injury

Braydon Coburn sustains lower-body injury


The Philadelphia Flyers have a commanding 7-2 lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning through 40 minutes tonight, but the news hasn’t all been good for them. Defenseman Braydon Coburn left the contest due to a lower-body injury and won’t return, per the team’s website.

The Flyers are expected to make further details available on Tuesday. Before sustaining the injury, Coburn had an assist in 6:49 minutes of ice time. That gives him six points in 31 games this season.

If he isn’t available for Wednesday’s game against Washington, then the Flyers will likely turn to Carlo Colaiacovo, who hasn’t played since Nov. 19.

Philadelphia is also missing defenseman Nicklas Grossmann (upper body) while Kimmo Timonen (blood clots) hasn’t been available at all this season.

Flyers chase Nabokov as veteran’s struggles continue


Evgeni Nabokov, 39, is in the twilight of his career and at this point, it has to be asked: How many more chances will he get?

The Philadelphia Flyers chased him tonight after he surrendered four goals on just 13 shots. Although to be fair, Ben Bishop hasn’t been able to contain Philadelphia tonight either.

Chris VandeVelde and R.J. Umberger each beat Nabokov in the first period, but what ultimately sank the veteran goaltender were the goals scored by Jakub Voracek and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare just 51 seconds apart in the second frame.

This could be chalked up to a rough night if it were an isolated incident, but Nabokov had a .892 save percentage in 10 contests going into this game. Andrei Vasilevskiy has proven to be an appealing alternative in his four games with Tampa Bay this season, although the 20-year-old will get more playing time in the minors as Bishop has a firm hold on the starting gig in Tampa Bay.

Goalie nods: Flyers give Zepp second career start


All the latest from the crease…

Philly goes with Zepp

Rob Zepp, the 33-year-old journeyman in his first NHL campaign, will make his second career start when the Flyers host the Bolts tonight in Philly.

Zepp, signed this summer out of the German league, was victorious in his big-league debut against Winnipeg last month, stopping 25 of 28 shots for a win in overtime. The veteran was returned to AHL Lehigh Valley shortly after defeating the Jets, but was recalled this past weekend after Philly’s No. 1 netminder, Steve Mason, suffered a lower-body injury.

For Tampa Bay, Evgeni Nabokov will be in goal.


Avs at Caps: Semyon Varlamov vs. Braden Holtby

Leafs at Kings: Martin Jones likely for L.A., no word yet on a Toronto starter.

Could a goalie win the Hart Trophy in 2014-15?


When Jose Theodore won the Hart Trophy in 2002, the last time a goalie was the “player judged most valuable to his team,” there were two things that made it possible.

First, obviously, Theodore was really good. He had a .931 save percentage for the Montreal Canadiens and made a league-high 1,836 stops. Without their goalie, there’s very little chance the Habs, who were outshot by an average of 31.7 to 25.5, would’ve made the playoffs.

Second, scoring in the 2001-02 season had dipped to its lowest point in five decades. Calgary’s Jarome Iginla finished with the most points, just 96 of them.

Which brings us to the current season, where a similar story is unfolding. Two goalies, Nashville’s Pekka Rinne and Montreal’s Carey Price, are enjoying particularly excellent campaigns, while the league’s top scorer, Philadelphia’s Jakub Voracek, is on pace for fewer than 100 points. Since the 2004-05 lockout, not counting the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, no player has finished as the NHL’s leading scorer with fewer than 100 points.

Rinne’s case for winning the Hart is strong. Finally healthy, his .930 save percentage is tops among goalies who’ve started at least 20 games, and his Nashville Predators, after missing the playoffs the past two seasons, currently sit first overall with a record of 28-9-4.

But Price’s case shouldn’t be overlooked. While his save percentage is slightly lower (.928) than Rinne’s, one could argue he’s been even more valuable to the 26-12-3 Canadiens, who, unlike the Preds, don’t regularly outshoot their opponents. Thanks in large part to Price, Montreal is 13-7-2 when it’s been outshot. In comparison, Nashville has only been outshot 16 times, going 8-4-4.

Half a season still remains, so there’s no point arguing too vehemently for one candidate over the other. Florida’s Roberto Luongo could also be in the conversation by the end of things, if he can help his Panthers into the playoffs.

Only seven times since the Hart Trophy was first handed out in 1924 has a goalie won the award. So far, the conditions are right to make it eight in 2015.