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Flyers 3, Blackhawks 1: Top line fuels Flyers back to win column

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Brian Elliott was stellar in net, stopping 38 of 39 shots in the win.

Kate Frese / SBNation
Kate Frese / SBNation

Brian Elliott stopped 38 of 39 shots and Sean Couturier, Jake Voracek and Claude Giroux added goals as the Flyers downed the Blackhawks 3-1 on Thursday night.

The red-hot top line of the Flyers stayed hot with seven points in the contest as both Giroux and Voracek has a goal and two assists apiece while Couturier started the scoring with his 10th goal of the season.

Corey Crawford made 28 saves for the visiting Hawks, who got their lone goal from defenseman Connor Murphy (who scored his first point with the club since coming over in a trade from Arizona this offseason).

With the win the Flyers move to 8-6-2 on the season for 18 points in the ultra-competitive Metropolitan Division, where six of eight teams have at least 18 points.

Claude Giroux would start the scoring to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead at the 4:58 mark with his ninth goal of the season. Giroux was open in the slot and Jake Voracek put it on a tee for the captain, who blasted a one-timer past Corey Crawford on the short side.

Brian Elliott, back in net, kept it 1-0 Flyers with a nice save on Richard Panik just before the nine minute mark of the period off a quick developing Hawks rush. Not long after it was Crawford’s turn to make a few dandy saves, robbing Travis Sanheim on the doorstep after the rookie jumped in on a rush.

The Flyers really carried play for the first half of the period, showing loads of energy following their time off after last playing on Saturday.

That strong start continued as Jake Voracek’s fourth of the year would make it 2-0 with 7:52 left in the period off a pretty sequence from Giroux and Shayne Gostisbehere. Giroux gloved a loose puck down and found Gostisbehere to fire a cross-ice pass on the tape of Voracek, who made no mistake. The assist gave Gostisbehere his 100th career NHL point.

Taylor Leier nearly gave the Flyers a three-goal lead on shorthanded breakaway, but Corey Crawford came up with a big save to keep the Hawks within two. Leier is still looking for his first goal of the season.

Just after puck drop in the second Brian Elliott would preserve the Flyers’ two-goal lead with a sprawling save on Panik less than a minute in. Panik was the most dangerous Hawk in the first and was busy again early in the second.

The first line for the Flyers feasted in the first period, and started fast in the second with a Couturier’s goal to push the lead to 3-0 just 3:51 into the period. Giroux setup Couturier right on the top of the crease for an easy slam dunk past Crawford. Voracek picked up the other assist on Couturier’s 10th goal of the season.

With a 3-0 lead in tow, it was time for Brian Elliott to protect it. Saves on Brandon Saad and Patrick Kane were stellar in particular as the visitors pushed back following the Flyers’ third goal.

Connor Murphy would break the ice for the Hawks, corralling a rebound off his own blocked shot and beating Elliott to cut the Flyers’ lead to 3-1 with 3:47 left in the second. Elliott had trouble resetting after getting in position for Murphy’s original shot.

A pair of penalties to Radko Gudas and then Ivan Provorov would put the Hawks up two men and give them a golden chance to pull within one with less than two minutes to play in the period. But for 1:33 the Flyers were able to kill off both penalties.

Brian Elliott ended up not being super busy on the two-man advantage for Chicago, but he did rob Brandon Saad on a breakaway just after the penalties expired to maintain the 3-1 lead headed to the third.

Chicago would come out with a quick start in the third, but were aided by some timid play from the Flyers through the first four minutes. Elliott was there to keep things settled, and first power play of the game for the Flyers helped slow things down further.

Elliott was busy in the third as the Hawks continued to press to close the gap on the scoreboard, stopping nine shots through the first half of the period and making things look easy.

On the power play with a chance to draw closer with less than five minutes remaining, Artem Anisimov was unable to beat Elliott from the right circle as the veteran netminder moved well across his crease to make yet another tough save.

A penalty to Tommy Wingels for high-sticking gave the Flyers a chance to put things away with a three-goal lead, but Corey Crawford was stellar on the penalty kill for the Hawks, turning aside a golden chance as Sean Couturier bid for his second of the game off a masterful feed from Shayne Gostisbehere.

Chicago would empty their net, but were unable to make up the two-goal difference in the final minutes as the Flyers extended their unbeaten streak against the Blackhawks in the regular season in Philadelphia to 22 years.