The Philadelphia Flyers had an chance to climb past “hockey .500” Thursday for the first time in two-plus months, and move to within four points of a playoff sport.
Their forecheck, which had been clicking during the last few weeks, was almost nonexistent, and, though they managed 39 shots, most were from the Gloucester vicinity. Looong distance. That made it easy for Chicago goalie Petr Mrazek.
As a result, the lowly Blackhawks won their first regular-season game in Philadelphia since 1996, whipping the Flyers, 4-1.
Chicago had been 0-16-1 as the visitor in regular-season games against the Philadelphia Flyers during the last 27 years.
So the Flyers’ playoff surge was temporarily delayed.
Pittsburgh (22-15-7), which is six points ahead of Philly, currently holds the final wild-card spot, but the Penguins are struggling mightily.
The Penguins are trying to extend their streak of playoff appearances to 17 years. That won’t happen if they continue their recent pace. The Pens have just three wins in their last 12 games, and Pittsburgh Hockey Now’s Dan Kingerski says its time for general manager Ron Hextall to make some moves. He hasn’t made one in more than seven months.
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Around the NHL and National Hockey Now
Philly Hockey Now: The Flyers had little energy as they lost for just the third time in their last 11 games. My five takeaways from their 4-1 loss to Chicago. Philadelphia Flyers.
Philly Hockey Now: John Tortorella was puzzled that some people wanted him to not put Ivan Provorov in the lineup Tuesday after he boycotted an LGBTQ+-themed warmup. Philadelphia Flyers.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: “Where is Ron Hextall?” asks Dan Kingerski, who says the Penguins’ general manager needs to shake up a fading team that has as many wins as losses. Pittsburgh Penguins.
Vancouver Canucks. Is Rick Tocchet going to coach the Canucks? Vancouver Canucks.
Colorado Hockey Now: The fans added the Avs’ Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon to the All-Star Game. Colorado Avalanche.
Washington Hockey Now: Hard-nosed winger Tom Wilson, who recently returned to the lineup, had his second goal in three games as the Caps whipped Arizona, 4-0. Washington Capitals.
Florida Hockey Now: Former Flyer Alex Lyon was stellar after replacing the injured Sergei Bobrovski — yes, another goalie who played for the Orange and Black — as Florida defeated Montreal, 6-2. Florida Panthers.
New York Islanders: NHL commish Gary Bettman was in Buffalo and talked to reporters about various topics, including the Provorov controversy. New York Islanders.
Boston Hockey Now: Right winger David Pastrnak (35 goals, 63 points in 44 games ) was added to the All-Star team in the fans’ vote. How in the world did the NHL bypass him originally? Boston Bruins.