The Winnipeg Jets and Philadelphia Flyers were both looking to pick up their second straight win after breaking losing streaks over the weekend. The Jets had lost six games in a row prior to beating the Blues and the Flyers, of course, had lost a franchise-record 13 straight games before beating the Kings.
Now, thanks to a 3-1 win over Winnipeg, the Flyers are heading into the All-Star break with back-to-back wins.
Carter Hart was tremendous in this one, making 32 saves on 33 shots, including some impressive stops. Travis Konecny tied the game in the second period with a snipe, James van Riemsdyk put the Flyers ahead late, and Oskar Lindblom iced it with an empty-netter.
The Jets came out flying. Just 48 seconds into the game Kyle Connor deposited a pass from Cole Perfetti to open the scoring. It felt like another one of those games for the Flyers.
Perfetti sent a great pass to Connor. However, you’d like to see Scott Laughton break that up or, more so, Travis Konecny stay on his man.
The Flyers came right back with a decent chance in front shortly thereafter, but Connor Hellebuyck stood tall. It looked like Winnipeg may get another great chance with Pierre-Luc Dubois behind the defense, but Justin Braun was able to negate the 1-on-1 chance.
Claude Giroux had the Flyers’ best chance of the period. The puck bounced weirdly off the boards to Cam Atkinson, who sent the cross-crease pass to Giroux at the side of the net. Once again, Hellebuyck used his big frame to make a pad save.
The Flyers only had one shot on goal up until that point but managed a few in that flurry as well as a good chance by James van Riemsdyk on the next shift. Unfortunately, nothing would go.
Both teams were playing a lot of dump-and-chase in the first period with the Jets executing a bit better. The Flyers were unable to get much pressure in on the forecheck as Winnipeg broke out with ease. When the Flyers did get set up, they would occasionally make unforced errors. A bad pass to the point led to a Jets rush the other way, but Carter Hart made a mask save.
Things then picked up after a bit of a boring stretch.
Giroux dumped the puck off the boards and attempted to split the defenders, but he was interfered with –– and they called a penalty! The Flyers had a scramble in front early in the power play, but JVR took a hooking penalty just 35 seconds into the man advantage. The teams played at 4-on-4 for 1:25 before a short Jets power play.
Oskar Lindblom made a nice play on the penalty kill to get the puck up to Scott Laughton for a rush. Laughton made not one but two moves to beat Nate Schmidt, drawing a cross-checking penalty in the process.
This Flyers power play wouldn’t be much better. The top unit had some pressure and maybe should’ve drawn a penalty as JVR’s stick was slashed in half in front, but there was no call and the Jets cleared.
The second unit of Lindblom, Morgan Frost, Gerry Mayhew, Keith Yandle, and Cam York then had their try. The Flyers have been hit with injuries this season and that power-play unit epitomizes that.
The Flyers ended up being the better team overall in the period, with a 12-7 shots advantage overall and 6-1 advantage in high-danger scoring chances at 5-on-5, per Natural Stat Trick. They generated 0.91 expected goals at 5-on-5 play (1.35 overall) in the first period but trailed 1-0.
The second period started similarly to the first. The Jets’ first good chance of the frame came off the stick of Connor, but Hart was able to glove this one down. Winnipeg kept pushing, however, with a few more chances in the early going.
Isaac Ratcliffe has been quietly impressive in his two games thus far. He’s making his presence felt with his long stick and big body on the forecheck. He and Zack MacEwen gave the Jets fits at times in this one. The Flyers' defense was still lackluster, though. Blake Wheeler took a pass and split the defense, but missed the net with the shot. Justin Braun then took a delay of game penalty seven minutes into the period.
It looked like Connor had another one-time goal lined up, but Hart got across for a nice save on the kill.
Kyle Connor thought he had another one-time goal but Carter Hart got across for the save. pic.twitter.com/GHWESdVSN1— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) February 2, 2022
The Flyers successfully killed off the penalty, with Laughton doing more good work on the kill. He got the puck out of the zone then crashed the net to force a whistle after a Cam Atkinson shot.
The Jets got a two-on-oh rush after Konecny was taken down behind the play, but Hart once again made the save.
Carter Hart denies a 2-on-0 chance. pic.twitter.com/AOdlUVp1x5— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) February 2, 2022
Then, right after that TV timeout, Konecny struck. He picked up a loose puck and sniped one past Hellebuyck to tie the game.
Travis Konecny with a SNIPE! pic.twitter.com/MWn6mxmr6I— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) February 2, 2022
That gave the Flyers some life and they nearly scored off the next faceoff. Giroux rushed down the wing and Atkinson got a chance, but it did not go.
Konecny was feeling it. He laid out Perfetti with a hit and drew the ire of some Jets after the play. That ramped up the physicality a bit.
TK is scoring goals and dropping bodies out there tonight. pic.twitter.com/dLwgOAx80W— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) February 2, 2022
The Jets controlled most of the play early in the period but the Flyers woke up after tying it. They had a few good shifts by the middle six with Laughton drawing a penalty behind the net in the final minutes.
The Flyers had a good chance in front on the power play, but they could not score. 43 seconds of power-play time carried over to the third period.
The power play was fruitless to begin the second period. The most noteable moment was Konecny racing back to break up a potential chance, and then getting hit in the face. But no penalty was called.
The Flyers would get another power play a few minutes later when Gerry Mayhew was interfered with, but once again they were held off the board. The first unit got set up, but their passes were just off on a few chances.
It was mostly Flyers early on in the third, unlike the first two periods. They were putting the pressure on and getting a good cycle going.
We mentioned Ratcliffe before, and he had two good chances near the crease midway through the period. He wrapped the puck around and barely missed Atkinson in front. He then deflected a pass from Giroux over the net. The big man was out there with the top-line pair in the midst of a line change and it nearly paid off for him.
There were a few iffy moments in front of Hart, but the puck was cleared from danger after he got across to deny Pierre-Luc Dubois.
Carter Hart with a nice pad save to rob Dubois. pic.twitter.com/Hxh1NgVSvB— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) February 2, 2022
Hart made a few big saves in this one to keep the Flyers in it. Eventually, the skaters in front of him finished the job.
The Jets had control in the offensive zone, but an errant pass went right to JVR in the slot. He started a two-on-one rush with Laughton and then buried the rebound.
It was a great play by JVR and a good shot for a rebound by Laughton. That gave the Flyers a late 2-1 lead.
Konecny kept up his strong game by killing some time in the Jets’ zone in the final minutes. Then, once Winnipeg pulled Hellebuyck for the extra attacker, Oskar Lindblom hit the open cage from between the defensive-zone hashmarks. That put the game on ice.
- The Flyers pulled out the win despite being outplayed for portions of the game. Still, they never looked completely out of it and got more than a few timely saves from Hart to keep them in it.
- The Flyers can’t properly tank as long as they have Carter Hart, for better or for worse. On one hand, he would bring back a haul. On the other hand, it’s incredibly hard to find a franchise goaltender –– as the Flyers know all too well. He should be a building block for this team.
- Isaac Ratcliffe is making his presence felt on the fourth line. He’s taking advantage of the opportunity and is making the most of it. He’s been a lot more noticeable than some of the other plugs they’ve thrown out there this season.
- The Flyers head into the All-Star break with back-to-back wins. Despite how disappointing this season has been, it’s good to have some positive vibes heading into a full week off.