Flyers

Flyers' Jakub Voracek proves himself wrong in Stadium Series

Flyers' Jakub Voracek proves himself wrong in Stadium Series

There's a transparency to Jakub Voracek that doesn't accompany a lot of hockey players.

On Saturday night at Lincoln Financial Field, Voracek labeled the Flyers' 4-3 overtime stunner against the Penguins as "the biggest win of the year."

The biggest win of the year he didn't see coming.

"In the third period, I wasn't sure what was going to happen," Voracek said. "To be honest, I wasn't believing we were going to win, which is probably bad to say."

There's that brutal honesty everyone loves.

"What's wrong with you, man?" Claude Giroux said with a laugh and smile, looking over at Voracek.

What many don't hear about or see with Voracek is toughness — a grind that can go unnoticed with his status as a playmaker. He's often the butt of a backchecking joke and as the Flyers got off to another rough start this season, questions circulated around the team's core group of players, with Voracek one of the main targets of criticism.

But Voracek has always accepted responsibility. While he's refreshingly candid, he doesn't give excuses. To his credit this season, he has met the pressure head on.

Saturday night was another example of it. With the Flyers facing a third straight loss and a hefty punch to their playoff hopes, Voracek fulfilled his playmaking duties. As the Flyers trailed, 3-1, he assisted James van Riemsdyk's marker with 3:04 left in regulation, then scored the game-tying goal with 20 ticks left on the clock.

He finished as the game's first star with three points and six shots in 22:02 ice time.

What made the performance exude toughness?

Consider interim head coach Scott Gordon's revelation afterward:

Nobody knows this, but he was pretty sick for about … it started on Monday. I forget which days he didn't practice with us, he didn't pregame skate, he stayed in the hotel on the road. He gets through the week, he hasn't eaten anything for pretty much four days, [Friday] was the first day he actually ate and I thought he played with great energy tonight. 

He's a guy that when he gets the puck, as a coach, you get excited, something good is going to happen. When your team is down, you're looking at some point, he's going to make something happen and he's really consistent with that.

In his previous three games, two of which were lopsided losses for the Flyers, Voracek went scoreless with just six shots in 16:25 minutes per game.

However, since Jan. 8, Voracek has put up 21 points (six goals, 15 assists) over 20 games, a stretch in which the Flyers are 14-5-1 to gain relevancy in the postseason race.

On the morning of Jan. 14, when the Flyers were in dead last in the 31-team NHL standings with 38 points, Voracek was blunt about the situation.

"You have to make it light here in the locker room, but it's a tough thing to do when you're playing the way you do as a team like we do right now," Voracek said. "I think it's the toughest season that I've been through in 11 years. Hopefully it's going to turn around and we're going to find a way to battle to the end for a playoff spot."

The Flyers now have an honest chance with 20 games to go. Through the turmoil and doubt of 2018-19, Voracek has shown he can still keep the Flyers in the picture.

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Senators' Brady Tkachuk fined maximum allowable amount for crosscheck on Flyers' Scott Laughton

Senators' Brady Tkachuk fined maximum allowable amount for crosscheck on Flyers' Scott Laughton

Suffice it to say Scott Laughton got the best of the Senators on Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center.

He was the first star in the Flyers' 4-3 victory, scored the game-winning goal during the third period, added an assist, stood up for his teammates and got under the skin of Ottawa forward Brady Tkachuk.

So much so that Tkachuk went after Laughton, crosschecking the 25-year-old forward in the back and jumping him during the final minute of regulation. The NHL reacted quickly to the play, fining Tkachuk $2,486.56, the maximum allowable under the CBA.

Following his third-period marker, Laughton had words for the Senators' bench. He was fired up, especially after Ottawa's hits on Travis Konecny and Joel Farabee, which led to some fights. Laughton could not partake in the dropping of the gloves because he recently returned following surgery on a broken finger, which is still healing.


I knew it was coming. It’s part of the game when you do that stuff and chirp the bench, you know it’s going to come. I just can’t drop my gloves right now with my finger and everything. I’ve got some padding there so once I do that, I guess it’s a penalty or something. That’s just the way it went.

- Laughton

But Laughton still had the backs of his teammates. He was physical throughout, especially after the first-period hits on Konecny and Farabee. He also allowed his game to do the talking.

Laughton has four goals in his last six contests and the Flyers are 6-1-1 since his return following a 13-game absence because of the finger injury.

Would Laughton have liked to fight?

"Yeah," he said.

He did plenty enough.

Tkachuk's crosscheck and check to the league are proof of Laughton's work.

 

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Multiple fights, a potential costly injury to Travis Konecny and a different kind of Flyers win over Senators

Multiple fights, a potential costly injury to Travis Konecny and a different kind of Flyers win over Senators

Updated: 4:22 p.m.

BOX SCORE 

The win was ugly.

But a really good one for the Flyers.

A lesser opponent tried to work them up, throw them off, and the Flyers still found a way to pull out a 4-3 decision over the Senators on Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center.

They did so while losing their best player during the first period and despite being outshot 30-21.

Scott Laughton was superb yet again with a multi-point game. He was physical when the game became physical and he scored the game-winning goal, his fourth marker in the last six games.

The Flyers (17-8-5) showed they can win when they’re far from their best, which is a good sign. They are 12-3-4 with 28 points since Nov. 1. The Capitals entered the day with an NHL-leading 28 points over that span.

The Senators (12-17-1) have lost six of their last seven games.

• The biggest storyline to come from Saturday’s game was Travis Konecny leaving the ice and never returning following a crushing hit by Mark Borowiecki in the first period.

The fights then broke out with Jakub Voracek and Joel Farabee doing the honors (see story).

The 22-year-old Konecny already had a goal in the game and has been arguably the Flyers’ most important piece to their turnaround through two months of this season.

Konecny was presumably getting checked for a concussion. If he were to miss any time, it would be a significant loss for the Flyers, who are 2-4-4 when Konecny goes scoreless in a game.

After the game, head coach Alain Vigneault said Konecny had an upper-body injury and the Flyers would have further updates Monday.

• Ivan Provorov kept on humming Saturday, matching his goal total of seven from last season by sending home a third-period missile to put the Flyers ahead 3-2 (see highlights).

The Flyers are 15-5-4 since Oct. 21. Over that stretch, Provorov has six goals, nine assists and a plus-10 mark.

• The Senators’ game-tying goal in the second period was an inexcusable one to give up by the Flyers. Carter Hart and Shayne Gostisbehere misread each other terribly, which allowed Anthony Duclair to swoop in for a shorthanded marker.

Both Hart and Gostisbehere need to be more aware in that situation.

The good news is Gostisbehere continues to push offensively and Hart has been awfully good since Nov. 1 — really, all season for that matter.

Gostisbehere has three goals in five games following a three-game benching. The 26-year-old defenseman had one goal in his previous 22 games.

Hart finished with 27 saves.

• Morgan Frost picked up his first point in eight games on Konecny’s goal.

Before the game, Vigneault expressed his confidence in the 20-year-old center who is centering the Flyers’ top line.

The 2017 first-round pick deserves some patience just like a lot of young players.

• Next week, the Flyers open a three-game road trip, which features matchups with the Avalanche on Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN), the Wild on Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and the Jets on Sunday (5 p.m. ET/NBCSP+).

 

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