PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Travis Konecny had a goal and an assist, Michal Neuvirth made 28 saves and the Philadelphia Flyers scored all of their goals in the first period in a 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.
Ivan Provorov and Valtteri Filppula also tallied goals for the Flyers, who won their sixth in the last seven to move closer to a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia entered the game ninth in the East, three points behind eight-placed Pittsburgh and the Rangers.
Jesper Bratt scored for New Jersey, which called on goalie Ken Appleby for his NHL debut after Keith Kinkaid was injured in the first period.
Kinkaid made his third straight start in place of Cory Schneider (illness) but left after appearing to injure his right leg while giving up his third goal. Appleby, called up from Binghamton of the AHL on Friday, stopped all 24 shots he faced.
Neuvirth was making his second straight start but just his third since Nov. 28. The Flyers backup was stellar while stopping 29 saves in Thursday’s 3-2 overtime win over Toronto, earning the nod on the front-end of a back-to-back and was strong again.
The Flyers dominated the first period. Konecny opened the scoring 3:29 into the contest by finishing a great pass from Shayne Gostisbehere with a wrist shot from the right circle that beat Kinkaid.
Filppula made it 2-0 five minutes later with a great shot high over Kinkaid’s blocker side after solid work by Radko Gudas along the boards to keep the puck in the zone. Michael Raffl made the pass from behind the net, setting up Filppula for his 10th goal of the season.
Provorov batted a rebound off Kinkaid’s pad and in with 7:45 left in the period to give Philadelphia a 3-0 lead.
Kinkaid was injured on the play, appearing to hurt his right leg as he lunged with his right pad, and had to leave. Schneider practiced Friday but wasn’t well enough to dress.
Appleby was impressive. He stoned Scott Laughton on a 2-on-1 break for one of his nine saves in Philadelphia’s scoreless second period. Appleby denied Laughton again from point-blank range with just under four minutes remaining in the third.
The Devils got on the board when Bratt converted on the power play with 11:48 left in the period. Bratt’s wrister from the top of the right circle went off Neuvirth’s left pad and in.
Notes: The game featured the top two picks in last year’s draft. New Jersey’s Nico Hischier, the No. 1 selection, and Philadelphia’s Nolan Patrick. Neither registered points. . Philadelphia improved to 2-0 against New Jersey this season. The series resumes Feb. 1 in Philadelphia before finishing Feb. 13 in New Jersey. . New Jersey’s Taylor Hall extended his point streak to seven games (5 goals, 7 assists).
Devils: Host Detroit on Monday night.
Flyers: At Washington on Sunday.
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