It wasn't quite a championship parade, but Philly enjoyed a victory at the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night as the Flyers took care of the Montreal Canadiens, 5-3.
Hours after the Eagles' Super Bowl celebration turned the city upside down, the Flyers (26-19-9) picked up their second straight win in their own push for postseason fun.
Dave Hakstol's team entered the night holding the Eastern Conference's first wild-card spot and moved three points ahead of the next-closest teams — the New York Islanders and Columbus Blue Jackets. With the Devils’ 3-2 loss to the Flames, the Flyers are now just one point behind New Jersey in the Metropolitan Division.
Travis Konecny scored two more goals, Claude Giroux made all sorts of plays, Ivan Provorov sealed the win with an empty-netter, while a few mistakes didn't prove to be too costly for the Flyers.
The Canadiens (22-26-6) had a two-game winning streak snapped and are 8-16-1 on the road.
Between these teams, this marked the first of three regular-season matchups, all of which come in February.
Now, let's get into the observations:
• Giroux's vision and passing never get old. The 30-year-old was vintage Giroux with a three-point game, highlighted by two assists that he made look easy but were far from it. Last season, Giroux posted 14 goals and 44 assists for 58 points in 82 games. This season, he's already surpassed those numbers with 16 goals and 45 assists for 61 points over 54 games. The resurgence has been fun to watch.
• Jakub Voracek can thank Giroux for quickly erasing a bad turnover that resulted in the Flyers' ninth shorthanded goal allowed, tied for most in the NHL. On the man advantage near the midway point of the second period, Voracek had his pocket picked by Artturi Lehkonen, who beat Brian Elliott to draw the Canadiens even, 1-1. Twenty-eight seconds later, the Flyers' captain got it right back with a pretty snipe, bringing him within four goals of No. 200 on his career.
Goals are beautiful, they're just more beautiful in slow motion.— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) February 9, 2018
2-1, Flyers. pic.twitter.com/BjupovXXlz
• As for Voracek, some become miffed when he tries to do too much with the puck. However, he is arguably your top playmaker and you live with a few blemishes when the guy leads the NHL in assists by a healthy margin. Let him be aggressive and take risks — it's what you want. Voracek gave the Flyers a 3-2 lead in the third period with a power-play blast off a feed from Giroux.
• Just 42 seconds into the middle stanza, Konecny continued his surge alongside some of the Flyers' front-end talent, which was noticeably evident on the team's first goal. Giroux tallied the primary assist with a money pass to Konecny in front for the 1-0 lead, but Shayne Gostisbehere got it all started by threading the needle to Sean Couturier, who set up the trailing Giroux.
Since he's been featured in a top-six role and on the Flyers' first line, Konecny has turned it up a notch and now has 17 points (nine goals, eight assists) in his last 18 games. With great recognition and hustle, he tacked on another goal in the third period, giving him 13 this season through 53 games. Last season, he had 11 in 70 games. To no surprise, putting an up-and-coming kid with proven players is paying dividends.
Price had absolutely no idea where that puck was until Konecny was celebrating. pic.twitter.com/mSZRvcB0Fa— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) February 9, 2018
• Elliott won his second game in a row in his second game back from a lower-body injury. The Flyers needed him desperately after losing four straight. He's been solid and two goals against could have been avoided by the plays in front of him. One was the shorthanded marker and the other was a failed clear by Radko Gudas. The third came late when Montreal emptied its net for an extra man.
• Canadiens goalie Carey Price, having a down year, allowed four goals on 27 shots.
• Dale Weise, a healthy scratch for 13 straight games, entered the lineup in place of Taylor Leier. Playing against his former team, Weise finished with 7:44 of ice time.
At morning skate, Hakstol didn't say much as to why the rookie Leier came out for the veteran Weise.
"That's part of his role right now, when we need him in the lineup, he goes in and does a really good job," Hakstol said of Leier. "Today, Dale Weise is going to go in, it's his opportunity to go in and provide a real good hockey game for our team.
"There's a few things to it, I don't want to get into the details of it, I think it's a good opportunity for Dale to go in and help us."
• During the first period, the Flyers honored the Eagles by playing a tribute video, which featured scenes from Thursday's epic Super Bowl parade. A "Jason Kelce For Mayor" graphic flashed on the big screen … because, well, duh (see story). And the fight song, heard up and down Broad Street and the Parkway, rocked the Wells Fargo Center, too.
• The Flyers travel west for a back-to-back set this weekend against the worst and best teams in the Western Conference. It opens with the last-place Arizona Coyotes on Saturday (8 p.m./NBCSP+) and concludes with the first-place Vegas Golden Knights, in their inaugural season, on Sunday (8 p.m./NBCSP).