Travis Konecny

Flyers learn harsh reality that they're 'not there yet'

Flyers learn harsh reality that they're 'not there yet'


You can get away with mistakes against teams like the Canadiens or the Senators.

Against the Penguins, you’ll get buried.

On Wednesday, the Flyers paid dearly as Pittsburgh scored three unanswered goals in the second period en route to a 5-2 win at the Wells Fargo Center (see observations). The Flyers’ four-game losing streak has dropped them from first to third place in the Metropolitan Division, and their playoff cushion in the wild card is now just six points.

“We’re playing good teams right now that are on top of the standings with a lot of experience, so sometimes it shows that we are not there yet,” forward Jakub Voracek said. “Obviously it was a big game today, but we’re still not there.”

This game played out very similarly to the Flyers’ 5-1 loss to Pittsburgh on Jan. 2 when the Penguins scored three goals in just over two minutes. When the Flyers weren’t killing first-period penalties, they dominated stretches of the second period. They even took the lead when Travis Konecny scored his 18th goal of the season, but inconsistency proved once again to be a killer (see highlights).

“We didn’t play a complete game 5-on-5,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “You’ve got to play a complete game throughout the 60 minutes, and we didn’t do that and that cost us.”

Conor Sheary scored two goals to lead Pittsburgh, including one in the final minute of the second period that gave Pittsburgh a 4-2 lead.

“I know on the fourth goal there, I take responsibility,” Konecny said. “I could have got the puck in deep, and then I didn’t get the puck out of the zone too. Two turnovers there and they capitalized, and it’s tough to get back in games against guys like this.”

The Flyers could have benefitted from a power-play goal, but that unit was a combined 0 for 5 even with Wayne Simmonds’ return to the lineup. The Flyers’ power play is now 1 for 19 over the last six games.

“The power play was s--- tonight and it’s frustrating,” Claude Giroux said. “We did a good job of drawing those penalties and gaining momentum, but it wasn’t good.”

“We gotta find ways to get the puck to the middle of the ice to alleviate the pressure,” Simmonds said. “Once we got it on the wall, they pressured. They did a good job not allowing us to get it off.”

Playing the Penguins also presented matchup problems for the Flyers. With the Sean Couturier line mostly battling Evgeni Malkin’s line, Hakstol attempted to contain Sidney Crosby’s line with the trio of Valtteri Filppula, Jordan Weal and Simmonds. While they didn’t play terribly, they were still collectively minus-8 and played much of the game at even strength on the defensive side of the ice.

“We made a couple of mistakes and they took advantage of it,” Simmonds said. “I think as a whole, I don’t think we were too bad, but just those couple mistakes, they put them in the back of our net.” 

The Flyers are proving to be one of the NHL’s streakiest teams, both good and bad.

Now they must find a way to pump the brakes Thursday night in Boston.

Calendar flip remains unkind to Flyers

Calendar flip remains unkind to Flyers


The Flyers missed a prime opportunity to overtake the Pittsburgh Penguins for second place in the Metropolitan Division with a 5-2 loss to their cross-state rival at the Wells Fargo Center.

Just like the previous game here on Jan. 2, the Pens scored three unanswered goals during the second period Wednesday. That outburst came after the Flyers took a 2-1 lead on Travis Konecny’s 18th goal of the season.

Conor Sheary scored two goals in just under five minutes — his second goal gave Pittsburgh a two-goal lead in the final minute of the second period.

Playing his first game since Feb. 18, Wayne Simmonds returned to the Flyers' lineup and finished with a minus-4.

The Flyers’ power play finished the game 0 for 5 and is now 3 for 27 over the last 10 games. 

Sidney Crosby had three assists to pace the Penguins.

The Flyers and Penguins will meet one final time in the regular season, March 25 in Pittsburgh. 

• Interesting and yet frustrating how the first two penalties — Jori Lehtera for holding and Robert Hagg for boarding — called on the Flyers were by the referee who was 80 feet away from the play and not the referee up close near the play.

• Credit the Flyers’ penalty kill for doing an outstanding job of limiting the NHL’s No. 1 power play that was on the ice for nearly six minutes of the opening period. Pittsburgh managed five shots on Petr Mrazek, but not one from the high-danger area. Not only that, but the Flyers’ penalty killers also drew a pair of penalties. Part of the strategy early on was to get out high near the points and not allow rebound opportunities.  

• The Penguins were finally able to strike on their fourth power play as the Flyers were unable to clear the zone. Pittsburgh caught the Flyers out of position, which opened up a clear passing lane underneath the coverage. Evgeni Malkin set up Phil Kessel for an easy tap-in goal, and an early 1-0 lead.

• The Flyers never got into rhythm as four penalties completely zapped any pace and energy that would have been generated at even strength.

• The Flyers opened up the second period in attack mode, which is what Dave Hakstol was preaching he wanted to see from his team. Jakub Voracek scored inadvertently when Nolan Patrick stripped Derick Brassard from behind and fed him a pass on the left wing. Voracek’s attempted centering pass went off Brassard’s stick, but it was all set up by Patrick’s backcheck.

• You have to admire Konecny’s never-quit attitude and tenacity toward attacking the net. The Flyers' winger scored a goal earlier this season when he alertly caught the puck underneath the goalie and pushed it across the line. Konecny’s relentlessness was on display again as his backhand attempt was denied by Tristan Jarry but he somehow had the wrist strength to stay with it and flip it up over the goalie’s pads. It was a tremendous effort to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead.

• Mrazek struggled securing the puck and that appeared to be the case on the Penguins’ second goal. With a lot of traffic in front of him, Mrazek wasn’t able to glove Jamie Oleksiak’s shot from the point, which led to Pittsburgh’s tying goal. The Flyers challenged the marker on the basis of goalie interference, but it was a good no-call. Mrazek didn’t plead for interference, which sometimes can be persuasive in overturning those calls.

• Pittsburgh proceeded to score three unanswered goals in the second period. Rookie Hagg picked the wrong time to step up and pinch in the offensive zone and it cost the Flyers dearly. Hagg’s gaffe led to a 2-on-1 with Crosby taking the shot. Mrazek made the initial save, but Andrew MacDonald left his feet and Hagg couldn’t get back in time to clear the rebound as Sheary scored the first of his two goals for a 3-2 Penguins’ lead. 

• Sheary’s second goal that put the Penguins ahead 4-2 was just sheer luck, or better yet, Sheary luck. Brandon Manning’s skate redirected a shot that came from just inside the blue line and went right to Sheary on the right wing. A bang-bang play that Mrazek didn’t have enough time to react and cover the angle from Sheary’s shot.

Flyers miss the point for 1st time in nearly a month

Flyers miss the point for 1st time in nearly a month


The Flyers’ streak of points in 12 straight games came to an end Thursday with a 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Former Flyer Justin Williams scored twice and now has 14 goals in 33 career games against the Flyers.

Travis Konecny scored his 16th goal of the season.

Petr Mrazek lost his first game since joining the Flyers as he stopped 31 of 35 shots in the process.

The Hurricanes took the ice with heavy hearts as Carolina center Jordan Staal played his first game since the death of his stillborn infant daughter. 

The Flyers and Hurricanes will meet two more times — March 17 in Carolina and April 5 at the Wells Fargo Center.

• An awful start for the Flyers saw the Hurricanes play with more energy and tempo and force the issue in the opening five minutes. They beat the Flyers to pucks, forced turnovers and won a majority of the board battles. Carolina jumped on the board first at the tail end of a power play as Mrazek couldn’t secure Jeff Skinner’s snap shot that slipped underneath his arm. Skinner gained inside position on defenseman Brandon Manning and Williams rammed home the rebound for a 1-0 Hurricanes lead.

• It wasn’t a good first period for Manning, who followed up that shift with a terrible turnover in his own end right to Carolina’s Brock McGinn that produced a prime scoring chance in the high-danger scoring area. Could have easily been a 2-0 Carolina lead.

• Check out Radko Gudas with the dazzling dangle with 7:45 remaining in the first period. He easily maneuvered around Skinner to set up a wrist shot from the left circle.

• Which one defenseman would you want back in a 2-on-1 situation? Shayne Gostisbehere would be my choice. He’s shown over the course of the season how well he reads and defends odd-man rushes, and that was the case again as he dropped to one knee to break up a cross-ice pass. He makes it look easy.

• Terrible 4-on-4 coverage led to the Hurricanes extending their lead to 2-0. Defenseman Justin Faulk skated unchecked in the neutral zone and built up speed before he gave it up to Teuvo Teravainen, who perfectly executed a give-and-go with Sebastien Aho. Teravainen simply out-hustled Robert Hagg to the net and scored on the feed from Aho.

• The second period didn’t look much different than the first, as Carolina was the quicker, hungrier team. When the Flyers worked the puck deep, they couldn’t build any sustained pressure and the Hurricanes did a very good job of keeping them on the outside while clogging up the middle.

• The Flyers came out of the third period with some speed and jump as they cut the Hurricanes’ lead to 3-1. Konecny and Sean Couturier teamed up for a beautiful play. Couturier set up Konecny with a perfect saucer pass that laid down at the last second right on Konecny’s stick. 

• The Flyers picked up their game and brought more pace, especially in transition after struggling to get the puck into Carolina’s zone. Once again, they looked for the perfect pass or play instead of settling for the obvious shot. Konecny passed up on an obvious shot attempt with about five minutes remaining in the period. 

• This was clearly one of Manning’s worst games over the past few months. He looked indecisive with the puck and made another poor decision trying to play the puck from behind his net.