(Kate Frese/Sports Talk Philly)
As the season winds down, to look at a win from a standings perspective doesn’t mean near as much. The Flyers still very much face an uphill climb in that department, even if the thrill of victory overshadows that.
That said, wins in any of the Flyers remaining 12 games -- which started Sunday -- should be viewed with the glass-half-full mentality, about the things that go right and the things that go wrong. The Flyers 4-3 overtime win on Sunday featured several things that went right and wrong.
Here are 10 Postgame Points from Flyers-Hurricanes.
- What more can you say about the Flyers two rookies? It may be a season to forget for the Flyers in many ways, but these two picks from the 2015 first-round are gems. Travis Konecny’s presence was sorely missed -- yes, even as a 20-year-old -- and Ivan Provorov has been steady as she goes the entire season. It’s hard to find too many negatives in their game when they don’t even register anything on the scoresheet. The duo combined for four points in Sunday’s win.
- Provorov in particular had an excellent game, with a goal and two assists. More than the two assists, I want to focus on the goal. I firmly believe that Provorov’s wrist shot is superior to his slap shot. If you need any evidence, watch his goal in the final minute of the first period against the Hurricanes. He pick his spot and executes to perfection.
- Konecny’s goal is essentially poetic justice to the fact that he was robbed of an assist from earlier in the game. Dale Weise’s goal to make it 2-0 in the second doesn’t happen if not for Konecny’s great puck movement skills in the offensive zone. The play was very similar to the goal he scored against Columbus on Monday, except this time, instead of taking the shot, he centered to a mess in front of Cam Ward. Weise just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
- Once the Flyers were up 2-0, they certainly left the door open for Carolina to get back into the game, and with a lucky bounce off the end boards, the Flyers lost all confidence. Yes, the goal by Jeff Skinner was the result of unfortunate puck luck, but the Flyers were completely deflated after that goal. The Hurricanes controlled the rest of the second period and did eventually tie the game and then played strategically well to take a lead in the third before the Flyers late rally. Far too often, the Flyers have let those kind of bounces affect their attitude, which only leads to worse results.
- On a night when the Flyers weren’t going to get as much from their top line, some depth players really stepped up, notably Sean Couturier. Couturier had three assists, but more than that, he had great energy from the start, getting a partial breakaway in the opening seconds and leading the charge that set up Schenn’s goal. Couturier also played a big role in Provorov’s goal, getting the turnover that started the play.
- Jeff Skinner just owns the Flyers. It took a rather friendly bounce for Skinner to score in this game, but that makes 13 goals in 25 games for the Hurricanes leading scorer, who now has 26 goals on the season.
- The Hurricanes played as bad a first period on the road as you can imagine, were outshot 44-22 in the game, took two costly penalties, one to set up a 38-second 5-on-3 and another late in the third. And they still had a lead with under a minute to play in regulation. Carolina’s road woes are well-documented, but it shows how this was a typical Flyers game for this season, completely par for the course -- outshoot an opponent, control the play, get the opportunities and still find a way to lose. They were 42 seconds away from that playing out again.
- The Flyers special teams is a huge problem right now, and as the offseason approaches rapidly, the Flyers have to be thinking about ways to fix it. Every time they take a penalty that opens the door for the opponent, the PK allows a goal. Every time the power play gets a chance, the predictable nature of their puck movement doesn’t give them a chance to set up. It’s beyond frustrating, and continues to be a problem with no noticeable adjustments.
- Potentially a game-changing moment in this game: Teuvo Teravainen gets a centering pass in the slot with plenty of time and space. Steve Mason came up with the glove save to keep it a one-goal game. Teravainen had a chance to essentially put the game on ice and Mason made the save you sometimes need your goalie to make.
- Six of Brayden Schenn’s goals this season are game-winning goals. While his even-strength play, especially at 5-on-5, has been frustrating at times this season, Schenn has a knack for scoring late in games.
Make no mistake about it, this is a good win for the Flyers. Any win is good. But don’t think it holds any major meaning.
The Flyers are on their way to finishing somewhere in the middle of the pack, almost certainly not good enough to be a playoff team, despite what the standings may read tomorrow morning, and not quite in the bottom five in the NHL.
Every time the Flyers give a performance like that of Thursday’s, where you think this team could collapse into a position where a Top-5 draft pick is a possibility, they respond with a good win that erases such a notion.
No, this win over Carolina doesn’t suddenly save their quickly fading playoff hopes, but it does essentially guarantee that they will not quit on the season, which means they will likely finish somewhere in the middle. It’s on the road for the next four games to continue this final stretch run to the end of the season.