Flyers

Flyers bury their Boston nightmares, push win streak to 6 games

Flyers bury their Boston nightmares, push win streak to 6 games

BOSTON — That’s one way to wash out the bad taste of Boston.

Coming into Thursday night’s game, the Flyers had managed just one win in their last 10 games at TD Garden. 

The Bruins, who had dropped four of their last five on home ice, appeared hungry to right some recent wrongs, so nobody would have blamed the Flyers if they were content to pack up their one point and take it back to Philadelphia for the start of a five-game homestead.

It hasn’t been how many the Flyers have lost here recently, but how they’ve lost them.

Two years ago, Drew Stafford flipped in a fluke shot off Brandon Manning’s stick that beat Steve Mason with six seconds remaining in regulation.

But wait, it gets worse.

The season opener in 2014, Mason used his blocker to stop a shot that went straight up in the air before Chris Kelly bat home the rebound in the final two minutes for a 2-1 Boston victory.

And then there was the disappointment of all disappointments on March 7, 2015. With the Bruins down a score, Brad Marchand scored the game-tying goal with 15 seconds remaining in the third period and then punctuated the pain with the game-winner in overtime. It killed the Flyers' psyche as they never recovered and missed the playoffs that season. 

To this day, it still lingers.

“Yeah, it’s funny you say that. There was about five minutes left in this game and I kind of had a flashback when they scored twice with a minute left,” Claude Giroux said. “Those were games that we needed, but guys battled [tonight].”  

Of course, none of that history really matters to a coach or a goaltender who have never experienced losing in this building. Give up a power-play goal in the opening three minutes and get over it, which is precisely what the Flyers did on this night en route to a 3-2 overtime victory (see observations).

“That has to be the best game we’ve played,” Flyers interim head coach Scott Gordon said. “A little bit of a slow start but nothing we can’t recover from.”

Like a pot full of chili on a cold winter night, the Flyers' six-game winning streak has had just about everything in it. The first two games featured comebacks from 2-0 deficits. Huge performances from a pair of goalies who weren’t with this team when the season started. And in Boston, the league’s worst power play got the job done in overtime, when the Flyers had dropped their previous five in OT.

“That’s huge for us,” Carter Hart, who won his fifth straight game, said. “I think that was the best, full complete game I’ve seen us play.” 

Now, we can say this Flyers winning streak has some real teeth to it. It’s coming together at a time when things appeared to be falling apart. 

“I think it’s confidence,” Giroux said. “I think when you get a couple of wins, you start feeling better about yourself.”

That’s two wins against a quality Boston team in the past 16 days. Afterward, Jakub Voracek held off showering while he patiently waited for David Pastrnak, his fellow countryman, to meet him outside the locker room. 

Except Pastrnak never showed. He took his two goals and went home for the night.

Right now, it seems even the big, bad Bruins want no part of this Flyers team.

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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

BOX SCORE

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

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

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

Through 50 games, the Flyers have done two important things. They’ve played well within the division and have dominated at home. 

Those two trends bode well for after the All-Star break because divisional games become much bigger and confidence at home is paramount as the pressure builds.

The Flyers are 17-4-4 at home and 9-2-3 against Metropolitan foes. The marks are notable given the Flyers fell sorely short in those areas last season, when they finished 19-18-4 at home and 10-16-2 in divisional play.

Another positive is the Flyers are getting healthier after the break. Shayne Gostisbehere (knee) could be back Friday in the Flyers’ first game out of the bye week, while Carter Hart (abdominal strain) is expected to return not long after.

But what might be the Flyers’ most convincing piece of evidence for optimism is how they’ve performed against the NHL’s best teams. The Flyers have shown they can play with any club, which is huge for their own belief moving forward.

The Flyers are 11th in the NHL standings at 27-17-6. They've gone 9-5-3 against the top-10 teams and 5-1-1 vs. the top four.

Head coach Alain Vigneault has a history of taking teams to the playoffs, and doing so in Year 1 on the job. At his previous three stops (Canadiens, Canucks, Rangers), each of his first seasons produced playoff bids and at least one series victory.

Vigneault’s track record will be tested over the Flyers’ final 32 games.

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