The boys in Orange and Black opened the season against the Chicago Blackhawks and competed in such a way that made all of Philadelphia proud. Philly Sports Network’s own, Liam Jenkins, was on-site in Prague, Czech Republic at the O2 Arena with live coverage, but yours truly was at Xfinity Live, surveying the crowd. Throughout a sea of white, orange, and black jerseys were fans who celebrated the Philadelphia Flyers’ first win of the season with the Flyers Ice Girls, Scott Hartnell, Kimmo Timonen, and 97.5 The Fanatic. I always love meeting fellow Philadelphia sports fans in such an electric atmosphere, but a win against a good team like the Blackhawks is the icing on the cake.
As the puck dropped in Prague, the crowd as Xfinity Live grew loud. “Let’s go Flyers” chants broke out and the fans kept that energy throughout the game. Travis Konecny, who signed a six-year extension with the Philadelphia Flyers, added a jolt to everyone in attendance in Philadelphia. The hockey fans in Prague were in favor of the Flyers, effectively making it feel like a home game for the “Broadstreet Bullies.” Dennis Gilbert attempted a “dipsy-do” deke to get past Oskar Lindblom, but Konecny said “dipsy-don’t,” stealing the puck right back to put a quick wrist shot by Corey Crawford. However, a minute later, Alexander Nylander scored on Carter Hart, using Justin Braun as a screen for the shot. The first period would end, 1-1.
One aspect of hockey that the Philadelphia Flyers have struggled with in the past few years has been the powerplay. In an attempt to start the 2019-2020 season on a high note, the Flyers went on the powerplay in the second period with intentions of making it count. The “Peco Powerplay” announcement buzzed through Xfinity Live for the Philadelphia crowd and they weren’t let down. Travis Konecny had a crowded window to make a cross-ice pass to Oskar Lindblom but connected beautifully. Lindblom unloaded a wrist shot on Corey Crawford and found the back of the net.
In the second period, another powerplay opportunity arrived for the Philadelphia Flyers, but Claude Giroux was called for a slash, making a four-on-four scenario. In all honesty, it was a smart penalty for Giroux to take as David Kampf was all alone, point-blank, in front of Carter Hart. Instead of getting a proper shot off, Giroux’s slashing minor broke Kampf’s stick. Soon after, Travis Konecny would drive the puck down the center of the ice, deke smoothly around Duncan Keith, and place a well-crafted backhand shot right by Corey Crawford. This extended the lead, 3-1, in favor of the Flyers. After the four-on-four was over, the Chicago Blackhawks had some residual powerplay time left over. Patrick Kane delivered a nice cross-ice pass to Alex DeBrincat, who beat Hart for the powerplay goal.
The Philadelphia Flyers led 3-2, going into the third period of the game. Looking for the insurance goal to potentially seal the win, the Flyers played with the same intensity they had in the second period. Halfway through the period, Michael Raffl showed a great individual effort as he was able to work the puck behind the back of the net with expert control, backhanding a wrap-around goal before Corey Crawford could react. It was quite the goal to witness from Raffl, who was the player being promoted by 97.5 The Fanatic for a prize giveaway. In the late stages of the period, Philadelphia just needed to hang on to the lead to leave Prague with the victory. Crawford left the net and provided the Chicago Blackhawks with a six-on-five offensive advantage. One goal would come from that man advantage for the Blackhawks as Patrick Kane scored from the top of the faceoff circle on a screened shot.
As the final horn echoed in the O2 Arena, the smoke show filled the air at Xfinity Live as Mac Miller’s “Knock Knock” played over the speakers. Hearing that song is endearing, specifically in Philadelphia, because that means the Flyers win. When the smoke cleared, the Philadelphia Flyers officially can say that they won the Global Series against the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-3, and started the 2019-2020 season off correct.
The third star of this game was Michael Raffl. He was consistent all game, creating scoring chances for the Philadelphia Flyers against Corey Crawford. On four shots, he did tally a goal on a swift wrap-around goal. Watching this goal back, he beautifully eluded Duncan Keith behind the net and didn’t allow Slater Koekkoek a chance to get in on the action. Before the Chicago Blackhawks and Crawford knew what hit them, the puck was in the back of the net for the game-winning goal.
The Chicago Blackhawks didn’t go away completely silently this game, large in part to the play of Patrick Kane. On every scoring play for the Blackhawks, Kane had a say. Only taking two shots on goal, he served as more of a playmaker to his teammates. His lone goal was the third goal for Chicago, who was on a six-on-five man advantage with Corey Crawford leaving the net empty. He had two assists in the game, totaling three overall points. The Philadelphia Flyers played well enough to win this game, but Kane did everything in his power to keep the Blackhawks close.
He had two goals in this game and both were quite the scene to take in. The first after making quite the defensive play, stopping all momentum that Dennis Gilbert tried to create. He sniped his way past Corey Crawford in the first period. In the second period, Konecny’s deke around Duncan Keith was already glorious, paired with a more breathtaking backhand goal. If at all this game, Travis Konecny is showing the NHL what he can do. After signing a contract extension with the Philadelphia Flyers, I’m just happy he is in our city. Philadelphia, prepare yourself for six more years of this!
Next, the Philadelphia Flyers are home to defend home ice against the division rival New Jersey Devils. This game takes place on Wednesday, October 9th at 7:30pm live from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
Mandatory Photo Credit: Ondrej Deml/CTK via AP