That’s all folks! For now at least. With last night’s win over the Jets, the Flyers closed out this first portion of the season and are cruising into the All Star break with two wins in a row, and their first regulation win since December 14 (which really sums up pretty neatly how bleak things have been around here).
And while it was a nice win in the end, it was still something of a weird game.
For all that was said about how picking up one win on Saturday would help them start to build some confidence up, and for how crisp Monday’s practice was reported to be, this wasn’t really a showing that screamed confident, at least not entirely.
The Flyers were getting pretty well caved in through the early goings of this one, dropping the first goal of the game in the opening minute of play and giving the Jets a lot of time in the offensive zone to work with early, and even if they weren’t able to really capitalize on that, the door was still open for this one to get out of hand.
But it didn’t, because Carter Hart was outstanding once again in this one. He kept the team in it when they really needed it, and came up with some huge saves along the way. All in all, he came away with 31 saves on 32 shots faced.
And on the flip side, they really struggled to generate much in the way of really dangerous chances. They ended up grading out well in this area across the whole of the game, registering 18 high danger chances at 5-on-5 to the Jets’ seven, but they also missed out one what might have been some even nicer chances just from over handling the puck or overpassing on a chance. We just didn’t see quite as much decisiveness in this one as we otherwise might have expected.
But, all that said, there’s a lot that we saw in this game that was positive, and the biggest piece was not just that they were able to register three goals in this one, but who they came from. James van Riemsdyk and Travis Konecny have been two of the more snakebitten Flyers of late, and they both picked up goals (and very nice goals) on the night.
After the team fell into an early hole (stop me if you’ve heard that one before), Konecny finished off a nice setup by Scott Laughton with a beauty of a shot, finding the equalizer, and you could see the relief from him as he got the monkey off his back, as it were.
Travis Konecny with a SNIPE! pic.twitter.com/MWn6mxmr6I— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) February 2, 2022
And then van Riemsdyk showed some patience and some of his strength, as he and Laughton were sprung on a 2-on-1 rush, and while Laughton opted to take the initial shot, van Riemsdyk stopped up in the crease and saw the rebound come right to him for a clean tap-in. The relief was pretty clear on this one too.
(Now is also when we point out that Laughton had himself a really active game, doing well in driving offense as those two assists, and how own three scoring chances, tell us, but he remained dedicated to playing on the defensive side as well, something that his coach praised him for after the game. It was all working really well for him last night).
Even Oskar Lindblom getting the empty netter felt like a pretty momentous achievement—it’s been a long road for him to get all of his details to come back to his game, but we’re really starting to see it all coming together for him again, and this is as effective as he’s looked in a long time, even if he’s not absolutely piling up the points. It is, as Mike Yeo put it after the game, one of their best stories that they have going for them right now.
And hey, all in all, a win’s a win, and there’s positivity to be found in the way the team kept their heads down and was able to gut out this win. It’s an improvement, and that’s something that Yeo is seeing as well:
I’ve been saying this for a while that it sounds crazy that we are losing all these games but I can feel improvement in our game, certainly by no means are we there yet. We’re still missing some key pieces, but I do feel that we’re building confidence in the type of game that we want to play. As far as the way that we want to support the puck, the way that we want to get on the attack, the way that we want to defend quickly. I feel that we’re building better habits in that area. I also think that we have a long way to go and the challenge for us is to maintain this when we do get players back. The work ethic has been outstanding, we can’t let that drop at all and then we’re going to have to get those guys up to speed to the work that these guys that have been in the lineup have been doing. I feel that there’s a lot of progress and I still know that there’s a long way to go for us.
Will they be able to keep this momentum rolling after the break, keep trending in the right direction? That’s the next big challenge, and that’s for the future Flyers to sort out, and the future us to write and read about. Time will tell.
In any event, the break is here and it feels deserved for everyone. Just as the team has said it will be nice to step away from the game for a bit and get a little bit of a mental reset, the same feels true for all of us. Enjoy your time away, Reader, do something fun away from the game. We’ll see you next Wednesday.
All stats via Natural Stat Trick.