The Two O’Clock Number: 25
Nate Thompson accomplished something on Monday night not done by a Flyers player since Zac Rinaldo.
25: The number of penalty minutes assessed to Nate Thompson on Monday night.
Nate Thompson and Zac Rinaldo have more in common than you think. The Flyers' fourth liners are the last two Flyers players to record 25 penalty minutes (or more) in a game.
An honorable mention goes to Jakub Voracek, who had 22 PIM on October 15th, 2016. And of course, Wayne Simmonds, who had a handful of games with penalty minutes in the teens.
Thompson picked up a career-high 25 penalty minutes in Monday night’s 6-1 win against the Seattle Kraken. The fourth-line center was assessed a 10-minute misconduct at the 12:00 mark of the second period. This coincided with a 10-minute misconduct to Kraken forward Nathan Bastian, who would have to deal with Thompson later as well.
Also in the second period, defenseman Nick Seeler endeared himself to Philadelphia with a spirited bout against Jamie Oleksiak. The defenseman tossed the referee aside before throwing down with the much larger Oleksiask.
And that was only the beginning.
Midway through the third period, Thompson put a beatdown on Bastian in one of the most lopsided Flyers fights in recent memory. Thompson and Bastian were both given five-minute majors for fighting and 10-minute misconducts, ending their nights.
Thompson’s 25 penalty minutes are the most by a Flyers since Rinaldo impressively racked up 27 penalty minutes in just four seconds of ice time on December 7, 2013, against the Dallas Stars.
Rinaldo disciplined almost as much as he plays
Thompson isn’t usually one to fight or even get called for penalties. He had just four penalty minutes last season and 30 the year prior. Coming into this season, he had 370 penalty minutes in 811 career games –– an 82-game pace of 37 PIM. Thompson’s 25 PIM are also more penalty minutes than he had in six of his full seasons.
Last season, the Flyers as a team only had more than 20 PIM in a game once. That came in their 8-3 loss to the New York Rangers. Scott Laughton (10), Michael Raffl (10), Samuel Morin (9), Nicolas Aube-Kubel (7), and Justin Braun, Sean Couturier, and James van Riemsdyk (2 each) combined for 28 PIM on that night.
In the 2019-20 season, the Flyers never reached the 25 PIM mark.
This is a different Flyers team. They’re not necessarily back to their Broad Street Bullies ways, but they’re going to stick up for each other and not get pushed around.
“I mean, any team that has success in this league has got that ‘I’ve got your back’ mentality, and there’s no doubt that everyone had their back,” Alain Vigneault said after the win. “From [Nick Seeler] doing what he had to do, to [Thompson], I mean that’s a tight-knit group and that’s what you need to have to have success.”
Thompson stood up for his captain, Claude Giroux, who Bastian went after in the second period. Seeler got the crowd pumped up with his fight and Thompson put the cherry on top with a physical beatdown in a game that the Flyers already led 6-1.
“I was just saying to Seels on the way in that I’ve never heard the building that loud in a long time. I don’t expect anything less coming from our fans,” Travis Konecny said of the fights. “The emotion of just being back in Philly and they love us getting into it with the other team. He did a great job, Thomer did a great job. You can hear that atmosphere in the rink and on the bench. It was an awesome night.”
The Flyers are sending a message to teams this season.