PHILADELPHIA – Mark Streit held his spot, slowly glided in, held again, then began his final glide to the crease. That’s where two of his teammates, all five Detroit skaters and one goaltender corralled in search for the puck.
Despite that commotion, Streit never was noticed, never was touched, so of course, the puck squirted through the crowd and onto his stick and into the net.
That game-tying goal in an eventual 4-3 overtime win on Thursday was Streit’s third goal of the season and his eighth point in 11 games. He’s already halfway to the six goals he had a year ago.
What’s the difference?
He doesn’t have any lingering side affects from groin surgery.
“Physically I feel better than last year,” Streit said. “I thought that lower body injury, those strains after, I felt it from the beginning. It influenced my skating.”
About a month into the 2015-16 season, Streit underwent surgery for a pubic plate detachement – the reason that Shayne Gostisbehere received his call-up. He returned about a month and a half later and would go on to play 50 games, including the postseason.
Before surgery, Streit had nine points (3 G, 6 A) for a 0.56 points per game mark. After surgery, that number dropped to 0.30 per game.
Streit says he just could never get comfortable out on the ice, saying it was too little, too late when he finally felt closer to himself during the postseason.
“I could tell there was something wrong,” Streit said. “I got the surgery, I was out for two months, then I felt OK. Now I just feel I have better legs. Everything is great … it’s still that you’re missing two months and it’s tough to make up for that.”
This turnaround for the 38-year-old is a pleasant surprise at the start of the season. Streit is leading all Flyers defenseman in points and goals. He did credit his participation in the World Cup as aiding in his recovery and helping him return to form.
Not having his legs at 100 percent last season really hindered his performance. After all, much of a hockey player’s game revolves around his lower body, and in particular, Streit’s style really only works if he can get his legs moving and create plays.
“I think my game is about skating so if you can’t skate well, you’re going to have a hard time, especially in this league these days,” Streit said.
Through 11 games, the Swiss defenseman has looked as good as he has had in recent years, albeit with a few more defensive miscues than he would like (though, the entire six-man group has had more of those than desired).
A healthy, and more importantly, a confident Mark Streit really bodes well for this team moving forward, even giving general manager Ron Hextall a potential trade chip as the deadline gets closer.
“I feel more comfortable and [I’m] playing with a lot of confidence,” Streit said.