By Jenny Masters
Kevin Connauton, Owen Tippett and Noah Cates scored in the second period and the Flyers beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 for their second straight road win.
Travis Konecny added a goal in the third period, Martin Jones stopped 26 shots and Kevin Hayes had a pair of assists.
“One of the things we talked about before the game was we had to be better in the neutral zone,” Flyers interim head coach Mike Yeo said. “I thought we did a good job of that, whether it’s executing and finding a way to get into the offensive zone and playing in the offensive zone, or whether it’s tracking and not allowing those teams to get to their game.”
With the Flyers trailing 1-0, Connauton tied it at the 12-minute mark of the second period with an unassisted sniper shot from the left circle for his first goal of the season.
The Flyers took the lead 1:26 later when Tippett pounced on a puck that rebounded off the boards and he wristed it from the slot for his second goal since coming to Philadelphia from Florida in the trade for Claude Giroux.
“When you get chances and they don’t go in, it’s easy to get frustrated,” Tippett said. “When you are getting chances, you know one is coming. When one goes in and squeaks in like tonight, it’s a good feeling.”
Another bounce off the boards at 16:41 landed on the stick of the rookie Cates, who shoveled it past Merzlikins for his second career goal — both against the Blue Jackets — in his nine-day, five-game NHL career.
“I didn’t know how far that puck is going to bounce out in front,” Cates said. “I don’t know if I was going to have to go behind the net or kind of stuff it like I did, but it was pretty fortuitous it bounced pretty far out and I just kind of chipped it in. It was kind of a weird goal, kind of lucky one, but I’ll take it.”
Konecny’s goal with 3:05 remaining made it 4-1.
“We were lifeless tonight — all the way through,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said. “I didn’t like us at all. No excuses tonight. We were not engaged in that game at all — nowhere near where we needed to be.”