Flyers

Flyers 4, Penguins 3 (OT): Flyers pull off epic comeback, win on Claude Giroux's overtime goal

Flyers 4, Penguins 3 (OT): Flyers pull off epic comeback, win on Claude Giroux's overtime goal

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A sellout crowd at a rain-soaked Lincoln Financial Field saw a whole lot of Gritty and one remarkable comeback.

Claude Giroux's goal with 3:01 to go in overtime gave the Flyers their first-ever win outdoors, 4-3, over the Penguins.

Here’s Giroux’s open-ice move that won the game, completing an incredible comeback Saturday.

Jakub Voracek scored the game-tying goal with 20 seconds remaining in regulation as the Flyers rallied from two goals down to send the Stadium Series game into overtime. 

It was the fifth-largest crowd in the history of the NHL’s outdoor games, and the biggest crowd ever for a hockey game in the state of Pennsylvania. 

Here are my observations from Lincoln Financial Field:

• Penguins star Sidney Crosby has scored more points against the Flyers than any other team, and with his first-period goal, Crosby has now scored in five different venues throughout this rivalry: Civic Arena, PPG Paints Arena, Heinz Field, Wells Fargo Center and Lincoln Financial Field. Voracek made a poor decision to push the puck up the middle as opposed to banking it off the boards and out of the zone. 

• The Flyers were truly fortunate to be tied after the opening 20 minutes despite giving up 18 first-period shots and playing most of the opening period in their own end of the ice, losing most of the little battles along the boards. However, Oskar Lindblom out-battled a few Penguins, which led to a rush and Sean Couturier’s goal from the slot. I thought Matt Murray looked a little shaky when tested, but he wasn't tested often early by the Flyers.

• A good no-call on the Wayne Simmonds hit on Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin — it was a clean, shoulder-to-shoulder hit, and as Simmonds drove through him to complete his check he appeared to graze him under the chin. However, the principle point of contact was not the head and, as a result, only Simmonds and Pens defenseman Kris Letang were levied unsportsmanlike conduct minors. It was good to see the raw emotion from the cross-state rivals.

• With that said, I believe Simmonds played his final game in Philadelphia. General manager Chuck Fletcher has to proceed with a long-term plan, and it seems rather clear that Simmonds isn’t part of that. Word is the two sides made little progress on a long-term deal. The Flyers started the night trailing Carolina by nine points for the final wild-card spot in the East, and Fletcher needs to take the position of a seller with the mindset of trying to add players who can contribute next season.

• The Flyers missed a major opportunity and failed to capitalize on the Penguins playing without their top two defensemen — Letang and Dumoulin — who didn’t see the ice after the 3:30 mark of the first period. As a result, the second pairing of Jack Johnson and Justin Schultz each logged over 11 minutes in the second period and around 30 minutes for the game. 

• I thought there would be retribution toward Evgeni Malkin for his stick swing toward the head of Michael Raffl, but it was Malkin who got the final word with his 3-1 goal. Brian Elliott made the initial save but the shot bounced over his shoulder and off his leg for a fortuitous goal for Pittsburgh.

• So, where do the Flyers go with their goaltending moving forward? I think we’ll see much more of Cam Talbot. If I’m Scott Gordon, I give Talbot the start Tuesday against the Sabres and one of the back-to-back games next week. 

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Why Flyers fans should be concerned about post-NHL All-Star break playoff chances

Why Flyers fans should be concerned about post-NHL All-Star break playoff chances

On Saturday, we broke down why Flyers fans should be hopeful for the post-All-Star break stretch. Today, we look at the reasons for concern.

Alain Vigneault has 11 playoff berths on his résumé. He knows the requisites for a postseason club and the Flyers have failed to look like one in a key aspect.

"As a team that considers themselves a playoff team, you need to have a good road record," Vigneault said last month.

The Flyers do not through 25 road games. As stingy as they have been at home, they've been the polar opposite away from home. On the road, the Flyers are 10-13-2, have a minus-30 goal differential and are allowing the NHL's second-most goals per game at 3.80.

The figures above are a major concern and the Flyers must stem the tide over their final 16 road games. Vigneault's team still has two trips to Washington, D.C., two to Tampa Bay, Florida, two to Madison Square Garden and one more to Pittsburgh. Those matchups with the Capitals, Lightning, Rangers and Penguins will be stiff tests.

Speaking of the schedule, the Flyers are battling in the NHL's deepest division and have 14 games remaining against Metro teams. The Flyers are in sixth place of the Metropolitan Division (three points out of third place) but would be in first place of the Pacific Division.

The Flyers will be challenged the rest of the way and so, too, will their depth at forward. The Flyers are a middle-of-the-pack scoring club (15th in the NHL with 3.06 goals per game) and without Oskar Lindblom (Ewing's sarcoma) and Nolan Patrick (migraine disorder).

Is the team's youth in the bottom six enough for the playoffs and a competitive shot? Or will (and can) general manager Chuck Fletcher add at the Feb. 24 trade deadline?

Big questions and we'll have answers soon.

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2020 NHL All-Star Game: Flyers' Travis Konecny shows off his career-high stuff for Metropolitan Division

2020 NHL All-Star Game: Flyers' Travis Konecny shows off his career-high stuff for Metropolitan Division

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Travis Konecny stormed into the NHL All-Star break already with a new career high in assists. The Flyers' winger has 26 helpers and is projected to finish with 44, a sign of significant growth in a breakout 2019-20 season for the 22-year-old.

On Saturday night in the 2020 All-Star Game at Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Konecny put his facilitating on display during the 3-on-3 action featuring the world's best players. He finished with three assists in the Metropolitan Division's 9-5 semifinal loss to the Atlantic Division.

"I had a lot of fun," Konecny said Saturday, via Flyers senior director of public relations and communications Zack Hill. "It was pretty funny, I was watching my parents in the stands and my mom didn't understand why we weren't playing like a real game.

"It's my first game and it's her first time seeing it. I don't know if she was expecting me to be blocking shots and forechecking, stuff like that. I had a lot of fun with it.

"It was a really cool experience, getting to play with some players, too, that I usually won't get the chance to play with was fun."

Konecny playing in his first All-Star Game at 22 years old should be exciting for the Flyers. Claude Giroux was 23 years old for his first All-Star Game back in 2011. The future looks bright for Konecny, who signed a new six-year, $33 million contract back in mid-September.

With 17 goals and 43 points through 47 games, Konecny is eight goals and seven points away from setting career highs across the board.

A breakout, indeed.

Here are more sights and scenes from Konecny's first All-Star Game:

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