Lukas Reichel’s two-point game powers Blackhawks’ rout of Flyers

PHILADELPHIA — Three Blackhawks forwards had two-point outings in a surprising 5-1 road victory Saturday against the Flyers.

Although Philipp Kurashev and Joey Anderson surely will enjoy theirs, they won’t appreciate it the way Lukas Reichel will. It represented Reichel’s first multipoint game since April 8 of last season and included his long-awaited fourth goal of the season, his first since Dec. 19.

‘‘It feels always good to score, but after a long time it feels definitely better,’’ Reichel said.

The embattled Reichel, 21, opened the scoring two minutes into the game when he gathered a rebound, circled behind the net and eventually knocked the puck past Flyers goalie Samuel Ersson on his second try.

It was a prime example of what the Hawks have wanted Reichel to do, as well as what Reichel has wanted to do: translate his
improved confidence and increasing possession time into production.

The fact that it took two whacks to score — and that Reichel stuck with the play long enough to provide that second whack — stood out to teammate Nick Foligno.

‘‘You see him using his legs, his vision and his ability to create space and separation,’’ Foligno said. ‘‘[It was a] great play to wrap it and [have the] second effort to put it in. That’s where he needs to understand that tenacity that he plays with [is] important for his game. It’s not about running out and hitting guys; it’s just about being heavy and hard on pucks. He gets rewarded for doing that.’’

Coach Luke Richardson saw the goal boost Reichel’s sometimes-fragile confidence and fuel a strong performance for the rest of
the night.

In the second period, Reichel and Andreas Athanasiou orchestrated a nice play that drew the Hawks’ first power play. In the third period, he hustled to bang a loose puck along the blue line out of the defensive zone, and it led to a breakaway goal by Anderson seconds later.

‘‘We played the right way,’’ Reichel said. ‘‘In the red zones, we got the pucks out. [We were] just playing chip-and-chase, playing north [and south], and it worked out.’’

One strong performance on its own isn’t nearly enough to turn around a season. It must be mentioned that Reichel had encouraging games earlier this season — Jan. 27 at the Flames being one — that turned into nothing.

But he at least will have an opportunity Tuesday against the Islanders to string together consecutive strong performances and start building some momentum. Springtime is, after all, when he played his best hockey in each of the last two seasons, too.

‘‘Sometimes he took a little speed off and tried to make a play,’’ Richardson said. ‘‘If [space is] there, take it. I’d like to see him be a little more determined to continue to drive. But I loved that he was shooting pucks tonight, and he made the right plays on the blue lines for other people.’’

For the Hawks, the victory was their first against a team in the playoff field since Dec. 27 against the Jets and suggested that their recent upturn — going 7-5-0 in their last 12 games — might reflect more than an easy schedule. At this point, it seems as though some genuine improvement has occurred.

Foligno scored a power-play goal late in the second period that gave the Hawks a 3-1 lead and deflated the slumping Flyers.
Anderson scored one goal and set up MacKenzie Entwistle for another to add to the rout in the third. Goalie Arvid Soderblom saved 30 of 31 shots in his best performance since October.

‘‘We relied on [Arvid] making big saves, and there weren’t a lot of rebounds coming off him,’’ Richardson said. ‘‘I’m glad we got him some goal support tonight because he deserved a win.’’

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