Flyers

Red-hot Konecny aims to keep it going vs. Capitals

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Red-hot Konecny aims to keep it going vs. Capitals

WASHINGTON — Travis Konecny is the hottest goal scorer in Washington D.C. right now, and considering that also includes Alex Ovechkin and his 588 career goals, that’s a significant statement for the Flyers' second-year forward.

Konecny, currently on a four-game goal streak, is looking to pick up right where he left off prior to the All-Star break, and right now that means sticking with the routine. Despite the heavy workload that lies ahead on the Flyers' schedule, Konecny was on the ice for Wednesday’s optional morning skate whereas a handful of veterans usually elect for the rest.

“Honestly, if I wake up and I feel like I need one, I’ll definitely take one,” Konecny said. “I’ll probably take one going into the last stretch here, but as of now, I feel good when I step out on the ice and it’s good to shoot the puck around a little bit.”

Konecny returns to D.C., where he “capitalized” on his overtime opportunity playing alongside Sean Couturier and Ivan Provorov. It was the first of back-to-back OT winners, and impressively Konecny has provided the game-winning goal in four of the Flyers' last eight victories. It’s all part of the evolution from a rookie negotiating his first season in the NHL to a second-year veteran who knows what to expect.

“I definitely feel good, more confident and what I need to do off the ice to be able to stay in right shape," Konecny said. "Our training staff has set us up pretty good as far as the way we take care of our body, the things we eat and what we put into our bodies.”

Along with a half-dozen teammates, Konecny switched out his wrist shots for chip shots over All-Star weekend and enjoyed a two-day golf trip to the Miami area to play at the Trump National Doral and the course more famously known as “The Blue Monster.”

As if navigating the final 33 games of the NHL’s regular season wasn’t challenging enough, Konecny along with Scott Laughton, Taylor Leier and Brandon Manning elected to play the 7,288-yard course from the back tees in 25-30 mile an hour winds. Leier said just breaking 90 on the scorecard was a challenge.  

Rookie Nolan Patrick jokingly reasoned that Konecny’s scoring touch also coincided when the two players were paired together on the road, which started a few weeks ago.

“Yeah, room with Nolan Patrick,” Konecny said with a smile, “Ever since I’ve been with him the team’s been doing well. We’ll keep that going.” 

Ovie tops 100 MPH
If it wasn’t obvious before, Capitals superstar sniper Alex Ovechkin proved at the All-Star festivities that he possesses one of the hardest shots in the NHL, as he won the hardest shot competition for the first time in his 13-year career. Ovechkin had claimed the title after his first attempt, but chose to take another crack at topping triple digits. Ovechkin uncorked a drive at 101.3 mph and Flyers goaltender Michal Neuvirth definitely took notice.

“I watched the skills (contest) and I played with Alex for five years, and I know a lot of times he’s just shooting as hard as he can and shooting at the net,” Neuvirth said, “Sometimes he doesn’t even know where he’s shooting and that’s why he’s so good, because there’s no way you can stop it even when the shooter doesn’t know where it’s going.”  

Stat of the Day
Regardless of tonight’s outcomes around the league, the Flyers and the Bruins are the only two teams to record at least eight wins in each of the past two months. The Flyers finished December with an 8-4-1 mark and they enter the final game of January with an 8-3-0 record. 

More importantly, the Flyers are 5-2-4 in the Metropolitan Division as they’ve earned points in all but two of their 11 divisional contests.

“Every point is critical. That’s probably an understatement,” said head coach Dave Hakstol, “It comes back to doing everything within your power to gain points night in and night out, regardless of the situation and regardless of the opponent.”

Expected lines & pairings
Giroux-Couturier-Konecny

Voracek-Patrick-Simmonds

Weal-Filppula-Raffl

Goulbourne-Laughton-Lehtera

Provorov-Gostisbehere

Hagg-MacDonald

Manning-Gudas

Neuvirth

Lyon

Even the bounces are going Flyers' way

Even the bounces are going Flyers' way

BOX SCORE 

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 than 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.”

Ivan Provorov and Robert Hagg also scored for the Flyers, who have now slipped into a first-place tie with the Pittsburgh Penguins atop the Metropolitan Division, pending the outcome of the Penguins' game Saturday night.

Considering they were last in the division about two months ago, that’s a pretty nice 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 their 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,”

Nolan 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 pass/shot 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 being 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

BOX SCORE

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.