Flyers 3, Devils 1: First period all it takes

Updated: January 20, 2018 at 4:59 pm by Wes Herrmann

The first period was all the Philadelphia Flyers needed to put away the New Jersey Devils Saturday afternoon. Travis Konecny, Valtteri Filppula and Ivan Provorov all scored within the first 14 minutes as the team won 3-1 in an important Metropolitan Division matchup.

First Period

The Flyers couldn’t have dreamed up the first period much better than how it played out. Less than three-quarters into it, the team had a 3-0 lead that it would carry into the middle stanza.

Travis Konecny got the fun started four minutes into the game when Shayne Gostisbehere jumped up into the offense, drawing all five Devils’ skater’s attention. The defenseman hit Konecny with a pass on the other side and the winger snapped a shot past Keith Kinkaid for the game’s first goal.

Almost at the halfway point of the stanza, the second line potted potted in the second goal. Radko Gudas played a puck down low to Jake Voracek, who chipped it in front to Valtteri Filppula. The Finnish center one-touched a shot to the top left of the net, beating Kinkaid.

About three minutes later, Konecny helped create the third goal, by ripping a shot on net, which Kinkaid saved. However, blueliner Ivan Provorov was stationed in front and got off two rebound shots. The second fluttered high and made its way into the net.

The goal also marked the end of Kinkaid’s day — but not because of performance. The American netminder was injured on the play and did not return. Since Cory Schneider is sick, Ken Appleby replaced Kinkkaid in net for his first NHL appearance.

Even though there were no more goals scored in the first, the excitement didn’t end there.

Michael Raffl and John Moore fought after Raffl accidentally tripped Appleby and Sean Couturier was boarded by Kyle Palmieri with less than a minute left in the period. The Flyers center was okay and didn’t miss a shift.

Second Period

The second period was a penalty-filled one and, naturally, it was a call that shouldn’t have been made that resulted in a goal.

Seven minutes into the period, Scott Laughton was called for high-sticking Travis Zajac. But the high-sticking came as Laughton was following through with a pass, which is a legal play.

The refs missed that part and the Devils were fine with that. On the power play, Jesper Bratt ripped a shot off Michal Neuvirth’s pad and found the back of the net.

The Flyers’ lead could have been cut to one about 30 seconds later when Stefan Noeson found himself all alone in front of Neuvirth, but the Czech goaltender made his best save of the game.

Philly didn’t score in the second, but had plenty of chances. Provorov hit Konecny for a beautiful breakaway pass, but Konecny missed the net with his shot.

Later, Raffl was hooked by Zajac on a 2-on-1 that could have ended with a Flyers goal. Zajac was called for hooking, giving Philadelphia its third power play of the period. They did not score on any of them.

Third Period

The Flyers settled in to protect their lead, while the Devils made some last-ditch efforts to tie the game. Despite that, it never seemed like New Jersey would get back into the contest in the third period.

The Devils had just 10 shots, four less than they did in the second, and none of them were real testers. Neuvirth made a wraparound save about three minutes in, stopped a Miles Wood deflection later, and stopped a top-of-the-circle shot with six minutes left.

The team’s best chance to score came with about three seconds left when a Bratt shot rebounded to Drew Stafford with a wide-open net. Stafford couldn’t control the shot, though, and Robert Hagg cross-checked him into the goal for a penalty, ending the game.

The Flyers had some minor chances but were content with holding onto the lead and getting an impact win over a Metropolitan opponent.

Quick Hitters

On paper, the Flyers seemed to have slowed down mightily after the first period. They did in the third, but the second was actually a strong period for the team. The issue was that Philly couldn’t hit the net to bury some of their chances. Konecny did on a breakaway, Raffl was held on a 2-on-1 and Wayne Simmonds missed right in front on a power play chance. Besides those missed opportunities, Appleby also made a strong effort. He made 17 saves and a couple really tested him.

Travis Konecny had a strange, but impact game. He scored a goal, had an assist and should have potted another on his breakaway chance. However, Courier-Post’s Dave Isaac reported that the winger was benched early in the second. Later, Konecny was on the second power play unit and ended with 14:30 of ice time — an average amount for him. It may have just been the penalties that screwed up his ice time in the second period.

Michal Neuvirth is getting into one of his zones where he’s hard to beat. Luckily for the team, coach Dave Hakstol is taking advantage of that, starting the goalie for the second game in a row. Neuvirth has let up an easy goal in both of those games, but has made some crucial, impressive saves in both of them also.

Next Game

Flyers at Capitals

Sunday, 12:30 P.M.

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