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What we learned from the Flyers 4-1 win over the Blue Jackets

Some observations for your morning...

Philadelphia Flyers v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images

They did it! That’s a wrap on the Flyers’ home and home series against the Blue Jackets, and the last time we’ll see them this season. After a bit of a tough loss on Tuesday, the Flyers were able to bear down and pick up a win last night, and they avoided getting swept in the season series. *exhale*

All stats via Natural Stat Trick.

Two big things

The [new] kids are alright

If there’s one very big positive to be found here, it’s definitely the production that the team has been getting out of their young players, and particularly from some of their newest additions.

Owen Tippett continues to roll nicely, and after we saw him get a handful of good chances on Tuesday that he wasn’t able to cash in on, he finally got the goal he was overdue for last night.

Away from the goal, Tippett contributed a total of three scoring chances at 5-on-5, which is tied for most on the team, so he’s continuing to drive offense well. But the goal itself really did mean a lot—considering the troubles he had finishing in Florida, it’s nice to see him finishing on some of these chances.

Cates, too, has continued to be impactful since he made the jump, and he picked up his second goal in two games last night.

And the rewards coming offensively for Cates has been really nice to see—he’s been so diligent in the rest of the details in his game, making sure he’s doing just about everything else right. His anticipation has really stood out recently, and remarkable has been the way that we’ve seen him sometimes beaten on plays but not giving up, and how his ability to read plays so well the ends up in the right spot to get the better of that play in the end.

It goes without saying, the importance of these young players continuing to pop and develop for a retooling team, but it’s also just been a real treat to see. We’ll take any levity we can get at this point.

The power play [but make it worse]

Ah yes, the power play. After Tuesday’s game, we talked about the power play and how they had a whole lot of nothing going on therein, and, well, that was the same story last night as well. The Flyers again were able to draw four minor penalties for eight minutes on the power play, and weren’t really able to do anything with it. They put up just four shots on goal and two high danger chances, and we’re seeing their struggles to get into the offensive zone and stay in the offensive zone continue to compound badly for them.

And here’s a stat for you: after the shorthanded goal by Eric Robinson last night, over the last 11 games since the Giroux trade, the Flyers have been outscored 3-2 on their own power play (thanks to the sentient blog on twitter for digging that one up).

All of that goes to say that things are bleak around here, and they just seem to be getting bleaker. There isn’t really a good reason for things to be this bad, and yet, here we are. Eat at Arby’s.

Bits and bobs

Atkinson’s return

The other big story of the night, of course, was Cam Atkinson’s return to Columbus for the first time since the trade. It was surely a pretty emotional night, and the Blue Jackets put together a nice little tribute video to welcome him back.

But focusing just on the on-ice happenings, even though he wasn’t able to get himself on the board against his old team, Atkinson had himself a very good game. Across all situations, he led the team in shot attempts (seven), scoring chances (three), and high danger chances (three). The motor was certainly going in this one, and even though he wasn’t able to close on any of those chances, we still appreciate the work he put in for this one.

A good night for Martin Jones

The rotation continues, so Jones was in last night after having the night off on Tuesday, and he put up a solid showing. It wasn’t his busiest of starts, as he faced just 27 shots on goal and three high danger shots, but the Blue Jackets do still have some weapons, so it wasn't going to be a complete walk in the park for him. All the same, Jones looked very solid in this one, and was beaten just once on that shorthanded goal that shouldn’t have even been allowed to get started as a chance in the first place. Not too much to break down here, Jones wasn’t flashy, but he did the job, and we’ve no complaints.

Attard settling down

We’re dipping into some smaller details here, but this was a good thing to see. Attard is continuing to work through the growing pains that come with adjusting to the level, working on choosing his spots and mitigating some of the risk in his play, and we know all of that’s going to come with time, and we did see him take a nice step forward last night. It wasn’t anything flashy, but he made a few nice breakout plays, and a few smart plays along the boards in the defensive zone, and avoided any catastrophic breakdowns. It’s baby steps, but it’s something.

Locking it down

Credit to the Flyers here, they learned from their mistakes on Tuesday and put together a much stronger third period in this one. A 3-1 lead heading into the third period should be relatively secure, but the Blue Jackets have been known to string together a nice comeback, and the Flyers have been known to implode spectacularly, so all bets were off here. But the Flyers kept their foot on the gas in the third period and kept with the attacking mentality—they outshot the Blue Jackets 9-5 at 5-on-5 and outchanced them 4-0 in high danger chances, and tacked on another goal at the end to seal the win. They took care of business nicely, and learning how to finish games is huge, so it’s nice to see that they actually are, well, learning.