Flyers analysis

Fueled by Konecny's Gordie Howe hat trick, Flyers grab 9th win over top-10 team

The Flyers swept the two-game regular-season series from the Jets by a score of 6-1

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Travis Konecny and the Flyers jumped all over the Jets for a 4-1 win Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

The 2024 All-Star delivered a Gordie Howe hat trick (a goal, an assist and a fight) in the first period.

Ryan Poehling was superb, scoring a shorthanded goal and assisting Tyson Foerster's game-opening marker.

Morgan Frost also put up a two-point game (one goal, one assist).

It all produced a positive start to a three-game homestand for the Flyers (27-19-6). They're 12-12-2 at home and want to be much better.

John Tortorella's club swept the two-game regular-season series from the Jets (30-14-5). Impressively, the Flyers outscored Winnipeg 6-1 in the wins.

The Jets entered the night surrendering the NHL's fewest goals per game at 2.31.

• Tortorella was in no mood to celebrate the Flyers' victory by three goals. His postgame press conference narrowly eclipsed one minute in length.

Perhaps he wasn't thrilled with the final two periods. But it sure seemed like a veteran head coach keeping his team leveled and focused, wanting it to understand it can still be better. If you recall, the Flyers opened their last homestand by beating up on a Stanley Cup contender in the Stars. They then lost five straight.

Tortorella knows when to defend his team and when to challenge it.

• The Flyers went into the bye week and All-Star break on a season-worst five-game losing streak. They were outscored 27-12 in the skid.

They've come out of the break with consecutive wins, outscoring the Panthers and Jets a combined 6-2.

Very good response.

The Flyers now have nine wins over top-10 clubs. With 30 games to go, they hold a playoff spot, sitting in third place of the Metropolitan Division.

Against Florida and Winnipeg, the Flyers got themselves going by forcing the issue. They believe when they're taking away time and space, killing plays quickly, that generates their speed and scoring off the rush.

"That's who we need to be," Tortorella said at morning skate. "Can we do it consistently? That's every team's battle is find out who you are. I think we have an idea of who we are. Can you do it consistently?"

• In the first period alone, Konecny showed exactly why he's the Flyers' heartbeat.

Eight minutes after dropping the gloves, Konecny cushion the Flyers' lead with a goal. To sweeten the script, his shot happened to ricochet off of Neal Pionk, the Jets' defensemen he fought.

Konecny then picked up an assist on Frost's goal as the Flyers went into first intermission with a commanding 3-0 lead.

"I think we really need to not even look back on the first period," Konecny said. "We need to assess the last two and really make sure we stay on top of things."

Konecny's Gordie Howe hat trick came in 4:08 minutes of ice time. He sure gets involved, doesn't he?

"Especially last year, I think his game took over. He has been our best player for a little bit here now," Scott Laughton said. "Always brings it, he's a little pest and a little bit of a rat. It helps out when you make that many plays and you're on both special teams. He brings it every night, so guys follow him."

Travis Konecny dropped the gloves with Neal Pionk in the first period.

• For a second time this season, Samuel Ersson quieted Winnipeg.

After pitching a 35-save shutout against the Jets last month, Ersson denied 28 of 29 shots Thursday night.

Winnipeg didn't crack him until the final five and a half minutes of the game when the Flyers were up 4-0.

"He has played great all season," Konecny said. "We have full confidence in him. Thank goodness we had him tonight because I'm not sure if it was the lead that early that kind of shut us down, but if it wasn't for him, I think they claw back in it there. We've got to fix that."

The 24-year-old rookie has really answered the bell out of the break.

"I think everybody maybe needed a little bit of a mental break from hockey," Ersson said. "It was a tough schedule there in January, we had a lot of games. I think everybody needed a little bit of a break and we used that to our advantage. We knew how important this part of the season is, that everything steps up another notch and we have to do it, as well, if we want to be a part of the playoff picture."

Jets backup Laurent Brossoit stopped 17 of the Flyers' 21 shots.

• Marc Staal drew into the lineup for Rasmus Ristolainen, who was out because of an illness.

• The homestand continues Saturday when the Flyers host Dave Hakstol's Kraken (7 p.m. ET/ESPN+, Hulu).

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