Konecny scores twice as Flyers defeat Canadiens, 5-3

Sam Carchidi, The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News on

Published in Hockey

PHILADELPHIA -- Many fans who attended the Eagles' Super Bowl parade and heard the unedited version of Jason Kelce's speech ventured over to the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night for the first-of-its-kind doubleheader: A championship parade followed by a Flyers-Montreal Canadiens matchup.

The nightcap wasn't as memorable as the parade, but, for the Flyers, it was meaningful.

Travis Konecny scored a pair of goals and Claude Giroux and Shayne Gostisbehere each had three points as the Flyers defeated the Canadiens, 5-3, and stayed atop the wild-card standings in the Eastern Conference. They also moved to within one point of New Jersey, the third-place team in the Metropolitan Division.

Montreal pulled its goalie and, with Scott Laughton in the penalty box, had a six-on-four advantage when Brendan Gallagher scored to cut the Flyers' lead to 4-3 with 2 minutes, 54 seconds left. But Ivan Provorov secured the win with an empty-net goal with 55.9 seconds to go.

Earlier, Jake Voracek, making amends for a turnover that led to a short-handed goal, scored a power-play tally on a right-circle blast to put the Flyers ahead to stay, 3-2, with 19:33 remaining in the third. Sixty-one seconds later, Konecny knocked in a rebound after the puck trickled through goalie Carey Price and stopped in the crease.

The Flyers have not lost in regulation to Montreal at home since April 2, 2010, going 11-0-1 since that defeat.

After the Flyers failed on three attempts to clear the puck, the Canadiens tied the score at 2 when Logan Shaw pounced on a loose puck in front and beat Brian Elliott with 1:11 left in the second.

Giroux's power-play goal -- a blast from just above the left circle -- had given the Flyers a 2-1 lead with 10:23 left in the second. Wayne Simmonds set up a screen in front of Price.

"I was just trying to get a puck on net, and it was a great screen by Simmer," said Giroux, who on Tuesday criticized his play after a 2-1 overtime win in Carolina.

Giroux scored 28 seconds after Artturi Lehkonen's short-handed goal tied the game, 1-1. Lehkonen stripped the puck from Voracek in the neutral zone and raced ahead of the pack. It was the ninth short-handed goal allowed by the Flyers this season, equaling the most in the NHL.

The Flyers' sizzling top line produced the game's first goal on a slick passing play between Sean Couturier, Giroux, and Konecny.

Konecny tapped Giroux's slick feed off the right goal post and into the net, giving the Flyers a 1-0 lead with 19:18 left in the second period. He later added his 13th goal, a career high, and his seventh in the last nine games.

Since moving to the top line, Konecny has 18 points in 19 games. A member of that No. 1 unit has scored a goal in 14 of those games.

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Price and Elliott were flawless in a scoreless first period.

Price, usually one of the league's premier goalies, is having a disappointing season. He took just a 2.92 goals-against average and .907 save percentage into the game, but looked like his old self in the opening period. Price made his best first-period saves with a little over six minutes left in the stanza, stopping Michael Raffl and Jordan Weal (twice) during a flurry in front of the net.

Elliott, who figures to get a bulk of the starts in the final two months, made nine first-period saves, including difficult stops on drives by Tomas Plekanec and Jordie Benn.

The Flyers had to share the night with the Eagles. Scenes from the Super Bowl champions' parade held earlier in the day were shown on the scoreboard throughout the game. There were E-A-G-L-E-S chants, and, at one point, the crowd broke into a rendition of Fly Eagles Fly.

"Jason Kelce for mayor!" the scoreboard proclaimed during a break in the first period, showing the Eagles' colorful center wearing a Mummer's outfit at the parade.

Many of the Flyers watched the parade together on TV at a South Jersey hotel after the morning skate in Voorhees.

"It's great for the city," Giroux said.

Hakstol was asked if the Flyers could use the Eagles' success as motivation.

"I don't know if we need to feed off anything," he said before the game. 'We've got our own mission that we're on here. I think all our guys are really excited for what they (the Eagles) have accomplished. ... It's hard not to get caught up in the excitement of the city, no question."

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