Last Saturday’s game against the Golden Knights was an outlier.
I don’t think the Flyers will lose many games this season by a score of 1-0. Sure, that’s easy to say on the heels of a thrilling, 6-5 shootout win over the Panthers but this team has some firepower on offense.
The Orange and Black had a lackadaisical first period where they fell behind 1-0 on a Frank Vatrano goal.
Here’s a closer look at that Vatrano goal just in case anybody was still on the fence about whether or not to turn off this game for the Sixers. pic.twitter.com/kdIQGYHnBa
— Jordie 🔵 (@BarstoolJordie) October 16, 2018
That’s about all the action from the first period. Don’t believe me?
Gritty with 5 kisses on kiss cam. Unfortunately that’s been the most action this #Flyers team has seen through 12 minutes of play. Game tied at 0 with 8:43 left in the first
— Philly Influencer (@PHL_Influencer) October 16, 2018
The Flyers needed a jump in the third period and they got it. H/T to Charlie O’Connor from the Athletic for this astute observation and getting a tweet out about it.
Hak switched up his bottom two lines — Laughton was centering Raffl and Simmonds on that shift — and the move immediately paid dividends with a goal. Vorobyev now 4C, it appears.
— Charlie O’Connor (@charlieo_conn) October 17, 2018
The first Flyers goal was scored by Simmonds off a nice Sanheim feed. From there the Flyers went on to score two more unanswered goals by Jordan Weal and Claude Giroux respectively. Vatrano of the Panthers potted his second of the night followed by two more Flyers goals by Wayne Simmonds and Claude Giroux for their second of the night. The Panthers ended the scoring in the second period when Alexander Barkov put one past Brian Elliott. The Flyers took a 5-3 lead into the third period.
With tensions high, the Panthers came out swinging in the third period and put up their fourth goal of the night which led Dave Hakstol to pull Brian Elliott in favor of Cal Pickard who allowed the game-tying goal. The game went to overtime knotted at 5.
Despite having a power play for two of the five overtime minutes the Flyers couldn’t end the game. After five minutes there was no winner so a shootout would determine the winner. Jake Voracek was up first and scored, Vincent Trochek missed for the Panthers, Giroux missed, Barkov scored, Weal scored and Vatrano was denying giving the Flyers two points.
Here are my six takeaways from Tuesday night’s game:
1.) Christian Folin actually played a good game
I never thought I’d type those words but he actually played pretty well in Andrew MacDonald’s absence. He had a sweet saucer pass assist on Wayne Simmonds’ second goal and wasn’t a total liability in the defensive zone. I don’t know how sustainable his play can be but it was great to see he brought his A-game on Tuesday night. His play was definitely one of the contributing factors to the Flyers win (for what it’s worth, he finished the game +4)
2.) Why pull Elliott?
I have no idea why Hakstol pulled Elliott after allowing the fourth goal of the night. He went straight to the locker room but was back within minutes. Definitely curious decision making for Hak there. The goalie picture is really shaky now that Michael Neuvirth will be coming back from injury.
3.) The second line has some fire
The second line consisting of Lindblom-Weal-Konecny played with some juice on Tuesday night. Lindblom was strong on the puck while Weal and Konecny played with speed. That line was dynamic against the Panthers. Unfortunately, it might be the end of that combination as Nolan Patrick should be back soon.
Side note: Konecny is still looking for his first goal of the season. He’s getting great chances he just can’t find twine. It’s only a matter of time before he busts through this “slump”.
4.) That third line is pretty good too
Dave Hakstol said earlier on Tuesday that Scott Laughton might be the best player on this hockey team through five games and he might not be wrong. Scott Laughton had another point on a beautiful feed to Simmonds that broke the tie at the time. Granted Hakstol juggled the lines after the first period, the combination of Michael Raffl, Scott Laughton, Wayne Simmonds and Misha Vorobyev give the Flyers a nice look for the back end of the top nine.
5.) Let’s talk starting five
You could take something positive away from the Flyers starting five every game. Giroux, Voracek, Couturier, Gostisbehere and Provorov – for the most part – is as good a starting five as a team could have. Let them gel and watch what they can do. I’m excited to see this line progress as the season goes on.
6.) What to do with Jordan Weal
As I mentioned in takeaway three, Nolan Patrick will be returning shortly which should send Weal down the ranks despite a stellar performance on Tuesday night.
Will he center the third line sending Vorobyev to the fourth line? Will Weal go to the fourth line? The possibilities are endless and unclear.
It might be way to early to say this but I wouldn’t be shocked if Jordan Weal turns into trade bait. At 26 Weal hasn’t shown any signs of consistency during his time as an NHL player. When he’s on his game he’s a fantastic player with a lot of energy and a nice scoring touch. When he’s off he’s just a guy. Maybe Hextall can strike while the iron is hot on him and possibly bring up a young guy from the AHL to get some time.
The more likely takeaway is that Weal will remain on this roster for the time being.
The Flyers return to action on Thursday at Columbus.