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PRACTICE UPDATE: Weal starting to thrive

After a bumpy NHL start last season, Jordan Weal is settling in with the Flyers

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

The play on which the Flyers tied Tuesday's game vs. Ottawa started out innocently enough, as a routine dump-in. Senators goaltender Craig Anderson went to the end boards to get the puck. And then, he hesitated. That's when Jordan Weal jumped into action and began to close on the goaltender like a lion hunting an antelope.

What happened next looked like a fluke, but it was no accident. Weal intentionally, and successfully, fooled Anderson into thinking that Weal was headed towards a Senators defenseman in the corner. Then when Anderson tried his other escape route, Weal quickly pounced on the pass and was able to tie the game.

"I knew there were two options for him," Weal said Wednesday. "He's a goalie that likes to play the puck and try to make plays. I tried to take that D-man option away, and then when he went to make the play to the middle I tried to anticipate it."

Looking deeper, it's a thinking player's play. Rather than just instinctively shut off one path or the other, Weal recognized that he could force Anderson into some indecision. As a speedy forward who routinely forechecks, Weal has been in these situations before where he can force a turnover deep in the offensive zone, or be part of a forecheck that does so.

"There's probably one a year you get that works out in a situation like that," Weal said. "It's just a matter of trying to get yourself into as many of those situations as possible. There's so many plays like that that happen over the course of the season. If you can try to anticipate a couple and get a turnover, it can give you an opportunity."

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POSTGAME 5: Wealin & Dealin

Weal scores game-tying goal and clinching goal in shootout for a 3-2 win over Ottawa

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

1. HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED

The Flyers rallied from a 2-1 hole in the third period to force overtime and would eventually take down the Senators in the shootout for a 3-2 win to open their three-game homestand.

The Sens got on the board first in the opening period, capitalizing on a 5-on-3 power-play, as captain Erik Karlsson carried the puck across the top of the zone and wristed a shot across his body and past Steve Mason. The Flyers evened things up just two minutes later on a power play of their own as Brayden Schenn deflected a shot from the point by Shayne Gostisbehere.

The teams skated to stalemate in the second frame with the Flyers earning opportunities on the power play and the Sens missing on some Grade-A scoring chances, but the Flyers and Sens headed into the second intermission at 1-1.

Kyle Turris gave the Sens a 2-1 lead with less than eight minutes left in the game, but the Flyers came right back with a goal from Jordan Weal who picked off Sens' goaltender Craig Anderson misplaying the puck and tapped it in for an easy goal to tie it up.

A scoreless overtime period in which the Sens came close to ending it by hitting the post on Turris' shot, led to a shootout in which Weal scored the lone goal and Steve Mason stopped all three Sens skaters to preserve the win.

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Bellemare, Flyers' nominee for NHL's Masterton Award

Philadelphia Chapter of the PHWA submits alternate captain's name to NHL for annual Award

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

The Philadelphia chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association announced today that Pierre-Edouard Bellemare has been voted its nominee for the 2016-17 Bill Masterton Trophy.

All 30 NHL teams submit one nominee. Three players are named finalists at a later date and attend the NHL Award Show in Las Vegas in June. Past winners from the Flyers include Bob Clarke (1972), Tim Kerr (1989) and Ian Laperriere (2011).

"You don't work to try and get these kinds of rewards," said Bellemare upon hearing the news after the morning skate. "My way to work is to try and be as helpful for the team as possible and to try to help in any way I can.

"Sometimes it can just be on the bench to try and support the guys, even if it can be annoying, sometimes it can be on the ice and try to make a big play on the PK, which is the role that I have here, so you don't really work for those rewards but it sure does feel nice when somebody notices the work you are doing, so thank you," added Bellemare to the attended media.

Bellemare is in his third season with the Flyers and signed a multi-year contract extension with the club on Mar. 1. He has three goals and four assists for seven points and is one of six players on the team who has appeared in all 75 games this season.

He leads all Flyers forwards in average time-on-ice shorthanded at 2:48, which is also tied for second on the team.

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Flyers Host Autism Awareness Night on March 30

Sensory-friendly lounge offered to families of children with autism attending the game

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

The Philadelphia Flyers will host Autism Awareness Night on Thursday, March 30 at 7 p.m., when they face off against the New York Islanders at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Flyers are partnering with and hosting a number of community organizations for the evening, including the Center for Autism, Autism Delaware, Autism Speaks, and the Autism Society of America, Greater Philadelphia chapter.

Families associated with each of these organizations, as well as any families with children with autism attending the game, are invited to utilize a specially-designed, sensory-friendly lounge that the Flyers have created for the evening. With the goal of providing a private space for families of children with autism to have away from the action of the game, the lounge includes amenities such as beanbag chairs, board games, coloring books and crafts, and more-all in a controlled environment.

Those families wishing to utilize the lounge can visit Guest Services behind Section 124 on the Main Concourse. The lounge, located in the Wells Fargo Center's Hall of Fame room on the Club Level, will be open from 5:30 p.m. through the end of the game.

Flyers players will show their support for the cause that evening, including Flyers Captain Claude Giroux, who will host families associated with the Center for Autism in his personal suite as a part of his "Giroux's Crew," as well as Jakub Voracek, who will welcome families associated with Autism Delaware in his personal "Voracek's Vault" suite.

The Bucks County Admirals, a special needs hockey team from Bucks County, Pa. will be featured as the evening's Mites on Ice team. In addition, the evening's Flyers Charities 50/50 beneficiary will be the Center for Autism.

All Flyers coaches, broadcasters, and employees will wear puzzle piece ribbons in support of the autism awareness campaign. These ribbons will also be available at information tables on the Main Concourse for any fans that would like to show their support for the cause.

Additionally, the exterior of the Wells Fargo Center will light up blue throughout the night of the game in honor of the beginning of National Autism Awareness Month, and again on the evening of Sunday, April 2, in honor of World Autism Awareness Day.

Philadelphia Flyers 2017-18 season ticket memberships are available now. Visit PhiladelphiaFlyers.com or call 215-218-PUCK.

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5 THINGS: Senators vs. Flyers

The Flyers and the Senators face off tonight 7:00PM, at the Wells Fargo Center.

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

GAME NOTES

WILD CARD TRACKER

  1. NYR: 96 pts, 6 games remaining

  2. BOS: 84 pts, 7 games remaining

  - - - - - 

  3. TBL: 83 pts, 7 games remaining

  4. NYI: 82 pts, 7 games remaining

  5. CAR: 80 pts, 8 games remaining

  6. PHI: 78 pts, 7 games remaining

  7. FLA: 77 pts, 7 games remaining 

 

1. HOMEWARD BOUND

The Flyers return home after their four-game road trip where they went 2-2-0, winning the final meeting, a 6-2 decision against the Penguins… The Flyers now play five of their final seven regular season games on home ice… The Flyers are looking for their third straight win at home and have also won four of their last five games at the Wells Fargo Center with Steve Mason starting all five of those games, posting a 1.59 GAA and .945 save percentage in that stretch.

 

2. SENS ARMY MARCHING

Ottawa comes into tonight in a fight for the top spot in the Atlantic Division, and with 90 points, are just three back of the Canadiens with a game in hand… The Sens have earned points in 10 of their 13 games in March, going 8-3-2, but lost their last meeting, 3-1 to Montreal on Saturday… The Sens have not dropped two straight games in regulation since Feb. 4-7… Ottawa's tandem in net have been a key to their success - Craig Anderson started nine of the 13 games in March, going 6-2-1 with a .919 save percentage and 2.32 GAA, while Mike Condon has gone 2-1-1 with a .950 sv. pct and 1.69 GAA. 

 

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Phantoms Profile: Sam Morin making steady progress

Tracking the progress of Flyers 2013 First Round pick fine-tuning his game in Lehigh

by Bill Meltzer @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

When the Flyers drafted Samuel Morin with the 11th overall pick of the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft, they did so with the knowledge that he was an intriguing bundle of raw materials. They knew there was going to be a multi-year process involved, even after Morin turned pro, to try to develop him into the type of player they envision.

Morin put forth strong showings in each of his first two NHL training camps, and was one of the final preseason cuts in 2014. This raised many fans' hopes and expectations that he would fast-track to the NHL. However, the organization's plan for him did not change. He played two additional seasons of junior hockey and each of the last two in the American Hockey League with the Phantoms.

"Sam is coming along at a steady pace. So far, he is developing as we hoped he would. There's definitely room to keep growing as a player, but we like what he's doing. No one is more committed to improving that Sam is. Along with his size and athleticism, his character is one of his biggest strengths," Flyers assistant general manager Chris Pryor said.

This season, Morin has taken further strides toward becoming a shutdown-caliber defenseman. On a more consistent basis than even in his promising rookie year with the Phantoms, Morin has shown the elements the Flyers want to see. The 6-foot- 7, 225 pound defenseman has above-average straight ahead mobility for a man his size, a mean streak, and underrated puck-moving ability. His defensive position and footwork has also improved over the course of the last two seasons.

"In my first year [in the pros] I was still adapting so I was still doing my juniors stuff that I was running everywhere," Morin said to the Morning Call in January.

"But [positioning], it's really important because when your positioning is good you don't have to over-skate. You don't get tired. That's a huge part of the game."

"Less is more" is a mantra that Phantoms head coach Scott Gordon, assistant coach Kerry Huffman and Flyers defenseman development coach Kjell Samuelsson have often stressed to Morin. In the past, he has sometimes been overaggressive in trying to make plays and ended up on the wrong side of the puck. When Morin keeps things simple and takes advantage of his size and reach, he is highly effective. He also has the ability to get the puck quickly to the forwards.

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GREENBERG: Best of the Week

A look at the best goals, plays and moments from this past week, plus a look ahead

by Jay Greenberg @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

Shot - Backhanded by Sean Couturier as his momentum carried him away from the goal, after kicking the pass to his stick. Put it through the legs of Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk.

Passes - 1) Banked ahead off the neutral-zone boards by Dale Weise to Brayden Schenn, who set up Couturier. 2) Fed out from behind the goal through two Jet defenders by Wayne Simmonds to Jordan Weal in the slot for the first goal of the Winnipeg game.

Video: PHI@WPG: Simmonds feeds Weal for opening goal

Deflection - By Matt Read, from 25 feet out of a Michael Del Zotto shot, for a goal with two seconds remaining in the 3-2 Winnipeg loss. Inconsequential, but amazing nevertheless.

Sneak Attack - When a Jake Voracek rush was broken up, Read surprised Matt Dumba, shooting the puck right off the defenseman's stick past Dubnyk for what proved to be the winning unassisted goal in St. Paul. Never saw him coming.

Defensive Play - By Andrew MacDonald to tie up the stick of Zach Parise after Mikael Granlund got the puck into to the goalmouth, just before Voracek hit the empty net to put away the victory over the Wild.

Save - Blocker by Steve Mason, coming post-to-post to get a piece of a Sidney Crosby one timer in the first period at Pittsburgh.

Break - Valteri Filppula's go-ahead goal in Pittsburgh stood up to challenge after he had bumped goalie Matt Murray. Filppula was knocked off balance by Ian Cole and appeared to seek avoidance of the netminder but lesser contact than that has taken away goals. Call could have gone either way.

Video: FLA@PHI: Filppula tips home goal in debut with Flyers

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POSTGAME 5: Flyin High

Flyers end road trip on winning note with 6-2 win over the Penguins

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

1. HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED

The Flyers surrendered the first goal but rattled off six unanswered, including four in the third period, to walk away with a 6-2 win over the Penguins on Sunday.

The Penguins dominated the action early and got on the board first as a puck squeezed just past Steve Mason and Matt Cullen was able to poke it in, but the Flyers stuck with it and applied pressure late. After multiple scoring chances in the period, Jordan Weal eventually converted on a 2 on 1 by snapping a shot low glove to beat Matt Murray and tie it up at 1-1 after 20 minutes.

The Flyers kept their momentum in the second, playing a tight game and capitalizing on a scramble in front as Valtteri Filppula cashed in on a loose puck in front of the net, putting it under Murray. The Pens challenged for goaltender interference, but it was quickly upheld as a good goal and the Flyers went into the dressing room with a 2-1 lead after 2.

The third period was all Flyers. Dale Weise and Jakub Voracek added goals three and four, while Radko Gudas scored an empty-netter and Shayne Gostisbehere added a sixth goal late to cap off the victory. Mason stopped 25-27 shots en route to his 23rd victory of the year.

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5 THINGS: Flyers vs. Penguins

The Flyers and the Penguins face off tonight 7:00PM, at the PPG Paints Arena.

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

GAME NOTES

WILD CARD TRACKER

  1. NYR: 96 pts, 7 games remaining

  2. BOS: 84 pts, 7 games remaining

  - - - - - 

  3. NYI: 82 pts, 8 games remaining

  4. TBL: 81 pts, 8 games remaining

  5. CAR: 79 pts, 9 games remaining

  6. FLA: 77 pts, 8 games remaining 

  7. PHI: 76 pts, 8 games remaining

 

1. SUNDAY FUN DAY

Both teams are playing their third game in a four-day span, but the Flyers are playing the second of games on back-to-back days to which they own an 8-5-2 mark in that scenario… This is the second straight Sunday the Flyers are playing and own an impressive 7-1-2 record on Sundays with seven of the 10 games decided by one goal, including five past regulation… The Pens come in having lost their last two games, both by way of a shootout, but have earned at least a point in five straight (3-0-2) and points in 11 of their last 12 games overall with a 8-1-3 record.

 

2. PAINTING A GOOD PICTURE

The Penguins have the best home winning percentage in the NHL at .838 and have the second-most wins at home with a 29-4-4 record at PPG Paints Arena - their last regulation loss at home came on Feb. 19 vs. Detroit… This is the first game in the Pens arena this season with the first meeting at Pittsburgh taking place at Heinz field for the Stadium Series game… The Flyers have had success at PPG Paints (formerly CONSOL) since it opened in 2010, going 10-4-0.

 

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POSTGAME 5: Edged by the Jackets

Flyers dominate in shots, but come up just short in 1-0 loss to Columbus

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

1. HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED

The Flyers pelted Sergei Bobrovsky with 36 shots, but it wasn't enough as the Blue Jackets held on for a 1-0 victory in Columbus on Saturday afternoon.

The teams skated to a scoreless tie in the first period with the Flyers owning a majority of the shots, 11-5, but just past the midway point of the second period, Columbus struck first on a goal from Alexander Wennberg, who deflected a shot from the point by Kyle Quincey. The goal would hold up by the end of the period giving the Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead after 40 minutes.

The Flyers began the third period on a power-play but couldn't convert on that opportunity, as well as several chances in late in the third period with Michal Neuvirth pulled in search of the equalizer.

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