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Ersson Makes 21 Saves, Konecny Scores Game-Winner as Flyers Earn 30th Win of Season

(Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Philadelphia Flyers avoided the dreaded trap game blues as they defeated the Chicago Blackhawks by a score of 3-1. The win represented their 30th of the season – through 57 games – after it took them 81 games to reach that mark last year.

Samuel Ersson was strong between the pipes as he made 21 saves to earn his 16th win of the season, but none bigger than the diving glove stop in the first 5 minutes of a scoreless game. Travis Sanheim then opened the scoring shortly after that before Colin Blackwell tied things up before the period came to a close.

Travis Konecny scored the eventual game-winning goal in the early parts of the second period before Garnet Hathaway added a huge insurance marker late in the middle frame. The rest of the way the Flyers shored up defensively and didn’t allow the Blackhawks much room to traverse through the neutral zone to clinch the victory. Arvid Söderblom made 30 saves in a strong effort between the pipes but dropped to 2-17-1 on the season.

The streaking Flyers look to put an end to their modest 2-game losing streak as they visit the lowly Chicago Blackhawks in a game that “scares the hell” out of head coach John Tortorella. Trap games are an ever-present danger and the Blackhawks will provide the Flyers with the ultimate test of patience, resiliency, and playing a complete 60-minute game.

The Flyers look to bring out the same lineup that they have run over the last few games with Olle Lycksell sitting once again in favour of Nicolas Deslauriers and Marc Staal. Samuel Ersson returned to the crease looking to secure his 16th win of the season.

As for Chicago, they entered tonight’s game 8th place in the Central Division, 16th place in the Western Conference, and incidentally 32nd in the NHL with a 15-38-3 record. With 9 losses in their last 10 games and the San Jose Sharks claiming 11 points in their previous 10, the Blackhawks have fallen back into last place as they have their eyes set on drafting Macklin Celebrini.

As for their current rookie phenom, Connor Bedard leads the team with 17 goals and 39 points in just 42 games. Philipp Kurashev is right behind him with 32 points, followed by Jason Dickinson‘s 27, Nick Foligno‘s 25, and Tyler Johnson‘s 17 to round out the top 5. Arvid Söderblom received the start tonight, for his first start in 4 games and just his 4th start since the beginning of January.  It’s been a tough season for the youngster as he carried a 2-16-1 record, 4.01 GAA, and .873 SV% into tonight’s game – also looking for his first win in 11 starts.


The Philadelphia Flyers were caught pinching very early on in the game and that allowed the Chicago Blackhawks to jump on an odd man rush. Tyler Johnson fed Taylor Raddysh with a perfect saucer pass but Samuel Ersson came up with a huge diving glove save to keep the game scoreless just 4:59 into the game.

Ersson’s massive save allowed the Flyers to gain momentum and score the game’s opening goal Travis Sanheim‘s slap shot went off defenseman Alex Vlasic and past Arvid Söderblom at the 6:18 mark. Joel Farabee did an outstanding job at keeping the puck as he was outmanned 1 to 3 before Scott Laughton corralled the loose puck and fed Sanheim for his 6th of the season.

Only 1:17 later, the Blackhawks tied the game after capitalizing on an odd-man rush courtesy of Colin Blackwell. Joey Anderson banked a pass off the boards after Cam York and Sean Couturier collided with one another and then Blackwell came in off the rush, curled and dragged around Jamie Drysdale, and finished it glove-side for his 4th of the season.

At the tail-end of his shift, Connor Bedard caught Egor Zamula slacking a little and drew a tripping penalty with 10:58 remaining. The Blackhawks, who now possess the NHL’s worst ranked power play, fired no shots on goal as the Flyers penalty kill continued to inch closer to the Los Angeles Kings’ top ranked unit.

The period came to a close with both teams tied at 1 goal apiece but the Flyers held a large advantage in shots on goal at 16-7. Philadelphia also had 35+ shot attempts in the period but Chicago’s shot-blocking prowess was on full display with 15 officially recorded, included 3 from Seth Jones. The Blackhawks might not seem to have had a good period in terms of shots on goal but they pressured the Flyers defense with countless odd-man rushes.


Scooping up the puck from the defensive zone, Travis Konecny went coast-to-coast at the tail end of his shift before finishing his shot top shelf over Söderblom’s shoulder for his 27th of the season at the 3:16 mark of the period.

The Blackhawks jumped onto their second power play of the night at the 7:05 mark after the Flyers were caught with having too many men on the ice. It was a far better looking power play with Ersson having to come up with several huge stops in tight on Johnson but the Flyers survived to tell the tale.

With 8:05 remaining in the period, Garnet Hathaway finished off a rebound from in-tight to give the Flyers a 3-1 lead. Ryan Poehling‘s initial shot was blocked but he corralled the puck, fed Noah Cates in the slot whose shot was stopped, before Hathaway finished things off for his 6th of the season.

The second period came to a close with the Flyers finishing things out a lot more fluidly than in the previous frame. Not only did they chip in with 2 more goals, they outshot the Blackhawks 14-8, and mitigated Chicago’s odd-man rushes to just one. Through 40 minutes, the Flyers led in the shot department, 30-15.


2:51 into the final frame of regulation, Nick Seeler and Reese Johnson dropped the gloves at centre ice. Seeler was throwing punches in bunches and it was the former taking down the latter after a spirited bout.

The Flyers shut down the neutral zone the rest of the period with a 2-goal lead and Tortorella stressing defensive structure. The Blackhawks had a couple dangerous chances but nothing otherworldly to trouble Ersson.

The shots were 7-3 in favour of Chicago in the final frame but the Flyers pulled through to end their 2-game losing streak and earn their 30th win of the season.


The Flyers return home on Saturday afternoon when they kick off the first game of a back-to-back set against the white-hot New York Rangers (3:00pm ET, ABC/ESPN+).

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