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5 Observations: Flyers’ Youngsters Help Beat Columbus, 5-3



Morgan Frost, Cam York, Philadelphia Flyers
Morgan Frost (left) celebrates his second-period goal with Cam York in Tuesday's game against visiting Columbus. Photo: AP.

Even an appearance by South Jersey native Johnny Gaudreau, now in his first season with Columbus, didn’t do much for the attendance Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Too much Christmas shopping, apparently, kept fans away. That and the fact that the matchup was between the two injury-riddled, bottom-feeders in the Metropolitan Division.

The fans who did show up got to see Travis Konecny’s two artistic goals, including the first shorthanded tally of his career, as the Philadelphia Flyers defeated Columbus, 5-3, in their last home game of the calendar year.

Philly’s youth had a big night. The Flyers got goals from Konecny (25 years old), Frost (23), and Owen Tippett (23). Tippett’s second goal of the night, this one an empty-netter, iced the win.

In addition, Cam York (21) had a pair of assists.

The Flyers won for just the fourth time in their last 21 games. All five of their goals were scored by players 25 and under.

“As hard as it’s been to eat all the losses …. there have been some good things going on, as far as development, as far as individual players,” coach John Tortorella said. “And also our team concept. You’ve got to hang your hat somewhere, or you’ll lose your mind. We’re trying (to get) little small victories.”

Here are five quick observations:

1. Morgan Frost is showing much more poise.

He’s getting more creative with his stickhandling, gaining more confidence, and making plays that he was reluctant to try earlier in the season.

Frost is also showing more patience. Witness his second-period goal, which tied the score at 2-all. Earlier in the year, Frost would have looked to make a quick pass after taking a feed. This time, he patiently drifted into the left circle and whipped a shot past backup goalie Daniil Tarasov.

“I was surprised I had so much room there, to be honest,” Frost said, adding his line, with James van Riemsdyk and Owen Tippett, is building strong chemistry.

The kid is showing lots of good signs. He has six goals, including three in his last five games.

2. Travis Konecny continued his torrid pace.

The 25-year-old right winger scored a pair of goals and now has 14 goals in 27 games. Last season, he finished with 16 goals in 79 games.

Konecny forced defenseman Marcus Bjork to keep backing up, and he beat Tarasov with a close shot while the Flyers were shorthanded. He made a double-move and roofed the shot past the 6-foot-5 Tarasov, giving the Philadelphia Flyers a 1-0 lead with 6:12 left in the first.

Tarasolv was playing because Elvis Merzlikins was ill.

Before this season, Konecny was rarely used on the PK.

With 17:15 remaining in regulation, Konecny made it 4-2. Skating from his right to his left, he deposited a backhander from deep inside the left circle. That gave him the 12th multi-goal game of his career — and his first since opening night against New Jersey.

3. Owen Tippett keeps emerging.

The big right winger, acquired in the Claude Giroux trade last season, scored on a give-and-go with Joel Farabee (plus-3) to give the Flyers a 3-2 lead with 5:42 left in the second. He later added an empty-netter and now has 10 goals, including four in his last eight games.

Tippett had five shots on goal and seven shot attempts.

4. The Blue Jackets took advantage of their second-period opportunities.

Columbus had little attack time in the first two periods, but built a 2-1 lead.

On an innocent-looking play, Jake Christiansen dumped the puck at the net from the point, and Kirill Marchenko deflected it past Carter Hart, knotting the score at 1-1 with 14:02 to go in the second.

Less than three minutes later, Columbus took a 2-1 lead as Kent Johnson fired a left-circle shot into the net on a two-on-one. Gaudreau had the primary assist. The odd-man rush was created because Rasmus Ristolainen fell down and Joel Farabee limped off the ice to the bench

5. After being benched in the previous game, Kevin Hayes returned to the lineup.

It would have been a great story if Hayes rebounded and was an offensive force. Didn’t happen. The left winger was active in the offense, but kept off the scoreboard.

He had five shot attempts — three on goal — while playing 14:25 on the third line.


Hart was slow to get up after a save near the final buzzer; he was hit in the groin, but was fine after the game. …. Columbus has lost five straight. … Tony DeAngelo, who broke up a two-on-one late in the second period, played on the second defensive pairing with Travis Sanheim. DeAngelo had six shots and was plus-2, and Sanheim had four shots and was plus-1. The pair combined to play nearly 50 minutes. …  York went to the left side — his natural spot — on the third pairing with Justin Braun. … RW Wade Allison, who had been sidelined by hip and oblique injuries, returned to the lineup for the first time since Nov. 12. … The Flyers play in Toronto on Thursday at 2 p.m. That starts a five-game road trip that also has stops in Carolina, San Jose, Los Angeles, and Anaheim.

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