The last time the Flyers faced the Jets, Sam Ersson stopped every shot he saw in a 35-save shutout. Philadelphia only needed two goals from Cam Atkinson, though they only needed one, to take the 2-0 win. This time, the Flyers pounced on the Jets early and often in the first period. In the two-game season series, the Flyers outscored the Jets 6-1.
Three of the four goals the Flyers scored would come in the first period. No one would have a more eventful period than Travis Konecny, however.
Konecny Registers Second Career Gordie Howe Hat Trick
Sometimes, you can tell when a player is on their game and could have a big night. Konecny decided to do a bit of everything for the Flyers in the opening period. With just 4:08 time on ice in the first, Konecny managed to drop the gloves, score a goal, and assist on another. That would give him his second career Gordie Howe hat trick. It was the first by a Flyers player since Nicolas Aube-Kubel did it in February 2020. It is the first one done in the first period since Wayne Simmonds and Dale Weise had one in March 2017.
Konecny decided to get the fight out of the way first. Not liking how Neal Pionk got his hands up in the face of a teammate, Konecny dropped the gloves with him. He would end up with the eventual takedown. He even added a little stare-down at the end. That's one way to tell an opponent not to mess with your teammates.
Exactly 14 minutes after Konecny dropped the gloves, he scored the Flyers' second goal of the evening. And funny enough, he would bank the puck off of Pionk. It was a rough first period for the Jets' defenseman. Sean Walker took the shot from the point, which would get blocked. Morgan Frost got a piece of it, knocking it over to Konecny. The latter's shot fluttered toward the net as it hit Sean Monahan and Pionk on the way in. They don't ask how, they ask how many.
Konecny would get the secondary assist on Frost's goal a little over four minutes later. It was another fortunate bounce for the Flyers. Konecny started the play at center ice, chipping the puck over to Owen Tippett. Tippett dropped it off to Frost as they entered the zone. Frost's original shot was blocked, causing a bit of chaos in front. Frost found it and snapped it between the glove and pad of Laurent Brossoit.
Konecny's other Gordie Howe hat trick came in 2018. He needed all of his ice time in that one, achieving the feat with a goal in the first, a fight in the second, and an assist in the third.
Power Kill Strikes Again
After a shorthanded goal against the Jets, the Flyers once again sit at the top of the league when it comes to scoring on the penalty kill. Recently signing an extension to remain in Philadelphia, Ryan Poehling scored Philadelphia's fourth goal in style. Despite winning the faceoff in the offensive zone, Winnipeg would have a miscommunication at the blue line. That allowed Poehling to pounce on the puck and take it the other way.
The Jets recovered well, having both defensemen back and another player coming. Poehling had Garnet Hathaway with him but fired the puck to the far side of Brossoit. It went under his arm and into the back of the net. That was his second shorthanded goal of the season, tying the amount he scored with the Penguins last season.
Poehling is on pace for new career highs in goals and points if he can finish the season strong. He needs just two more points and four more goals. He has already set a new high in assists with 10.
Sam Ersson Stands Tall
Ersson has become the de facto number-one goaltender for the Flyers. He showed last night why he is the right guy for the job. He came within five minutes of a second consecutive shutout against the Jets. Kyle Connor would break the shutout bid. The Flyers could not clear the puck thanks to a nice keep-in by Josh Morrissey. He got the puck to Mark Scheifele behind the net. He turned and found Connor open, who was heading toward the net. Connor got behind Ersson and tucked the puck in for the Jets' only goal.
Ersson had to make numerous saves throughout the second and third periods as the Jets dominated play in the final 40 minutes. After just four shots in the first, Winnipeg added 15 shots in the second and 10 in the third. Compare that to the Flyers, who only had eight combined shots after firing 13 on the net in the first.
The Jets almost got on the board in the final 10 seconds of the first period. Ersson had to stretch the pad out to rob Morrissey in tight. It was a nice cross-ice pass from Adam Lowry to set the chance up.
Ersson would have to make another big save early in the second period, stopping Nino Niederreiter. He stopped a dangerous chance from Dylan DeMelo a little over midway through the second. He would also get help from the crossbar after a Nikolaj Ehlers one-timer late in the period. The third was no different, as the Flyers spent a lot of time toward the end of the game in their defensive end. Ersson would stop nine of the 10 shots he faced in the final frame to bring the win home for Philadelphia.
The Flyers will take a day to enjoy this one, as they will welcome in Dave Hakstol and the Seattle Kraken on Saturday. That game will be an ESPN+/Hulu exclusive. Philadelphia dropped a 2-1 overtime game to the Kraken in late December.