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5 Takeaways: Chicago Jolts Flyers; 1st Reg.-Season Win in Philly Since ’96

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Nick Deslauriers, Philadelphia Flyers
Surrounded by four Blackhawks, Nick Deslauriers tries to get off a shot against former Flyer Petr Mrazek. Photo: AP.

The Chicago Blackhawks hadn’t won a regular-season game in Philadelphia since Bill Clinton was in the White House, gas cost $1.29 a gallon, and ER was America’s top-rated TV show.

That changed Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Blackhawks jolted the Philadelphia Flyers, 4-1, and won a regular-season game in Philly for the first time since 1996. Chicago had lost 17 straight regular-season games as the visiting team against the Flyers, with one of those games in Prague.

Chicago’s last win in Philly had been Nov. 9, 1996, when the building was known as the CoreStates Center. (The Hawks, of course, did OK in Philly during the 2010 Stanley Cup Final.)

With the comeback win, Chicago (13-26-4) prevented the Flyers (19-20-7) from climbing above “hockey .500” for the first time since Nov. 15.

“I thought across the board, we were flat and disjointed,” said coach John Tortorella, whose team had a 39-29 shots advantage, but fired most of them from the perimeter. “I don’t think we played with enough energy.”

Despite its poor record, Chicago is now 15-0-1 when taking a lead into the third period.

Here are five quick observations:

1. The Blackhawks didn’t look like a team that was tied for last in the NHL in points.

Chicago entered the night tied with Columbus for the fewest points in the league, but the Blackhawks took away play for lots of stretches after falling into a 1-0 hole..

The Hawks took their first lead when fourth-line right winger Reese Johnson scored from the high slot after an Owen Tippett turnover. That put Chicago ahead, 2-1, with 4:09 to go in the second.

Just 35 seconds into the third, another Johnson — Tyler — scored on a rebound to give the Blackhawks a 3-1 advantage. They added a late empty-net goal.

The Flyers had too much sloppiness in their play.

“Giving them odd-man rushes with some of the skill guys they have is going to cost you eventually,” Flyers center Morgan Frost said.

“It was one of those games,” Tortorella said. “I didn’t like much about it at all.”

2. Morgan Frost is becoming a go-to player.

The 23-year-old center continued his torrid pace, giving the Flyers a 1-0 lead by scoring with 11:08 left in the first. Frost made a gorgeous move to get free from defenseman Seth Jones, then fired a wrist shot off the crossbar and into the net.

Frost has 16 points (7-9) in his last 18 games.

3. Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen is turning offensive.

Ristolainen helped set up Frost’s goal, giving him three points over his last two games. Before that, he had a total of two points in his first 37 games.

4. Jonathan Toews showed one of the skills that has made him a great player.

Toews, 34, who is in numerous trade rumors, deftly deflected Seth Jones’ shot past Carter Hart to knot the score at 1-all midway through the second. It was Toews’ 13th goal.

“A high tip and a screen. I didn’t really see the release,” Hart said.

With 5:22 left in the second, Hart made one of his best stops of the night, gloving Jones’ blast from the high slot.

Hart said the Flyers “just got outworked a little bit in the hard areas around the ice.”

5. The Flyers’ power play is struggling.

Philly went 0 for 2 with an extra attacker. That made the Flyers 1 for 13 in their last three games.

The Flyers played their third game in four nights. They didn’t use it as an excuse, but fatigue looked like it set in Thursday — and it affected most areas of their game.

“I think it’s the mental tiredness that we have to fight,” said Tortorella, who did not like his team’s forecheck. “And we were flat mentally. We weren’t quick. They checked going forward. We just weren’t anticipating. We’re not going to skate (Friday). We’ve got to figure some way to get energy, because we just don’t have a break.”

The Philadelphia Flyers are in the midst of a stretch in which they play five games in seven nights.

Breakaways

Travis Konecny was not added to the Metro All-Stars in the fans’ vote. … Kevin Hayes (9) and Konecny (7) combined for 16 of the Flyers’ shots. … The Flyers have scored first in five of their last six games. … Zack MacEwen fired high and wide on a first-period breakaway. … Scott Laughton slid hard into the end boards while pursuing the puck in the opening period. He left the ice, went down the tunnel, but quickly returned. … Chicago’s Andreas Anthanasiou had a first-period goal erased because of an obvious offside, which was originally missed but caught on the challenge/replay. … The Flyers play in Detroit on Saturday night, then host Winnipeg on Sunday night. … Nick Deslauriers had four shots and four hits. … Ivan Provorov had five shot attempts (two on goal) and two blocked shots. … Former Flyer Petr Mrazek (38 saves) got the win for Chicago, which has won five of its last six and is no longer the Connor Bedard favorite.

Torts on Ivan Provorov: ‘Why Would I Bench Him?’ 

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