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Sparked by youngsters, Flyers get rare road win in Columbus



Noah Cates, Philadelphia Flyers
Noah Cates had his second NHL goal for the Flyers on Thursday in Columbus. Photo: Zack Hill.

The second period has been the Philadelphia Flyers’ downfall this season, a stanza that, more times than not, has turned outcomes in their opponents’ favor.

Not Thursday.

The Flyers had a 3-0 second-period domination en route to a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.

Defenseman Kevin Connauton scored his initial goal with the Flyers and his first in three years to start the uprising. Before the second period ended, Owen Tippett and Noah Cates added goals.

Tippett, acquired from Florida in the Claude Giroux trade, is 23. Cates, who recently signed after an outstanding career as Minnesota-Duluth, is also 23.

That’s significant because both are being counted upon to play important roles  in the Flyers’ future. The Flyers also had young defensemen Cam York (21) and Ronnie Attard (23) in the lineup, and both contributed.

“I think with some of the youth we’ve injected, these guys are not just getting an opportunity to play, they’re having an impact on the game,” interim coach Mike Yeo said. “All of the guys are responsible, all the guys can skate.”

Columbus had been 13-1-2 in its previous 16 home games against the Flyers.

With 3:05 left, Travis Konecny scored his 13th goal to secure the win.

Cates has goals in back-to-back games. He has two goals in five games since joining the Flyers.

Tippett has two goals in the last three games after going scoreless in his first seven with the Flyers.

“I think they’re feeling comfortable because they’re playing well,” Yeo said. “That’s one way certainly to fit into the group and earn respect of your teammates. And it’s not just that a couple of those guys got onto the scoresheet tonight. They’re doing the right things, with and without the puck.”

Tippett finished with a plus-3 rating; he said he is starting to get more acclimated to his new teammates.

“When you can learn more about the guys and more about the systems, you get familiar with the organization and it makes you feel more comfortable and more confident,” he said. “I feel my game has gotten better with each and every game, whether it’s holding onto pucks or getting shots off.”

Cates had similar sentiments, saying he wants to earn his teammates’ trust and provide energy. He has a great hockey IQ and looks like a keeper.

“I’m just having fun and bringing that to the rink every day,” said Cates, who had three shots and was plus-3. “I think that’s really important at this stage for me and the team. Just trying to get wins by playing hard and having fun.”

The Flyers won consecutive road games for the fourth time this season.

On Saturday, they will host Anaheim at 7:30, and Lou Nolan will be honored before the game for his 50 years as the Philadelphia Flyers’ public-address announcer.

Atkinson saluted

Cam Atkinson didn’t score in his first game in Columbus since he was traded by the Blue Jackets to the Flyers last summer, but that didn’t matter. The 32-year-old right winger had a blast in his return.

“It was a special night, for sure,” he said.

He became emotional as he talked about the “Welcome Back” signs, the fans wearing his jersey, the video salute.

“It’s truly a special place for me and my family,” said Atkinson, who spent 10 years in Columbus, “and this is why I call this home for us. The fans have shown me love since Day 1. What a great tribute, and truly something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”


Martin Jones stopped 26 of 27 shots and registered the win. He has all three of the team’s road victories in 2022. … Kevin Hayes had an assist and has 17 points in 17 games since returning from a groin injury. … Philly won 57.1% of the faceoffs as Morgan Frost (6 for 8) led the way. Frost also contributed an assist, two blocked shots and five shot attempts. … South Jersey’s Eric Robinson, a Bellmawr native, gave Columbus a 1-0 first-period lead when he scored on a shorthanded breakaway. … The Flyers went 0 for 4 on the power play and are in a 1 for 25 rut.

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