Konecny and Provorov Excel in Flyers Opening Night Win
(Getty Images, Sean M. Haffey)
LOS ANGELES — All the build-up during exhibition play was how the two young prospects got better and better, wowing Flyers management until both earned jobs.
Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov were so good that general manager Ron Hextall made it a point to say that it wouldn’t be a trial run. Both 19 year olds would be in the NHL to stay.
The youth infusion paid dividends in the Flyers’ first game, a 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. It marked the first time in the last five seasons the Flyers had won their opening game.
“They’re awesome, man. It’s awesome having them in there,” defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere said of the teenage duo. “They bring an element I don’t think we necessarily had last year. They’re so fast. They can make plays and it’s fun to watch, too.”
Konecny had a pair of assists on a line with Sean Couturier, who scored twice, and Jake Voracek. Provorov had a helper also, setting up his defense partner Mark Streit for a tally to cap off what was a four-goal second period for the Flyers.
“I thought I played OK,” Provorov said. “A few shifts were shaky but I thought I played good after that. I can play way better and I’ll be better (Saturday).”
The offensive explosion came after a sluggish start in the opening stanza for the Flyers. It took about half the first period to get their legs under them, which is typical for a team in its premiere, and eventually things calmed down.
It took more than 13 minutes for the Flyers, who are now 9-2-1 at Staples Center, to shoot a puck on net, Streit having the honors with a wristshot from nearly 60 feet out.
To that point, the Flyers’ highlight was that Gostisbehere was still in one piece. Early in the period he took the skate of Kyle Clifford across the right side of his face from the back of his jaw to his nose. A gnarly cut was glued shut on the bench and he didn’t miss a beat.
“No stitches,” he said. “I was just thankful it wasn’t worse. I’ll take this any day over whatever could have happened.”
By the time the second period got going, the Flyers were ready to build off of what they started in exhibition play.