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Flyers 4, Kings 1: Back on track

Some observations for your morning...

Los Angeles Kings v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

They did it folks. The Flyers got their revenge on the Kings. And it didn’t come in the form of someone taking a run at Kurtis MacDermid for that hit he made on Ivan Provorov in their last meeting. Nope, the Flyers got their revenge by coming out and playing a pretty solid hockey game, and making sure that the Kings ended their own road trip on a sour note. Which might not be quite as dramatic, but no less effective.

All stats via Natural Stat Trick.

How’d they look out there?

5-on-5: 35 CF, 21 SF, 37.23 CF%, 37.69 xGF%

We feel pretty good about the result of this one, but the numbers don’t leave us with a particularly positive picture of this game. The Flyers had some of the early momentum, but the Kings started to really swing things in their favor as the game went on, particularly in the third period, in terms of a raw chances generated standpoint. The bit of good news, though, it that the Flyers were able to limit the Kings’ attempts, blocking and deflecting shots before they could make it on goal and largely keeping them to the outside—the Kings had 59 shot attempts at 5-on-5, but only seven of them could be considered high danger.

In a perfect world, the Flyers would have been able to prevent the Kings for generating that many chances, but that didn’t happen, but they were able to limit the quality of those chances, and make sure Brian Elliott had an easier job, which is hard to be too fussed about.

Power play: 5 CF, 5 SF, 4 HDCF

The power play just keeps on rolling, gang! We talked after Thursday’s game about how the new double netfront configuration is starting to show some promise and got the Flyers a couple of really nice looks that they just weren’t able to bury. And, well, they were still getting those chances, and last night they buried them. The Flyers got goals from James van Riemsdyk and Joel Farabee on the power play, and both came from right in front of the net. It’s seemed like, with this new setup, there’s come a bit of a shifted mindset, where the emphasis now is leaning really heavily on getting chances in close. It’s something that makes a lot of sense, implicitly, and boy is it ever getting results.

Penalty kill: 7 CA, 3 SA, 1 HDCA

In what feels like a bit of a strange turn of events, the penalty kill was the special teams side that was on the quieter side last night. This isn’t to say that they played poorly, they did still prevent any goals while they were on the ice, but they’ve been able to generate some very flashy shorthanded chances recently, but we didn’t have any of that last night.

All and all, not a stellar night for the penalty kill, but not a bad one either. The Kings got a pretty good number of chances on their two power plays, but there too they largely either didn’t make it on net or were kept to the outside. So not too bad, at the end of the day. The Flyers weren’t quite as aggressive on those two kills, but they still got the job done.

Three standouts

1. Travis Konecny

It really just was Travis Konecny’s night. He looked like he had some initial jump out there, just like the rest of the team, and what would you know? Before we knew it, he was taking that and turning it into a goal to give the Flyers the early lead. How about that.

He would pick up a second goal of the night in the second period, and genuinely looked like he might get the hat trick later on in the period, and then looked like he almost might have picked tipped in the puck on van Riemsdyk’s goal, but he didn’t. So it goes. But Konecny, with five shot attempts and four scoring chances at 5-on-5 alone, was having something of a monster offensive game, and it was something the Flyers really needed in order to pull away in this game.

2. Joel Farabee

We mentioned it earlier but we’re bringing it back again—with his goal on the power play last night, Farabee now has goals in back to back games and he’s getting going on quite the mini-tear. Let’s watch that goal again.

In a way, it feels like we’ve been leading up to this for a little bit here. Even before things broke open for him on the scoring front, he was doing well to keep his energy up and generate some really good chances, and now it seems like it’s all really coming together for him. He’s been picking up some serious momentum, and if Michael Raffl, who left the game about halfway through the third period last night, is set to miss some time, it doesn’t seem like a stretch to think that Farabee will be the one to be bumped up in the lineup, given his play of late.

3. Brian Elliott

We got another solid game from Elliott last night, as he stopped 39 of the 40 shots he faced across all situations, and continued to look sharp as he’s become The Guy again in Carter Hart’s absence. We mentioned earlier that the Flyers in general did pretty well to limit the number of high danger chances that the Kings got in this one, but Elliott did have to make some big saves in this one (including one on our old pal Jeff Carter), and he did so with relative ease. The one goal he did let it wasn’t great, but with the defensive breakdown happening in front of him, it’s hard to place the blames squarely on him for that one. At the end of the day, he just played a solid game and made sure that the skaters had all the support they needed to seal up this win. Not too much to complain about there.

Two loose observations

1. First period woes were short-lived

After Thursday’s game, we talked a little about the Flyers’s slow starts and how that came back to bite them in a big way against Montreal. And for a little bit, it looked like last night was going to see a repeat performance of that. The Flyers didn’t come out flat, not entirely, but they looked a little scrambly in their own end and just not as sharp as we know they can. So we got a little worried, but that was short lived. With Konecny’s first goal coming early in the period, the Flyers has the early lead and were looking to be in much better position. And the even better news is that they held on to that lead, they didn’t just give it right back. The Flyers picked up a bit of steam and the period went on, and seemed to lock down some of those errors that they were making in the opening few minutes. They buckled down and didn’t shoot themselves in the foot, which felt like progress. They had some important momentum, and they were actually able to use it.

2. On readiness

Given all of that, one of the ideas echoed in the locker room after last night’s game was that the Flyers were just ready to play last night. No emotional hangover or what have you in this one, they were just ready to go and ready to play the right way. Ready to play their game.

And the result was decidedly positive, and also pretty important. The Flyers were able to take control and get out of there with a decisive win over a lesser team, and get themselves back on track. It’s a team that they should beat, and we almost want to refrain from getting too high about a win that should have happened anyway, but we also remember the Flyers decidedly not beating this team earlier in the season, and how ugly that looked, and the feelings that came after. But this was a much needed bit of progress for them, as they took care of business, didn’t give this one up for free and, if you believe that sort of thing, may well have helped them pick up some momentum heading into Tuesday’s game against Pittsburgh.

The only damn thing I know

To be honest, 80s night wasn’t really doing it for me. I know lots of people were into it, so this isn’t to say that it was bad or anything, just not really my jam. That said, I can always trust Gritty to provide some amazing content and save the night for me. This was amazing.