FFR2 Gm 62: WPG 2, PHI 4 - Turbulaughts
Jetting to the trade deadline like:
For the 1200th time on Spectrum/Core States Center/First Union Center/Wachovia Center/Wells Fargo Center ice, the Philadelphia Flyers WIN, 4-2, over the Winnipeg Jets! And for the first time this decade (yes, I'm that guy), the Flyers have won three consecutive games, and they're eight games over .500 for the first time this season.
The fact that we're even having the conversation that the Flyers might be "actually good" and wondering if the Flyers can realistically catch Pittsburgh and Washington is glorious. That task was made much easier Saturday, as not only did the Flyers emerge with two points, the Caps and Pens both lost in regulation. I'll retain my position from Thursday for now - just focus on playing your own game, and being the best team you can be. Do that, and you'll end up in a good spot. For what it's worth, AV said about as much in his post-game presser (plus another martini line).
This team deserves a round of applause for what might have been their best week of the season. Three games, three wins, two against a divisional rival, to move themselves a little bit farther from the mushy middle sitting on the bubble. If Chuck Fletcher needed to see anything more that he should pursue upgrading the Flyers before Monday's deadline, he got it, and then some.
Slow first periods have been one of the few recurring sore spots this season for the Flyers, and while the Jets did have the better of play, the Flyers struck for two goals that came a Laught earlier than you'd expect. For the first time since November 8, 2018, Scott Laughton scored two goals, and it didn't take him long to get them. The first was a glove-side snipe on a beautiful lead pass from Ivan Provorov just over two minutes in. The second came just after the Flyers finished a brief PK, as Winnipeg was caught off guard, resulting in an odd-man rush. Laughton was able to cut the slot and slip the puck to the front, likely hoping for a re-direct but instead sliding the puck under Hellebuyck, doubling up the Flyers lead.
Winnipeg would kick their domination up to another level in the second period, outshooting Philadelphia by a whopping 15-4 margin. However, Carter Hart kicked into top gear and shut the Jets down for most of the period. It's no secret that Hart has been one of the best goalies in the league on home-ice this season, and he added to that resume Saturday. By the time the Jets beat him (on a Morrissey blast late in the period), the Flyers had added a third goal, as a poised Sean Couturier found twine with a wrist shot in tight a few minutes before Morrissey would break the goose egg.
The Jets appeared poised for a huge push when Patrik Laine cut the lead to one with a power-play laser exactly three minutes in. But the Flyers would take the next ten shots on goal, and just before the halfway mark of the frame, Philly delivered the dagger. Robert Hagg, who took the penalty Laine scored on, atoned for his mistake with a point shot that Tyler Pitlick deflected off Tucker Poolman's leg and into the net, restoring a two-goal lead the Flyers would hold onto for good.
Through the offseason moves made by Chuck Fletcher, the culture change instilled by Alain Vigneault, the buy-in of the players, and maybe some magic from Gritty, the Flyers have evolved into a very good team. They have shown throughout the season that they can skate with any team, and despite some cold stretches and an ironically healthy dose of injuries, they have averaged out to an above-average team.
The conversation around the Flyers is starting to change in a very positive way. It's up to those three groups - the front office, coaching staff, and players - to keep the club moving in that direction. They've shown incredible resilience, skill, & determination all season long. They're not a perfect team, but no one is. There are twenty games left in the regular season, and hopefully many more to follow. Just keeping flying.
Guess who was in the house for the win?
Oskar's teammates weren't the only ones stoked to see him.
POG Helmet Standings Update! No one deserves it more.
Moose - 4
Raff, Da Snake, Gobs, Teeks - 3
Steady Eddie, Coots, Laughts, Pitsy, #OskarStrong (Last: 11/3) - 2
Starter, Phil, Snowman, Timon, Hollywood, Lyon King, Hagger, G, Unknown* - 1
*There was never a tweet about who won the helmet Thursday. If I had to guess, I'd say it's probably Hayes (OT winner and he hadn't won in a while), but I'll leave it as unknown for now.
Lindy isn't the only Flyer kicking cancer's butt. You may remember last year seeing Gritty visiting a four-year old named Jack, who was battling cancer at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. We received an update on Jack today, and it couldn't have been better
Matt Niskanen was fined $5,000 (the maximum allowed under the CBA) for his two-handed slash on Columbus' Gustav Nyquist Thursday.
Congratulations to Flyers Director of Sports and Medical Services Jim McCrossin on completing his 2000th NHL game!
Justin Braun was brought in to stabilize the PK and right defense, and he's done that and then some. Braun had his second three assist game of the season, and now has seven helpers in as many games. He now has more assists than P.K. Subban has points this season.
Home ice is just one more area where the Flyers have been night and day compared to last season. Saturday's victory marks eight straight home victories for the Orange and Black. How 'bout it?
1st - Scott Laughton (PHI) - 2 Goals (11, 12), 1 Shot-Blocked Where the Sun Don't Shine
2nd - Patrik Laine (WPG) - Power-Play Goal (26 Overall)
3rd - Sean Couturier (PHI) - Goal (19)
Trade Deadline - 2/24
WPG - 2/23 @ BUF (27-25-8, W1)
PHI - 2/25 vs. SJ (26-30-4, L2)
*Thumbnail Photo from Heather Khalifa (Inquirer)