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What we learned from the Flyers 5-2 win over the Blues

Some observations for your morning…

Philadelphia Flyers v St Louis Blues Photo by Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images

Miracles can happen in St. Louis, folks. Maybe that feels a little strong, but also, maybe it doesn’t? The Flyers beat the Blues last night and picked up their first road win in the year 2022. We were really starting to think it might never happen for them.

All stats via Natural Stat Trick.

All gas, no brakes

When we say the Flyers came out with some jump to start this game, we really mean it. They were getting good speed throughout the lineup and moving through the neutral zone smoothly and cohesively, and that all amounted to them pretty comfortably getting the better of play through the first 20 minutes of play. They outshot the Blues 7-4 at 5-on-5, and out-chanced them 11-5 in scoring chances, and of course, ended up outscoring them 2-0. This was, in short, one of the better starts that we’ve seen from them in a while, they were really going for it.

They did lose a bit of steam as the game went on (and a St. Louis goal by Vladimir Tarasenko 1:47 into the second period certainly hurt), and as much as we and the broadcast team seemed to expect the Blues to surge all the way back and take over the game, the Flyers did some good work to ensure that this didn’t happen. They didn’t collapse or give the Blues an absurd amount of space to work with, and they kept with their game and continued to get results. This wasn’t a lucky win, it was a good one.

A big night for Travis Konecny

If there was one singular standout that we had to pull out from this game, it would be Travis Konecny. It’s been a weird season for him, but he’s really been picking up steam of late, and he took a big step last night. His energy was noticeable right off the hop, and that started with a look on the penalty kill (another wrinkle in this experimentation period). It was a quick look, but it was a good one, and we’re certainly not against the idea of giving him some reps there if you’re looking to translate that “all gas, no brakes” mentality to the penalty kill too. Want to break the puck out with speed? Konecny could be your guy.

But his 5-on-5 play, too, was very good. He was second on the team in shot attempts and tied for first in scoring chances, with three and two respectively. He also put up two goals on the night.

And that first goal in particular had us thinking “man, where has that been all season?” But, in any event, Konecny did some very good work last night, and this is what we’ve been hoping to see from him for a while. And it’s not as though his work on the whole of the season has been poor, quite the opposite, but last night was a look at what can happen when he finally starts to get a bit of scoring luck. And surely getting him going again would do wonders for his confidence.

Welcome, Hayden Hodgson!

We’re also still seeing a bit of flux in the lineup, but last night at least, that worked out into something nice. With the Flyers already having to go with 11 forwards for Tuesday’s game, and then Oskar Lindblom getting a little banged up in that, just bad enough that he couldn’t go last night, it was emergency recall time! And the Flyers opted to bring up Hayden Hodgson, with a fresh NHL deal and having a big season with the Phantoms to make his NHL debut.

And that debut, all in all, was very good. He picked up an assist on Konecny’s first of the game, quickly getting his first NHL point, and then the first NHL goal came in the third period to give the team a bit of breathing room.

It wasn’t flashy, but it was nice to see him not give up on the play to get that goal, and that felt pretty emblematic of his play as a whole. He brought good energy, kept up with the speed the team was trying to play with, and just worked hard.

It’s been a long road for him to get here, and this was a big night. The Flyers also helped make arrangements to get his family to the game, and that was just nice. This season’s been brutal, but we do appreciate this bit of levity.

An adventure for Martin Jones

The section title here really does say it all, but it was kind of a weird night for Jones. All in all, he put up a pretty solid showing. He stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced on the night, and came up with some really big saves when the skaters needed a bit of bailing out, and stood firm when the Blues were surging in the second. The first goal against we can’t really be too fussed about—it was a great shot by Tarasenko on the power play, not much you can do there.

But the second? That’s on Jones. A miscommunication happened behind the net with Yandle, and Jones came out to play the puck when he shouldn’t have, and then ended up turning it over and failing to get back into position quickly enough to stop the St. Louis shot. Was that pretty embarrassing? Yeah, it was. But if that’s the one misstep on the night? We can live with that.

Farabee stays hot

The Farabee at center experiment is rolling on, and we kind of keep expecting the wheels to come off at some point, but they just... haven’t. Now, we’re still working with a small sample here, but it remains that the returns here have been really promising.

A point was made on the broadcast that was a really good one (credit where it’s due) that the move to center has allowed him to keep up a bit more of his speed through the neutral zone and that gives him even more creative space, and while that does rely on the rest of the team moving through the neutral zone well—something that has been a struggle this season—the point still stands. And with how creative and dynamic Farabee can be as a player, giving him even more time with the puck has been something that’s already paying off for them. He’s generating some really nice chances and looking even more confident out there. And even though it was “just” the empty net goal that he ended up with last night, the point was still much deserved.

It’s still an open question whether he’s going to be able to maintain this and wholly stick at the center position, but he’s certainly doing everything right as of now.