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Flyers-Blue Jackets: Postgame Review

2-22-2018_FlyersvsBlueJackets_2nd_credKateFrese
 
(Kate Frese/SB Nation)
 
By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The Flyers just keep on rolling, and they are moving closer and closer to the top of the Metropolitan Division standings.

But more on that in a moment. For now, this about another tight hockey game where the Flyers managed to stay the course and overcome some adversity to claim two points again in a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Let's get right to it with our Postgame Review.

Postgame Points

    1. Power Play - As the Flyers went to the power play midway through the third period, they had been unsuccessful on their first four attempts, and even allowed a goal right after one of their power plays in the second.

      In being handed a fifth opportunity, they made sure to take advantage.

      Nolan Patrick is starting to sniff out these opportunities around the net. He made a nice play cutting to the net and getting the deflection in Tuesday's game. This time, he parked it right in front of Sergei Bobrovsky, created traffic making it difficult for him to track the puck, and put home the rebound chance.

      Patrick is starting to reap the rewards of playing on the top power-play unit. That's goals in three straight games, back-to-back games with a power-play goal and now a game-winning goal to boot. He's up to eight on the season when it felt like he was stuck on two or three for quite some time. You're starting to see the skills and tools that made him a top prospect entering the draft.

    2. Welcome to Philadelphia - Petr Mrazek had a little bit of time to settle into this game, making two saves in a scoreless first period. But in the second, he got tested early and often.

      Mrazek allowed one goal in the period, but had to make 13 saves as well. He stopped all four shots faced in the third too.

      Overall, it wasn't a busy game in terms of the shot total -- just 19 saves on 20 shots -- but many of the saves came off turnovers or were difficult shots targeted for the top half of the net. Mrazek looked comfortable, calm and poised in goal with his new team, and certainly played a key role in the victory, his first with the Orange and Black.

    3. Late Game Shifts - The Flyers had their moments with the puck where they were particularly sloppy, but there was one shift in particular with about 5:30 to play that was just an abomination. The Flyers put Jori Lehtera, Dale Weise and Valtteri Filppula on the ice and failed to clear several times when the opportunity was there.

      Weise tried to drop a pass to a stickless Filppula to get a change. That was a turnover. The Flyers put weak backhanders to the blue line that were easily held in. They essentially moved backward to try to advance the puck only to be overtaken. If Dave Hakstol doesn't know it yet, this should be an indication that in a one-goal game late, the fourth line can't be trusted in a defensive zone shift like that.

      On the other hand, Oskar Lindblom came out for his next shift after that debacle and put on quite a display. It's just his second NHL game, but he's working the boards hard and protecting the puck to eat several seconds off the clock and help the Flyers inch closer to victory.

      Lindblom's line did so well at this, that at one point, Jake Voracek tied up the puck for well over 30 seconds with Patrick watching closely, only to turn away and get a change before the Blue Jackets could knock the puck away from Voracek. That's a tremendous shift and work ethic at that stage of the game.

    4. Penalty Kill - For the first time in four games, the Flyers had to kill a penalty. Luckily, it was against the league's worst power play.

      The Flyers made things look easy against the Columbus power play, which makes this a decent spot to take your first minor penalty in four games. Ultimately, the Flyers were 0-for-2 on the penalty kill, but aside from killing off the two penalties, they also played a fairly disciplined game again, which is a good sign as the playoffs draw closer.

    5. Creeping In - A little late-game magic in Florida sent the Washington Capitals to a 3-2 regulation loss to the Panthers. With Washington falling in Florida and Pittsburgh being idle, the Flyers moved to within a point of the Capitals of the Metropolitan Division lead.

      Let's say that again: one point.

      When the Flyers lost 10 games in a row, earning just five points in the process, through the entire month of November essentially, even the thought that the Flyers could be in the playoff race was a joke. But look at them now.

      The Flyers have points in 10 straight games. Eight of them are wins. They have won seven of their last eight and four straight. This is a team firing on all cylinders and finding a way night after night.

      There's still 20 games to be played before this is all over, but with the Flyers, Capitals and Penguins all at 61 games played, to be separated by just one point with 20 games to go sets up quite the race to the finish in the Metropolitan Division.

Quotable

"I think all the boys are playing harder. I think we are playing for each other. You know no matter what happens in the game we stick to our game plan. Don’t get frustrated and I think it has been helping us win games." - Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov

Play of the Game

Rather than go to the game-winning goal, we're going to give the new guy honors. Petr Mrazek makes a tremendous save stretching out to stop Zach Werenski on a one-timer early in the second.

By the Numbers

Interestingly enough, at even strength, the Flyers had the better possession numbers in the second and worse in the third. The Flyers had a 52.17 CF% in the second period and a 38.46 CF% in the third, but scored both goals in the third period.

 
Stat of the Game
 
The Flyers were dominant in the face-off circle, winning 64 percent of draws, but it was Claude Giroux in particular who led the way, winning 16 of 19 face-offs in the game.

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