It was an ugly week all around for the Flyers, with the obvious worst blow being the Oskar Lindblom news.
But the NHL schedule can be as unforgiving as a leak in a boat. After a day off Monday, the Flyers begin a stretch of four games in seven nights leading into the Christmas break. In addition to all the injuries up front, they’ll also be without rookie Joel Farabee for three games.
The current three-game losing streak has dropped the Flyers into fifth place in the Metropolitan Division and into the eighth seed in the East. If the postseason started today, they’d draw Washington (24-5-5) in the first round.
Game 34 - Tuesday, vs. Anaheim (7 p.m., NBCSP)
About the Ducks: This is the first of a four-game road trip for Anaheim, which has lost 10 of 15 away from the Honda Center (5-8-2). ... The Ducks’ power-play was 4-for-10 over the last three games. They were just 8-for-76 (10.5 percent) before the run. ... Team captain and leading scorer Ryan Getzlaf has at least one point in 11 consecutive games against the Flyers. ... Winger Ondrej Kase is the older brother of recent Flyers call-up David Kase. This will be their first NHL game against one another. ... The Ducks lost twice to the Flyers last season, the first time they’d done that in more than 20 years. The teams will meet in Anaheim on Dec. 29.
Where they stand: Are 14-15-4 (32 points) and in seventh place in the Pacific. Only L.A. (31 points) is beneath the Ducks in the division.
Game 35 - Thursday, vs. Buffalo (7 p.m., NBCSP)
About the Sabres: They have points in five straight games (3-0-2) and nine of the last 10 (5-1-4). ... Captain Jack Eichel is leading the way. Eichel has a point in 16 consecutive games, the longest streak in the NHL this season and tied for the fourth-longest in Sabres history. With Buffalo playing at Toronto on Tuesday, Eichel could tie Gilbert Perreault’s 48-year-old Sabres record on Thursday against the Flyers. (Bonus knowledge: The Flyers’ record also is 18 and shared by Bobby Clarke and Eric Lindros.) Eichel has 18 goals and 15 assists during his torrid run. ... Linemate Victor Olofsson leads all rookies in goals (14) and points (30). The 24-year-old was a seventh-round pick in 2014. ... Sam Reinhart (27 points) is the other winger on that top line. ... The Sabres have a surplus of capable defensemen, like the Flyers, and played seven in their win over Nashville on Thursday.
Where they stand: They are 16-11-7 (39 points) and in second place in the Atlantic, nine points back of Boston and three ahead of Montreal and Toronto.
Game 36 - Saturday, at Ottawa (7 p.m., NBCSP+)
About the Senators: This could be an interesting game after their Dec. 7 meeting featured plenty of hostility, especially after defenseman Mark Borowiecki knocked Travis Konecny out with an open-ice check. ... Ottawa was thumped by Florida, 6-1, on Monday night as goaltender Craig Anderson missed his fourth game. Anderson hurt his knee against the Flyers. ... Defensemen Dylan DeMelo (finger) and Nikita Zaitsev (leg) also are fighting injuries.
Where they stand: The Senators are 14-18-2 (30 points). The only team in the NHL with fewer points is Detroit (21 points). The Senators, however, beat the Flyers in Ottawa on Nov. 15.
This week in Flyers history
Behn Wilson beat Buffalo’s Don Edwards on a second-period penalty shot that held up as the game-winning goal in a raucous 2-1 win at the Spectrum. Wilson, a defenseman throughout his nine-year career, was actually playing right wing on this particular night because of injuries to forwards Tim Kerr and Paul Holmgren.
Before Wilson took the puck, referee Bruce Hood literally had to explain how penalty shots work.
“It happened so fast, it probably won’t be until tomorrow that I realize I scored on the first penalty shot I’d ever taken. I was in shock just to be on the ice,” Wilson said. “[The referee] said, 'Do you know what’s going on? ' I thought I’d better get a rundown of the rules. When he blows the whistle, you can start. You have 15 seconds and you have to keep the puck moving forward.”
No defenseman has ever scored on a penalty shot for the Flyers. The only other D-man to even attempt one was Eric Desjardins in a 2000 playoff game against Buffalo.
The shot was awarded to Peter White, but he was hurt after being hauled down on a breakaway while the Flyers were shorthanded. Flyers coach Craig Ramsay had to choose one of the players on the ice at the time of the play and chose Desjardins over Valeri Zelepukin and Chris Therien. Desjardins was stopped by Dominik Hasek.
The Flyers went 0-3 with losses at Colorado, Minnesota, and Winnipeg. We usually pick the team’s three stars for the week, but they were outscored 14-4, so why bother? James van Riemsdyk, it should be noted however, had two goals and an assist in the three games.
He said it
“We’re a tight team and what we want to do right now is win hockey games for Oskar. ... I’m sure that’s what he would want.”
- Flyers captain Claude Giroux