In a game that featured just about everything, the Flyers got a win but lost their leading scorer.
Scott Laughton scored the deciding goal with less than five minutes left as the Flyers were able to get past the gritty Ottawa Senators, 4-3, on Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center.
Travis Konecny was knocked out of the game late in the first period after he was flattened at center ice by Ottawa defenseman Mark Borowiecki, who outweighs Konecny by about 30 pounds.
Coach Alain Vigneault said afterward only that Konecny had an upper-body injury and an update would be provided Monday. The team is off Sunday.
No penalty was called on Borowiecki’s hit, but plenty of hockey justice followed.
Jake Voracek had his first fight of the year, when he stood with Nick Paul late in the first period. Rookie Joel Farabee had the first fight of his career early in the second when he dropped the gloves with Jean-Gabriel Pageau. (Voracek lost a decision; Farabee’s bout was a draw.)
“I didn’t really get many punches in, but I didn’t get knocked down, so that’s a plus,” said Farabee, who had a point for the fifth time in his last six games. “I’m just happy to get that one over with.”
Though Laughton scored his fourth goal in six games, he was left feeling a little empty after the game. He was in the middle of much of the action after the hit on Konecny and finally goaded Brady Tkachuk into committing two penalties with 24 seconds left to extinguish any chance the Senators might have had to tie the game.
One of Tkachuk’s infractions was a cross-check to Laughton’s back, which sent the Flyer to the ice as Tkachuk jumped on his back. Laughton was playing in his eighth game since returning from a broken finger and a fight would not have been wise. But he sure wanted to.
“I knew [Tkachuk] was coming,” Laughton said. “It’s part of the game when you chirp the bench, you know it’s going to come. I just can’t drop the gloves right now. I got some padding there right now.”
“He said something towards the bench, and I wasn’t happy with that,” Tkachuk said. “It happens. Yeah, I’ll leave it at that.”
The NHL later announced that Tkaczuk had been fined $2,486, the maximum allowable under the CBA, for the cross-check.
Konecny, arguably the Flyers’ MVP for the first 30 games, was caught looking back at the puck when Borowiecki stepped into his path. Earlier in the first period, he scored his 11th goal of the season for his team-best 28th point.
» FROM THE ARCHIVES: Flyers sign Konecny to $33 million deal
James van Riemsdyk initially took Konecny’s place alongside Claude Giroux and Morgan Frost. Tyler Pitlick saw some time on that line as well.
“There were some different moments where I thought we were sharp and executed well,” Vigneault said. “There were other moments we didn’t particularly check well and execute well with a couple of unforced turnovers with nobody around.”
Carter Hart made 27 saves to improve to 8-1-2 at the Wells Fargo Center. An egregious miscommunication with Shayne Gostisbehere led to a Senators’ shorthanded goal.
Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov also scored for the Flyers, who have won six of their last seven games and are off until visiting Colorado on Wednesday.
Provorov’s goal came three minutes into the third period, when he fired a shot over the shoulder of Ottawa’s Anders Nilsson, who went into the game in the first period after starter Craig Anderson left with an injury.
The goal was Provorov’s seventh of the season. He had seven goals all of last year.
Ten of the last 12 games between these teams have been decided by one goal. They play one final time on Dec. 21 in Ottawa. Maybe Laughton will be ready to fight by then. Get your popcorn.
“It was nice,” Laughton said. “They play hard. They’re a well-coached team and they don’t give you much space. It was a physical game and I like playing in those.”