The Flyers will confidently go into their NHL-mandated Jan. 22-30 bye week knowing that they can beat the best teams in the NHL.
Especially after shutting out the Penguins, 3-0, Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
Over a span of 14 days, the Flyers have taken down the Capitals, Bruins, Blues and Penguins — the top four clubs in the NHL standings.
The Flyers (27-17-6) improved to 9-2-3 against the Metropolitan Division after going 10-16-2 against divisional opponents last season.
Alain Vigneault’s team is three points out of third place in the division, while the 60 points overall are the Flyers’ most through 50 games since 2011-12, when they started 30-14-6 and last won a playoff series.
The Penguins (31-14-5) were shut out for just the second time this season.
Alain Vigneault said he’s going on his pontoon and is gonna have a martini.— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) January 22, 2020
He gets it.
• The Flyers’ penalty kill has gone 25 for 28 over the last seven games, which included matchups with the Capitals, Lightning, Bruins, Blues and Penguins.
The Flyers went 5-2-0 during that stretch, in large thanks to the improved PK this season.
• Travis Konecny is surging into his first All-Star Game.
Through 47 games, the 22-year-old already has a new career high in assists with 26 after feeding James van Riemsdyk during the second period to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead.
At second intermission, Konecny sung the praises of Claude Giroux, who started the whole sequence.
"Everyone looks at the play when the goal happened, but it was one of the nicest plays that G has ever made was that play,” Konecny said. “It is such a heads-up play to lay the puck into an area like that."
TK WITH THE PASS...— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) January 22, 2020
JVR WITH THE FINISH! pic.twitter.com/GUqnfLdZBV
Konecny is eight goals and seven points away from setting new career highs across the board.
Meanwhile, the new line of van Riemsdyk, Giroux and Konecny has starred in two games. Suffice it to say Giroux will be staying at center for at least a little longer.
• Jakub Voracek has looked like a force for a lengthy stretch.
Over his last 28 games going back to Nov. 23, the 30-year-old winger has put up 25 points (six goals, 19 assists) and a plus-14 rating.
Nobody can get on him for his defense right now. If you’ve watched, you’ve seen him skate, forecheck and make plays in the offensive zone on a nightly basis.
“Jake is coming on, like he tends to do,” Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said last Tuesday. “I remember when I got the job here last year, they were talking about how Jake was struggling and he had a pretty big second half, so he seems to be finding his legs.”
COOTS TO VORACEK! pic.twitter.com/NveGEtWfK7— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) January 22, 2020
• Since returning from core muscle surgery, Sidney Crosby had eight points (three goals, five assists) in four games, while Evgeni Malkin had gone scoreless only twice over his last 19 games, a stretch in which he had put up 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists).
The Flyers held both stars scoreless and to only three shots.
Warm welcome for Sidney Crosby. pic.twitter.com/CJgxr91a3S— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) January 22, 2020
• Brian Elliott has won three straight with 83 saves on 87 shots.
He has been terrific in Carter Hart’s absence.
Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry, who entered 11-3-1 with a 2.11 goals-against average and .929 save percentage over his last 15 games, made 27 saves on 29 shots.
• Kevin Hayes has been a treat to watch on the penalty kill. Instead of quickly clearing the puck, which allows the opposing power play to restart, the 6-foot-5 center will often hold onto the puck to milk more seconds and force the opposition to take it away from him.
The strategy worked perfectly in the first period against the Penguins.
"I was very nervous, though, he was protecting the puck against four guys. The guys on the bench telling him to put it deep.— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) January 22, 2020
"It was a great play, but I still get nervous when he does that."
- Claude Giroux with a smile while talking about Kevin Hayes on PK
Since 2016-17, Hayes is fourth among all NHL players in shorthanded points with 14 (seven goals, seven assists), behind only Brad Marchand (17), Michael Grabner (16) and William Karlsson (15).
With each game, we’re seeing more and more why.
• Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins and catcher J.T. Realmuto took in the rivalry showdown.
Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto in the house. pic.twitter.com/7dgu3d1zc7— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) January 22, 2020
• Konecny will represent the Flyers at the NHL All-Star festivities this weekend in St. Louis.
The Flyers are off until next Thursday when they practice at 2 p.m. in Voorhees, New Jersey, before visiting the Penguins that Friday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).
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