It had to end at some point, didn’t it?
Well, all road winless streaks eventually come to a conclusion but it took 86 days for the Flyers to snap their team-record 13-game (0-11-2) stretch away from Philly. The futility finally was stopped on Thursday night as the Flyers defeated the Blues, 5-2, at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis.
The Flyers had not won on the road since a victory at Seattle on Dec. 29, 2021.
Rookie Hayden Hodgson, playing his first NHL game, registered a goal and an assist. Hodgson’s goal at 11:34 of the third period gave the Flyers a 4-2 lead.
Joel Farabee scored into an empty net with 2:40 to play for the final margin.
Travis Konecny led the Flyers’ attack with his first two-goal game of the season and 10th of his career. Martin Jones, stellar in goal throughout the evening, picked up the win.
Interim head coach Mike Yeo looked relieved at the postgame press briefing.
“We were due, that’s for sure,’’ Yeo said. “It feels like we’ve played a lot of good road games. We just haven’t got wins. We just haven’t been able to deliver and get the job done. Tonight (I’m) happy for the guys.’’
As impressive as their offense was in building a 2-0 lead in the first period, the Flyers’ defense was what made the margin so noteworthy.
The Flyers held the Blues without a shot for the first 11 minutes and just a total of three for the entire period.
Konecny got the Flyers off on the right foot with his first goal at the 6:37 mark. With the Blues on a line change, Konecny found space down the left side, fired from the dot and beat Jordan Binnington at 6:37.
“I’d like him to shoot the puck more,’’ Yeo admitted. “He’s got such a great shot. When he attacks like that, his feet are moving, that’s not an easy play for the goaltender. I can see a real strong effort on TK’s part to play the game the right way.’’
Konecny looks like a much more confident player.
“I’ve been working with (Yeo) to be put in different situations,’’ Konecny said. “Like for example, I took some penalty kill shifts. I’m just trying to work on a bunch of different things.’’
On the goal, Hodgson recorded an assist. He just signed a one-year, $750,000 contract on Wednesday.
Patrick Brown made it 2-0 at 14:51. New Flyer right wing Owen Tippett pulled up on the left half-wall and spotted defenseman Cam York charging down the slot. York’s shot was stopped but Brown cleaned up the rebound.
For the second straight game, the Flyers went with just 11 forwards, which meant players such as Tippett got some double shifts.
“To stay in the flow of the game it makes it a lot easier,’’ said Tippett during a first intermission interview on ESPN+. “When you’re going every other shift, it gives you confidence.’’
The Blues came out stronger in the second period and picked up a goal from Vladimir Tarasenko at the 1:47 mark. With the Blues on the power play, Tarasenko beat Jones from the bottom of the right circle far side.
Konecny responded with his second goal at 12:04. His blast from the top of the right circle trickled through Binnington’s pads.
St. Louis pulled to within a goal when Alexei Toropchenko scored at 16:00.
>Hodgson’s first game a gem
Hodgson, who had never played higher than the ECHL prior to this season, had a game straight out of a Hollywood script, with the goal and the assist.
He said he was taking a nap before the Phantoms-Hershey Bears game when he got the call from coach Ian Laperriere that he was being promoted.
“It was surreal,’’ Hodgson said. “Especially the path I’ve taken. I never quit. It’s so good to be rewarded. It’s been a long road coming, injuries, COVID, stuff like that. I’m so blessed to be here right now.’’
Yeo said, “I don’t know if you could draw it up any better than that. What an amazing experience. He brings weight, he brings a presence to the lineup. He’s confident with the puck. Before this year he was playing in the East Coast Hockey League. Great start for him.’’
>Ristolainen a big hit
Going into the game, Rasmus Ristolainen had 202 hits on the season, which leads the Flyers and is second among NHL defensemen. The total was 69 more than anyone else on the roster despite missing seven games. Ristolainen had at least one hit in 23 consecutive games and had a total of 98 hits over that span; he had blocked at least one shot in 21 of those 23 games and had a total of 53 blocked shots in the run.
He had six hits and six blocked shots March 8 vs. Vegas, becoming the first Flyer to accomplish that feat since Radko Gudas in November, 2016 and just the fifth Flyer to do so since the league started tracking the stats in 2005-06. He followed that up with seven hits and five blocks March 13 vs. Montreal.
The Flyers move on to Colorado to play the Central Division-leading Avalanche in the third game of the five-game road trip on Friday. . .Oskar Lindblom was a scratch. . .Flyers are now 12-1-5 when leading after the first period.