Overtime Wizard! Travis Konecny now has 11 points in his last 13 games, and none have been more impressive than his last two – back-to-back overtime winners.
Tuesday’s overtime winner in the Flyers fortunate 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings allowed the Flyers to survive a sloppy third period in which they surrendered the lead and survived several wide-open misses by Tyler Bertuzzi, who clearly had to be talking to himself after the game.
“Coots made a good play,” said Konecny, who picked up a loose puck and tip-toed just onsides before firing a wrist shot past Petr Mrazek to win the game 27 seconds into overtime.
Jake Voracek had a goal and an assist for the Flyers.
Konecny also scored 27 seconds into overtime to beat the Capitals Sunday.
“Honestly I don’t know where I shot it,” he said. “I was so tired.”
Radko to the rescue: The first-period shot differential of 5-4 in favor of the Flyers was wildly misleading. Detroit’s zone time far outdistanced that of the Flyers who, after a great first shift in which they pinned the Wings in their own zone, had no more than four other instances where they were able to set up. Detroit had several juicy chances, no better than when Dylan Larkin had the entire net open from his perch at one side of the net but rang his shot off the far post behind Brian Elliott.
Radko Gudas registered two blocks that period, and each may have prevented a goal. At the 4:41 mark, he got a stick on Tyler Bertuzzi’s off-wing wrister as he veered in on Elliott with speed. Later in the period, after Dylan Larkin found Andreas Athanasiou streaking in from the point, Gudas re-rerouted his wrist shot wide of the net.
In all, the Flyers blocked six shots in that period, the Wings, one.
Robert Hagg’s 162 hits entering Tuesday’s game led the NHL. Not led NHL rookies. The whole league. But there can be a down side to such a number, especially when registered by someone with so few NHL games. Moments after Andrew MacDonald’s slapper tied the game at 1 early in the second period, Hagg went for the big hit on Swedish countryman Gustav Nyquist just inside his own blueline. The hit reverberated, but the puck continued down the boards, requiring MacDonald to compete for it with Anthony Mantha. Mantha got the bouncing puck through MacDonald into the slot for Henrik Zutterberg, whose backhanded flip – with Jordan Weal scrambling in time to harass him — was denied by Elliott.
Late in the third period Hagg needlessly pounded Bertuzzi into the backboards, providing the Wings a power play and golden chance to win. Hagg was also a plus-13 and his 64 block shots was the best among rookies. But as Radko Gudas can tell him, time and place are more important than number of when it comes to hits. Let’s chalk it up to overexuberance trying to hit a player he probably looked up to as he ascended the ranks in Sweden, and trying to send a message to a player who had been an annoying – and luckily inaccurate — gnat all game long.
Speaking of time and place, Brian Elliott continues to show why he should be this team’s No. 1 goaltender. Statistics and stamina aside, Elliott is a hockey player first, goalie second. Meaning that he has a knack for making the big save at key junctures of the game, and Tuesday was no exception.
Elliott saw only 10 shots over the first two periods, but his spectacular cross-the-crease save on Bertuzzi in the final minute of the second period was truly a game-changer. Moments later Larkin tripped Travis Konecny as he chased a puck into Detroit’s end of the ice, creating a second Flyers power play, which produced Jake Voracek’s tie-breaking goal – his first in 14 games.
The Flyers outshot the Wings 18-7 in that period but Detroit owned most of the third. Crowding the net with bodies, they pushed one past Elliott to tie it, but again he denied Bertuzzi in the crease with just under.