PHILADELPHIA – They say the first game back home after a long road trip can be a tough one.
So much for that old hockey axiom.
The Flyers, fresh off a 3-0 sweep of the NHL’s California teams, looked none the worse for wear on Thursday night.
They erupted for five goals in the second period and cruised to a 6-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes at the Wells Fargo Center, extending their season-high winning streak to four games.
It’s the first time they’ve won four games in a row since the 2020-21 season (Jan. 26-31). The six goals also mark a season high.
The Flyers did appear a bit sluggish in the early going, falling behind by a 1-0 count after the first period and 2-1 early in the second.
But then someone turned the ignition key on the firewagon and the Flyers were off to the races, getting consecutive goals from Joel Farabee, Wade Allison, Ivan Provorov and Kevin Hayes.
Philadelphia has now scored three or more goals in eight consecutive games and four or more goals in the last five games.
Just 25 seconds into the session, Travis Konecny finished off a pass from Tony DeAngelo to make it 1-1. It was Konecny’s 20th goal of the season. His career high is 24.
“The power play is huge for us,’’ said Laughton. “We start on a fresh sheet (of ice) and try and build some momentum.’’
Arizona briefly regained the lead when Nick Ritchie’s shot eluded goaltender Carter Hart at 1:36. Hart was seeing his first action since suffering a concussion in a Dec. 23 game at Carolina.
The Flyers tied the score at 4:41. Konecny provided the entry to Morgan Frost. His initial shot was stopped by goalie Karel Vejmelka but Joel Farabee cleaned up the rebound.
Frost finished the game with a career-high four assists.
Wade Allison’s brilliant solo play gave the Flyers the lead for good. Allison muscled past defenseman Jacob Chychrun, got off an initial shot and then somehow managed to poke the rebound into the net at 8:53.
Ivan Provorov made it 4-2 at 11:42. Hayes made a pinpoint feed across the top of the slot.
Then Hayes connected on a power play at 13:49. It was his first goal since Dec. 7 against Washington (ending a 10-game drought).
Frost was grinning when he was asked about the second period explosion.
“A lot of stuff happened,’’ he said. “Felt like a really long period and a good one for us.’’
Frost’s confidence appears to be sky-high right now.
“Higher than it’s been, I think,’’ he said. “Just trying to work on the little things in my game. I still have a long way to go but I feel like I have a lot of them down pat. I think that opens up my offensive game. I’m not trying to think about it too much. Over the course of my career, it’s the best I’ve felt.’’
Having steady linemates (Owen Tippett, James van Riemsdyk) helps, too.
Frost also registered a goal and three assists in an earlier win over Arizona. What’s up with that?
“I wish I could tell you,’’ Frost said. “It’s kind of crazy how it works like that.
JVR scored with 4:58 to play in the third period.
Hayes said the rekindled offense stems from better all-around play.
“That (lack of scoring) was probably our biggest problem early on, even when we were winning – not scoring,’’ he said. “Our coaches have been harping to get pucks to the net. It’s kind of a collection of things.’’
Coach John Tortorella said after the first period he wanted the team to play faster.
“I just thought we played quicker as the game went on,’’ he said.
As for Frost, the coach sees steady progress.
“It’s growing for him,’’ he said. “I think the line has been good. They’re playing off one another very well. Got to keep going. Two or three weeks doesn’t make it. I just think he’s fighting harder for pucks. That’s the part of the game he needs to continue to work at.’’
>Hayes named to NHL All-Star Game
During the game it was announced Hayes has been named to the Honda NHL All-Star Weekend, set for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Fla. Hayes, 30, is the 31st Flyer to be named to the midseason classic. Hayes leads the Flyers in assists, power-play assists and power-play goals.
Hayes went through a lot of adversity last season. He underwent multiple operations on his core section and in the summer of 2021 had to deal with the sudden death of his older brother, Jimmy, a former NHL player.
“It (the honor) could have been a couple guys in this room,’’ Hayes said. “It’s nice to be nominated as an All-Star. It’s a cool situation for me because, not to get emotional but, it’s the only thing my brother wanted me to accomplish.’’
Hayes has been playing some of his best hockey of the season as of late.
“I never thought it would honestly happen,’’ he said. “But it did and I know my family is really excited. His (Jimmy’s) son, Beau, will be with me the whole time so it will be an extra special experience.’’
Konecny was happy for his teammate.
“It’s awesome,’’ he said. “Kevin has been great in this league for a long time. He deserves to be there. He’s been carrying a lot of the offense for most of this year. Everyone’s happy for him.’’
>Hart OK after concussion recovery
Hart said it didn’t take him long to get back into the rhythm of play after sitting out a couple weeks.
“I felt fine,’’ he said. “It didn’t help when you don’t get too many shots (five in the first period) to start. Once I started getting pucks, I shook the rust off a little bit and got back to playing my game.’’
The last time the Flyers scored five goals in a period came in the third period of a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Dec. 3, 2019. The Flyers won that game, 6-1. . .Former Flyer defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, now with Arizona, played in his 500th NHL game. . .The Flyers are off until Sunday when they play host to the Maple Leafs.