The Flyers jumped out to a 3-0 lead Monday night, got outstanding goaltending and showed enough depth that six players combined for their seven goals.
Afterward, there was only one question: Where’s that been these last two months?
“You don’t want to ruin my win, do you?” coach Alain Vigneault chuckled as he answered The Athletic’s Charlie O’Connor. “I’m sort of happy right now. Let’s celebrate the win. We’ll talk about that later.”
If the Penguins don’t come away with the East’s No. 1 seed, they can blame the Flyers. The teams have played seven times and the Flyers have won five, including a shootout.
There have not been very many things to celebrate this Flyers season, so you take your victories wherever you can. Even if you aren’t really sure where they came from.
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So Travis, what was up with that pass?
Alex Lyon’s fingertip save might have been the No. 1 highlight from Monday’s win over the Penguins. But Travis Konecny’s pass to Claude Giroux for a first-period goal was a thing of beauty. Or was it?
Konecny, who was moved up to the top line, took a pass from Sean Couturier that was rolling along the boards and gently feathered it off the side of the Penguins net to a wide-open Giroux in the slot. It looked like something out of an AP Physics textbook.
The captain hammered it past Casey DeSmith who was probably as stunned as the rest of us that Giroux even had the puck. It made the score 3-0 and, thanks to a late flurry by the Penguins, held up as the game-winning goal.
NBC Sports Philadelphia analyst Keith Jones, who played nine seasons in the NHL, was like the rest of us. He couldn’t determine if Konecny’s pass was deliberate or just fortunate. The more he watched the replay, the more he convinced himself it was intentional. And he’s an expert.
“The net part [of the pass] was not planned,” Konecny admitted. “That part was just good luck. G was just in a good spot. If you go to the net, you’re going to get some good looks. I just tried to throw it there, and it hit the net.”
Ah well. Konecny’s opponents will call him a million things on the ice. Dishonest cannot be one of them.
Things to know
Giroux had a pair of goals and Alex Lyon made a handful of incredible saves as the Flyers snapped a three-game losing streak. The Flyers erupted for six goals, plus an empty-netter by Giroux, in the 7-2 win.
Even the Ivy League had to tweet out a replay of Lyon’s save of the night. Might be the Flyers’ save of the year, in fact.
The Flyers are on an unprecedented run of alternating making/missing the postseason for 10 consecutive seasons. Stats Perform (the former Stats Inc.) says no team in the four American sports has ever had such a string. Flyers chairman Dave Scott shares the fans’ frustration. He chatted with our Sam Carchidi on what he’s planning to do about it.
The stunning collapse should be plenty of impetus that general manager Chuck Fletcher needs this offseason, Sam writes.
Uh-oh. Tom Wilson was trending again last night. ... He should get 20 games for this madness.
Jeff Carter has had plenty of success — just not with the Flyers
Jeff Carter had played at the Wells Fargo Center before as an opponent. Five times in fact, all with the Kings. Monday, though, was his first with the rival Pittsburgh Penguins.
“It’s a fun place to play for the home team, but also as a visiting team,” Carter said before the damaging 7-2 loss. “There’s a lot of energy to feed off the crowd whichever way they’re going. Obviously, I wish there were full crowds.”
A hockey lifetime has passed since the Flyers drafted Carter (No. 11) and Mike Richards (No. 24) in the first round in 2003. Carter is 36 now. He’s not the dashing 24-year-old sniper who once scored 46 goals in a season.
His hair is a little thinner. He’s traded in some teeth for two Stanley Cup rings and is in position for a third after giving the Penguins a boost of energy at the trade deadline.
“He’s built a real, a real solid, impressive legacy for himself to this point, and I think he’s hungry to build on that,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said Monday afternoon.
Carter had a point in six of his last eight games before being blanked Monday. The Penguins have gone out in the opening round of the playoffs the last two years. Carter’s acquisition was geared more toward a postseason run.
“I think our players and coaches and management have so much respect for what he’s accomplished in the game to this point and that was one of the reasons he was added to the group,” Sullivan continued, “because we felt he could help us continue to try to win another Stanley Cup.”
Carter spent his first six NHL seasons with the Flyers, and the club had deep playoff runs in 2008 (conference finals) and 2010 (Cup final). It was a double-edged sword when then-general manager Paul Holmgren traded Carter to Columbus.
Be careful what you wish for, the saying goes, because you might just get it.
The Flyers acquired a rising youngster (Jake Voracek) and a first-round pick (Sean Couturier). But they also freed up salary-cap space to sign enigmatic goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to a 9-year, $51 million contract. He was bought out after two seasons, and the Flyers have advanced past the first round just one time since.
Carter’s life changed at the 2012 trade deadline when he was dealt again — this time to the surging Kings, where he was reunited with Richards.
“Going out to L.A. was big for me,” said Carter, who scored the Stanley Cup-clinching goal that season. “Being around some really good teammates and really good people, and starting a family. Being on really good teams helps you grow as a person. I was lucky to spend nine years out there.”
Tuesday: Pittsburgh at Flyers, 7 p.m. (NBCSP, NBCSN)
Friday: Flyers at Washington, 7 p.m. (NBCSP)
Saturday: Flyers at Washington, 7 p.m. (NBCSP)
Monday: New Jersey at Flyers, 7 p.m. (NBCSP) — end Flyers’ regular season
May 11: NHL playoffs start (tentative)
May 21-June 6: IIHF World Championships (Latvia)
TBD: Draft lottery determined
July 17: Deadline for clubs to submit protection lists for expansion draft, 5 p.m.
July 21: Seattle expansion draft
July 23: NHL draft, Round 1
July 24: NHL draft, Rounds 2-7
July 28: Unrestricted/Restricted Free Agent signings permitted, noon
From the mailbag
The Flyers’ problem is multifaceted. Management, upper management, talent evaluation, and a whole bunch of underachieving players. Seattle will be set up better and have a greater chance of a Cup.
— Inquirer.com user Steve01 responding to Dave Scott’s comments.
This is Lurie level of delusion.
At least one of the veterans on big contracts has to go. Not even necessarily for salary, but chemistry. And to shake things up.