Hawks drop opener to Flyers in Prague

PRAGUE—It was a successful home debut for Flyers coach Alain Vigneault – a long, long way from Philadelphia.Travis Konecny had two goals and Vigneault won his first game with his new team, directing the Flyers to a season-opening 4-3 victory over the Blackhawks on Friday night.Oskar Lindblom and Michael Raffl also scored for the Flyers in front of a sellout crowd of 17,463 at Prague’s O2 Arena as part of the NHL’s Global Series. Carter Hart stopped 28 shots.It was the first regular-season game outside of North America in Philadelphia’s 52-year history.

”I think tonight’s game, everybody was down there, everybody was consistent in what we were doing and it was a team win,” Philadelphia captain Claude Giroux said. ”It was a lot of fun.”

Patrick Kane had a goal and two assists for the Hawks, who opened the 2009-10 season in Finland. Alex Nylander and Alex DeBrincat also scored.

”I like the way we fought back,” said Kane, who had a career-high 110 points last season. ”Whatever the numbers were tonight, I still think I have more to give to the team.”

The Blackhawks are hoping to return to the playoffs after a two-year absence, but defensemen Dennis Gilbert and Slater Koekkoek each made a costly mistake after the blue liners struggled last year.Konecny turned Gilbert’s turnover into a 1-0 lead for Philadelphia 6:24 into the first, beating Corey Crawford on the glove side.Lindblom was credited with a power-play goal 6:28 into the second when his shot bounced off the crossbar and was deflected by Koekkoek into his own net. Konecny then converted a backhander with 1:56 left in the period, giving the Flyers a 3-1 lead.The Hawks played without defensemen Calvin de Haan and Connor Murphy due to injuries.

”We turned way too many pucks over, that’s where we exposed ourselves defensively,” coach Jeremy Colliton,.

The Blackhawks pulled within one when DeBrincat one-timed a pass from Kane past Hart with 13 seconds left in the second. It was DeBrincat’s first goal since he signed a three-year contract extension worth $19.2 million.Raffl responded for Philadelphia in the third, skating around the net and sliding a backhand between Crawford’s pads for a 4-2 lead at 9:48.Kane scored with 2:07 remaining, but the Flyers held on.Crawford finished with 34 saves. Nylander scored in the first period in his first game since he was acquired in an offseason trade with Buffalo.The NHL returned to Europe for the third straight year as part of its efforts to grow the fan base in hockey-mad countries like the Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland and others.It will be back in Europe next month when the Tampa Bay Lightning face the Sabres in the Swedish capital of Stockholm.

NOTES—NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said the league is planning to play more regular-season games in Europe next year, but the details are still being finalized…..UP NEXT:The Blackhawks Host the San Jose Sharks in their home opener Thursday night.

Bears put on ‘Bloody Useless’ show in London

LONDON—All that pregame talk about Khalil Mack and the Monsters of the Midway defense only served as motivation for the Oakland Raiders.A dominant performance from the offensive line, a breakthrough game from a rookie running back and the ability to bounce back from a third-quarter meltdown made Oakland’s weeklong stay in London a success.Josh Jacobs scored his second touchdown of the game with a leap from the 2-yard line with 1:57 to play, capping a 97-yard drive that helped the Raiders rally after blowing a 17-point lead to beat the Bears 24-21 on Sunday night.

”We were up for the challenge,” Jacobs said. ”All week that’s all we heard was how good their defense was and they are a great defense. But we wanted to prove we’re a good offense.”

They did that with an impressive drive that was part of a roller-coaster game that delighted the sellout crowd in London. The Raiders (3-2) broke out to a 17-0 halftime lead only to fall behind the Bears (3-2) in a mistake-filled third quarter.Then Oakland fumbled at the goal line when going in for the go-ahead score, needed a replay review to overturn a fumble on a successful fake punt on the game-winning drive and then intercepted Chase Daniel with 1:14 to go to seal the victory.

”We know everyone counted us out,” quarterback Derek Carr said. ”We knew no one would pick us to win this football game. And we hadn’t really proven anything for them to pick us, right? But it just shows you the grit and determination of our young guys.”

It sure didn’t come easy but the Raiders earned a satisfying victory in its first game against the Bears since dealing star edge rusher Khalil Mack before last season.That trade has come under heavy scrutiny as Mack led the Bears to the playoffs last year while the Raiders struggled. But Oakland came out ahead this day with Mack’s only big play coming when he recovered a fumble after Jacobs went the wrong way on a pitch that sparked the Bears third-quarter comeback.The Bears turned that turnover into a 1-yard run by David Montgomery and got two TD passes from Daniel to Allen Robinson in the third quarter to take a 21-17 lead.It looked as if it wouldn’t be Oakland’s day when Sherrick McManis punched the ball loose from Trevor Davis at the goal line and Prince Amukamara recovered at the 1.A brilliant top-tapping sideline catch by Robinson and a roughing the passer penalty on Maurice Hurst that angered the Raiders and overturned an interception by Daryl Worley helped the Bears move the ball off the goal line.The Bears pinned Oakland to the 3 with the punt before the Raiders responded with their longest game-winning drive in the fourth quarter in at least 20 years, aided by Erik Harris’ 3-yard run on a fake punt after the Bears committed a running into the punter penalty on fourth-and-6.Carr completed a 23-yard pass to Foster Moreau on third-and-1 to get the ball deep and Jacobs finished it off as part of a big night from the player acquired with one of the draft picks Oakland got for Mack. Jacobs ran 123 yards and two scores against a defense that hadn’t allowed 100 yards rushing to a single team all season.

”We punched them in the mouth and they didn’t like it,” guard Richie Incognito said. ”They were talking a bunch of trash that first drive. We came out that first drive, then punched them in the mouth and all that talk stopped.”

The Bears on the other hand managed only 42 yards on 17 carries for the game as Oakland controlled both lines of scrimmage.

”In this game, it usually starts up front, and know that,” coach Matt Nagy said. ”We preach it. We talk it. We understand that, and we just throughout the game weren’t real successful offensively with running the football. It’s been an issue this year, and so we need to figure out why.”

Mack got most of his pass rush attempts against second-year left tackle Kolton Miller. Miller had a rough rookie year but is playing much better in year two and managed to keep Carr clean most of the night thanks to some help from his tight ends and back and a quick-passing game.The lack of a pass rush had been a recurring issue in Oakland ever since the Mack trade. The Raiders came into the game with a league-low 18 sacks since the start of 2018 but had three alone in the first half as Daniel held onto the ball too long. Maxx Crosby, Benson Mayowa and Maurice Hurst all came up with sacks, the first time Oakland had three in the opening half since Mack’s final season with the team in 2017. Hurst added another on the final play of the game.Bears DT Akiem Hicks (elbow) left the game in the first half and didn’t return.Jacobs left the game briefly with an elbow injury but returned.The Bears get a week off following the long trip and will host New Orleans on Oct. 20.