A few storylines and links to start our day.
The Phils won to sweep the series in Florida last night, but Roy Halladay needed some help from the bats to earn his league-leading 19th W. Fortunately, the bats were plenty ready to pitch in, giving him 10 runs of support. Jim Salisbury has a great read on how despite Halladay's recent struggles, he's been able to keep the game under control. When his amazing stuff isn't separating him from normal pitchers, it's his calm in not losing focus and allowing much damage. Sully also discusses how unique the remainder of the season will be for Halladay, who hasn't previously pitched for a contender with a lot on the line this time of year. [CSNPhilly]
The Braves lost to the Nationals again, so the Phils enter their weekend series with the Nationals up three games in the division. It's not time to celebrate, but it's good to see things trending in the right direction in mid-September.
The series loss to the Nats was the first time they've dropped a home series since late April (to the Phillies). [AJC]
I guess they like the comforts of home and playing in front of mostly stadium employees. [The Fightins]
Heard enough about the Ines Sainz thing yet? I thought I had too, but I appreciated Ashley Fox's opinion on the matter. One of the few takes I've seen that is both firm and measured in its responses to both sides. [Inquirer]
This Sunday will feature a battle of the backups when the Eagles head to Detroit. While I'm not sure what to expect from Vick when a defense has had a whole week to prep for him, I like our odds over the team sending Shaun Hill out there. However, Hill seems to have the support of his teammates and coaches as he takes over for the injured Matthew Stafford. Here's a little opposition research on Hill. [Detroit Free Press]
One of the guys we're looking to see in Hill's face all day is Brandon Graham. I didn't pick up on this from row 20 of section 205, but Jordan Raanan has a pretty scathing review of Andy Reid's frequent use of Graham at tackle, as well as his overall game-planning. [CSNPhilly]
The first of many for the kid.
Travis Konecny on Tuesday night scored goal No. 1 of what should be an exciting and promising career in orange and black.
Not only was it the 19-year-old's first NHL marker, but it ignited a third-period comeback from three goals down as the Flyers stunned the Sabres at the Wells Fargo Center with a 4-3 shootout win when they looked dead in the water at second intermission.
"Obviously, it makes it 3-1," Brayden Schenn said of Konecny's special moment. "It gets the crowd going a bit. It gets us going. Any time a guy scores a first goal, like I said, it gets a little more excitement through the building and through our team."
The goal wasn't of the flashy variety, but it epitomized the youngster's complete game. Teammates have routinely praised Konecny for his willingness to score ugly by finding the greasy areas — as we so love to call them — and doing work, despite his a not-so-intimidating frame.
So skillfully, Konecny deflected a power-play point drive by the other 19-year-old Ivan Provorov. Like a little kid — then again, he is a teenager — Konecny leapt into the boards in celebration, smiling ear to ear. In came Provorov for a big hug. Watching those two have fun is fun.
Flyers fans, frame this screenshot and hang it somewhere (and don't you dare cut out Matt Read). Meanwhile, for Konecny's goal and the celebration, watch the video above.
A very tired Flyers squad came back with a vengeance against the well-rested Buffalo Sabres Tuesday night to win, 4-3, in a shootout at the Wells Fargo Center.
Claude Giroux got the shootout winner.
It was an ugly affair for 40 minutes, starting with goalie Michal Neuvirth, who allowed three goals on 17 shots before being lifted in the second period for the second time in two weeks. The Flyers trailed 3-0 going into the third period.
Whatever energy the Flyers had coming back from Montreal on Monday was saved for the third period when they got three power-play goals from Travis Konecny, Brayden Schenn and Mark Streit to make it 3-3.
The Sabres had not played a game in five days while the Flyers are in the midst of six games in nine days and it showed.
The rookie Konecny scored his first NHL goal in the third period, tipping home Ivan Provorov’s point drive during a power play.
Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas returned after serving a six-game suspension to begin the season.
In an effort to get Schenn going — scoreless in three games coming in — coach Dave Hakstol dropped him to the third line with Nick Cousins and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. Matt Read, the club’s top goal scorer, moved into Schenn’s spot on the top line with Giroux and Wayne Simmonds.
Boyd Gordon played his 700th NHL game.
Konecny’s first NHL marker.
There was probably not much Neuvirth could do on the Sabres' first goal. Zemgus Girgensons shot from a hard angle in the corner to the net and the puck jumped, hitting Tyler Ennis for a 1-0 lead in the second period. That said, he wasn’t very good on the next two goals. Neuvirth has been pulled twice in just three starts.
The Flyers' power play awakened. Konecny's goal, plus Schenn's and Streit's. That marked a season high, too.
Chris VandeVelde overskated the puck during a shorthanded two-on-one for what would have been a goal in the first period. Gordon lost a draw to Ryan O’Reilly and Matt Moulson jumped on it, went to the net with purpose for a quick backhander to make it 2-0 3:56 into the second period. Moulson had two power-play goals. The Flyers' PK units were poor.
Simmonds avoided a hearing and possible suspension for his cross check from behind to Montreal’s Andrei Markov on Monday night that jolted the Canadiens defenseman into the boards face-first. The NHL’s Department of Player Safety reviewed the hit and saw no cause for action.
Dale Weise (suspended), Scott Laughton (knee), Michael Del Zotto (knee), Michael Raffl (abdominal pull) and Nick Schultz (healthy).
The Flyers will be off on Wednesday. They are in the midst of six games in nine days and will host Arizona on Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center.