PHILADELPHIA – It took a long time for Flyers rookie David Kase to score his first NHL goal but boy was it ever worth the wait.
Kase, called up from the Phantoms last week due to a bunch of Flyers injuries, was playing against his brother, Ondrej, and in front of his parents (who flew all the way over from the Czech Republic) for Tuesday night’s game against Anaheim.
So, in what amounted to a storybook script, Kase scored in the second period to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead on the way to a 4-1 win at the Wells Fargo Center.
The victory snapped the Flyers’ three-game losing streak. Carter Hart recorded the victory in goal.
It was an emotional win for the Flyers, playing their first home game since last week’s diagnosis for Oskar Lindblom, who is receiving treatment for a rare form of bone cancer (Ewing’s sarcoma).
Kase, who turns 23 next month, has been plugging along since he was taken in the fifth round (128th overall) in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
It took him awhile for the Flyers to feel he was ready for the North American game. Kase didn’t play pro hockey here until last season with the Phantoms.
Finally he got his chance to score in the NHL.
He used an assist from Travis Sanheim to get a puck past goalie John Gibson at 4:14 and that surely will be one for the trophy case.
It meant even more playing in front of his family.
At the morning skate, Kase was all smiles even though he doesn’t have a locker at the WFC and was dressing on a folding chair.
“My mom and dad came in yesterday and we had a family dinner,’’ Kase said. “They’re probably on different sides. I think Mom is with him (Ondrej) and dad is with me. We’ll see what happens.’’
The two brothers last played against each other about seven years ago back in the Czech Republic. “And we won,’’ David said with a smile.
Against the Ducks, Kase played on a line with his Czech idol, Jake Voracek, and Morgan Frost.
After the game, Kase said the game felt like a dream come true.
“It was a big moment for me, first goal in the NHL and we win,’’ Kase said. “It was against my brother, which was special, too. I feel so nice right now.
“I think my parents were happy for me. He (Ondrej) said, ‘congrats!’ Hey, I’m the winner in my family tonight.’’
Meanwhile, many of the Flyers said this was quite an emotional game, given the circumstances surrounding the Lindblom situation.
“It was great to see him again,’’ Giroux said. “We wanted to get this win for him. Every win for the rest of the season is going to be for him.’’
Voracek, who scored the Flyers’ third goal, concurred with Giroux.
“It (playing hockey under these conditions) is not an easy thing to do,’’ he said. “It’s in the backs of our minds and it will be for awhile. It’s an unfortunate situation but, like I say, he wants us to do good and we’re going to do good for him.’’
Konecny, one of Lindblom’s closest friends on the team, said the Flyers responded well to the challenge of playing in an emotion-charged atmosphere.
“It was touching the tribute (fans holding up “I Fight for Oskar’’ signs) they did for him there,’’ Konecny said. “There was definitely a lot of energy in here (the locker room) for him. It’s tough. He’s a great kid. No one deserves this. It’s pretty tough when you’re close to him. We just have to support him.’’
Coach Alain Vigneault figured this was a must-win game, given the discouraging result of the no-win three-game road trip.
“I knew it was going to be a hard game for us,’’ said Vigneault, keeping in mind the emotions involved. “Because you’re coming back from the west, seeing Oskar this morning.
“It was probably a bigger relief for us to see Oskar and talk to him. He had great demeanor about him. Travis and Oskar are real tight. Every time you see one, you see the other not far away. I think he (Konecny) was happy to come back and I think that says a lot about our team.’’
The Flyers took a 1-0 lead in the first period on a goal by Giroux. As an Anaheim penalty ended, Sean Couturier passed to Konency at the right hash marks. He quickly relayed to Giroux for the captain’s 11th goal of the season at the 55-second mark.
Konecny was playing his first game since suffering a concussion on Dec. 7 vs. Ottawa.
After Kase scored, the Ducks got one back when Giroux went to the penalty box. Rickard Rakell was credited with the goal as Hart appeared screened on the play.
But Voracek answered for the Flyers with an unassisted goal at 4:11 of the third period. Couturier added an empty-net goal with 7.7 seconds to play.