Hakstol Pushed Right Buttons in Tricky Spot in Flyers' Win Over Canucks

VOORHEES, N.J. - Dave Hakstol pushed some buttons to produce Thursday's 5-4 shootout win over the Vancouver Canucks
You can argue the single biggest button pushed was subbing in Michal Neuvirth for Steve Mason to begin the third period. All Neuvirth did was slam the door the rest of the way, right into the shootout.
That was huge.
Yet Hakstol's throwing caution to the wind and once again changing up three of his four lines for the second time in less than a week is pretty significant in itself.
Ten different Flyers registered a point, while 16 of 18 skaters had at least one shot on net against an old nemesis, Ryan Miller.
"Obviously, not textbook in any way, shape or form," Hakstol said. "We had a real good push through the third period and found a way to win. That is most important."
Perhaps one of the beneficiaries was right-handed Travis Konecny getting to play on the right side on the top line with Michael Raffl and Claude Giroux.
He produced his third goal in six games, an important power play goal after the Canucks began the game with back-to-back four-minute power plays and a 1-0 lead that could have been worse given the Flyers' recklessness with sticks throughout the night.
"We've had a couple (games) like that," Konecny said. "I think usually we're pretty good in third periods and making sure we take care of business. And if we have to get a couple of goals, we take care of that.
"I think tonight was just a back-and-forth game. Mase [Steve Mason] played a good game, it's just that some bad bounces happened on him. Neuvy stepped in there and shut the door for us so it was good."
Because the Flyers had to kill so many penalties, Konecny, who's not on the PK, saw his minutes sag to 11:55. He doesn't get into the overtimes very often, either.
That said, his goal was just the kind you'd expect from a skilled rookie. Dale Weise, whose game has gone to another level lately, batted a puck down from the air to Konecny in the slot during a power play.
Konecny handled it himself in mid-air off the ice as it was bouncing and put it past Miller for his seventh goal.
"It was a good play by Coots (Sean Couturier) to get the puck in the offensive zone on the power play," Konecny said. "The entry is always important. It was kind of a broken play but Weiser knocked the puck down for me in the slot. 
"When you are in front of a goalie like him you have to shoot it quick. I kind of whiffed on it to be honest and it found a hole. You just have to shoot the puck."
He said he's gotten some help from analytics coach Ian Anderson - not of Jethro Tull fame - who has told him that even when he is playing his off-wing on the left side, he has to make a better job of getting closer to the net for scoring chances.
"We kind of have a shot sheet. The analytics guys lay out some of these and all the goals that are scored in the blue paint and those in the high slot," Konecny said. 
"So if you want to score goals, that is the area to go to and I've been trying to implement that into my game lately and it's been working for me."
The Flyers' power play units came into the game 4 for their last 34. They went 2 for 4 in this game. That's the first time they had multiple power play goals in 14 games.
"Yeah, it's been a long time coming for us," Konecny said of the second unit. "Our movement's a lot better, we're starting to get into the swing of things as a group and chemistry is important on a power play. You've gotta learn the guys you're playing with and I think it's starting to show for us."
The weekend gets considerably harder with back-to-backs in Boston tomorrow and Washington on Sunday.
"It's really big for us," Konecny said. "We've been preaching the importance of the points heading forward. We're not a team that's going to look at the standings. But we've had to dial that in a little bit lately and make sure that we're on the right page.
"Everyone's on the right page, and we're heading in the right direction and doing the simple things and sticking together. Hopefully we can keep on this roll."

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