PHILADELPHIA (AP)Kevin Hayes knows how much his late brother wanted him to one day make an All-Star team. After nine seasons, three teams and still playing with a heavy heart over the death of his brother, Jimmy, Hayes made this one for his family.
Hayes scored one of five goals for Philadelphia in the second period and Morgan Frost had four assists to help lift the Flyers to their fourth straight victory, 6-2 over the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night.
The 30-year-old Hayes was a surprise selection as the Flyers’ selection to All-Star weekend, earning the nod over standout winger Travis Konecny or goalie Carter Hart.
”When I found out, I was pretty emotional about it,” Hayes said.
He got the nod the same day the Flyers ripped off their longest winning streak since January 2021.
Konecny did score his 20th goal of the season to start the scoring surge for the Flyers in the second. Joel Farabee, Wade Allison and Ivan Provorov also scored for the 5-2 lead that kept their hot streak rolling.
With Eric Lindros in the house, James van Riemsdyk made it 6-2 in the third and helped the Flyers score at least three goals in eight straight games.
Hart stopped 21 shots. Michael Carcone scored late in the first period to give Arizona a 1-0 lead and Nick Ritchie answered Konency’s goal early in the second for a 2-1 lead. Arizona lost its third straight game.
”That’s probably the worst game we played in two years,” coach Andre Tourigny said. ”We had nothing emotionally. Nothing mentally. It was tough to explain.”
The Flyers won three straight in California against San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim to kick off a rare winning streak. San Jose and Anaheim are two of the worst teams in the league. So are the Coyotes.
Yes, the Flyers are on that list, too. Their 15th win puts them among the bottom three in the Eastern Conference – and there are Flyers fans that want to see just how low the franchise can sink.
After year after empty year without a Stanley Cup, the Flyers could follow their fellow Wells Fargo Center tenant’s blueprint from a decade ago and turn into Team Tank, much as the 76ers did. The Flyers are in the Battle for Bedard mix, as teams know the prize for a pitiful season is the potential No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft and the right to draft presumed generational talent Connor Bedard.
Hayes – who was a healthy scratch this season by Tortorella – is a first-time All-Star. He has 10 goals this season.
Arizona’s selection was forward Clayton Keller. The three-time All-Star tied Keith Tkachuk and Teppo Numminen for the most All-Star game appearances in Coyotes history.
Neither coach cared to discuss the All-Star game; either Konecny’s perceived snub or Keller’s selection.
”The whole game, the whole weekend. I don’t even watch it. I think it’s turned into a … well, I’ll just leave it at that. I really don’t care,” Tortorella said.
”Not in the mood to talk about All-Stars when you play like that,” Tourigny said.
Coyotes: At Chicago on Friday night.
Flyers: Host Toronto on Sunday night
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