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Flyers Spoil Ivan Provorov’s Return, Knock Off Blue Jackets, 5-2

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Ivan Provorov, Philadelphia Flyers, Bobby Brink
Ivan Provorov scored a goal against the Philadelphia Flyers in his return to the Wells Fargo Center. (Credit: AP)

In Ivan Provorov’s return to the Wells Fargo Center, the Philadelphia Flyers whipped the Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-2, on Sunday.

In 18 prior games in his new threads, the longtime Flyers defenseman produced one goal, 10 assists, and 11 points. Against his former club, Provorov scored his second goal of the season Sunday.

“A little bit of mixed feelings, mixed emotions. Obviously it’s a little bit weird being in this building on the other side,” Provorov shared prior to the game. “I really enjoyed my time here. But like for right now, it’s kind of hard to find words. It’s an emotional day”.

Ryan Poehling had a goal, two assists, and a plus-3 rating to pace the surging Flyers (10-7-1), who won their fifth straight — their longest winning streak in three-plus years. With the win, the surprising Flyers climbed into second place in the Metropolitan Division.

After a slow start from both clubs, Joel Farabee broke the ice with a power move to his backhand, blowing by Yegor Chinakhov and Damon Severson and roofing one over Spencer Martin’s blocker.

A short time later, Shortly Provorov received his jumbotron video tribute. Wells Fargo Center gave him a pretty nice ovation – in contrast to some of the boos he received when announced as a starter for Columbus.

With a little less than five minutes remaining in the first period, Alexandre Texier equalised with a wrist shot from the slot that beat Sam Ersson on his blocker side.

Nicolas Deslauriers gave the Flyers a bit of a jumpstart as things died down, giving Mathieu Joseph some bumps and bruises in a spirited tilt.

Flyers Special Teams Heating Up

With their opponents creeping back into the game, the Philadelphia Flyers managed to avert disaster.

A hair over a minute into the second period, Bobby Brink marked his return to the lineup in style with a power play snipe from the left circle, giving the Flyers a 2-1 lead. Brink’s goal was his first since Nov. 3; he played in his first game since Nov. 10 in Anaheim.

“I thought I worked hard that period and won some battles, and I think our line played in their D-zone, most of the period,” Brink said. “So, I think it was a good first period for us and just trying to get back in the swing of things”.

With the goal, the Flyers scored their third power play goal in two days – five-minute major against dud against Vegas notwithstanding.

Three minutes later, Poehling cashed in short-handed, scoring on a tic-tac-toe 2-on-o with Garnet Hathaway and doubling Philadelphia’s lead to 3-1. The goal wasn’t given until a lengthy review was conducted, but it’s the end result that matters most.

Provy’s Revenge

Provorov would cut the Flyers‘ two-goal lead in half with just over two minutes left in the period, sending a loose puck on target after a mad scramble in Ersson’s crease. It originally appeared as though he or Travis Sanheim stopped the puck in the goalmouth, but Provorov got a taste of sweet revenge instead and made it 3-2.

An untimely Tyson Foerster penalty forced the Philadelphia Flyers to coddle their one-goal lead into the second intermission. Fortunately, they killed that off, too.

Holding Leads

The back-and-forth affair was rather tame in the final frame, though Columbus’s desperation was palpable.

Foerster had a chance to pad the Flyers’ lead late in the third, but Martin stopped him on a breakaway. Foerster’s follow-up backhand pass just missed Atkinson in the slot. Only a few moments passed before Travis Konecny caught the Blue Jackets in transition, pivoted inside, and ripped the puck past Martin up where mom hides the cookies.

The Flyers and Blue Jackets traded penalties late, but Cole Sillinger’s hooking penalty with 3:33 effectively killed the game off. That is, until Sanheim took a penalty of his own.

Fortunately, with Martin pulled, Cam York’s rim-around clearance took a strange hop and rolled on end and into the net. At 5-2, the game was officially put beyond the Blue Jackets’ reach. Poehling earned another assist on the goal as his strong audition on the third line continues.

Breakaways

Konecny, who has 11 goals in 18 games, is on a 50-goal pace. … The Flyers do not practice Monday; they play the Islanders on Long Island on Wednesday.

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