Even the bounces are going Flyers' way

Even the bounces are going Flyers' way


OTTAWA, Ontario — An early goal, a beautiful goal, a lucky goal and a disallowed goal. That’s all you need to know about the Flyers' 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators Saturday afternoon (see observations). Just for fun though, here’s a little more detail.

Ivan Provorov scored 28 seconds into the game to get the Flyers going in what eventually turned out to be their fifth consecutive win and 11th consecutive game with a point.

With the score 2-1 in favor of the Flyers late in the second period, Zack Smith looked like he had tied the game for the Senators, but coach Dave Hakstol issued a challenge and the goal was overturned on an offside that wasn’t originally called.

Well done.

In the third period, Claude Giroux scored a beautiful breakaway goal when he contorted his body to his backhand then back to his forehand before depositing the puck behind Craig Anderson in the Ottawa goal, who was left in a twisted heap in the corner of the crease.

That goal made it 3-1 four minutes into the third and after Nolan Patrick made it 4-1, Brandon Manning dumped a shot in just passed the red line, but the puck hit a stanchion in the glass and redirected into the net. Anderson had a great view of the goal from behind the net where he was standing after he went out to play the puck.

“We’re getting the bounces,” Giroux said.

“Brandon Manning’s goal, you can’t draw that up, but we’re definitely going to take it.”

Robert Hagg also scored for the Flyers, who momentarily slipped into a first-place tie with the Pittsburgh Penguins atop the Metropolitan Division. The Penguins lost in regulation at Florida, but Washington downed Buffalo, so the Capitals have moved back into first with 76 points, one more than both the Flyers and Penguins. The Flyers are in second in the Metro right now because they have played 62 games, one less than the Pens. But Pittsburgh currently owns the regulation and overtime wins tiebreaker 34-32 and that could come into play down the line when the games played even out.

Still, the Flyers are four points clear of New Jersey and a wild-card spot and nine points clear of Columbus and the playoff brink.

Considering they were last in the division about two months ago, that’s a pretty remarkable turnaround.

“I think it was always in the room and that we just had to believe in ourselves and know that we were capable of doing good things,” said forward Travis Konecny.

“We just had to stick with it and eventually things were going to pay off for us.”

That they have, and although Saturday might not have been the Flyers' best effort, it was good enough. The Senators got two late goals from Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel to make the final count a little more respectable. Mike Hoffman also scored.

“We’re playing some good hockey right now and everyone has bought into what we want to do here,” Giroux said, adding the overturned goal was big.

“Anytime you get a goal like that turned (over), it’s a relief and a walk-up call at the same time,”

Patrick scored just his ninth goal in his rookie season, but he has six in his last 13, including goals in four straight.

“I think I’ve been playing good in the last 15 to 20 games and not just because of the goals; I think I’ve improved on both ends of the puck,” Patrick said.

He was standing at the top of the crease when Manning’s shot-pass hit his stick and redirected in past Anderson.

On a final note and not to be lost in all the offense, Petr Mrazek made 25 saves and has won both starts with the Flyers since he was acquired last week from the Detroit Red Wings.

All is good on Broad Street.

Losing is still foreign to the Flyers

Losing is still foreign to the Flyers


OTTAWA, Ontario — It would seem as if the Flyers are for real.

Since halting a 10-game losing streak Dec. 4 against the Calgary Flames, the Flyers have posted a 25-8-3 record, including Saturday’s 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators.

They’ve also gone from last in the Metropolitan Division to a tie for first.

Saturday, Brandon Manning led the offense with a goal and two assists while Claude Giroux contributed a goal and a helper.

Robert Hagg and Ivan Provorov also scored for the Flyers (33-19-10), who have now won five straight.

The Senators got goals from Mike Hoffman, Ryan Dzingel and Matt Duchene a day after shipping center Derrick Brassard off to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

•It took 20 seconds longer than Tim Kerr, but Ivan Provorov’s goal 28 ticks into Saturday’s game was a good start for the Flyers. Kerr scored eight seconds into a game against the Edmonton Oilers way back in 1989 to set the standard for the fastest Flyers’ goal to start a game. Provorov scored 20 seconds faster than Giroux did on Nov. 28, 2017, which was the previous quickest 1-0 lead for the Flyers this season.

•Challenge accepted. Flyers coach Dave Hakstol challenged a goal 12 minutes into the second period, claiming the Senators were offside. The coach was bang on, the goal was overturned and the Flyers maintained the 2-1 lead.

•Nolan Patrick had scored in his three previous games and through the first 40 minutes Saturday, the Flyers' rookie was unable to make it a quartet. It wasn’t for lack of trying though, as Patrick had five shots on goal through two periods. The goal finally came for Patrick in the third, however, with a tip in front off a Manning shot. He finished with nine shots.

•Petr Mrazek only needed to make 19 saves Thursday to get a win in his first game with the Flyers. He made 19 through the first 39 minutes Saturday. He also got help from his right post when Dzingel rang one off it midway through the second.

•Despite two early goals on shots he should have stopped, Craig Anderson picked up his game through the final two-plus periods, making some big saves to keep the Senators alive and kicking.

•The Flyers’ third and fifth goals were a perfect example of the Beauty and the Beast. Giroux scored a beauty on a breakaway when he turned his body and went to his backhand before turning the other way to his forehand and placing the puck into an empty net behind an undressed Anderson. Manning scored when his dump-in hit the station in the glass and went in, as Anderson stood behind the net and watched after going to play the dump in.

•The Flyers will be silent on the ice until after the trade deadline as they don’t play until they meet the Canadiens in Montreal Monday night. Off the ice, we’ll see.

Flyers' trip to Ottawa brings back 'fond memories' for Travis Konecny

Flyers' trip to Ottawa brings back 'fond memories' for Travis Konecny

OTTAWA, Ontario — Exactly one year ago, Dec. 1, 2015, Travis Konecny was a member of the Ontario Hockey League’s Ottawa 67’s.

He had just learned that he had been invited to the Team Canada selection camp for the World Junior Hockey Championship and he was at the Canadian Tire Centre spending time with future Flyers teammates during the morning skate as they prepared for a game that night against the Ottawa Senators.

Fast forward one year to today, Dec. 1, 2016, and Konecny is back at the CTC, this time to face the Senators alongside his current Flyers teammates as a key part of the team’s offense.

Quite a step forward in just one calendar year for a kid not named Crosby or McDavid.

“It’s crazy how fast it happened and I’m definitely humbled I was given the opportunity. They believed enough in me to make the jump this year and it definitely hits me every day that I get the opportunity to play in the NHL,” said Konecny, who has scored four times and added nine assists through the first 25 games of his NHL career. He has also added a team-leading 33 penalty minutes and that goes a long way in explaining the type of game he plays.

“I don’t know what happened. I’ve never been like that before," Konecny said before the Flyers' 3-2 overtime win Thursday (see game story). "When you’re playing in the NHL, some guys will run over you all game if they can so I think part of these penalties I’m taking is me just having to step up and I’m just setting an example of sticking up for my teammates."

It wasn’t until his second game in the league that he took his first penalty, but he was on the score sheet before that having collected two assists in his debut Oct. 14 in a 4-2 win over the Kings in Los Angeles.

His first goal came Oct. 25 in a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres. The key for his success in making the jump from junior to the NHL is simple.

“Just keeping things simple," he said. "Learning in the NHL is about reading off mistakes. You can’t always make a play, you have to be smart and make sure you’re doing what’s right for the team and I think just keeping my game simple is what got me here." 

There is one main difference between the two levels, Konecny added.

“The speed, and I don’t necessarily mean just skating," he said. "Thinking wise and how fast plays happen. Guys like [Senators defenseman Erik] Karlsson, he’s thinking so fast and he knows his play two or three steps before the next guy does, so you just have to try and outthink guys and to me that’s been the biggest jump.”

Konecny is not foreign to the Senators’ home ice surface. He spent part of his time in junior playing there while the 67’s home arena was being renovated.

He had to leave several passes for friends and family for the game Tuesday night, his first as a pro in the city that was dazzled by his play in junior for 2½ seasons.

“It was a lot of fun and it brought back a lot of memories," Konecny said after going scoreless in 14:13 of ice time. "We didn’t play in front of as many fans as we did tonight but definitely a lot of games played here and a lot of fond memories.

“Even flying in [Wednesday] was something special and driving around the city looking at the roots where I was for three years.”