In a Saturday afternoon matinee, the Philadelphia Flyers continued their hot streak, beating the New Jersey Devils for the second time this season.
During the Dave Hakstol era of Philadelphia Flyers hockey, getting off to a fast start when the puck drops has not been something the club has been known for. This season alone the Orange and Black have only come out of the first period with the lead eight times over 45 games.
That is not a tendency that will win you many Stanley Cups in the National Hockey League.
On Saturday afternoon, with the New Jersey Devils in town for the second of four meetings between the Metro Division rivals, the Flyers finally got out to an fast start and didn’t look back. They scored three times in the opening period on the way to a 3-1 victory.
The win improves the Flyers to 22-16-8 on the season and 4-2-4 against the Metropolitan Division. They have won six of their last seven games and have been scoring almost at win as of late.
Travis Konecny scored three and a half minutes into the first thanks to an assist from Shayne Gostisbehere. That was followed by scores from both Valtteri Filppula and Ivan Provorov. The three goals resulted in New Jersey pulling starting goalie Keith Kinkaid, who was replaced by Ken Appleby in his first ever NHL game.
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The second period saw the Flyers allow a power play goal and get hit with a pair of penalties, but thanks to the explosive first it didn’t really matter. The Flyers did go 0-4 on the power play for the game and that is something they will have to work on as the second half of the season progresses.
Michal Neuvirth made his second consecutive start between the pipes for the Flyers and stopped 28 shots out of 29. He is now 5-5-1 on the year and looks to be getting his form back after a rough time earlier in the season.
It would appear that moving Konecny to the first line with Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier is paying big dividends for the Orange and Black. He has nine points over the last 10 games and continues to improve the more time he spends on the line.
Throw in Michael Raffl and defenseman John Moore throwing down the gloves and you have a solid and entertaining win against a key Metro opponent.
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And they will have to keep it up if they want to solidify their spot in the Wild Card race. Coming out strong and putting the other team on the defensive early is something that works for this club and always has. No one can seem to explain why the Flyers always end up playing from behind, but it’s an issue that they have to fix. Saturday afternoon is a perfect example of why.
Next up for the Flyers is a date with the Metropolitan Division-leading Washington Capitals on Sunday at Capital One Arena. The Capitals are 28-15-4 and a win would go a long way towards improving Philly’s chances of making the postseason.