The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights in overtime, with a 4-3 win at home. Moving to a four-game winning streak, playing some tough opponents in the process, the Flyers have a 9-7-1 record on the season. What were some takeaways from the victory?
Power Play Finally Clicking
The Flyers finally ended their 0-for-27 drought on the power play, scoring on it not once, but twice in this game. With their power play ranking towards the bottom of the league in terms of efficiency entering this game, the Flyers got on the board at the perfect time.
The Flyers didn’t score any perfectly executed goals on the man advantage but rather had some bounces go their way. The team didn’t necessarily look or play any better than they had on their previous 27 attempts but did get terrific looks when it came to the pucks that went in the net. It’s easier said than done, but the Flyers need to get the puck in dangerous areas more consistently if they want to have a better power play.
The Flyers did draw a major penalty after their first two goals on the power play but did not generate much of anything. Overall, the takeaway should be positive, as the Flyers scoring on the man advantage has been a rarity. Simply put, they will win more games if they can be more effective when they are up a man, evidenced by the two points they came away with in this one.
Foerster’s Goal Could Be a Turning Point
After going 15 games without scoring a goal this season, 21-year-old forward Tyson Foerster finally got on the board. His issues this season have come from him not truly being able to show off his lethal shot, and not scoring a single goal as a result. In his eight-game stint last season, he was able to score three goals and seven points in total. With just three assists entering this game, the offensive production had been a struggle. Now that he finally got the monkey off his back, it could be a turning point for his season.
Being very impressive in 2022-23 for a short period, Foerster became a sneaky pick for a player that could have been in the Calder Trophy discussion entering this season. Unfortunately, he has taken a step back early. Rather than being a dangerous forward in transition with an elite shot, he has become a forechecking forward that has only generated chances once in a while.
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This description doesn’t match that of an elite shooter, but forechecking has been one of his strengths, while the shooting has not been there. He has plenty of time to grow as a player, but his start to the season was underwhelming. Now that he is finally in the goal department, that might be the start of him slowly returning to what he is capable of. The former first-round draft pick has some high expectations. Improvement throughout the rest of the season would bode well for the Flyers’ rebuild.
Hart Not Slowed By Injury
Goaltender Carter Hart was out for two weeks following his Nov. 1 injury against the Buffalo Sabres. A reasonable assumption might be that he could look slow in his return, or perhaps take a bit of time to get back into form. In his first game back against the Carolina Hurricanes on Nov. 15, he was fantastic. In this game, he was just as good, making several difficult saves in the process. The Flyers’ star netminder hasn’t taken any time to get back to where he left off.
Hart’s save percentage (SV%) of .903 might not look great on paper, but the shots he faced were incredibly tough. He hung on to give the Flyers a chance in the first place, even when they didn’t have his back at all times. Turning aside multiple breakaway opportunities, he was at his best.
One of the major benefits of having a star goaltender is that they are almost always on their game. They have the ability to stop pucks that most wouldn’t be able to on a consistent basis, but that is the luxury that the Flyers have in Hart. Odd-man rushes against the Flyers have come pretty frequent this season, so making it so those mishaps don’t cost the Flyers a win helps them to find their aggressive game offensively that leads to those sorts of chances against them. More often than not, the Flyers’ star goaltender will be there to bail them out of trouble.
Flyers Responded to Adversity
The Flyers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the game, but Vegas did not say die. There were several instances where the Flyers could have faltered after giving up two straight goals and losing their lead late in the second period, but they were able to respond when they needed to.
After Vegas scored the game-tying goal, the Flyers took the lead right back 25 seconds later. Late in the second period, the Flyers went on to take three penalties in rapid succession. The Golden Knights would score once, but the Flyers survived any further damage. With Vegas controlling play through much of the third period, the Flyers bent but didn’t break. The team could have lost their spirits and given up a crushing goal late, but they held on to force overtime and win the game. Adversity was a theme for Philadelphia, but they didn’t let it be their downfall.
The Flyers will look to extend their winning streak on Nov. 19 as they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets at Wells Fargo Center. After facing three playoff teams from last season in their last three games, the Flyers take on a struggling Columbus club at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.