Flyers

Flyers take down NHL-best Capitals in impressive fashion

Flyers take down NHL-best Capitals in impressive fashion

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Home is exactly what the Flyers needed.

In their return to the Wells Fargo Center following a discouraging 1-4-1 road trip, the Flyers knocked off the NHL-leading Capitals with a 3-2 win Wednesday night.

The Flyers (23-15-6) got a big-time victory and needed it for their psyche more than anything else. The Flyers are 14-2-4 with a plus-36 goal differential at home.

In 2018-19, the Flyers were throttled by the Capitals, losing all four meetings by a combined score of 18-9. In 2019-20, they've taken three of four possible points from Washington.

The Capitals (30-10-5) had won the last five meetings with the Flyers and came in with more road victories (17) than any NHL team had at home.

• The Flyers were ticked off with the officiating late in the second period of a 2-2 game.

Sean Couturier appeared to take a high stick from Tom Wilson but the Flyers did not receive a whistle. Seconds later, a frustrated Couturier was called for slashing to put the Capitals on the power play.

The Flyers took their anger out on the penalty kill as Kevin Hayes broke free for the decisive go-ahead shorthanded goal 26 seconds later (see highlights).

• Speaking of the Flyers' penalty kill, it was excellent against Washington's vaunted power play. The Capitals have had the NHL's top power play percentage since 2000 but went 0 for 5 against the Flyers.

Even more impressively, the Flyers pulled it off with Couturier going to the box twice. Philippe Myers also committed a pair of penalties.

Hayes, Scott Laughton, Matt Niskanen, Ivan Provorov and company were active, not letting Washington get organized too often, which is when it's so dangerous. The Flyers built momentum off their penalty kill and it was the difference.

• Niskanen and Provorov both made clutch third-period plays in the defensive zone to break up scoring chances.

• The Capitals can carve up coverages better than anyone in the NHL.

They broke the Flyers down twice in the first period.

On the first goal, Alex Ovechkin muscled Travis Sanheim into a turnover and Washington capitalized.

On the second goal, Carter Hart allowed a juicy rebound and the Capitals made the Flyers pay.

Hart settled in, though, and was sharp over the final 40 minutes with 26 total saves, many of which were timely.

Big confidence boost for Hart following the road trip in which he allowed 15 goals in four appearances.

The 21-year-old improved to 12-1-2 with 23 goals allowed at home this season.

• Travis Konecny and Robert Hagg put the Flyers on the board in the first period.

Couturier, always on his toes defensively, stripped the puck to create Konecny's goal, while Hagg tied the game at 2-2 with 42 seconds left in the frame on his first marker of the season.

• Since the beginning of December, Joel Farabee had played only 3:58 on the power play.

He was back on the man advantage Wednesday, a good opportunity to spark the 19-year-old offensively. He has two points (both assists) in his last 13 games.

• Shayne Gostisbehere was out with a knee injury and here's what that could mean for the Flyers' defense (see story).

• The Flyers hosted Pride Night at the Wells Fargo Center.

• The Flyers are off Thursday and practice Friday at 11:30 a.m. in Voorhees, New Jersey, before welcoming the Lightning Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP+).

Tampa Bay has won eight straight and plays Thursday before visiting the Wells Fargo Center.

 

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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

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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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