Tag Archives: Peter Laviolette

Laviolette’s Top Five Flyers Wins

11 Jan

On Tuesday night, Peter Laviolette won his 100th game as head coach of the Flyers. In his first season, he led the team to an improbable run to the Stanley Cup Final and ever since has been the unquestioned man in charge. It appears as though the streak of having coaches around for less than three years will stop with Laviolette.

Here are five of his greatest wins since joining the franchise.

Tue, Dec 8, 2009  at NYI 6-2
The Flyers had lost three in a row when they hired Laviolette. They also hadn’t scored in more than two full games. There were growing pains for two more games, but the Flyers showed they comprehended Laviolette’s system in a 6-2 win over the team Laviolette got his first head coaching job with.

Sun, Apr 11, 2010  v. NYR 3-2 SO
These go in chronological order, but this might be the most important of all the Laviolette victories. It appeared as though the Flyers might have a whole summer to rehearse Laviolette’s system, but on the last day of the regular season, they beat the Rangers in a shootout to make the playoffs. From there, they went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.

Fri, May 7, 2010  v. BOS 5-4 OT
On the brink of elimination, the Flyers fought back. They gave up a two-goal lead in the third period and allowed a game-tying goal in the final minute of regulation. But then Simon Gagne scored in overtime to keep the Flyers alive. In the interest of keeping this list to five, we’ll also put Game 7 here as well where the Flyers were down 3-0 in the first period and came all the way back to shock the Bruins. Game 4 gets the headlining note only because that’s where the comeback started.

Thu, Oct 7, 2010 at PIT 3-2
It was a gutsy move for Laviolette to start rookie Sergei Bobrovsky in a hostile environment, the opening of Consol Energy Center for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Bobrovsky made 29 saves against the Penguins and started the year off with a win.

Tue, Apr 26, 2011 at BUF 5-4 OT
Another elimination game for the Flyers and by the magical presence of Chris Pronger, who only took five shifts in the game when the Flyers were on the power play, they won in overtime to stay alive in the first round of the playoffs. Ville Leino, now a Sabre, scored in overtime to atone for Laviolette starting Michael Leighton. Leighton allowed three goals on eight shots before being pulled. Brian Boucher saved 24-of-25 in relief for the win.

Thu, Dec 29, 2011 at PIT 4-2
The month of December was grueling for the Flyers. Ten of their 13 games came on the road. While the start of the month was great, the Flyers had fallen off a bit, losing four of their last five games and had back-to-back losses coming into Pittsburgh. Laviolette had the team focused and not looking ahead to the Winter Classic. Former Penguins Max Talbot and Jaromir Jagr were each in the starting lineup and had a hand in the win.

Flyers Survive Third Period Collapse

5 Jan

WELLS FARGO CENTER — No one seemed to know why, but the Flyers didn’t appear to like playing at Wells Fargo Center. Citizens Bank Park was no better. On the road, they were fine, but an 8-6-2 record at home, like the real home, was not what Peter Laviolette was looking for.

“Home record is not where it needs to be,” said Laviolette. “Road record is excellent. We’ve got to start taking care of these home games and making sure they go in the [win] column. We need some attitude here with how we play the game.”

Attitude, jump, deflation, redemption, it was all accounted for in the Flyers’ 5-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. As if a test at home wasn’t tough enough, Laviolette’s bunch found themselves down early when Zac Rinaldo turned the puck over and it led to a Jimmy Hayes goal on a tip-in.

Rinaldo wanted to make up for it, so he fought Andrew Shaw to restart his night. He followed with a solid effort in both the offensive and defensive zones. The Flyers regained their composure and tallied in the final minute when Jakub Voracek scored his first goal in nine games on the rebound of a Braydon Coburn point shot.

Shaw scored for Chicago in the second period, but then the Flyers went on a tear. They scored three goals in 4:20 to give themselves a comfy two-goal lead, the most dangerous kind. Scott Hartnell started the comeback with a game-tying one-timer from Claude Giroux.

“It’s always great to have a good shift after an opponent scores a goal to try and get the momentum back,” said Hartnell. “[Matt] Read made a nice play to Giroux. I was popping up in the slot. The puck kind of got deflected and was up in the air and I whacked it out of the air and was able to go five hole.”

Harry Zolnierczyk added his third of the year and James van Riemsdyk his 10th later in the second period.

In the third, the Flyers came unraveled before they could blink. Marc-Andre Bourdon took a shot off the left post and Chicago took the puck the other way where Brent Seabrook ripped a shot to get Chicago within one. Then, only 25 seconds later, Patrick Kane tied it with a point blank shot from the slot.

After a Kane high-sticking call, the Flyers had the opportunity to go ahead on the power play and they took it. Hartnell fed van Riemsdyk down low for the game-winning power play tally with 32.5 seconds left.

“I was yelling for G and he made the better play, I think,” said van Riemsdyk. “He gave it to Hartsy and Hartsy put it right on my tape. All I could do was slide it right into the net.”

Not only did the win improve their record at Wells Fargo Center, but the Flyers kept up in the standings. They remain four points behind the New York Rangers for the best record in the league.

“It’s something that has been emphasized over the last stretch of home games, whenever that was,” said Matt Carle. “We know we need to step it up and if we do the kind of work we do on the road, we’ll be pretty successful team. I think a game tonight will hopefully kickstart some confidence at home and just kind of bring that road mentality to this building.”

Chicago’s Stanley Cup Still Haunts Flyers

5 Jan

VOORHEES, N.J. — Danny Briere still can’t bear to watch. When it comes on television, he closes his eyes, looks away or changes the channel.

On June 9, 2010, Patrick Kane found himself with the puck along the left wing of the Flyers’ zone in overtime of a 3-3 Game 6 where the Blackhawks were up 3-2 in the Stanley Cup Final.

He deked and beat Kimmo Timonen outside. He stayed outside and just before crossing the goalline, he fired on net. The puck went through the legs of Michael Leighton and into the far side of the net, where it got stuck under the padding. No one but Kane knew where it was.

While the other 20,000 people in Wells Fargo Center were clueless, Kane threw off his gloves and skated toward Antti Niemi in celebration.

“I remember the next day waking up and there’s no meeting, there’s no media scrums, there’s no fans, there’s nobody waiting for you anywhere,” said Briere. “It was a very, very empty feeling. When I woke up, that’s when I started realizing what was going on. I don’t even remember after the game when I did.”

On Thursday, both teams will be on the ice in Philadelphia for the first time since that goal was scored. That said, few remain from that game for either team. Only seven active Flyers and nine Blackhawks are still with their respective teams since the 2010 Stanley Cup Final ended.

The Flyers played the Blackhawks last season, a 4-1 win at the United Center. But this is the first game in Philadelphia since Chicago won the Cup and don’t think for a second that the Flyers forgot.

“I’m sure it’ll cross everyone’s mind that was on our team that year,” said Scott Hartnell. “It was obviously a disappointing end to that season. It was a great run, everything like that. But coming up short always leaves bad memories in the back of your head. But there won’t be much motivation needed. We’ve got to get back to our winning ways. Our home record has been quite poor all season, and we’ve got to change that.”

The Flyers have lost two consecutive home games and need to right the ship at Wells Fargo Center. Between the HBO cameras and all the hoopla surrounding the Winter Classic, the Flyers are used to potential distractions. But this memory is one they firmly believe will help motivate them for a win.

“Anytime you think of Chicago, you’re going to think of them stealing the Stanley Cup from us,” said Claude Giroux. “Obviously it’s motivation for us to win every game. I remember last year, it was a big game for us. We won that game, but we’ve got to make sure we do the same thing here.”

The Flyers have been slipping in the standings. After the Winter Classic, they are now four points behind the New York Rangers and Western Conference-leading Blackhawks.

“We gotta get back on track here,” said Peter Laviolette. “We’re home for a couple games, back at the Wells Fargo building. We gotta take care of those games and pay attention to our home games.

“The home record is not where it needs to be. We have an opportunity [Thursday] and it’s a good hockey team, so we have to be ready to play.”

Only four teams in the league have fewer home wins than the Flyers who have eight. Ten of the Flyers’ 13 games in December came on the road, but this is a new year, a new month and the Flyers have seven home games in January. It’s time to turn the page on not only the calendar, but a new attitude at home.

“We look at it as we gave up two points to the Rangers the other night, a team we’re trailing,” said Braydon Coburn, “so it’s a game that we need.”

The two points up for grabs Thursday are very valuable for the Flyers who need them to keep from slipping too far. That will be the focus when the puck drops, but when the teams first see each other, there may still be one last bit of demon that needs to be exercised.

“I’ve never seen the puck go in,” said Briere, “and I don’t think I’m ready to see it yet.”

Flyers See Better Effort, Just Not Results

24 Dec

NEW YORK — Ilya Bryzgalov was upset. Understandably so. The Flyers lost the Winter Classic primer and now have three days to think about a 4-2 loss to the New York Rangers where they could have had more goals and possibly should have given up fewer.

The first two of the Rangers’ four goals came on deflections, giving New York a lead despite being outplayed. It seemed like a stark contrast to the last time the Flyers visited Madison Square Garden, a 2-0 loss on Nov. 26. But don’t tell Ilya Bryzgalov that.

“It was a really similar game to last time,” said Bryzgalov. “It’s like déjà vu, just a little bit scoring different.

“I guess they want it more than we are. That’s why they win.”

His teammates don’t necessarily agree. The effort was there and if it weren’t for a bizarre deflection from Derek Stepan at nearly the side of Bryzgalov’s net, or a Ruslan Fedotenko deflection that even juked out the on-ice officials, the Flyers would have a tie game.

“I think it was a pretty good game,” said Andrej Meszaros, who finally got the Flyers on the board in the third period. “It was definitely better than the last time we played here. So that’s positive, but the result is not what we wanted. We lost. We just have to shake it off on a couple day’s rest and get ready for Tampa.”

The Flyers out-shot the Rangers 30-24. They had quite a few opportunities to take an early lead and just had no finish. Some of the Flyers recognized that through the frustration of losing the last game before Christmas.

“I don’t think they’re better than us,” said Jaromir Jagr. “They were just more effective than us. It happens. We have to learn from that.”

“I don’t think that we didn’t try tonight, or that we didn’t try to come in here and execute,” said Peter Laviolette. “I don’t think it was a lack of effort — it was a couple of tough breaks.”

That said, it is a tough pill to swallow. It sounds as though the Flyers were cognizant during the game that whatever the result, it would be a feeling that would last days. Even in the second period, when the game was decided, the Flyers felt like they were in a hole too deep.

“That first five minutes was not good hockey,” said Scott Hartnell. “Our line went out there. We were circling. They were in our zone for 45, 50 seconds. Next line goes out there and same thing.

“That first TV timeout, Lavy snapped on us and tried to give us a wake-up call, but by then it was 2-0. It’s not Flyers hockey. It really leaves a sour taste in our mouths heading into the holidays.”

Deflections Do Flyers In Against Rangers

23 Dec

NEW YORK — Before Friday night’s game against the Rangers, Peter Laviolette was reminded that the Flyers hadn’t scored in their last two trips to Madison Square Garden.

“Yeah, I’m guaranteeing we score a goal tonight,” said the coach. It took a while, but he was right. However, that one goal wasn’t enough. In fact, two didn’t do the trick in a 4-2 loss.

It was a better effort than the last time the Flyers were visiting New York, a 2-0 loss on Nov. 26, but this time it was deflections that did them in. The Flyers had the lead in shots, but weren’t able to solve Henrik Lundqvist until the third period.

“Henrik was playing very good,” said Jaromir Jagr. “The chances we had, they had all five guys around the net. To play them, you need to be a little bit lucky on the deflection. There is so many bodies, you’re not gonna have open looks, but you can score five ugly ones next game because there are so many bodies. It’s a matter of luck, I would say.”

Then consider the Rangers unlucky — at least to start the game. It took them more than half a period to get their first shot on net, but once they fired on net, they looked dangerous. Once the Flyers felt the danger, they were done.

“I guess they want it more than we are,” said Ilya Bryzgalov. “That’s why they win.”

Derek Stepan deflected a shot from Stu Bickel past Bryzgalov at 10:18 of the second period. The Flyers’ goalie had no shot at stopping it, a grim fate after being in position to save the first 12 shots of the game. He didn’t get any luckier. Former Flyer Ruslan Fedotenko scored on a deflection five minutes and 11 seconds later, but initially the officials didn’t see it.

He tipped another shot from Bickel up and off the back bar, but play continued. At the next stoppage, the play was reviewed and the goal was correctly awarded.

While the Rangers seemed to get all the bounces, the Flyers couldn’t cash in on opportunities. They had one-time opportunities for guys who were off balance and wraparounds that came up short.

“I don’t think that we didn’t try tonight, or that we didn’t try to come in here and execute,” said Laviolette. “I don’t think it was a lack of effort — it was a couple of tough breaks.”

Late in the third period, persistence paid off. With Artem Anisimov in the box for holding, the Flyers went to work on their fourth power play. After working the puck around, Andrej Meszaros finally found the back of the net. He broke a goalless drought of 171:07 for the Flyers at Madison Square Garden.

The goal was too little, too late, though. The Rangers got it back with 5:56 remaining when Ranger captain Ryan Callahan got a rebound on the doorstep and roofed it over Bryzgalov for the 4-1 lead.

With 2:10 remaining, James van Riemsdyk broke a nine-game goalless drought with a controversial goal. He deflected the puck with a high stick, but was then the next player to touch it and he put it behind Lundqvist. The late push wasn’t enough, though.

Not only will the Flyers have three days to “let it burn” as Laviolette said on the most recent installment of 24/7, they’ll also have a sour taste in their mouths heading into the Winter Classic on Jan. 2.

The loss means that not only have the Flyers lost in both meetings between the two teams this season, but they relinquished first place in the Atlantic Division to the Rangers as well.

Aiming To Forget An ‘Ol’ Fashioned Ass-Kicking’

18 Dec

WELLS FARGO CENTER — It was just about the ugliest way you could think to end a seven-game winning streak. The Flyers lost their first line center and got abused in a 6-0 thrashing, their worst home shutout loss since 2008.

From the first shot of the game, the Flyers were behind the 8-ball.

“I thought that was an old fashioned ass-kicking in every area of the game; goalies, defensemen, forwards,” said Kimmo Timonen. “They were better in every aspect of the game.”

He’s not wrong. Tim Thomas was phenomenal, making 31 saves. The Bruins were also better on faceoffs, special teams and blocked shots.

“I guess I would say he’s right,” said Danny Briere. “It’s just one of those games, you know. Nothing was going our way. I really believe you create your own bounces and we weren’t ready off the get go. Right off of the first drop of the puck we had too many guys that were… I think the mindset was more ‘Let’s see if we can stay in this game, let’s see how it goes and we’ll kind of ease our way into the game.’

“That’s the feeling that I got from a lot of guys around. It’s certainly the wrong way to go about it when you’re facing a top team who are defending Stanley Cup champions. I think that puts us in trouble right off the start of the game and playing catch-up hockey against the Bruins is not the best thing. You’re not going to give yourself the best chance to win that way.”

On the surface, it looked like the Flyers were just tired, or finally got the injury that, well, broke the camel’s back. But the team denies it. It’s an excuse they refuse to use. They knew darn well that a loss would give the Eastern Conference lead to the Bruins.

“We knew it was a big game,” said Jody Shelley. “We knew it was gonna be a physical game played by them and we knew we had to be there, but right from the start, we didn’t really engage in battle. We didn’t get pucks to the net. We had a game plan and we didn’t get on it early and it carried through the whole game.”

OK, so how does this go away? The fact that the Flyers were shut out big-time, almost makes you forget that they’re coming off a seven-game winning streak. The Bruins are now on four straight victories, but they’re an unbelievable 18-2-1 in their last 21. How do the Flyers get right back on the horse and keep trotting up the standings in the league?

“We have a plan,” said Shelley. “We know what we can do and hopefully you can look back in two weeks and say ‘Remember that game? Look what we learned. Look where we are now.’”

Just because they lost one game, as lopsided as it may have been, doesn’t mean the team thinks it is in a hole somehow.

“I think guys have taken a lot of pride in the way we have played the game, and they’re probably not happy about the way [Saturday] went,” said Peter Laviolette. “So we leave here and go back on the road and try to fix some of the things we’ve been doing and make them better.”

Despite Rash Of Injuries Flyers Still Ready For Bruins

17 Dec

VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers don’t take any pity on themselves, so they don’t expect the Boston Bruins to have a soft spot for them either. Winners of seven straight, the Flyers are without Chris Pronger, Claude Giroux, Brayden Schenn, Erik Gustafsson and Andreas Lilja.

Very close in their rear-view mirror are the Boston Bruins, winners of three straight and only two points behind the Flyers in the Eastern Conference. They haven’t been without injuries either. Zdeno Chara has missed two games with a left knee injury, but he could be back just in time for the Flyers. Not that they needed help.

“They’ve won a lot of games,” said Peter Laviolette. “Since their start when they were off just a bit, they’ve turned it around. I think they’ve won 18 of 22 or 19 of 23. Good goaltending, good defense, four lines. They play fast, play physical. We’ve got to come out and play our game as well.

“We feel like we’ve been doing the right things to win hockey games. It should be a great game.”

After an Opening Night 2-1 victory for the Flyers over the Bruins, it became clear to Ilya Bryzgalov that just because they aren’t in the same division, doesn’t stop the two teams from breeding a rivalry.

“It’s a big challenge for us,” said the expected starting goalie, who has a seven-game win streak of his own. “Also, I think it’s going to be a big challenge for Boston. It’s a big game. The last couple of seasons, the teams played [each other] in the playoffs and I think you can count it as a rivalry, too.”

Boston is coming off a 5-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators in which Tim Thomas made a season-high 47 saves.

The Bruins are second in the league (only to the Flyers) in offense, so there will be some extra onus on the defensemen, but Laviolette said that he isn’t concerned about managing ice time. As long as guys like Kimmo Timonen don’t go too far over 25 minutes, things will be fine.

Of course, the reason why his minutes would be so high in the first place is because of the injuries, namely to Pronger. But the Flyers have won seven straight and aren’t thinking about much change.

“I don’t think anybody’s panicked,” said Laviolette. “Certainly, the news of Chris [Thursday], it’s tough but it’s not something we haven’t been dealing with for the last three weeks or however long it’s been. We talked to Claude [Friday] and he sounded good. We’re hopeful he continues to progress and we’ll go from there.

“I don’t think there is any panic. We’ve got a real good hockey team in here. We’ve been able to go out and work hard every night and win some games and put some wins together that has pushed us up to the top and we want to continue to stay there. We have to keep working at it.”