Saturday, April 20 2024

No trap here as Flyers bounce back, beat Blackhawks before big weekend originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

John Tortorella had a real urgency to him to start this week, not wanting his Flyers to fall into the proverbial trap.

His intensity and focus paid off Wednesday night as the Flyers took care of the Blackhawks, 3-1, at United Center in Chicago.

Travis Sanheim, Travis Konecny and Garnet Hathaway provided the goals, while the Flyers yielded only 21 shots and blocked 21.

Tortorella’s club has picked up at least a point in six of its seven games following a much-needed nine-day reset. The Flyers are 5-1-1 since the bye week and All-Star festivities. They lost a season-worst five straight going into the break.

With 25 games left, the Flyers (30-20-7) are one win away from matching last season’s total (31-38-13).

The Blackhawks (15-39-3) have the fewest points in the NHL. The Flyers needed to rebound from an overtime loss to the Maple Leafs and a regulation defeat to the Devils in the 2024 Stadium Series.

Last weekend was a busy one for Tortorella’s team under the national spotlight. This weekend features a back-to-back set against two more Metropolitan Division clubs. The Flyers’ head coach wanted to make certain his team didn’t overlook Wednesday’s game.

“That’s what I’m worried about, Chicago plays hard and they’re in all the games,” Tortorella said Monday. “I just don’t want us to think outdoor game, Jersey, we just played Toronto and now we’re playing a team that’s last, right? I just don’t want them to play with their minds because it’s too important of a game for us.”

The Flyers held the Blackhawks’ 18-year-old star Connor Bedard scoreless. They meet Chicago again March 30 at the Wells Fargo Center.

• After taking an ill-timed penalty out of frustration in the Flyers’ 6-3 loss to New Jersey, Konecny played like a leader and an All-Star against the Blackhawks.

He made an excellent play to score the game-winning goal in the second period. Konecny drove the puck through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone before lacing a shot between the crossbar and post.

Over the last two seasons, Konecny has 115 points (58 goals, 57 assists) in 117 games.

• Despite outdoor games being most tricky for goaltenders, Samuel Ersson expressed accountability after giving up five goals to the Devils.

The 24-year-old answered Wednesday, stopping 21 of Chicago’s 22 shots.

The only goal he allowed came in the first period to Colin Blackwell, which tied the game at 1-1. Sean Couturier and Cam York bumped into each other, allowing the Blackhawks to break out for a 2-on-1 the other way.

The Flyers showed a propensity to give up some odd-man rushes to Chicago. That was something that burned them badly against the Rangers back in November. They’ll have to tighten things up Saturday.

Blackhawks netminder Arvid Soderblom stopped 30 of the Flyers’ 33 shots.

• Hathaway gave the Flyers important insurance in the second period with his second goal over the last three games.

Both of those goals came around the blue paint. The hard-nosed winger has been very effective out of the break, recording two goals, an assist, 38 hits and a plus-6 rating in the seven games.

Speaking of bottom-six effectiveness, Scott Laughton extended his point streak to five games (two goals, four assists) by assisting Sanheim’s game-opening goal.

Of course, Laughton’s name has been popular as the March 8 NHL trade deadline draws closer.

Tyson Foerster, missing his fourth straight game with a right foot injury, practiced Monday and Tuesday in non-contact fashion.

As planned, his time on the ice Monday was abbreviated. On Tuesday, the rookie winger stayed with the team for the full practice but didn’t participate in the 5-on-5, defensive-zone portion of it.

Foerster is considered day to day. We’ll see if he’s aiming for a return Saturday.

• The Flyers are scheduled to practice Friday morning in Voorhees, New Jersey before hosting the first-place Rangers on Saturday (3 p.m. ET/ABC). They then head to Pittsburgh to face the Penguins on Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET/TNT).

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Source: Yahoo Sports

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