Fly­ers blank Black­hawks

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - SPORTS - BY AARON BRACY

PHILADEL­PHIA — The Fly­ers are rid­ing high on con­fi­dence, and it’s show­ing in their re­sults.

Sean Cou­turier had two goals and an as­sist, Brian El­liott made 33 saves and the surg­ing Fly­ers con­tin­ued their dom­i­nance over Chicago in Philadel­phia with a 4-0 vic­tory over the slump­ing Black­hawks on Satur­day.

Claude Giroux tal­lied a goal and two as­sists and Nolan Patrick added an empty-net­ter for the Fly­ers, who have won five of six over­all and 15 in a row at home in the reg­u­lar sea­son against the Black­hawks. Chicago last won a reg­u­lar-sea­son game in Philadel­phia on Nov. 9, 1996.

“Con­fi­dence helps,” Cou­turier said. “Right now every­thing is go­ing well. It’s huge when you have con­fi­dence to make plays. We’re mak­ing it tougher to play against.”

The Black­hawks have lost six straight games and two in a row un­der coach Jeremy Col­li­ton. The 33-year-old Col­li­ton re­placed Joel Quen­neville, the NHL’s sec­ond-win­ningest reg­u­lar-sea­son coach who was fired on Tues­day af­ter 10 sea­sons at the helm.

“We’re do­ing some good things,” Col­li­ton said. “I just would like to see that sus­tained a lit­tle more.”

El­liott was solid all game and made some key saves in the third pe­riod, in­clud­ing stop­ping Patrick Kane from close range on a Black­hawks power play, while record­ing his 38th ca­reer shutout. He also de­nied Do­minik Kahun and Nick Sch­maltz on shots from the slot that came right af­ter the other early in the third.

It was the sec­ond straight strong per­for­mance for El­liott, who de­nied all 16 shots he faced in re­lief of Calvin Pickard in Thurs­day’s 5-4 over­time win over Ari­zona.

“He was our most im­por­tant player,” coach Dave Hak­stol said.

“We’re play­ing hard, feel­ing good, feel­ing con­fi­dent,” Hak­stol added. “We’re bat­tling hard and play­ing hard, and it’s re­sult­ing in points.”

Giroux staked the Fly­ers to a 1-0 lead with 5:04 left in the first pe­riod when he took ad­van­tage of a Chicago turnover. Black­hawks de­fense­man Dun­can Keith’s clear­ing at­tempt from the end boards went right to Giroux, who faked a fore­hand shot be­fore beat­ing Corey Craw­ford with a back­han­der from the slot.

The lead was two goals with 11:06 left in the sec­ond when Cou­turier used his back­hand to score on a break­away just as time ex­pired on a Chicago power play.


The Black­hawks’ Erik Gustaffson, left, and the Fly­ers’ Jakub Vo­racek bat­tle for the puck dur­ing their game on Satur­day in Philadel­phia.

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