This was a prove-it stretch for the Flyers.
They ended up proving plenty.
The Flyers took down the Blues, 4-3, in overtime Wednesday night at Enterprise Center. Jakub Voracek scored the OT winner, while Tyler Pitlick, Michael Raffl and Travis Konecny added the other goals (see highlights).
Over their last four games, the Flyers went 3-1-0 as they knocked off the Capitals, Bruins and Blues, while losing to the Lightning.
When the Flyers played Washington, Boston and St. Louis, all three were No. 1 in the NHL standings. The loss to Tampa Bay was a 1-0 decision when the Lightning had won 10 straight games.
The Flyers (25-16-6) are four points out of third place in the deep Metropolitan Division and hold the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot (see standings).
Prior to the loss, the defending champion Blues (30-10-8) had won nine straight home games, outscoring the opposition 36-15.
🗣️ VORACEK CALLED GAME! pic.twitter.com/oT6lGiPIdl— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) January 16, 2020
• The Flyers learned a lot about themselves during this four-game span. Coming off a 1-4-1 road trip, they were able to bounce right back and show they can beat the top teams in the league.
That's a belief the Flyers can now take into the final three games before their NHL-mandated Jan. 22-30 bye week and down the stretch when divisional play heats up.
On Tuesday, general manager Chuck Fletcher said he felt the Flyers were trending in the right direction. These three wins provided credence to that and if the Flyers keep it up, the Feb. 24 trade deadline will get only more interesting (see story).
• Ivan Provorov and Matt Niskanen both played over 24 minutes and over five minutes shorthanded.
• On the day it came out that Carter Hart (right lower abdominal strain) would miss two to three weeks (see story), Brian Elliott outdueled Jordan Binnington in the champs' building.
The Flyers failed to hold a 3-1 third-period lead but St. Louis was going to make its push at home.
Elliott finished with 30 saves and has been reliable all season.
Binnington had won both his previous matchups with the Flyers, putting up a 1.50 goals-against average and .944 save percentage. This game, the Flyers got past him four times on 25 shots.
• Recently, the Flyers have played with fire relying on their penalty kill so much.
They gave the Capitals, Lightning and Bruins a combined 11 power play opportunities and killed 10 of them. They put the Blues on the power play six times and allowed only one goal.
The much-improved PK has been excellent and the Flyers were whistled for some ticky-tacky penalties against St. Louis, but still, they'll want to go to the box a little less.
• Raffl knows how to complement talented players. His teammates always talk highly about playing alongside him because he does a lot of the dirty work — protecting the puck, working hard in battles and making smart plays.
Head coach Alain Vigneault's decision to bump up Raffl with Sean Couturier and Voracek has reaped the rewards.
Raffl gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead in the second period and has been a plus-3 over the last two games playing with Couturier and Voracek.
Oh, and Couturier truly does make everyone around him better. Vigneault has said it routinely and it's no exaggeration.
RAFFL WITH THE REBOUND! pic.twitter.com/dRmP9HiMNS— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) January 16, 2020
• Konecny was getting comfortable in St. Louis. He'll be back in town for the All-Star festivities Jan. 24-25.
LEAVE TK ALONE!— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) January 16, 2020
That means you, David Perron. pic.twitter.com/9hu7fdZv45
After the Blues jumped Konecny at the end of the second period, the 22-year-old took out his frustration with a goal 26 seconds into the third period.
With the Flyers trying a double net-front look on the power play, James van Riemsdyk, in nifty fashion, went between his legs to Konecny. That's an intriguing setup to spark the man advantage, which was 2 for its last 17 entering the game.
*chef's kiss*— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) January 16, 2020
SWEET, SWEET REVENGE. pic.twitter.com/9iLA9uQyTe
The other day at morning skate, James van Riemsdyk found Travis Konecny in very similar fashion with both at net front and after the play, both looked at each other like "OK, this could work."— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) January 16, 2020
• Pitlick has quietly been very good for the Flyers in their bottom six. He kills penalties and is constantly playing Vigneault's north-south style to get to the net, which he did during the second period to tie the game at 1-1.
(The NHL on Thursday changed the goal to Laughton.)
Pitlick with the wraparound!— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) January 16, 2020
We're all tied up in St. Louis. pic.twitter.com/grYoQy5nW5
• A very cool gesture by the Blues in support of Oskar Lindblom.
• The Flyers are right back at it Thursday when they host the Canadiens (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).
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