Travis Konecny, Brayden Schenn help Flyers complete comeback in crucial OT win over 'Canes

Travis Konecny, Brayden Schenn help Flyers complete comeback in crucial OT win over 'Canes

BOX SCORE

It could have been a disaster.
 
Unload 44 shots, get the better of every scoring chance and stick with the game to the end and then … lose.

That's happened a lot of times this season to the Flyers.

On Sunday night, Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny, Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier made certain it didn't happen, as the Flyers cut their wild-card deficit to five points with a heart-pounding 4-3 overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes at the Wells Fargo Center (see Instant Replay).
 
"We knew things were coming for us," said Konecny, who got the game into overtime with a goal that made it 3-3 in the final minute of regulation. "We knew if we stayed with it, the pucks would go our way. I think the hockey gods were looking down on us."
 
They finally had some luck. With regulation time running out, Konecny tried a pass into the slot area that went off a skate and into the net to send the game to overtime.
 
"I tried passing it out front and knew the goalie [Cam Ward] was out of position," Konecny said. "I knew he didn't know where the puck went. I just knew Coots was there. It went off a skate."
 
That assured at least one point -- everyone matters now for the Flyers in the wild card race -- and got the game into overtime, where Schenn scored the game-winner off the rush with an assist from Provorov, the rookie defenseman who had his first three-point game.
 
"We put pucks to the net," said Schenn, who has three goals in his last four games. "We had a tired hockey team on the other side. We felt we carried the play for the most part, a little flat in the third period but we stuck with it."
 
Carolina was playing for the fifth time in seven days. The 'Canes looked tired, made a push to tie and almost pulled it out were it not the Flyers' tenacity late in regulation.
 
"Everyone stuck with it," coach Dave Hakstol said. "We got a bounce to tie it up but we also made some good plays to get that bounce. And then the play on the winning goal, it was a real, good speed play, power move to take the puck to the net. We finished it off."

The first period saw the Flyers with an 11-3 shot advantage more than 16 minutes into the game without a scoring. Something good finally occurred inside the final minute of the period when Provorov gathered a pass from Andrew MacDonald, spun and unleashed a wicked snap shot from the left circle past Cam Ward for the only goal of the period.

Credit Couturier for forcing a turnover from Jordan Staal that began the play.
 
It was just Provorov's sixth goal this season.
 
Dale Weise, who wears his anger over his season -- and sometimes benchings -- on his sleeve, picked up his second goal in three games midway into the second period to give Steve Mason a 2-0 pad. A juicy rebound courtesy of Valtteri Filppula was just sitting outside the paint for him to stun Ward, who never saw the puck.
 
"It was a good play by Val," Weise said. "I gave it to TK there in the corner much like his goal a couple of games ago, where he's rolling over the top. I was just trying to pull the D out to give him some room to shoot. 
 
"He threw it in there and Val was kind of grinding away in front and the puck popped out to me. I don't think Ward saw it, so I just had to get it up and in."
 
Jeff Skinner has been tough on the Flyers during his career and didn't let up in this one, either. He cut the deficit in half with a gift rebound from Mason for his 26th goal overall this season and 13th lifetime against the Flyers in 25 games.
 
The period ended on a decidedly bad note when Provorov lost his stick during a puck battle behind the net to Phillip Di Giuseppe, who dished the puck into the slot. Mason couldn't react quickly enough on Elias Lindholm's one-timer that tied it, 2-2.
 
That's when the Flyers hit a lull and doubt creeped in, which this club doesn't need with a crucial four-game road trip coming up.
 
"It's in your mind because we've had a lot of games like that," Weise said. "But we stuck together and tied it up late. … It was extremely frustrating.
 
"Up 2-0 in full control and we let them back in the game. We were rolling in the second and all over them. But we did a good job in righting the ship."

Best of NHL: Nikita Kucherov hat trick lifts Lightning over Bruins

Best of NHL: Nikita Kucherov hat trick lifts Lightning over Bruins

BOSTON -- Nikita Kucherov had his third career hat trick to lead Tampa Bay to a 6-3 victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night, snapping the Lightning's three-game losing streak.

Jonathan Drouin had a goal and two assists, Brayden Point had a goal and an assist and Anton Stralman also scored to help the Lightning pull three points behind the Bruins for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.

Peter Budaj finished with 28 saves for the Lightning to earn his 29th win of the season. Ondrej Palat had three assists, and Jake Dotchin and Victor Hedman added two each.

Riley Nashy had a goal and an assist for Boston, and David Pastrnak and Zdeno Chara also scored. Tuukka Rask stopped 23 shots as Boston, which won seven of the first eight games under interim coach Bruce Cassidy, has now lost four straight and six of 11 (see full recap).

Oshie beats Bobrovsky to give Caps SO win
WASHINGTON -- T.J. Oshie scored the shootout winner as the Washington Capitals overcame a stellar performance from Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to beat the Blue Jackets 2-1 Thursday night.

Despite 44 saves from Bobrovsky, the Capitals reached 104 points and extended their lead atop the Metropolitan Division and NHL standings. Oshie engendered memories of his Sochi Olympic shootout performance by again beating Bobrovsky, the goalie he scored on four times in six chances that day.

Dmitry Orlov finally cracked Bobrovsky early in the third period on Washington's 35th shot of the game. Orlov's goal tied the score after Seth Jones beat Braden Holtby on a wild scramble early in the third for his first goal since Feb. 7.

Holtby had 29 saves in regulation and overtime and three more in the shootout to pick up his 38th victory of the season, one shy of Bobrovsky for the league lead (see full recap).

Senators take down Penguins in shootout
OTTAWA, Ontario -- Kyle Turris and Bobby Ryan scored in the shootout to lift the Ottawa Senators to a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night.

Mike Hoffman scored in regulation for the Senators and Mike Condon finished with 34 saves, including two incredible point-blank stops in overtime to keep the game going.

Nick Bonino had the goal in regulation for the Penguins and Matt Murray stopped 29 shots.

After being outplayed for much of the first two periods, the Senators were much better in the third and tied the score 1-1 on the power play at 9:43 as Hoffman beat Murray over the shoulder with a wrist shot just 14 seconds after Matt Cullen was penalized for holding (see full recap).

Flyers regroup behind Steve Mason for big win over Wild

Flyers regroup behind Steve Mason for big win over Wild

BOX SCORE

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- When Zach Parise scored for the Minnesota Wild just 2:07 into Thursday's game, the Flyers were in another difficult position on the road.

This time, they responded with the type of game they've needed on the road all season.

The Flyers scored three unanswered goals by Sean Couturier, Matt Read and Jakub Voracek to beat Minnesota, 3-1, and snap a four-game losing streak on the road (see Instant Replay).

"They're a tough team to handle in their transition," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said of Parise's goal. "It's quick and it's fast. The players on the bench were outstanding, talking, real calm. Just go out and push it the other way the next shift and I thought we were able to do that."

The Flyers responded with one of their best efforts on the road in nearly two months and pulled within six points of Boston for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference (see standings). The Bruins lost, 6-3, at home to Tampa Bay.

Steve Mason made 24 saves in goal for his 100th win with the Flyers as the team was rarely challenged thanks to an all-around performance that has been missing on the road. The Flyers entered the night tied for the second-fewest road wins in the conference this season.

"Certain things on the road, you've got to be a little more specific with your game and detailed, and I think we did a better job of that tonight," said Flyers defenseman Nick Schultz, who returned to the arena where he played 10 seasons with Minnesota. "Everybody throughout the lineup did that and that's why we got a big win."

The beginning looked all too familiar, though.

An innocent looking dump-in slid to Mason, who tried to cover the puck. The puck went off his stick and Parise quickly poked it past Mason. The Wild had four quality chances early before the Flyers took control.

"They came hard early on in the game and to be able to match that speed; that was a completely different pace of game compared to what we came from in Winnipeg," Mason said. "So, it almost took a second to get your bearings straight to get up to speed."

The Flyers weathered the early flurry by Minnesota, which is safely in playoff position in the West but is facing its own late-season issues. The Flyers killed off both Wild penalties, allowing just two shots on the penalty kill.

Couturier's 12th goal of the season was critical in tying the game with 2:01 left in the first (see feature highlight).

"Coming into the room after the period, I think it's important when you get a big goal like that," captain Claude Giroux said. "You feel like you have the momentum a little bit, so it definitely helped us a lot."

Read provided the lead in the second and the Flyers, who are now 15-2-2 when leading after two periods, pressured in the third. They outshot the Wild, 9-4, in the final period.

"We didn't sit back," Hakstol said. "I thought we were confident with the puck and made some plays and spent a good amount of time in the offensive zone. We played with real confidence in our game."

Mason had been critical after the Flyers lost in Winnipeg on Tuesday, saying the team needed to be more desperate. The Flyers responded Thursday in the difficult position of being on the road and allowing the first goal.

"We knew we had to be better," Schultz said of Mason's comments. "I think on the road, you've got to be at least a .500 team and take care of business at home, and we haven't done that this year. So, obviously, we've got to get better and I think we did respond tonight. Now we have to build on it."