Instant Replay: Flyers 6, Red Wings 3

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Instant Replay: Flyers 6, Red Wings 3

BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- Three goals in four games.

That’s what Sean Couturier’s stats read after the Flyers' 6-3 comeback victory over the Red Wings on Wednesday night at Joe Louis Arena.

Couturier drove the net and took a long pass from Steve Downie on the right boards for a go-ahead goal in the third period and then Scott Hartnell added an insurance goal on the power play.

The Flyers had trailed 3-1.

It took 57 ticks of the clock Monday night in Minnesota for the entire complexion of the hockey game to change against the Flyers in a 5-2 loss.

It took a wee bit longer -- 1:49 in the second period. The Red Wings -- much like the Wild -- got a pair of goals to erase a 1-1 tie and make it 3-1.

Yet the Flyers would not go quietly into Motown. First, Matt Read got one late in the second period off a fine pass from Coututier, who was in traffic.

Then the Flyers' slumping power play scored its second of the night with Claude Giroux flipping a puck from the left circle under the crossbar on Jimmy Howard to make it a 3-3 game.

The Flyers got a huge break in that Todd Bertuzzi, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg all missed the game with injuries.

Bottom line? They should take advantage of that and they did. The six goals were a season-high for the Flyers.

Two quickies
First Johan Franzen took a terrific breakaway pass from Stephen Weiss after a complete breakdown of the Flyers' defense and ripped one past Steve Mason. Then Steve Downie got caught holding the stick and Zac Rinaldo went off for tripping, giving the Red Wings a five-on-three power play for 1:52. Tomas Tartar made the Flyers pay dearly with his second goal on the night, as the Wings crashed the net, the Flyers looked discombobulated, and it was 3-1.

Penalties
Didn’t coach Craig Berube and his players say repeatedly they could not take penalties against Detroit because of its still-lethal power play? Well, through two periods, the Flyers had taken six penalties.

Scored first
Detroit did at 10:18 of the first period on a breakdown play three ways. First, Brayden Schenn lost a faceoff to Joakim Andersson. Then Andrej Meszaros lost a board battle to Drew Miller, who fed a tight pass into the slot where Wayne Simmonds lost sight of Tatar. He one-timed the puck high on Mason for a 1-0 lead.

Bad numbers
Detroit was 11-2-1 when scoring first; the Flyers were 1-10-1 when the opposition scored first.

Worse numbers
Since the 1988-89 season, the Flyers were 1-16-2 at The Joe. Their last win here was on Jan. 2, 2011 (3-2).

Special teams
Hey, the Flyers snapped a three-game drought by scoring a power-play goal. Downie made it a 1-1 game at 13:48 of the first period with a hard shot that hit Detroit’s Brian Lashoff and snuck past Howard. Detroit was 1 for 7 on the power play. The Flyers were 3 for 3.

The goalie
Mason was his usual strong self with 32 saves.

Five-on-three
Detroit had two such power plays and scored once on Tartar’s second goal of the game.

Will be reviewed
Luke Schenn’s charging call against Justin Abdelkader will get a review from the league office for certain. Abdelkader went off the ice but did not appear seriously injured. He was in a bad position when hit -- he was far from boards -- and went into the boards head first.

Close call
That would be Abdelkader, who got a breakaway off a Flyers' turnover late in the first period and shot it off the left post, although it appeared Mason got a piece of it with the top of his glove. Bad news was the Flyers had too many men on the ice and got nailed for the penalty on the stoppage.

Faceoffs
Brayden Schenn was saying at the morning skate how “comfortable” he felt at center. Well, through 40 minutes, he was 0 for 10 on faceoffs. Seven of those lost draws came against Andersson.

Scratches
Vinny Lecavalier (back spasms), Erik Gustafsson and Hall Gill. Gustafsson and Gill were healthy.

Loose pucks
The Flyers charter to Dallas on Thursday morning, hours ahead of a major ice storm that is expected to strike late Thursday and go all the way into Friday morning. Ever seen Texans try to drive on ice? They can’t. … Bertuzzi missed the game for Detroit with a shoulder injury, along with Zetterberg (herniated disk) and Datsyuk (concussion).

Flyers' poor division record biggest factor in being out of playoff picture

Flyers' poor division record biggest factor in being out of playoff picture

PITTSBURGH -- There's a bit of tragic irony to how the Flyers' season will end over the next two-plus weeks.
 
They have seven games left on the schedule. Six of them are teams residing in the Metro Division. Tuesday's opponent, Ottawa, is the lone exception.
 
There are so many reasons why the Flyers are scrambling now, clinging to the desperate belief they can still make the playoffs -- mathematically, they're alive -- against all rational thought.
 
They're six points behind Boston for the second wild-card spot, but they still have to hurdle Carolina, Tampa Bay and the Islanders just to get to Boston.
 
Yet one major reason for the Flyers' dilemma seems pretty obvious: They've been simply awful in head-to-head play against their own division.
 
The Flyers have a winning record against both divisions in the Western Conference.
 
That's not the case, however, in the East where the Metro Division is the only division with three teams over 100 points and where the Flyers have failed miserably to challenge from within.
 
Sunday's 6-2 rout of the Penguins in Pittsburgh left the Flyers with a poor 9-13-2 record against the Metro. It's the only division they have a losing record against.
 
Last season, Dave Hakstol's group finished 14-10-6 against their own division. That was a critical factor in enabling the Flyers to make the playoffs.
 
"We know where we are in the standings and it's not going to be easy to make the playoffs," Jakub Voracek said. "We all know that. We have to work off results of the other teams and try to play relaxed and loose."
 
Against the Eastern Conference overall, the Flyers are close to .500 (21-22-4) yet realize they should be better.
 
These two records represent a very large reason why the Flyers are sitting on the outside looking in as the playoffs near.
 
Right now, at least four clubs from the Metro -- half the division -- will make the playoffs. That says a lot about why games within your section are so pivotal at season's end.
 
"The numbers don't lie," Hakstol admitted on Sunday. "It's a tough road every single night. You've got to do a good job within your division, within your conference.
 
"We've played a lot of tight, hard games. The reality is, we're a number of points out of the playoffs and those points within your division are very valuable."
 
It's something the Flyers have to greatly improve upon next season if they want to be sitting in a playoff spot a month before the season ends instead of playing catch-up when the odds are hopelessly against them.
 
Pens killers
Every team in the NHL has a couple players who have fairly impressive career numbers against other teams.
 
Voracek averages better than a point against the Penguins. His goal Sunday gave him 17 goals and 34 points in 32 career games against Pittsburgh.
 
Voracek admitted after the game he's not sure why.
 
Claude Giroux also has excellent numbers against the Pens -- his two assists in the win left the Flyers' captain with 41 points (14 goals) in 40 career games vs. Pittsburgh.
 
Shayne Gostisbehere has been around a fraction as long as either Giroux or Voracek -- eight career games vs. the Pens -- yet has two goals and nine points in those games.
 
Brayden Schenn doesn't average a point a game against the Pens, but he's close. His assist on Sunday left the winger/center with 20 points (8 goals) in 26 games.
 
The only Flyer who has solid numbers against Pittsburgh and didn't make Sunday's score sheet was Wayne Simmonds. He has 23 points in 28 games. 

Dave Hakstol: Travis Konecny on 4th line 'makes sense in a lot of respects'

Dave Hakstol: Travis Konecny on 4th line 'makes sense in a lot of respects'

PITTSBURGH -- The curious line juggling of Travis Konecny continued Sunday night.

Flyers coach Dave Hakstol again started Konecny on Pierre-Edouard Bellemare's fourth line with Chris VandeVelde, but just as he did in Columbus, Hakstol moved the rookie around.

This was Konecny's third straight game off Valtteri Filppula's unit with Jakub Voracek at the start. The obvious message to Konecny seems to be: Get yourself into a more defensive-minded role early and then let the offense come to you.

Konecny has made some defensive strides.

"It makes sense in a lot of respects," Hakstol said of the move to Bellemare's unit. "He's playing with two players with a lot of structure. He excels in that type of setting.

"If you look at [Saturday], he can bounce around the lineup with different lines and we used him that way. He didn't just play with his two linemates. He moved around a little bit. He's very effective in that role when we're able to get him out there. He gives us a good boost, a good push."

Against Columbus on Saturday, Konecny played on two units with Sean Couturier -- one featuring Jordan Weal and the other, Dale Weise. He also played a few shifts with Filppula and Wayne Simmonds.

The same thing happened Sunday in the Flyers' 6-2 rout of the Penguins (see game story). Konecny finished with an assist and plus-1 in just 8:02. He is one of the very, very few Flyers who is an even. Most are minus.

Konecny, who just turned 20, and Weal, 24, gave the Flyers a lift on Sunday. Weal had a goal and an assist in 13:06.

"No matter who it is contributing, everyone is excited for everybody," Konecny said. "A lot of guys put up some numbers tonight and contributed. It was a good team effort. That's what we want to see."
 
The Flyers were so relaxed it makes you wonder if the pressure of trying to make the playoffs is gone because their odds are so stacked against them.
 
"We’re at that point where you just need to win and just show up," Konecny said. "There's nerves in the back of your mind. We're pretty loose and trying to enjoy it as much as we can going through a stressful time.
 
"We've handled it well. We played a good team, we knew they would push but we pushed harder."
 
Konecny said he's not fazed by the different line combinations he's a part of, often in the same period.
 
"It's not too bad," he said. "I kind of expected it going into a game. I know when I am playing with Belly and Vandy that throughout the game, there's going to be times like penalty kills come up and he'll fill me in with another line.
 
"At the start of the third [tonight], I filled in another line. I know it's going to come. I just expect it. I've played with pretty much everybody on the team. I'm comfortable out there."
 
Loose pucks
The six goals on the road against Pittsburgh last happened on Feb. 20, 2013, when the Flyers won, 6-5. ... Sunday was the Flyers' largest margin of victory in Pittsburgh since March 31, 2003, when they beat the Penguins, 6-1, at Mellon Arena. ... Weal picked up the second two-point game of his career -- both of which have taken place this month. ... Weise has three goals in his last seven games. ... Claude Giroux had two assists, and now has two goals and eight assists for 10 points in 13 games this month.