News, notes and a little fun from the Flyers’ convincing 5-1 win over Columbus:
What it means: The Flyers (73 points) jumped Columbus (71 points) and the Islanders (72 points) to move into third place in the Metro. The Islanders, however, have two games in hand.
Another thing to remember: The win in regulation was No. 24 for the Flyers. Columbus has 23, the Islanders 22. Regulation wins is the first tiebreaker. The Flyers’ last seven victories have been in regulation to close what had been a sizable gap.
Our three stars. 1. Travis Konecny, 2. Joel Farabee, 3. Jake Voracek.
G Whiz: When Claude Giroux helped on Jake Voracek’s third-period goal (with a nifty feed from his knees), he passed Bobby Clarke’s franchise record with his 235th power-play assist. Clarke played in 1,144 games. Monday was Giroux’s 880th.
First things first. The Flyers got out to a 2-0 lead in the first period with some help from the hockey gods and Columbus defenseman Andrew Peeke. Kevin Hayes scored the first goal on a shot that defected off Peeke’s skate. Sean Couturier had the second when Peeke was handcuffed by a bouncing puck at his own blueline.
Finally, a break. Sean Couturier had two breakaways roll off his stick in Saturday’s loss at Tampa. He had another breakaway again on Tuesday and this time allowed the puck to slide off his stick past Merzlikins. “I was trying to bring the puck to my backhand,” Couturier told Flyers’ radio after the first intermission. "He opened up and I just tried to let it go by him and it went in.”
Elvis sighting. Merzlikins, who entered the game with a .928 save percentage, was pulled after the fourth goal. It was the first time he’d allowed that many since before Thanksgiving. Three of the goals were unstoppable.
Just for you, week in review. In a stat Inquirer alum and Hall of Fame baseball writer Jayson Stark would love, this was the Flyers’ first game against an opponent named Elvis according to the player database at Hockey-Reference.com. In fact, he’s the only Elvis in their files.
Punxsutawney Phil. Drought ends. Phil Myers scored the Flyers’ third goal, a deflection off a skate which ended a 35-game drought for the young defenseman. “Honestly, I was trying to go backdoor," he said, "and I got a good bounce.”
Up next. These two teams will play again on Thursday (7 p.m., NBCSP). The Blue Jackets are in an 0-3-3 slump and have lost their five games since All-Star defenseman Seth Jones went out with an ankle injury. Jones is not expected back before the playoffs.