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Blackhawks’ regular-season drought in Philadelphia continues with 3-1 loss to Flyers

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Connor Murphy scores his first goal with Chicago.

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Philadelphia Flyers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

All three members of the Philadelphia Flyers’ top line scored to hand the Chicago Blackhawks a 3-1 loss Thursday at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

Jakub Voraceck had a goal and two assists while Claude Giroux tallied the opening goal and assisted on Voracek’s goal. Sean Couturier also scored for Philadelphia, who earned a season series split against Chicago. The Hawks won the first game against the Flyers 3-0 on Nov. 1.

Connor Murphy scored the first goal of his career for Chicago, whose regular-season drought in Philadelphia continues. The Hawks haven’t won in the city of Brotherly Love since Nov. 9, 1996 — exactly 21 years to the day of Thursday’s loss. Chicago is 0-13-1 in that stretch.

A big defense lapse by Jan Rutta and an ill-advised pass from Patrick Sharp resulted in the Flyers’ opening goal. Rutta drifted from the right side all the way over to the left side to leave Giroux wide open for a Voracek feed at the top of the right faceoff-circle. Before Giroux's goal, however, Patrick Sharp tried pass the puck to Duncan Keith in the Blackhawks’ zone. Keith’s pass hit redirected off an official's skate for Voracek to scoop up to send a feed to Giroux for a 1-0 Flyers lead.

Voracek then scored a goal of his own off a slick pass from Shane Gostisbehere, who danced his way around the Hawks defense before dishing a feed to Voracek.

After a lackluster first period, which Sharp called “embarrassing” during the intermission, coach Joel Quenneville shook up the lines by moving the Sharp down to the third line with Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman. Brandon Saad joined the top line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane while Alex DeBrincat, Artem Anisimov and Richard Panik made up the second line.

All those changes didn’t do much for Chicago early in the second frame as Couturier scored his 10th goal of the season to make it 3-0. Couturier’s goal gave every player on Philadelphia’s top line a goal against Chicago’s top unit.

Murphy finally gave the game some life for Chicago to cut the deficit to two. It was also the first goal by a Hawks defenseman in 13 games.

Philadelphia gifted Chicago a 5-on-3 penalty when Radko Gudas (interference) and Ivan Provorov (delay of game) were sent to the penalty box. The Hawks managed only one shot during the 1 minute, 44 second two-man advantage and generally looked like statues on the ice.

Chicago picked up the pace in the third period, but Brian Elliott stepped up and kept them at bay. Elliott stopped 36 of the 37 shots he faced.

The Hawks look to avoid a third straight loss when they visit Carolina on Saturday.

CHI GOALS: Murphy
PHI GOALS: Giroux, Voracek, Courturier

3 thoughts

Defensive line blender blunder

Quenneville decided to mix up the defensive lines by splitting up Duncan Keith and Cody Franson and Michal Kempny and Murphy. He paired Keith and Rutta and Murphy, on his off side, with Franson. The pairings were doing serviceable before they were split up and the defense looked anything but effective against the Flyers.

Penalty kill is good

The Hawks had a perfect night on the penalty kill by going 2 for 2. It may have only been two penalties, but it was a bright spot for Chicago.

Where’s Schmaltz?

Schmaltz had zero shot attempts during 5-on-5 play. It’s the fourth time in the past six games he has not registered a shot. Schmaltz had a chance with less than 5 minutes to play, but was pick-pocketed by Gostisbehere at the last moment. Schmaltz might want to ask the Flyers defenseman if he can use his nickname.

3 stars

  1. Voracek (PHI) — 1 goal, 2 assists
  2. Giroux (PHI) — 1 goal, 1 assist
  3. Elliott (PHI) — 36 saves with 1 goal allowed