clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Flyers 5, Capitals 3: Travis Konecny stays hot with second career hat trick

It’s Travis Konecny’s world, and we’re all living in it.

Washington Capitals v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

Two weeks ago, the Philadelphia Flyers were the fifth-worst team in the NHL. They were 11-17-7, lost nine of their last 12 outings and ranked toward the bottom of the league in most statistical categories.

Fast forward 14 days and the Flyers are suddenly playing some of their best hockey all season. They earned a three-for-three sweep during their California road trip, dominated the woeful Arizona Coyotes and earned their first shutout of the season Monday night against the Buffalo Sabres. And Wednesday night, they earned their sixth win out of their last seven games with an impressive 5-3 victory over Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.

Suddenly, the Flyers are 17-18-7 while playing a style of hockey conducive to earning wins in regularity.

It’s no coincidence that since the Flyers’ run of solid play began on December 20, Travis Konecny has been playing some of the best hockey of his entire career. His stellar play continued Wednesday night as he logged the second hat trick of his career to extend his point streak to 10 games.

“I just think he’s playing,” said head coach John Tortorella. “He’s a reactionary type player. I’ve only seen him play from afar before this year. He just plays. The puck finds him, he plays in the areas. Everything about his game, his effort, and I think he’s getting rewarded.”

Konecny’s first marker came in the first period just 21 seconds after the Capitals scored their first goal of the night. Joel Farabee found some open space behind the Washington net and dished a quick feed to Konecny in the low slot for an easy one-timed tally. Capitals goalie Darcy Kuemper didn’t stand a chance.

Konecny’s second goal came in the third period, and it came while the Flyers were down an attacker. With Tony DeAngelo sitting in the box for slashing, Konecny and Scott Laughton, who also found twine in the tilt, teamed up for a shorthanded 2-on-1 rush, and Konecny buried Laughton’s feed to log his third shorty of the season. The Flyers now lead the entire NHL with eight shorthanded markers on the campaign.

The hat trick was completed with a Konecny empty-netter in the game’s waning seconds.

“I’ve just been trying to come to the rink every day and just work hard,” said Konecny. “I’m kind of getting my bounces right now. It goes around in the locker room throughout a season and it’s just going my way right now.

“It’s not like things are changing. My linemates are really a lot to thank. Whoever I’ve been playing with this year have been putting me in grade-A opportunities and, like I said, they’re just going in right now, and I’m not trying to focus on that. I’m just trying to focus on working hard and then that stuff will kind of follow.”

Konecny’s third goal came at a great time, too, as the Capitals ended up putting together a late rally to shrink the Flyers’ lead to just one goal in the final minutes. Marcus Johansson scored off a dreadful Ivan Provorov turnover and T.J. Oshie netted his eighth goal of the season to put his squad in position to tie the game.

Luckily, Carter Hart managed to stave off the Caps’ furious push with some big stops in clutch time. Hart, who gave up six goals in his last start against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday, finished the night with 26 saves on 29 Capitals shots.

Konecny and Hart weren’t the Flyers’ only standouts, though. Owen Tippett also put together a stellar performance, and as he enters the second half of his first full season as a Flyer, he appears to be budding into a legitimate sniper.

At the 5:31 mark of the final frame, Tippett beat Kuemper clean with a filthy shot through the legs of Alexander Alexeyev from above the faceoff circle for his 13th goal of the season. He also drew three (!) Capitals penalties on the night, and one of his drawn penalties resulted in the Flyers breaking the ice in the first period.

The 23-year-old is teeming with confidence right now, and at this point, it’s hard not to envision him being a key cog for the Flyers moving forward.

“He should’ve had three before the third period. And you can see he’s just about to bust out,” Tortorella said of Tippett. “And not just the offensive part. He’s been more consistently a power forward. Winning puck battles, carrying the puck along the boards, getting pucks in when he needs to, chasing them down. All the little things you do as a strength of a power forward.

“He makes a great play on the goal. He changes the angle so he can that shot through the guy’s legs. And that’s a tough play for a goalie to have a shot come at that angle, how quickly he got it off. The goal scoring I think is gonna be there. The other parts of the game is what I like. I’ve always felt that (Tippett) has to identify himself as a power guy. Not just a shooter. And I think most of the attributes of his game is power. That’s very important.”

The Flyers take on the Capitals again Saturday night in D.C. before heading north to face off against the Boston Bruins Monday afternoon at TD Garden. The squad will have a quick turnaround after Monday’s tilt as they’ll be right back in Philadelphia Tuesday for their second and final meeting with the Anaheim Ducks.