For the first time in 4 years, the Flyers swept the Western Canada trip. After struggling the past few years in Western Canada, the Flyers got back to their winning ways and swept the three Western Canadian teams.
Tonight, the Flyers defeated the Canucks 4-1 off a strong performance by all aspects of the game: powerplay, penalty kill, & 5v5.
The Flyers got powerplay goals from Shayne Gostisbehere & Claude Giroux, another goal from the red-hot Michael Raffl, & and an empty netter from Wayne Simmonds.
After a shaky start giving up the first 9 shots on goal, the Flyers came back with a vengeance. Their first shot didn’t come until the 11:36 mark of the 1st. After that point, the shots were even at 26 the rest of the game.
The sweep, back in 2013, jumped started a 25-14-6 finish to the season and helped propel the Flyers to a playoff spot. Hopefully, this sweep of the western Canadian teams will have the same effect on this Flyers team.
Also, this win marked the Flyers first 3-game winning streak of the year.
Here are 5 observations from the Flyers 4-1 win over the Canucks…
One of the main factors why the Flyers swept the 3-game trip was Brian Elliott who earned his 200th career victory last night and had a trip to remember. For the trip, Elliott stopped 109 shots of the 114 he faced.
Tonight, Elliott added a 36 save, 1 goal performance to help the Flyers to another victory. Elliott, who faced a flurry of shots early in the 1st, stood tall and kept the game scoreless all the way till 19 seconds left in the 2nd when more controversy struck the Flyers.
With 19.6 seconds left in the 2nd, Elliott was scored on for the first and only time tonight. However, enter the most inconsistent rule in the NHL, goalie interference. Elliott wasn’t just obstructed by the stick of a Canuck, the stick was actually touching him and restricted him from moving his blocker for the save.
Not enough to change the call on the ice. Goal stands. 3-1 Flyers. pic.twitter.com/qMw6xRsF12
— Sons of Penn (@SonsofPenn) December 8, 2017
However, somehow the league deemed it wasn’t enough to overturn the call on the ice.
But that didn’t stop Elliott at all. Elliott stopped all 9 shots he faced in the 3rd for the victory and improved to 9-6-6 on the season and 3-0-0 on the roadtrip. He will get the workload of the games over the next 2 weeks due to Neuvirth’s injury and the rookie status of Alex Lyon.
Jake Voracek is a Machine
Mr. Assist Genie, the Wizard, Hands of an Angel. Whatever you call him, Jake Voracek is an assist machine. He came into tonight’s game 2nd in the league in assists, added 3 more tonight to take over the league lead.
Voracek had a part in all three of the Flyers goals with Markstrom on the ice. However, he his night would have been better if it wasn’t for his unselfish play late in the 3rd to make a line change and get fresh legs on the ice. His replacement was Wayne Simmonds, who proceeded to steal the puck and pocket the empty net goal.
When Voracek came to the Flyers, he wasn’t known for his passing and was known to be a scorer. All through his junior career, Voracek was marked as a speedy winger who could score.
Now, Voracek is marked as one of the league’s best passing forwards and he has shown that of late with some great success in the assist column. He is currently riding a 3-game point streak, where he has 7 assists.
Powerplay Heating Up
For the third straight game, the Flyers scored on the man-advantage, scoring 2 last night. The Flyers, who struggled on the powerplay during the month of November, are starting to heat up on the man-advantage.
First, Shayne Gostisbehere got a shot through a ton of traffic to beat Markstrom. The shot deflected off former Flyer Sam Gagner to change direction and hit the top corner of the net.
Gostisbehere's point shot finds it's way through! pic.twitter.com/MjQ1ujIuJK
— Flyers Nation (@FlyersNation) December 8, 2017
Second, Claude Giroux scored his usual lazar off a great passing sequence around the umbrella at the point of the powerplay. Giroux, who is known for his one-timer from the left dot, got an absolute lazar beam by Markstrom for the Flyers second powerplay tally of the night.
A power-play blast from Claude Giroux! pic.twitter.com/GhqXPHVPaB
— Flyers Nation (@FlyersNation) December 8, 2017
In December, the Flyers are 4 for 19. However, if you take out the miserable effort in the first game of December, the Flyers are 4 for 13. A number and stat that has dramatically improved from a unit who only scored 5 times in November.
Penalty Kill On Fire
One strength that has gone unnoticed over the past couple of games is the Flyers penalty kill. But, that comes from first not taking any penalties.
When the Flyers were on their 10-game losing streak, they were averaging 4 penalties a game. A problem for a team that was spending more time defending and less time trying to score.
However, in the 4 games in December, the Flyers are only averaging 2 penalties a game…which is a huge difference from the 4 they were giving up during the losing streak.
An even better stat? The Flyers have taken 8 penalties in December and have killed off all 8. Including, 2 more tonight.
Back to .500
For the first time since November 18, the Flyers recored sits at .500. After a horrific stretch, marked by a 10-game losing streak, the Flyers wasted a great start to the season.
However, since falling to last in the Metro, the Flyers have been turning it around. And, don’t say it now. But, they sit just 6 points out of a playoff spot with a game in hand.
If history repeats itself, the Flyers will hopefully use this Western Canadian sweep to propel themselves to a great 2nd half and a playoff spot.
Result : Flyers 4 – Canucks 1, WIN
Record : 11 – 11 – 7
Next Game : 12/12 Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia PA, 7 pm EST
Mandatory Photo Credit: Cal Sport Media via AP Images