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What we learned from the Flyers’ 5-3 win over the Oilers

Some observations for your morning...

Philadelphia Flyers v Edmonton Oilers Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Did we make it through this one, folks? The Flyers kicked off their road trip with a game that didn’t start until pretty well after 10:00 in Edmonton, and if that means. that a lot of us weren't able to make it all the way through, well, we can certainly understand that. It was a pretty wild, often wide open and back and forth sort of game, which is perhaps not quite the type of game you want to get into when it’s Connor McDavid on the other side, but the Flyers still managed to come out on top of this one. They put in a nice bit of work, picking up a 5-3 win, and broke the Oilers’ winning streak to start the season.

All stats via Natural Stat Trick.

They shut down McDavid? Sort of?

That feels like a bit of a silly thing to say when you look at Connor McDavid still coming away from this game with a goal and an assist, but we do know how quickly he can take over a game and make everyone look silly, so keeping him relatively quiet like this does feel like a win. McDavid put up nine shots and scoring chances across all situations, but the Flyers were able to keep all but one of those out of the back of the net. They kept it a quiet night for McDavid, relatively speaking.

On the whole, they weren’t able to completely stifle the Oilers’ offense, but they did some good work in limiting the number of dangerous chances they were able to put up, finding a good bit of success at frustrating their efforts and keeping them pushed to the outside. And this is captured in the numbers, as the Flyers put up an adjusted 43.68 CF% at 5-on-5, but a 58.19 xGF% and 69.32 HDCF%. It wasn’t their absolute prettiest effort, but it worked, and it was enough to keep the Oilers contained well enough where the Flyers could get and take the most advantage of their chances.

The big guns showed up

The spotlight, understandably, coming into this game was largely on the Oilers’ stars and how they would perform, but just as active in this game were the Flyers’ big contributors, as they had themselves a night once again. The Flyers got goals in this one from Claude Giroux, Cam Atkinson, Cam Atkinson again, and Sean Couturier (with the empty netter) and the Flyers’ top two lines continue to click. From just the forwards, they contributed eight of the Flyers’ 20 scoring chances at 5-on-5, and gave the Oilers some trouble in those matchups.

And in a way this isn’t really surprising, we’ve seen those top two lines driving offense well to start the season, and they’re continuing to find those results on the road as well. They’re riding some real momentum here folks!

Discipline a bit of an issue again

Once again, the Flyers ran into a bit of penalty trouble in this one. Now, as much as it hurt to see Rasmus Ristolainen take a high-sticking penalty just a minute into the game, that one we could point to and say that it was a bit of a weak call. But Zack MacEwen’s board later in the period and Travis Konecny’s interference in the third were ones where the Flyers got a little too engaged and stepped over the line, and that’s a tough thing to do when you know how dangerous that Oilers power play can be. This isn’t the worst they've looked in the lack of discipline department this season, but there’s still some work that needs to be done to make sure that they’re choosing their spots well and not putting themselves at a disadvantage.

The good news, at least, is that the Flyers penalty killers did put in a nice bit of work again last night. There was the one goal given up, and that’s tough, but the Flyers were still able to, like they were at 5-on-5, keep the Oilers pretty well to the perimeter and limit their number of dangerous chances. In 6:57 of power play time, the Oilers created 17 shot attempts, but only eight of them made it on goal, and only four were high danger chances. The Flyers did well to get into lanes and prevent the Oilers from creating too many dangerous plays, and we saw that paying dividends again.

Carter Hart’s big homecoming

Keeping the bulk of the Oilers’ chances to the outside helped out the skaters, to be sure, but it also made Hart’s life a whole lot easier. It wasn’t going to be an easy night for him, and that bit of help certainly goes a long way.

But Hart did still have himself a solid game in his own right. He faced 37 shots in total and was able to stop 34 of them for a cool .919 save percentage. A good portion of the Oilers’ offense was coming from the outside, but Hart still faced some difficult chances and had to come up big to keep the Flyers in this game, and he did just that. He was tracking the puck well and responding well to some of the flurries of offense that the Oilers were putting up. All in all, a solid showing and a nice little homecoming. But did we expect anything less? (Don’t say anything).

A bit of perspective

With the news coming out not too long before game time that Kyle Beach, in an interview with TSN, had identified himself as John Doe from the Chicago Blackhawks internal investigation, the focus on hockey coming into this game was a little tenuous. If you haven’t watched the interview (or read the transcript) and think you would be able, we’d advise it. It’s difficult, but it’s important.

And in light of it, we should offer up a bit of perspective. Let’s be clear here: what Brad Aldrich did was reprehensible. What the Blackhawks did (or didn’t do) to cover it up was just as reprehensible. And how current members of the organization (Jeremy Colliton, Patrick Kane, and Jonathan Toews) continue to go to bat for Stan Bowman and the team, quite frankly, is disgusting. The Blackhawks tried to assert that winning more games is more important than the safety and comfort of their colleagues, their teammates, their friends, and that is just wholly untrue.

Last night’s game was a tough one to get up for, because we’re reminded that in the grand scheme of things, this all does not matter. Wins don't matter. Kyle Beach matters. And for what it’s worth, we offer our support and solidarity with him and his truth. Because that’s what matters here.