A multi-day break in the schedule usually works in the Flyers’ favor and the magic continued on Thursday night.
Down 3-2 to the Sharks in San Jose and time running out, Travis Konecny scored to tie the score at 3-3 with 2:05 to play.
Then in overtime, Tony DeAngelo connected at the 1:10 mark to give the Flyers an improbable 4-3 victory at SAP Center.
The Flyers, who had five days off — including three for the Christmas break — are now 9-0-1 when they play after a break of two or more days in their schedule.
Also, it was the Flyers’ first overtime of the season. They are now 1-6.
DeAngelo indicated the Flyers never stopped believing in themselves in this game.
“When we were down two (goals) we still felt pretty good about our game,’’ he said. “I don’t think anybody lost their morale.’’
Tomas Hertl, who plays some of his best hockey against the Flyers, scored the first two goals for the Sharks while Konecny had two goals and Owen Tippett scored another for the Flyers before the overtime clincher.
The second game of the three-game swing will be played on Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles against the Kings.
Samuel Ersson started in goal for the Flyers and picked up his first NHL win. Regular starter Carter Hart, who suffered a concussion in a Dec. 23 game at Carolina, has yet to clear protocol but might be ready to play at Los Angeles.
Hertl’s first goal came at 9:38 of the first period to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead.
Konecny, who has scored 12 goals in his last 16 games, tied the score at 10:25. Konecny won a right circle draw and sent the puck back toward pointman DeAngelo. Joel Farabee tipped the puck along the way. DeAngelo’s shot nicked off Konecny’s stick and past goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen.
“We’re just trying to play hard,’’ Konecny said at the first intermission. “We knew coming off the break it was going to be tough getting into the game so we’re just trying to keep it simple.’’
Hertl connected on a power play at 8:29 of the second period. With Cam York in the penalty box, Hertl finished off a point entry from defenseman Erik Karlsson.
Then, 52 seconds into the second period, the Flyers turned the puck over, leading to Kevin Labanc’s semi-breakaway goal for a 3-1 San Jose lead.
Down 3-1, the Flyers began to mount their comeback.
Tippett scored his 11th goal of the season at 5:57 with a close-range wrist shot off a pass from James van Riemsdyk.
Konecny’s second goal was his 17th goal of the season, moving him past last year’s total of 16 in 79 games.
“They got a couple goals there but it really didn’t do anything to our confidence,’’ Konecny said after the game. “We just stuck with it and we believed the whole time we would have an opportunity.’’
Clearly, Konecny has not only been the Flyers’ best player this season but also its finest in the clutch.
“He’s our best player,’’ DeAngelo said. “He’s got a ton of confidence. Making plays all over the ice.’’
Coach John Tortorella has seen his team lose a lot of close games so this one had to feel good, being on the positive side of the outcome.
“I just liked the way we stayed with it,’’ Tortorella said. “Finally found a way to win an overtime game. We continued to play. We were down a goal early on, down two in the third. . .(the resilience is a) small little victory as far as our season has gone this year. We haven’t been getting it done but tonight we got it done.’’
Konecny had a busy first period. He missed just wide on a breakaway and also set up DeAngelo on a two-on-one which was stopped. . . .Karlsson’s assist on Labanc’s goal was his 50th point of the season. He’s on pace to become only the sixth defenseman in NHL history to break the 100-point mark.