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Feb 9, 2024 9:02 pm

Travis Konecny leads Flyers into battle vs. Kraken

Travis Konecny

Travis Konecny had an eventful first period Thursday night.

The Philadelphia Flyers forward had a goal, an assist and a fight — a “Gordie Howe hat trick” — as the Flyers beat visiting Winnipeg for their second win in a row since the All-Star break.

The Flyers will look to continue that streak when they play host to the Seattle Kraken on Saturday night.

Konecny was asked which part of the “hat trick” he was most proud of.

“Just the win, honestly,” he said.

Teammate Scott Laughton was more effusive in his praise of Konecny.

“He’s been our best player for a little bit here,” Laughton said. “He always brings it. He’s a little pest. … 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.”

The Flyers built a 3-0 lead late in the first period and hung on despite managing just eight shots on goal over the final two periods.

Goaltender Samuel Ersson stopped 28 shots for the Flyers. He made his sixth straight start with fellow netminder Carter Hart on an indefinite leave of absence after being one of five players from Canada’s 2018 world junior team who have been charged with sexual assault in Ontario.

“I thought we had really good jump, kind of fell back there in the second and third and let them play,” Flyers forward Scott Laughton said. “They made plays through us, and Erssy was great for us again.”

Added Konecny: “We have full confidence in (Ersson). Thank goodness we had him (Thursday), because I’m not sure if it’s the lead that early that shut us down, but if it wasn’t for him, they claw back in it.”

Ersson said the time off for the All-Star Game helped the Flyers, who lost five in a row heading into the break.

“I think everybody needed a little bit of a break, and we used that to our advantage,” he said.

The Kraken are hoping for the same, as this will be their first game since a 2-0 loss at lowly San Jose on Jan. 30.

“It’s been a whirlwind of a season,” Seattle goalie Joey Daccord said. “We’ve had ups, we’ve had downs, we’ve had the Winter Classic … a lot of injuries and guys being sick.

“This will be a good chance for everyone to hit the reset button and clear our minds a little bit. Come in focused and fresh for the stretch run.”

This is the opener of a four-game trip for the Kraken, all against Eastern Conference playoff contenders. Following Saturday, they’ll play at the New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders and Boston Bruins.

“It’s a sprint to the finish,” said Kraken coach Dave Hakstol, whose team is two points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. “It’s a 32-game playoff hunt.”

The Flyers and Kraken met Dec. 29 in Seattle, with the hosts winning 2-1 on Justin Schultz’s overtime goal. Konecny tallied for the Flyers.

–Field Level Media

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