How's that for a breakthrough? Flyers catch fire and beat Golden Knights to snap losing streak

How's that for a breakthrough? Flyers catch fire and beat Golden Knights to snap losing streak

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The Flyers felt they had dominated their last two games.

The scoreboard said otherwise.

On Monday night, the Flyers quashed the debate by ripping off five goals through the first two periods en route to an emphatic 6-2 win over the Golden Knights at the Wells Fargo Center.

The victory for the Flyers (3-3-1) put a four-game losing streak to bed as Travis Konecny, Kevin Hayes, Michael Raffl (two), Matt Niskanen and Oskar Lindblom all scored.

The Golden Knights (6-4-0) were coming off a shutout of the Penguins and their penalty kill was 33 for 35 on the season.

The Flyers impressively put up a six-spot on Vegas with two of the goals coming on the man advantage.

• Alain Vigneault’s team made a statement in the second period with four goals. Quite frankly, it needed to make a statement. Winning the shot battle is not a statement — putting up crooked numbers, though, speaks volumes (see story).

The Flyers had scored seven combined goals through the first and second periods this season. They weren’t giving up a ton, but they weren’t capitalizing, either.

This time, the Flyers did, and against a pretty good Western Conference contender.

Now it’s a matter of producing consistently.

• Let’s not forget how good Brian Elliott was against the Golden Knights. He converted big saves, many of which came before the score turned lopsided.

After the Flyers had yielded 10 goals in their previous two games, the 34-year-old picked up 33 stops. He has 76 saves on 81 shots in three career matchups with Vegas.

He could get the next game in Chicago.

Golden Knights backup Oscar Dansk had a rough outing.

• Joel Farabee, the 14th overall pick in the 2018 draft, made his anticipated NHL debut just five games into his pro career.

Last Saturday, Farabee’s mother, grandmother and older brother traveled from Cicero, New York (right outside of Syracuse) to watch his game at AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

His mother Pam was back on the road Monday with Farabee’s father Dave to watch their son’s first NHL game at the Wells Fargo Center.

Farabee, a skilled and strategic goal-scoring winger, didn’t score but exhibited his sharp reads and angles to the puck. He gives the Flyers a flashy skill in the bottom six, a type of player who can make a play out of nothing.

• There has been no slowing down Konecny and Lindblom, who have been the Flyers’ two best players. The Flyers have desperately needed some of their promising youth to take big steps. So far, so good from the 22-year-old Konecny and 23-year-old Lindblom.

Konecny has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in seven games.

For some perspective on his start, the Flames’ Johnny Gaudreau has eight points (three goals, five assists) in 10 games so far.

With his two-point effort, Lindblom has four goals and six points in seven games. Last season, he scored four goals in his first 45 games. The Flyers have put Lindblom in a position that suits him well and he’s taking advantage of it.

• The Flyers’ defensemen were strong and a combined plus-6.

• The unsung Raffl notched his first two-goal game since March 15, 2016.

• Four of the Flyers’ next five games are on the road.

To begin the stretch, the Flyers visit the Blackhawks on Thursday (8:30 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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Golden Knights 1, Flyers 0: Flyers denied by spectacular Marc-Andre Fleury

Golden Knights 1, Flyers 0: Flyers denied by spectacular Marc-Andre Fleury

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The last time the Flyers took the Wells Fargo Center ice, they were booed off of it during a catastrophic home opener.

They were a much a different team Saturday but the end result was the same. This time, it was a 1-0 defeat to the Golden Knights on Saturday afternoon.

Cody Eakin scored with 1:25 left in regulation as Vegas handed the Flyers (2-3-0) their first shutout of the season.

In four lifetime matchups between the Flyers and Golden Knights, the road team has won all four.

Vegas (2-4-0) came in with the worst goal differential in the NHL at minus-9 but got some revenge from its 5-2 home-opening loss to the Flyers.

• This was the Flyers' best defensive game of the season. There were very little breakdowns, a stark contrast from the home opener in which the Flyers lost, 8-2, and had Brian Elliott holding on for dear life.

The Flyers couldn't clear a loose puck late in the third and the Golden Knights turned it into the winner on a pretty cross-ice pass to Eakin.

The Flyers entered Saturday having allowed a league-most six power-play goals. Vegas went on the man advantage just three times and didn't score on any of them.

• Head coach Dave Hakstol called a timeout after the Golden Knights' goal. The Flyers then pulled Elliott but couldn't net the equalizer. They didn't generate as much in the third with only six shots, while Vegas capitalized on one play.

• The second period picked up significantly for the Flyers, who couldn't find a way to crack Marc-Andre Fleury. The Golden Knights' goalie made two highlight-reel stops within a minute-and-a-half span to keep the game scoreless late in the stanza.

The first came on Scott Laughton, who couldn't deke Fleury on a shorthanded breakaway before crashing into the boards and skating off hunched over.

Fleury then turned away Claude Giroux with a diving stop. The Flyers' captain patiently held on to the puck and attempted to curl around Fleury, but the goalie remarkably recovered (see video).

• The Flyers had their chances in the first, too. The best came around midway through the frame when a rebound trickled to Jordan Weal, but Fleury sprawled backward to deny his shot. Konecny had a chance to flush the rebound but missed top shelf.

• During the second period, Mikhail Vorobyev committed a bad giveaway when he tried to chip the puck with a backhanded pass. It went right to Tomas Nosek, who created a scoring chance but the Golden Knights couldn't convert.

• Elliott, who was hung out to dry in the home opener, was strong, saving 20 shots. He failed to make the big save at the end but the Golden Knights' precision on the play was impressive.

Unlike opening night against the Flyers when he was yanked after allowing five goals on 16 shots, Fleury was sensational this time around. He had a number of difficult stops and finished with 26 saves.

• With only 12 forwards right now, the Flyers needed Konecny, who left practice early Friday after taking a puck to the skate. He played and didn't look too limited. At times, he skated somewhat gingerly. He played 11:50 and had three hits.

• The Flyers' forwards are becoming the walking wounded. Laughton eventually returned to the bench early in the third period after his spill into the boards. Oskar Lindblom was also shaken up after taking a hard check during the third. The hit by Brayden McNabb was questionable.

• The Flyers are off Sunday then practice Monday before hosting the Panthers Tuesday at 7 p.m. on NBCSP. It's Jakub Voracek Chia Pet Giveaway Night (seriously).

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Mikhail Vorobyev finds 'a real good place to start' in NHL debut

Mikhail Vorobyev finds 'a real good place to start' in NHL debut

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LAS VEGAS — Mikhail Vorobyev and Ivan Provorov decided to forgo the bus and walk the short distance together from the team hotel to T-Mobile Arena prior to Thursday’s season opener.

Not even remotely observed on the streets of Las Vegas, Vorobyev had to wonder how he could get noticed once he stepped on the ice of the arena.

If anything, that stroll between teammates was a chance for Provorov, who happens to be one week younger than Vorobyev, to impart a little wisdom on his fellow Russian teammate about what he could expect in his NHL debut inside one of the most energy-filled arenas in hockey.

“Just enjoy it,” Provorov said of his advice. “I told him it was going to amp up compared to the preseason, and then I just let him be with his own thoughts and stuff. It’s not an easy thing coming into your first game, especially in this building with the crowd like that.”

A few days earlier, Vorobyev called just making the team “a dream come true” and was tasked with centering a pair of 30-goal scorers flanked to each side in James van Riemsdyk and Wayne Simmonds. That’s a luxury most third-line centers in the league don’t have.

“I am so happy,” Vorobyev said. “I was pretty nervous before the game, but after the first shift I felt good and my partners helped me a lot.”

There were parts of Vorobyev’s night that stood out on the scoresheet. His first NHL point — an assist — a plus-2 rating and just over 14 minutes of ice time in the Flyers’ 5-2 win over the Golden Knights (see observations). As you scroll across the page, you notice one of the areas that he still needs to improve as Vorobyev won just 14 percent of his faceoffs.

“That’s a lot coming at a young player in this atmosphere,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “He handled himself well. We’ll see on tape some things he can do a little bit quicker in terms of coverages, but he’s seeing the coverages. For a young player, that’s a real good place to start.”

But the one play that endeared Vorobyev to his teammates and even the coaching staff took place in the third period when he stepped in between a pair of Vegas players in an attempt to protect Nolan Patrick. 

“Yeah, that’s huge,” linemate Simmonds said. “We’re trying to talk about team tough and someone gets hit, and Misha is the first guy on this team that steps up for his teammates. It’s all for one and one for all.”

And one game that this Flyers rookie will certainly never forget.

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