Flyers beat Blues, 4-3, on Jake Voracek’s OT goal

Philadelphia Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault, seen here in a file image, is changing up the Flyers' lines. (Yong Kim/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS)
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By Sam Carchidi The Philadelphia Inquirer (TNS)

ST. LOUIS — The Flyers continued to show they can play with the NHL big boys on Wednesday night.

They got goals from Tyler Pitlick, Michael Raffl, Travis Konecny, and Jake Voracek, and jolted the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues in overtime, 4-3, at the Enterprise Center.

Voracek scored from the high slot with 1:27 left in overtime, as he finished a two-on-one.

Brian Elliott made 30 saves in the win, which gave the Flyers a 3-1 record in their last four games, all against elite teams: Washington, Tampa Bay, Boston, and St. Louis.

The Flyers denied the Blues from winning a 10th straight home game, which would have been a franchise record.

The Blues, stymied by the Flyers’ brilliant penalty-kill work on a five-on-three early in the third period, got to within 3-2 when Ryan O’Reilly scored on a rebound with 9:25 left in regulation. A little over three minutes later, an all-alone Alex Steen scored on a backhander in front to tie the game at 3. Phil Myers and Travis Sanheim were the defensemen on the ice.

Trailing 1-0, the Flyers had their best two scoring chances of the night with a little less than 12 minutes left in the second period. But Sean Couturier hit iron from close range, and, a short time later, defenseman Alex Pietrangelo intercepted Raffl’s ill-advised two-on-one pass to Couturier.

In the next couple minutes, Matt Niskanen and Voracek whipped shots off the post before Pitlick’s wraparound attempt caromed off the skate of Pietrangelo and past goalie Jordan Binnington, knotting the score at 1 with 7:17 left in the second.

Three minutes later, Binnington allowed a juicy rebound on Robert Hagg’s point drive, and Raffl swatted the puck into the empty net to give the Flyers their first lead, 2-1, with 4:17 to go in the period.

“Bobby had a good shot, and I just happened to be at the right place at the right time,” Raffl said.

It gave Hagg points in four of the last five games, and it was Raffl’s second goal in the last five games.

The second period ended with the Blues’ David Perron cross-checking Travis Konecny up high, and the Flyers, led by Hagg, going after him. Perron drew a two-minute cross-checking penalty.

Konecny got sweet revenge. Twenty-six seconds into the third period, while on the power play created by Perron’s penalty, he took an eye-opening pass from James van Riemsdyk and slammed in his team-high 15th goal, giving the Flyers a 3-1 lead.

Early in the third, the Flyers had to kill a five-on-three power play, with two of their best penalty killers — Raffl and Kevin Hayes — in the box.

They stymied the Blues and did not give them a high-quality chance, as Couturier, Niskanen, and Ivan Provorov did most of the admirable work.

The Flyers, who host Montreal on Thursday, didn’t create many first-period scoring chances and fell into a 1-0 hole on a power-play goal by St. Louis defenseman Justin Faulk.

With defensemen Myers and Sanheim caught on the same side of the ice, Faulk moved deep into the left circle and one-timed Steen’s feed past Brian Elliott with 5:36 left in the first.

The Blues had a 14-8 shots advantage in the opening period.

The Flyers have been outscored in the last 10 first periods, 19-8.

It was the Flyers’ first meeting with the Blues since they won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

Some teams have a Cup hangover. Not the Blues. They entered the night tied with Washington for the most points in the NHL, despite missing high-scoring winger Vladimir Tarasenko (shoulder surgery) for most of the season and being without standout defenseman Colton Parayko for the last six games with an upper-body injury.

“It’s a team mentality; we rely on everyone, we rely on four lines,” former Flyer Brayden Schenn said before the game. “We know there’s a lot of goals missing with Tarasenko (usually) scoring at least 30 a year, so other guys had to step up, and they have.”

Schenn entered Wednesday second on the Blues in goals (17) and points (40). He said it was “fun playing friends and former teammates, but it’s been three years now, and I enjoy playing in St. Louis, and I don’t think about Philadelphia too much anymore.”

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