(Kate Frese/SB Nation)
After two very wide open games with high scoring for the Flyers, it's taken a big defensive effort to claim any standings points on home ice. And though they played well on Thursday, they couldn't find the net in a 1-0 loss to Nashville.
Saturday was another one of those close one-goal games that came down to the very end. But it was a late goal by Wayne Simmonds and some strong defensive for the entire final period that proved to be the difference in the Flyers 2-1 win over the Oilers.
Here is the Postgame Review.
- Let's talk about speed. It's no secret that Edmonton is built on it and Connor McDavid flashed it at times for sure. But the Flyers did a good job countering it as well. They stifled the Oilers speed in the first period, really dominating the puck possession game.
The second period is where it looked like the speed of the Oilers caught up to the Flyers and that was the one time Edmonton was able to get on the board. But for the Flyers to outlast the Oilers burst of energy in the second and third periods and find a way to win shows how far this team has come.
- The Flyers defensive effort to this point in the season deserves some big praise. The last two games the Flyers have played have quite possibly been their best defensively of the season.
Ivan Provorov is starting to make defensive plays noticeable, a sign of a top defender in the NHL, and once again played quite a workload of nearly 26 minutes of ice time. Have we mentioned before that he's 20 years old?
Robert Hagg is very solid and steady for a rookie with just nine NHL games under his belt. I'm really blown away by how well he has played so far this year.
In turn, Hagg's solid play is not only helping partner Shayne Gostisbehere jump up on the play more. Gostisbehere has also looked very much improved in his own zone.
Travis Sanheim keeps getting better with each game. His play in the defensive zone still has some hiccups, but he's showing confidence in his skating and ability to also join the play offensively, a good sign for a kid in his fourth NHL game.
Even Radko Gudas and Andrew MacDonald are doing little things to make the team better in their own zone. There's also a greater emphasis on forwards playing a 200-foot game, and you can see forwards, Claude Giroux specifically, putting more energy and effort into getting back on the play.
- Thursday's game was a tight-checking affair with Nashville where space wasn't open, particularly for the first line of Sean Couturier, Jake Voracek and Giroux. There was some space for them on Saturday. It's honestly surprising they didn't score the game-winning goal in this one. On every shift of the third period, they made something happen.
- What else does Jake Voracek have to do to get a goal? There's nothing wrong with Voracek's energy or having 10 helpers on the season through eight games, but if that chance in the crease shortly before Simmonds' heroics wouldn't go, I don't know what he has to do to get one.
- We're through eight games of the season and the Flyers leader in points is...Shayne Gostisbehere. Yes, with an assist on Giroux's power-play goal, Gostisbehere has 11 points in eight games -- one goal and 10 assists. Of course, Voracek and Giroux -- each with 10 points -- are certainly not far behind.
"I had an empty net. Val made an unbelievable play as well. You know, Val kind of carried it across and I think the goalie bet and Val just slid it to me back door." - Wayne Simmonds
Play of the Game
It has to be the game-winning goal, a nice burst at the line by Filppula and the feed to Simmonds for the finish.
By the Numbers
This was a very evenly-matched game at 5-on-5. The Oilers barely edged the Flyers in shot attempts, 48-46. The Flyers really dominated the first period in this department, but had a rough second period. The third was much more of a chess match, and the Flyers just happened to strike at the right moment.
Stat of the Game
The Flyers played a sound defensive game overall, but the big stat here is 11 blocked shots in the final period. The Oilers probably carried the play a little more in the third, but the Flyers were very much willing to sell out and make some key blocks in the final period, holding the Oilers to just six shots on goal. It proved to be worth it as they finished off the game with 21 total blocked shots and more than half of those coming in the final period. Of the 21 blocked shots, Andrew MacDonald had six of them, including a key block that stung him on a third-period penalty kill.