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Top line sparks Flyers past Chicago; Shayne Gostisbehere makes some history

Sam Carchidi, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Hockey

A little over seven minutes later, Giroux made a deft pass to Gostisbehere to put his 100th career point in motion. From the left circle, Gostisbehere found Voracek, who beat Crawford with a right-circle one-timer to the far side.

"It's awesome, but of course I couldn't do it without my teammates," Gostisbehere said of reaching the century mark. He said it was "unbelievable" to do it with an organization that has "a lot of history."

The Flyers ended a three-game home losing streak and avenged a 3-0 loss in Chicago eight nights earlier. In that game, the Flyers had numerous quality chances, but Crawford made 35 saves and outdueled Brian Elliott.

"I think it was actually one of our best games this year," Giroux said, "but we couldn't find a way to score."

Elliott had an outstanding game Thursday, stopping 38 of 39 shots. He was particularly effective in a Chicago-dominated third period.

The Flyers had four days off since their last game, and they looked rusty in the first four minutes before getting their passing game clicking and dominating the rest of the opening period.

They took a 3-0 lead when Sean Couturier finished off a slick passing play with linemates Giroux and Voracek. Giroux made a backhand pass to Couturier, who got behind defensemen Duncan Keith and Jan Rutta and finished off the play from the doorstep. Crawford was completely out of position because of the quick passes and he had no chance.

It was Couturier's 10th goal; his career high was 15 in 2014-15.

The Flyers' top line -- Couturier centering Giroux and Voracek -- combined for three goals and seven points. They have 23 goals and 60 points this season, placing them second in the NHL, behind the Tampa Bay trio of Vladislav Namestnikov, Steven Stamkos, and Nikita Kucherov. Entering their game Thursday in Los Angeles, the Lightning's top line had combined for 29 goals and 71 points.

The Couturier unit controlled play when matched against a line that included Jonathan Toews (minus-2) and Patrick Kane (minus-2). Former Flyer Patrick Sharp was on that Chicago line for a while before dropping to another unit.

The Blackhawks got to within 3-1 when defenseman Connor Murphy, whose father, Gord, is a Flyers assistant, scored on a rebound with 3:47 left in the second. Shortly thereafter, Chicago had a great chance to get closer, but the Flyers killed off a five-on-three power play that lasted 1:44. The Blackhawks failed to get a shot on their two-man advantage.

"We kept them to the outside," defenseman Brandon Manning said.

The Flyers have a history of keeping Chicago to the outside in games played at the Wells Fargo Center -- that is, except for a certain 2010 matchup in the Stanley Cup Finals.

(c)2017 The Philadelphia Inquirer

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