Postgame Perspective: Flyers OT resilience has them streaking

Over the Flyers four-game winning streak, which is part of a stretch of five wins in six games, the Flyers have three overtime wins. In each, the opponent tied the game late.

Friday night was no different. The New Jersey Devils managed to get the equalizer with exactly one minute remaining in the third, while up two men with the goalie pulled and the Flyers killing a minor penalty on Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.

One week ago, it was the Nashville Predators tying the game with 20 seconds left in regulation. On Nov. 23, the Carolina Hurricanes tied the game with 3:45 left in the third.

Those three games all have one common thread: the Flyers went on to win in overtime.

Friday's 4-3 win over the Devils was the first of the three for the Flyers that was at even-strength, as Matt Read finished on a two-on-one with Sean Couturier.

So, what's the point, that the Flyers have struggled to close things out in regulation? 

It's actually quite the opposite.

While the Flyers have indeed struggled to come up with the late-game defensive stands needed to earn the two points outright, at the very least, they are earning the second point in the extra session.

"We keep our patience," Claude Giroux said. "I think we just stay focused on our game. Mistakes are going to happen. We just have to find a way to deal with it." 

"I think that happens naturally when you have a little success," head coach Dave Hakstol said. "Over the last couple of games, we've had to have good responses. No question, tonight we had some ups and downs, but we found a way to respond and get the job done in overtime."

Winning can make the last-minute goals a lot less bothersome. Additionally, it is almost refreshing that the Flyers are not talking about leaving the second point on the ice and moral victories for getting the game to overtime.

"Earlier in the year, we were in a lot of one-goal games and they would score a goal and we would hang our heads," Wayne Simmonds said. "There's no reason for that. We just have to get back at it and keep going. We kept our perseverance and came through at the end of the 3-on-3."

The Flyers owe a lot of that to a massive improvement on defense, as the players are starting to gel as a unit and bring Hakstol's defensive philosophy. The Flyers increased strength and consistency in the neutral zone and preventing offensive chances has them leading games into the third and carrying that lead into the late stages of the game.

The second line of Read, Couturier and Simmonds have been a spreading wildfire of production. Simmonds alone has four goals in the last three games. Couturier and Read not only teamed up for the game-winning goal on Friday, but have also produced six points in that three-game span.

The addition of Evgeny Medvedev to the lineup and the emergence of Michael Del Zotto as a defensive leader in the absence of Mark Streit — not to mention Shayne Gostisbehere's continued production revitalizing the team — have bolstered the blue line as the Flyers consistency and focus on detail and the "little things," as Hakstol talks about, have the Flyers streaking more as well.

For as many late leads as they have lost, the Flyers have managed to rebound to still get the two points. Friday's win was their fifth overtime win of the season. 

As the fourth straight win for the Flyers as well, the team is finally starting to show some consistency and a renewed energy. It is certainly a refreshing change of pace for a team that was headed nowhere fast just three weeks ago.

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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