Three Points for Konecny in ASG; Phantoms Lose in Hartford
2020 NHL ALL-STAR GAME: THREE POINTS FOR KONECNY
In his first NHL All-Star Game appearance, Flyers right winger Travis Konecny registered three assists and one shot attempt (missed the net) in Team Metro' 9-5 loss to Team Atlantic in the first round of the 2020 NHL All-Star Game at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis. In the 20-minute 3-on-3 game, both Anthony Duclair (Ottawa) and David Pastrnak (Boston) recorded hat tricks for the Atlantic Division team.
The second game saw Team Pacific beat Team Central, 10-5, highlighted by four goals by Tomas Hertl (San Jose) and a hat trick plus an assist by Leon Draisaitl (Edmonton). In the championship game, Team Pacific edged Team Atlantic, 5-4, with Hertl scoring the game-winner with 2:36 remaining on the clock. Pastrnak, who had a goal and assist in the finale to finish with five points across the two games, took MVP honors.
With the All-Star Game in the books, Konecny will be able to rest during the remainder of the Flyers' bye week. The team will practice on Thursday in Voorhees in preparation for a rematch with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday's second half of the unusual home-and-home set between the teams.
The 2021 NHL All-Star Game will be held at the BB&T in Sunrise, FL, home of the Florida Panthers. Without elaborating, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said that next year's event will have more of a "distinct international flavor," pending agreement by the NHL Players' Association.
PHANTOMS HEAD INTO BREAK AFTER 4-2 LOSS IN HARTFORD
After sweeping a five-game homestand and heading out on a three-game road trip that all agreed was a litmus test for whether the team had truly turned a corner, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms went 0-2-1. On Saturday, the Phantoms dropped a 4-2 decision to the Atlantic Division leading Hartford Wolf Pack.
The Phantoms grabbed an early 2-0 lead against highly touted New York Rangers prospect Igor Sheshterkin as Max Willman (3rd) and Greg Carey (13th) scored on back-to-back shots. The latter goal came off a nice feed by fellow veteran Cal O'Reilly. David Kase, who earned the secondary assist on the Carey goal after starting the sequence with a strong forechecking play, has points in each of the last four games (1g, 4a).
The early edge was short-lived. J-F Berube gave up two goals on four shots. The first of the two goals -- scored from the right corner by Darren Raddysh -- was one that should never wind up in the net. The latter started with a turnover behind the net and a centering pass into the slot that Ryan Gropp buried to tie the game at 10:58 of the first period.
Exit Berube, enter Alex Lyon. The game remained tied through a second period that saw Lyon author a dozen saves that included thwarting a breakaway. Finally, a 9:01 of the third period, Gropp scored again from the slot, beating Lyon under the arm to the stick side to put Hartford ahead, 3-2.
The Phantoms had a golden opportunity to tie the game late in the third period with two cracks near the doorstep but the defense and Sheshterkin slammed the door. Phil DiGiussepe added an empty netter in the final eight seconds of regulation to ice the win for Hartford.
With shootout and regulation losses in Providence on Wednesday and Friday and Saturday's regulation loss in Hartford, the Phantoms dropped to an abysmal 4-16-0-3 on the road. At home, the team is 14-5-1-3. The Wolf Pack improved to 25-10-4-5 overall and 18-1-0-2 on home ice this season.
Perhaps the most disappointing part of the now-completed road swing was the fact that young players who seemed to be turning the corner during the undefeated homestand -- including first-round picks Morgan Frost and German Rubtsov as well as second-rounder Isaac Ratcliffe -- regressed during the road trip. Kase's play in response to being a healthy scratch for one game was the main highlight among the younger players on the Phantoms.
The Phantoms have reached the AHL All-Star break. The event, arranged in similar fashion to the NHL All-Star Game with a skills competition one evening and a three-on-three mini-tournament series the next, will take place on Monday in Ontario, CA; home of the Los Angeles Kings' farm team, the Ontario Reign. Frost, who has had up-and-down rookie year both at the AHL and NHL levels but shown flashes of his outstanding potential, will be Lehigh Valley's lone representative on Team Atlantic.
Frost has a lot of travel ahead of him, having to go from Connecticut to California to participate. With the Phantoms having played on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, he'll be involved in four games plus a skills competition in less than six nights. Such is life in the American Hockey League. In the meantime, former Flyers assistant coach Kris Knoblauch, now with Hartford, will be the head coach of Team Atlantic.
The Phantoms return to action on Friday, visiting the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins. On Saturday, the Phantoms are in Hershey to play the Bears.