The Flyers picked up a hard-working, well-earned, 2-1 shootout win Thursday night over the Oilers at the Wells Fargo Center.
“Tonight, I think you’ll see a better style of play from our team,” Konecny said Thursday morning.
John Tortorella’s club is now 2-9 after regulation, 1-1 in the shootout and 5-4-8 when it enters the third period in a tied game.
Tortorella had a key coach’s challenge in the third period, which had Zach Hyman‘s go-ahead goal overturned for goalie interference. Tortorella, with the guidance of the club’s video crew, has gone 4 for 4 on his challenges this season.
“I’m never confident with that because it’s a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get,” Tortorella said. “Our video guys, terrific job. We thought it was interference, but they have a chance to look at some different angles and they immediately called down to us after a couple of minutes there and told us to challenge. Terrific job by our video guys.”
The Flyers’ 30th-ranked power play went 0 for 3. However, the Flyers stayed out of the box the entire game to keep high-powered Edmonton at bay.
“Everybody crawls all over me when I talk about defense and checking,” Tortorella said. “You have to. You don’t win in the playoffs if you don’t do that.
“I just thought our body position, our sticks, our commitment, just our concentration and commitment to checking on the right side of the puck was really good tonight. That’s why we have a chance to win the game. It’s a game they should feel real good about themselves.”
In 12 days, the Flyers face the Oilers (29-18-5) again with a matchup at Rogers Place.
“I don’t think it’s so much trying to just focus on [McDavid],” Konecny said Thursday morning. “It’s trying to focus on how we can play our game and take the game to them. If you can get on those guys and try to play them hard, maybe just frustrate them and try to get them to shut down and wait for another night.
“In saying that, he’s the best player in the world. So he’s going to create havoc out there, you’ve just got to limit the mistakes.”
McDavid, a two-time Hart Trophy winner, had one assist. He already has 41 goals and 94 points this season.
Draisaitl, also the owner of a Hart Trophy, was kept scoreless. He came in as the NHL’s second-leading scorer at 76 points.
Despite going 2 for 12 in the faceoff circle, Noah Cates was impressive against McDavid. The 24-year-old rookie tied him up a couple of times to quell a McDavid threat.
“I don’t think Noah Cates is afraid of that,” Tortorella said.
Cates was playing college hockey for the majority of last season before signing his entry-level deal and making his NHL debut.
• Carter Hart was fantastic, recording 34 saves.
The 24-year-old held the league’s highest-scoring team to one goal. He denied McDavid twice in OT. He turned away McDavid and Draisaitl in the shootout.
“Playing against my hometown, too, so I love playing against Edmonton,” Hart said. “Those two guys are some of the best guys, if not the best guys in the league. They’ve got a lot of skill there up front. I thought we really stuck to our game tonight and just grinded hard.”
The Oilers drew even early in the second period when McDavid left a drop pass for Evander Kane, who got enough on the shot to beat Hart.
Edmonton netminder Stuart Skinner stopped 35 of the Flyers’ 36 shots.
• Entering Thursday, Travis Sanheim had just one point (an assist) in 17 games since the holiday break.
He went into the break looking like he had turned a corner with his offensive game, putting up 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in his previous 18 games.
The Flyers want to see Sanheim push the envelope offensively. He has too much ability with his size and skill to not be aggressive with the puck.
“As I always say, when you show me that amount time that you can be that player, we need to see it more,” Tortorella said Thursday morning. “He’s another one that I think we need to get back into playing at a level he needs to be at.”
Sanheim showed another level Thursday night. He assisted Hayes’ first-period goal and was active offensively.
“Sometimes when you’re down a bit and struggling, I think you kind of need that little bit of a push to, ‘Hey, don’t be afraid to get up there, use your feet, hang onto the puck and make plays,'” Sanheim said. “All the little things that make my game what it is. I want to get back to that.”
• Konecny has gone 11 straight games without a goal. More on that here. He played 24-plus minutes Thursday night and was very involved.
• Tanner Laczynski was on the ice Thursday morning prior to the team’s optional skate. There has been no update on his status, but taking the ice has to at least be a positive development in his recovery from a lower-body injury.
The 25-year-old center was placed on injured reserve in early December.
• The Flyers placed Linus Hogberg, a 2016 fifth-round draft pick, on unconditional waivers Thursday for the purpose of terminating his contract.
The 24-year-old defenseman will return to his native Sweden. Hogberg made his NHL debut last season and finished with a pair of assists over five games for the Flyers.
He had played just 19 games for AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley this season.
• The second half of the homestand comes this weekend with a back-to-back set. The Flyers host the Predators on Saturday (12:30 p.m. ET/NBCSP), followed by a matchup with the Kraken on Sunday (1 p.m. ET/NBCSP).
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