Konecny, Tippett propel Flyers over Blue Jackets, 5-3
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Travis Konecny and Owen Tippett scored twice while Carter Hart recorded 30 saves to help lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 5-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.
In a game that featured the two teams currently at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, Philadelphia (11-15-7) used its young core players of Konecny (25 years old), Tippett (23) and Morgan Frost (23) to carry the scoring load.
“As hard as it has been to eat all the losses (as coaches) … they are the ones who play,” Flyers head coach John Tortorella said. “I can imagine how they feel, but there are some good things going on for development and your team concept. You have to hang your hat on it somewhere or you will lose your minds.”
Kirill Marchenko, Kent Johnson and Andrew Peeke each scored for the Blue Jackets, who have lost five straight and eight of their last 10. Daniil Tarasov had 34 saves in his fifth straight loss for Columbus (10-20-2), which is missing players due to injury.
“Tonight, I don’t think we managed the puck well,” Columbus coach Brad Larsen said. “We were sloppy and it cost us. Right up to the last play. We had pockets of decent moments, but we were a step slow, and we just couldn’t connect.”
Konecny recorded his first shorthanded goal in the NHL for the first period’s lone goal, turning a Gustav Nyquist turnover in the defensive zone into a scoring chance capped off with a wrister over Tarasov’s glove. Konecny would score the eventual game winner early in the third period with his 14th goal of the season, an unassisted breakaway goal off the backhand into the upper right corner.
“Right now, it’s about making the plays the right way and the guys are getting me the puck in the right spots,” Konecny said. “All the bounces are going my way right now.”
The Blue Jackets bunched two goals together midway through the second period to take the 2-1 lead on Johnson’s wrist shot past Hart on a 2-on-1 breakaway.
The Flyers answered before the end of the period with Frost adding his 6th goal of the season to tie game less than two minutes after Johnson’s goal. Three minutes later, Tippett received a cycle pass from Joel Farabee and whipped it past Tarasov. Tippett, who has been paired up on a line with Frost and veteran James van Riemsdyk, would seal the game with 1:19 left with an empty net goal for his 10th of the season.
“It’s always nice to know where guys are going to be all the time and building chemistry,” Tippett said. “It’s been great and hopefully we can keep going.”
Hart improved to 10-9-6 on the season.
NOTES: With the loss, Columbus fell to 2-9-1 on the road. … Philadelphia had forward Kevin Hayes back in the lineup on Tuesday night. Hayes, who is second on the Flyers with nine goals and entered play Tuesday a team-high 29 points, was a healthy scratch in Philadelphia’s 6-3 home loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday night. John Tortorella has been upset about the defensive play of a few of his veterans. Hayes entered Tuesday night’s game as a minus-12. … Wade Allison was activated off injured reserve and saw his first game action since Nov. 12. for Philadelphia. … Columbus starting goaltender Elvis Merzlikins missed his second straight game with an illness. Tarasov started on back to back nights, falling 2-1 to Dallas on Monday at home.
Blue Jackets: At Chicago on Friday
Flyers: At Toronto on Thursday afternoon.
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