New York Islanders

Revved-up Flyers show their 'mojo'

Revved-up Flyers show their 'mojo'


“It’s pretty blatant.”

Direct words an hour before game time from general manager Ron Hextall as he laid out the lack of secondary scoring and production from the Flyers' supporting cast, and how it had to get better in the second half of the season.

Somehow that message worked its way down seven stories from the Wells Fargo Center press box to the Flyers' dressing room as five different players scored goals and 12 registered a point in the 6-4 win over the New York Islanders on Thursday night (see observations).

“I think everyone is starting to get into their mojo now,” forward Travis Konecny said. "You’re seeing different guys every night step up and it’s important when you have a whole team contributing each and every night.”

“If we want to be a playoff team, we need everyone, especially from now on,” goaltender Brian Elliott said. “Games are going to get a lot tighter, a lot tougher and we need everyone to step up in any way we can."

Over the past 15 games, Elliott has been the one assigned to step up and carry the load in net. It marks the longest stretch of starts since Ilya Bryzgalov started 22 straight in 2013. On Thursday, for once, the Flyers bailed out Elliott.

“I didn’t feel like I had my best effort,” Elliott said. “It’s nights like that when other guys pick up the slack. That’s huge for me. Next game is next game. You kind of erase this one from the records and start all over again.” 

Aside from the pond-hockey scoring, the Flyers also displayed some raw emotion as the game featured three separate fights from players who don’t typically drop the gloves. Sean Couturier, Scott Laughton and Konecny each spent five minutes in the box for throwing punches against their Islander counterparts (see highlights).

“It was a big game tonight,” Couturier said. “They’re just ahead of us in the standings. We knew it was important and there’s a lot of emotions out there. Guys responded and that’s what happens during the game.”

Konecny may very well be one of those key scoring components as the Flyers enter the second half of the season. While Konecny hasn’t played top-line minutes alongside Couturier and Claude Giroux, he filled the scoresheet with a goal, five shots, a fight and three hits. He’s now registered a point in three of his last four games.

“There’s a simplicity to his game,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “He has such good speed. He’s very tenacious on pucks. He’s not the biggest body, but he’s heavy on pucks and I think he’s using all those abilities. Instead of trying to make that extra move through people, he’s shooting the puck.”

After a three-goal lead was reduced to 5-4, the referees threw the Flyers a last-minute life preserver when they slapped Isles forward Andrew Ladd with a tripping penalty with 49 seconds remaining in the game. 

Prior to that moment, New York had been coming at the Flyers hard, and appeared as if it were on the verge of sending the game to overtime yet again.

Much like the Islanders did in this same building on Nov. 24 when they trailed the Flyers, 4-2, entering the third period before winning, 5-4, in overtime. The Flyers simply could not afford to hand another point to a divisional opponent on home ice.

“We can be better in the last 20 minutes,” Hakstol said. “We took our foot off the gas a little bit, and against this team they’ve got a history here of pushing hard in the third if they’re down. They can come hard. They’ve got pretty good offensive numbers for a reason. Give them some credit, but I thought we backed off some of that.”

Thursday’s win over the Islanders was the Flyers' first victory over a Metropolitan Division opponent since the home opener against the Washington Capitals on Oct. 14. The Flyers were 0-1-4 in the previous five divisional games.

To put it bluntly, the Flyers need much more of this. 

More scoring from the team’s role players. More victories over teams in the Metropolitan Division.

Fights and a flurry of goals in a snow-day win

Fights and a flurry of goals in a snow-day win


The Flyers like to score goals in bunches against the New York Islanders.

Of their three four-goal periods this season, two of those have come against the Isles, as the Flyers bounced back from a lackluster performance against the Penguins to beat New York, 6-4, at the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday.

Three of the Flyers’ goals in the second period came during a span of 4:48.

Travis Konecny, Michael Raffl and Wayne Simmonds all scored even-strength goals. Sean Couturier and Ivan Provorov tallied on the power play.

Twelve different Flyers registered at least one point.

Starting his 15th consecutive game, Brian Elliott turned aside 27 of 31 shots. He’s 9-5-1 in those 15 starts. 

The Flyers and Islanders will meet one final time, April 3 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

• It was a good, solid shift in the opening minutes from Nolan Patrick as he kept the puck in the offensive zone and made a play that you can see from the press box but not sure if the guys on the ice have the same visual. 

Patrick’s pass to Robert Hagg resulted in a good scoring chance. If Hagg had quicker release, it may have resulted in a goal. Patrick’s vision reminds me a little of Joe Thornton’s. He definitely appears to be more of a setup guy, or at least, that’s what he’s comfortable with at this point. 

• The Flyers held the Islanders without a shot for the first five minutes of the game. Isles defenseman Ryan Pulock finally got New York’s first shot from just inside the blue line that Elliott easily snagged.

• There was another good shift from the Patrick line that resulted in a Provorov shot that went high and wide. On a delayed penalty, the Flyers pulled Elliott. With Provorov floating in the high slot, the Flyers' defenseman attempted to redirect a shot that just went wide.

• Couturier continued his magical season as he opened up the scoring during the first period with a redirect on Jakub Voracek’s pass into the slot.

• A couple of middleweights dropped the gloves as Konecny exchanged blows with New York’s Shane Prince. It was good to see that side of Konecny as he never connected any good right hands but he was able to body slam Prince for the takedown.

• For some reason, the Islanders’ checking line turns into a scoring line against the Flyers. Fourth-line winger Cal Clutterbuck scored his second goal against the Flyers this season when he deflected Nick Leddy’s entry shot from the blue line off his knee in the first period. Clutterbuck had an earlier shot in the game when he went high glove side on Elliott but rang it off the post.

The Flyers came out really strong in the opening minutes of the second period. First, Raffl did an excellent job of playing keep-away from Islanders captain John Tavares. His ability to control the puck and shield it with his body allowed the Flyers to cycle the puck and work it around to Provorov, who fired a shot that deflected off Raffl and past Thomas Greiss for the goal and 2-1 lead.

• Patrick’s line, which was buzzing all night, finally received its due when Jordan Weal gained control along the boards and sent it out to the point. With Simmonds in front of the net, he was able to circle around the defense and beat Greiss low to the glove.

• The Flyers earned a four-minute double minor as defenseman Andrew MacDonald drew a high-stick to the face. On the ensuing power play, Provorov found a shooting lane with a line of at least four bodies standing in front of Greiss. All Provorov had to do was snap a shot between everyone’s legs to score a goal and extend the advantage to 4-1. Provorov followed up a bad game against Pittsburgh with one of his best against the Islanders. He also tallied a second marker with an empty-netter.

• Konecny got in the scoring act on a breakaway. Couturier flipped a perfect pass over the Islanders’ defense, which sprung Konecny, who made sure he picked a side of the net instead of the corner. He snapped a shot over Greiss’ blocker for his fifth goal of the season. Konecny now has points in three of his last four games.

• With Anders Lee serving as a screen directly in front of Elliott, John Tavares sniped a shot that barely saw Elliott flinch. The Flyers’ PK can’t allow a superstar like Tavares to get that kind of open look no matter where he is on the ice.

• Pulock, the Islanders’ defenseman taken four spots after Samuel Morin in the 2013 draft, came up with a solid individual effort. When Hagg tried to flip the puck from his blue line into the Islanders’ zone, Pulock stepped up, snagged it and skated in all alone on Elliott before snapping a shot high glove to pull the Isles within a goal, 5-4, in the third period.

• There were three fights in the game. Along with Konecny, Couturier and Scott Laughton also dropped the gloves, while Simmonds and Clutterbuck had plenty of words.

• The Flyers called up Tyrell Goulbourne from Lehigh Valley Wednesday night, but he couldn’t make it to the Wells Fargo Center from Toronto (where the Phantoms practiced prior to their game with the Marlies) in time for Thursday’s game.

General manager Ron Hextall described Goulbourne’s game and what he brings to the Flyers, as the 2013 third-round pick is expected to make his NHL debut Saturday against the St. Louis Blues. 

“I think he’s a hard-nosed player,” Hextall said. “I think you see that in what he’s done in Lehigh Valley. He’s done everything asked of him there. He’s a hard-nosed, two-way player. He’s been going to those dirty areas. Because of that, he’s had a couple of scraps. You look at his last couple games here and he has a couple points. Playing good, consistent hockey and when need be, he’s answering the call there.”

Best of NHL: Islanders shut down Capitals to snap 5-game skid

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Best of NHL: Islanders shut down Capitals to snap 5-game skid

NEW YORK -- Jaroslav Halak made 31 saves after getting a vote of confidence from his coach, and the New York Islanders beat the Washington Capitals 3-1 on Monday night to snap a five-game winless streak.

Brock Nelson, Andrew Ladd and John Tavares scored goals for the Islanders, who built a 3-0 lead early in the second period and ended Washington's four-game winning streak.

It was the second time this season that Halak held an opponent to a single goal and the third time New York has allowed one goal as a team. Halak's strong performance came after coach Doug Weight sternly defended his goaltenders following the team's skate Monday morning. New York was 0-3-2 over its last five games.

Braden Holtby made nine saves for the Capitals before being pulled after the Islanders scored their third goal 1:34 into the second period. Philipp Grubauer made 17 saves in relief, and Dmitry Orlov scored Washington's only goal (see full recap).

Bernier makes 39 saves as Avalanche top Penguins
PITTSBURGH -- Jonathan Bernier stopped 39 shots and Mark Barberio scored in the third period, helping the Colorado Avalanche top the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 on Monday night.

Blake Comeau added an empty netter against his former team as Colorado won its second straight after a string of six losses in seven games. It was Comeau's seventh of the season.

Barberio put the Avalanche ahead to stay 6:17 into the third. His slap shot off the rush hit Pittsburgh forward Riley Sheahan in front and got past goaltender Tristan Jarry.

Bernier was on track for his second shutout of the season before Phil Kessel scored his 15th goal for Pittsburgh at 19:48. Bernier beat the Penguins for just the second time in 10 career games (see full recap).

Perreault, Jets beat Canucks to snap skid
WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Mathieu Perreault scored two goals and added an assist to help the Winnipeg Jets halt a three-game losing streak with a 5-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night.

The win was the Jets' seventh straight victory at home and they have points in their last 11 games (10-0-1) at Bell MTS Place.

The Canucks have lost three straight in regulation for the first time this season.

Dmitry Kulikov, Josh Morrissey and Nikolaj Ehlers also scored for Winnipeg (18-8-5). Ehlers' 14th of the season was on the power play and gave him goals in three straight games.

Brock Boeser scored his team-leading 16th goal for the Canucks. He also extended his goal-scoring streak to three games.

Connor Hellebuyck made 25 saves for Winnipeg (see full recap).