PHILADELPHIA –Maybe the Flyers should put themselves in shorthanded situations more often.
After all, they lead the NHL in that department with 10 shorthanded goals (they only have 13 on the power play) and No. 10 was certainly an important one in Saturday’s afternoon game against Calgary because it only turned out to be the deciding marker in a 3-2 win at the Wells Fargo Center.
Travis Konecny, who is tied for the NHL shorthanded goal lead with five, connected to break a 2-2 tie for the winning goal at 2:27 of the third period when he broke loose and beat goaltender Jacob Markstrom from close range.
Carter Hart picked up the win in goal for the Flyers.
Konecny said having such a potent penalty kill (second in the NHL at 86 percent) often makes other teams pause to think and that can compromise a lot of fast puck movement on their power play.
“I definitely know it’s hard to play like that,” said Konecny, who is a mainstay on the Flyers’ power play. “It’s kind of hard to read because me and ‘Laughty’ (Scott Laughton) just read off each other. We don’t even know where we’re going sometimes.
“It makes it pretty difficult for them. We’re still trying to kill the penalty. But we’re looking for opportunities.”
Sean Couturier agreed with that assessment.
“I’m sure it (the Flyers’ penalty kill) is in their pre-scout,” Couturier said. “What’s nice is we’re getting these chances but we’re not necessarily cheating for them. They’re just kind of presenting themselves. With the speed that ‘PK’ (Konecny) and ‘Laughts’ have, they can jump on a lot of those loose pucks and create offense.
“It’s nice but I think what’s even better is we’re killing those penalties. If you get an extra goal, that’s a bonus.”
After getting scratched for the 10th time this season on Thursday, Morgan Frost returned with a vengeance on Saturday, registering a goal and an assist.
Frost’s goal came at 4:15 of the second period to tie the score at 1-1. Scott Walker’s point shot was stopped by Markstrom but Frost pounced on the rebound.
The Flames took a 2-1 lead at 9:13. Defenseman MacKenzie Weegar pinched from the left point and was in position to tap in a loose puck before Hart could get over.
With time running down in the second period and the Flyers on the power play, Frost started the sequence which led to the Flyers’ tying goal. Frost passed from the left circle. Sean Couturier was able to control the rebound and flipped it into the net with 3:54 left in the middle frame.
Did someone say power-play goal? Well, the Flyers began the day clicking at less than 10 percent, keeping them safely at the bottom of the NHL rankings for the man advantage.
“I thought we had some great looks,” Frost said. “I thought we snapped it around pretty well. It’s funny how it works like that. I throw a terrible pass to ‘Coots’ and he buries it from behind the net. We were making good plays.”
Calgary jumped to a 1-0 lead when Jonathan Huberdeau broke away from an Owen Tippett desperation check and managed to flip a shot past Hart at 1:55 of the second period.
Coach John Tortorella appreciated the energy the Flyers played with. Especially the two guys he benched on Thursday night against Columbus, Frost and Cam Atkinson.
“I noticed Cam, he was more energetic and active,” the coach said. “Frosty had a goal and an assist. He carried the puck well. Didn’t turn the puck over much.
“We had to climb back into this one. We were more physical (than losses at Calgary, Edmonton), more scrums, more chances, more forechecking. It was a good game for us. It was important we get more than a one-point game for how hard they worked.”
The Flyers continue their four-game homestand with a Monday night game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. . .Flyers prospect Cutter Gauthier of the U.S. team was named best forward in the IIHF World Junior Hockey Tournament in Sweden. Gauthier tied for the tournament lead in scoring (12 points) and was a plus-9. The United States defeated Sweden, 6-2, in the gold medal game. . .Marc Staal was scratched for the Flyers. . .Defenseman Cam York was shaken up after he was hit into the boards hard by Calgary’s A.J. Greer in a second-period collision. Joel Farabee came to York’s rescue and ended up getting a misconduct penalty. York went to the locker room for repairs but returned to action a few minutes later. . .Calgary had what it thought was a tying goal with just under seven minutes to play but the play was whistled off due to an interference call to forward Connor Zary. . .Frost said his benching on Thursday night certainly played into how he approached Saturday’s game. He and Tortorella had a long conversation about his most recent benching. “I want to be in the lineup, I think I should be in the lineup,” Frost said. “It’s kind of a wakeup call whenever you get pulled like that. I know I have to do better. By no stretch of the imagination have I had a good season. It’s all on me and I take responsibility for it. Try to play more consistently and find more energy like I did tonight.”