Potentially a costly injury to Michael Raffl, but Flyers ride big performances to 2nd straight win



Following two losses that caused some head-scratching, the Flyers have stemmed the tide with two straight wins.

Alain Vigneault's team finished a regular-season series sweep of Chicago by picking up a 4-1 victory Thursday night over the Blackhawks at United Center.

The Flyers (4-3-1) have now won consecutive games for the second time this month. They hadn't done so twice in October over the past three seasons. 

The Blackhawks (2-4-2) have lost three games in a row.

Flyers fans in Chicago enjoyed this one.

• Brian Elliott didn't love the word "mentor" when discussing if he would be back with the Flyers following last season. The 34-year-old wants to help 21-year-old goalie Carter Hart.

But Elliott also wants to compete.

"It's a tough word choice," he said April 7. "I think he needs someone that is going to help him along the way and push him to be better. Hartsy is a great young goalie and is going to be good in this league for a long time."

Elliott re-signed with the Flyers on June 26 and is pushing Hart. The veteran made 23 saves against the Blackhawks and sports a 1.69 goals-against average in three starts thus far. He has been huge in these last two victories.

• The Flyers will hope they didn't suffer a loss in the win. Michael Raffl went down after blocking a shot late in the third period. The role forward left the game and was unable to put weight on his right leg.

The 30-year-old is one of the Flyers' better puck-possession forwards and impacts the penalty kill. The Flyers desperately needed better goal prevention this season and Raffl helps.

If he is to miss any time, Tyler Pitlick will likely insert the lineup. The Flyers could also bring back Carsen Twarynski from AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. The 21-year-old suits the bottom-six style and the Flyers were not unhappy with his game.

• Poor Joel Farabee.

Playing his second career NHL game, the 19-year-old had an assist and a goal overturned after official review.

Farabee was active, though, notched his first career point and has been a plus. The skill stands out, obviously, but he brings the characteristics in which Vigneault preaches for his system.

The 2018 first-round pick will score his fair share of goals throughout his career.

And Kevin Hayes can buy him dinner soon.

Hayes scored his third goal of the season and his second in as many games. This marker was huge as it came four minutes after the Blackhawks cut the Flyers' lead to one early in the final stanza.

• Travis Konecny got his payday during training camp and, so far, he is rewarding general manager Chuck Fletcher.

Oskar Lindblom is in line for a new deal after this season and he's done everything to help boost his eventual raise.

Lindblom, who will be a restricted free agent in the summer when his entry-level contract expires, has five goals through the Flyers' first eight games. Going back to last season, the 23-year-old winger has nine goals in his last 13 games.

Konecny and Lindblom hooked up for a first-period goal Thursday. The two have a combined 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) after compiling seven points (four goals, three assists) through the first eight games last season. They will have a serious say in the Flyers' fortunes in 2019-20.

• Less than a minute into the second period, Claude Giroux scored his first goal of the season and James van Riemsdyk recorded his first point.

JVR added his first goal of the season in the third period. He had entered tied for 13th in the NHL with 35 shots and was the only player among the top 200 in that category without a point.

The Flyers would love to see those two heat up. Both haven't played poorly but their production is crucial. Giroux and van Riemsdyk entered the game with a total of no goals and four points.

Last season, from Jan. 10 to March 21, van Riemsdyk scored 20 goals in 31 games and the Flyers went 21-8-2 during that stretch.

• The Flyers' defensemen have been very steady over the last two wins, putting up a combined plus-12 rating. Matt Niskanen and Ivan Provorov were a combined plus-6 against the Blackhawks.

• The Flyers return home Saturday to play the Blue Jackets (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

The team then plays three straight road games against the Islanders Sunday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP), the Penguins Tuesday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and the Devils Friday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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