Flyers

Flyers 3, Bruins 2: Comeback results in OT thriller, 6th straight win

Flyers 3, Bruins 2: Comeback results in OT thriller, 6th straight win

BOX SCORE

BOSTON — Make it six in a row.

The Flyers got a rare power-play goal in overtime to beat the Bruins, 3-2, Thursday night, as Travis Sanheim connected on the game-winner.

It’s the Flyers' first win in Boston since Oct. 21, 2015, having dropped their previous four at TD Garden.

Here are my observations:

• After Claude Giroux tripped up David Pastrnak, the Flyers quickly discovered taking penalties against this team would be highly detrimental. The Bruins came into this game with the second-best power play in the NHL and they proved why in the opening two minutes.

After nearly connecting on a cross-ice pass across the slot that Pastrnak couldn’t get his stick on, the Bruins capitalized roughly 15 seconds later. It was a pass that Oskar Lindblom was right there for but had his stick in the wrong place.

• When it's healthy, Boston’s line of Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand is arguably the best in the NHL. Following Pastrnak’s second goal, giving the Bruins a 2-1 lead, that line had combined to score six consecutive goals for Boston. Pastrnak’s tip-in goal may have looked high but certainly below the cross bar.

• After being outshot in each of their five games during the winning streak, the Flyers appeared to be on the verge of that again throughout the first period as the Bruins were standing the Flyers up at the blue line. As a result, the Flyers couldn’t get pucks deep, they weren’t moving in unison and pucks were being thrown all over the place.

Interim head coach Scott Gordon made a few tweaks and the Flyers were much better in the second period, outshooting Boston 17-7.

• Another change for Gordon was a different look with his lines as Sean Couturier moved up to play alongside Giroux and James van Riemsdyk, and together that trio looked really good as it moved the puck well and created several second-period chances.

• After doing very little offensively in the opening period, the Flyers needed a break to go their way. And that’s exactly what they got when defenseman Charlie McAvoy had an easy look at the net, but instead missed it entirely, allowing the puck to rim around the boards.

The Flyers were thankful Jakub Voracek and Giroux were on the ice at the same time. Even when they’re not on the ice together, they still know where the other player is. 

• Gordon said there were a number of factors that went into the decision to go back to four forwards and a defenseman on the power play. Moving Voracek back to the half wall and switching personnel with Lindblom and Couturier swapping lines made Gordon look like a genius in the third period, when Lindblom scored the game-tying goal.

The Flyers' power play was 2 for 25 in the previous nine games.

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Travis Konecny, James van Riemsdyk click as Flyers deliver much-needed response with win over Kings

Travis Konecny, James van Riemsdyk click as Flyers deliver much-needed response with win over Kings

BOX SCORE

That’s more like it.

Head coach Alain Vigneault challenged his team to play on its terms and the Flyers responded with a 4-1 win Saturday night over the Kings at the Wells Fargo Center, just two days after a sloppy 4-1 home loss to the Canadiens.

The Flyers (26-17-6) have earned at least a point in 20 of 24 home games (16-4-4).

With the victory, the Flyers are two points out of third place in the Metropolitan Division and hold the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot.

The Kings (18-27-5) have lost seven of their last eight games since beating the Flyers, 5-3, on New Year’s Eve.

• Vigneault was not happy with the letdown against Montreal on home ice after such a positive stretch in which the Flyers took down the NHL’s three best teams.

“We’ve got to execute, we’ve got to compete,” Vigneault said Saturday after morning skate. “We’re at our best when we’re on top of people, we’re taking people out of the equation.”

For the most part, the Flyers took the Kings out of the equation, a team that put up four first-period goals on the orange and black in the previous meeting.

• Vigneault put Travis Konecny and James van Riemsdyk on a line with Claude Giroux down the middle.

Konecny and van Riemsdyk instantly clicked. JVR found Konecny twice as the duo handed the Flyers a 2-0 lead (see highlights).

Konecny is eight goals and eight points away from setting new career highs in both categories, while the Flyers are 8-0-0 this season when the 22-year-old records a multi-point game.

Meanwhile, van Riemsdyk tacked on the Flyers’ fourth goal to give him a three-point game. The big winger has five points (one goal, four assists) in his last four games.

The Flyers go to a different level when he produces — 15-3-0 in games that he registers at least one point.

Giroux was sharp, as well, with two assists after he had scored just one point in his previous five games.

A good call by Vigneault.

• Brian Elliott received a rare home start with Carter Hart out (right lower abdominal strain) two to three weeks.

The 34-year-old goalie was reliable once again with 34 saves after knocking off the defending champion Blues with 30 saves Wednesday.

The Flyers will need him next Tuesday against the Penguins.

• Joel Farabee has two goals in the last two games after scoring two goals in his previous 30 games.

The 19-year-old climbed to the Flyers with a goal-scoring prowess and could be a crucial secondary option to the team down the stretch.

Expect his role to grow (see story).

• Justin Braun and Robert Hagg were solid as a new defensive pair.

• Nolan Patrick on Saturday got in more work with skills coach Angelo Ricci.

Patrick, who is recovering from a migraine disorder, has not been cleared for contact and there is no timetable for his return. Patrick and the Flyers have said the expectation is for the 21-year-old center to play this season.

“He’s been skating harder,” Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said Tuesday. “Getting his heart rate up higher, I think he’s feeling a bit better. Again, it’s hard to predict. Once we have certain information, if he’s cleared for contact or anything like that, we will obviously let you guys know right away. I can just tell you from the on- and off-ice workouts he’s doing, he is progressing. But there certainly isn’t any clear path as to which way this will go.

“We still think he has a real good future ahead of him and speaking with a lot of the medical people that have dealt with him, they all anticipate him coming back and so that's why I'm optimistic he will, but I just can't give you a timeframe.”

• The Flyers host the Penguins Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN) before going on their NHL-mandated Jan. 22-30 bye week.

Konecny will represent the Flyers at the NHL All-Star festivities Jan. 24-25 in St. Louis (see story).

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As Jeff Carter's Kings make trip to Philly, is the former Flyer a trade deadline target?

As Jeff Carter's Kings make trip to Philly, is the former Flyer a trade deadline target?

Jeff Carter was back in Philadelphia Saturday night as his Kings played the Flyers.

After the Feb. 24 trade deadline, could he be somewhere else other than Los Angeles?

It's not outside the realm of possibility.

The Kings entered Saturday's action in the basement of the Western Conference and may be a team looking to sell some veteran parts to a contender.

Carter is 35 years old but under contract for next season and 2021-22 with a cap hit of $5,272,727, according to CapFriendly.com. The center brings a lot of pedigree as a two-time Stanley Cup champion and a four-time 30-plus goal-scorer. He can still score the puck a bit as he's projected to finish with 23 goals this season.

If Los Angeles wants to retool and shifts its focus to the future, Carter has the potential to earn it a decent return if contending teams are interested in his services.

Has he ever thought about playing in Philly again?

“I don’t want to leave L.A., I can tell you that right now," he said to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Taryn Hatcher on Saturday night's edition of Flyers Pregame Live. "But I loved playing in Philly, I had some great years here, I have a lot of friends and family. Whatever happens, happens.

"It’s been a long time since I played here but I still enjoy coming back, a lot friends here, my wife’s from here, so some family and stuff like that. Always enjoy coming back and seeing everybody.”

While the Flyers are a team that could be looking for depth and scoring down the middle, they're not exactly in position to trade for a player with the contract like Carter's deal. They would have to include players from their roster in the exchange or make other moves. Subtracting, or doing so significantly, is probably not their plan right now.

"It’s hard to trade a fourth-round pick for a $4 million player," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said Tuesday (see story). "With our group right now, I don’t know that’s what we’re looking to do. If we can improve our team, we will."

But you never know. Carter certainly knows anything can happen in this business.

"I love playing in L.A. and being a part of this team," he said. "We’ll see where it goes.”

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