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Connor Bedard, Blackhawks skate past the Flyers 5-1

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Connor Bedard had an assist to increase his rookie-leading points total, Philipp Kurashev, Joey Anderson and Lukas Reichel each added a goal and an assist and the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 5-1 on Saturday night.

Nick Foligno and MacKenzie Entwistle also scored for rebuilding Chicago, which entered with the second-fewest points in the NHL. The Blackhawks improved to 22-47-5 overall and 7-29-1 on the road. Arvid Soderblom made 30 saves.

“The focus was the start tonight; it was fast,” Chicago coach Luke Richardson said. “We engaged physically and played a real spirited game.”

Tyson Foerster scored for the Flyers, and Samuel Ersson made 19 saves.

This season was expected to be another rebuilding campaign in the second year under coach John Tortorella, but the Flyers are a surprising playoff contender. They last made the postseason in 2020. The Flyers started Saturday holding the final playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division, but are now behind Washington. Despite both teams having 82 points, Philadelphia has played two more games than Washington.

Tortorella was shaking his head early and often behind the bench, as the Flyers came out slow against the lowly Blackhawks, who have already been eliminated from the playoff race.

“We sucked tonight,” Tortorella said. “We didn’t execute. We didn’t make one play.”

Reichel’s wraparound just 2:01 into the contest put the Blackhawks up 1-0, and Kurashev finished a 3-on-2 with a wrister past Ersson glove side after a pretty cross-ice pass from Bedard.

Bedard improved his team-leading points total to 57 with his 36th assist, which also is leading Chicago. The Blackhawks selected the 18-year-old star No. 1 in last spring’s draft.

After Philadelphia assistant captain Scott Laughton dropped the gloves with Ryan Donato at the end of the first period in an apparent attempt to spark his team, the Flyers pulled within 2-1 just 17 seconds into the second period on Foerster’s 20th of the season.

But Philadelphia couldn’t find the equalizer, and the Blackhawks took a two-goal lead with 2:32 remaining in the second on Foligno’s power-play tally on a one-timer from the slot. Anderson and Entwistle padded the Blackhawks’ advantage with goals in the third.

“Our guys did a good job of not really letting them get too much momentum,” Richardson said.

The Flyers were hurt by their own performance on the man-advantage, going 0 for 3. Philadelphia entered converting at an NHL-worst 13.2% on the power play.

“One thing I know about this group is we’re going to keep fighting until the end,” Philadelphia captain Sean Couturier said.

Ivan Fedotov served as Philadelphia’s backup goalie after joining the Flyers on Friday. The club drafted the 6-foot-6, 27-year-old in the seventh round in 2015, but he has yet to suit up for the Flyers due to issues leaving Russia and playing in the KHL. Fedotov, wearing an unpainted, white goalie mask, was cheered loudly during warmups.

UP NEXT

Blackhawks: At Islanders on Tuesday night.

Flyers: Host Islanders on Monday night.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

By AARON BRACY
Associated Press

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