WASHINGTON – Don’t start printing playoff tickets just yet, but at least the Flyers can say they are officially back in the postseason picture.
With a 2-1 overtime win over the Capitals on Sunday, the Flyers move back into the eighth and final slot in the Eastern Conference, the first time they’ve been in that position since Nov. 11.
Travis Konecny scored the game-winner just 27 seconds into overtime. It’s the second time in three games the trio of Konecny, Sean Couturier and Ivan Provorov have provided OT heroics.
Couturier scored just 18 seconds into overtime on Thursday night to finish off the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-2.
“We’re just finding ways to win games,’’ said Konecny, who swept across the middle and beat Braden Holtby with a 25-foot shot. “Tough games to win when you’re playing against good teams. It just seems to be clicking right now.’’
Goalie Brian Elliott came back from a two-game break to record the win for the Flyers.
The Flyers’ seven wins in eight games have been accented by resilience and smart play.
“It’s just confidence, believing in each other,’’ Konecny said. “When things are working, just roll with it. Stick to your abilities. If we’re doing all the right things, then things are going to work for you.’’
The win completed a weekend sweep of New Jersey and Washington, the third time the Flyers have swept back-to-back games out of nine tries this season.
At 23-16-8, the Flyers are seven games over .500 for the first time since Dec. 28, 2016 when they were 20-13-4.
Michal Raffl scored the Flyers’ only goal of regulation time when he connected at 8:12 of the second period. That was countered by a power-play goal from Alexander Ovechkin with 16 seconds to play in the second.
Asked what has made the difference the past few weeks, Raffl shrugged.
“I think it’s the confidence level right now,’’ he said. “It (playoff position) feels very good but this division is so tight. You can’t be resting on that. It feels good now but back to work tomorrow.’’
The Flyers were keeping Washington’s high-powered offense under control until the closing moments of the second period.
That’s when Philadelphia put the Caps on the power play and Ovechkin scored from the left circle for his 25th goal of the season.
Earlier, Raffl scored off a pass from Valtteri Filppula, who found room behind the Capitals’ net. Raffl fired a short-side shot past Holtby.
The Flyers hope they can keep this momentum going into Tuesday’s game at Detroit. And there’s no reason to believe they won’t.
“We tried to play a simple game today,’’ Claude Giroux explained. “Everybody did their job. When the whole team is on the same page, we’re going to play good games.
“I think it’s the way we’re playing, our identity as a team. Everybody is just doing their job. Since that road trip out west, we’ve kind of picked it up a bit and we’re playing more the style of hockey we want to play.’’
Added coach Dave Hakstol: “It’s just guys pushing hard everyday. Whether you have a good result or bad result (the day before) you have to stay even-keeled. Keep working. I think that’s been a real good trait of this team.’’
Holmgren comments on Johansson passing
Longtime USA Hockey official Jim Johannson died suddenly on Sunday at the age of 53.
Flyers president Paul Holmgren, who worked closely with Johannson on a number of international events, was saddened by the news.
Holmgren’s statement: “The Philadelphia Flyers are deeply saddened to hear the news of USA Hockey’s Jim Johannson passing away. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to Jim’s family – his wife, Abby and young daughter, Ellie. Jim was a great hockey man, who had a significant impact on the success of USA Hockey. From the youth hockey level to the NHL, everyone knew JJ. This is a huge loss for the entire hockey world.”