Flyers

Flyers take down the NHL's top team for the 3rd time in the last 4 games

Flyers take down the NHL's top team for the 3rd time in the last 4 games

BOX SCORE

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.

• 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.

• Konecny was getting comfortable in St. Louis. He'll be back in town for the All-Star festivities Jan. 24-25.

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.

• 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.)

• 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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Subpar start leads to Flyers loss vs. Lightning but doesn't hurt spot in NHL playoff race

Subpar start leads to Flyers loss vs. Lightning but doesn't hurt spot in NHL playoff race

BOX SCORE

The Flyers didn't bring their A-game to a game they needed it.

There would be no giant killing Saturday as the Flyers lost to the Lightning, 5-3, at Amalie Arena.

Goals from Ivan Provorov, James van Riemsdyk and Claude Giroux weren't enough for the Flyers (32-20-7), who are 6-3-2 against the Bruins, Lightning, Capitals, Penguins and Blues, the league's top five clubs.

Tampa Bay is the only one the Flyers haven't beaten. They'll get a final crack at the Lightning on March 12 in the same building.

The Lightning (39-15-5) have won 10 straight games.

• This really wasn't a bad loss for the Flyers.

They were at the end of a road trip and playing the NHL's hottest team. Tampa Bay is 22-2-1 over its last 25 games and hasn't lost at home since Dec. 19.

The Flyers entered Saturday with a 66.9 percent chance to make the playoffs, according to Hockey-Reference.com, and still hold an Eastern Conference wild-card spot (see standings).

Alain Vigneault's team just needs to recharge and be ready for a big home-and-home set against the Blue Jackets next week.

• Things got chippy in the second period. Travis Konecny was right in the middle of it all.

Steven Stamkos appeared to trip Giroux before a faceoff. Giroux didn't even look to be that mad about it.

During the final 6:09 of the middle frame, 22 penalty minutes were accrued.

• Brayden Point (10-game point streak) is good at hockey.

• Carter Hart, who was coming off his first road victory since Nov. 10, allowed four goals on 23 shots.

The 21-year-old wasn't the problem.

The first goal was a fluky one by Alex Killorn. On the second, Provorov was sloppy with the puck in the defensive zone and Tampa Bay capitalized to take a 2-0 lead into first intermission.

In the middle stanza, the Lightning beat Hart on a 3-on-2 to grab a commanding 3-0 advantage. Tampa Bay improved to 33-4-3 when it scores three or more goals.

Not only are the Lightning really good, but the Flyers also didn't play their typical forechecking, possession-based game until it was too late.

• Outside of the van Riemsdyk's third-period goal, Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy was strong with 30 saves, 15 of which came in the final stanza. 

Vasilevskiy improved to 18-0-1 with a 1.83 goals-against average and .940 save percentage over his last 19 starts.

• Provorov was far from his best against Tampa Bay but he did score the Flyers' first goal to trim the Lightning's lead to 3-1 in the second period. He also had an assist.

The 23-year-old has grown into a power play quarterback this season. He leads all NHL defensemen with seven man advantage goals after scoring only two over his first three NHL seasons.

• Travis Sanheim played 19:43 minutes Saturday after missing almost the entire third period of Thursday's 6-2 win over the Panthers because of a lower-body issue.

• The Flyers are off Sunday, practice at 11:30 a.m. Monday in Voorhees, New Jersey and host the Blue Jackets Tuesday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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Flyers, Lightning have 4 p.m. start on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Flyers, Lightning have 4 p.m. start on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Saturday's game should be a good one.

The Flyers and Lightning are two of the hottest teams in the NHL. Since Jan. 8, the Flyers have the league's most goals (52) and only one team has more points (21) — the Lightning (27).

Tampa Bay is also on a nine-game winning streak and 21-2-1 over its last 24 games.

The big showdown comes a little earlier than usual. Puck drop will be shortly after 4 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, with Flyers Pregame Live set for 3:30 p.m. ET.

The matchup finishes off a three-game road trip for the Flyers, who then play four of their next five games at the Wells Fargo Center.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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