Five Flyers Observations: Valterri Filppula was key to Flyers victory in Washington

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With 13:48 left in the 2nd period, Valterri Filppula set up the lone Flyers regulation goal. Filppula found a loose puck behind the net and slide a slick backhand pass to Michael Raffl into the low slot. Raffl would one-time it home for the goal.

Filppula showed his offense side there. However, he would show his defense side more than once in this win.

With the Capitals being the home team, Capitals coach, Barry Trotz, decided to line match the Capitals 1st line against the Flyers 2nd line. This meant Filppula would be going up against the great Alex Ovechkin.

Filppula held his own against the great Alex Ovechkin, who was held scoreless at even strength. He did score a goal, but it was on the power-play.

However, it was what Filppula did late in the game that made the difference. Filppula made timely defensive plays in the 3rd period.  None bigger than the deflection of the puck away before Oshie could get a shot off in the high slot. But, today isn’t the only time he has done it and another Flyer is benefitting from it this year.

With Filppula’s increase in defensive play this season, it has let Sean Couturier become what he has become. Couturier has always had to think defense first in his career. But, with the emergence of Scott Laughton and Filppula’s increase in defense, Couturier has been able to become a better two-way forward.

Filppula had a great day today, but his season’s work has been paying off for the Flyers in more ways than one.

Here are 4 more observations from the Flyers 2-1 OT Win against the Capitals…

 

Mr. OT??
The Flyers used to have Mr. Playoffs, Danny Briere. However, have the Flyers found Mr. OT now?

Travis Konecny has been on a tare lately for the Flyers. Since being put on the Flyers top line, Konecny has 4 goals and 6 assists in 11 games. Before that, in 36 games prior, Konecny had 4 goals and 6 assists.

Konecny’s recent spike in play has been a result of a better rounded game. He has been better defensively and it has showed with his long stay on the top line.

But, in the last 2 OT games, Konecny has really shined. Tuesday, he set up the Flyers OT goal with a great pass to Couturier. Today, Konecny had both the Flyers shots in OT and the goal to win it.

So, now after his second straight OT contribution, is Travis Konecny turning into Mr. OT?

 

Brian Elliott
Coming off so much needed rest, Brian Elliott was the star of the game for the Flyers. After giving up 5 goals in New York on Tuesday, Elliott looked like he needed a break.

Today, Elliott did not show any remanence of his poor performance Tuesday. Elliott stopped 27 of the 28 Capitals shots he faced.

However, the one thing he did not do well on Tuesday, he did today. Elliott made timely save after timely save to propel the Flyers to victory. None bigger than a shot off the stick of Capitals Matt Niskanen late in the 3rd.

With the Flyers have both goalies playing well, it will be interesting to see who gets the start on Tuesday in Detroit.

 

Oh Where, Oh Where Has The Power-Play Gone?
After a stretch of 7 for 13, the Flyers power-play has gone silent. For the 4th straight game, the Flyers failed to score a power-play goal. In this stretch, the Flyers are 0 for 12. But, the Flyers have been making great strides.

The Flyers have been getting better pressure and more zone time on the power-play. However, still no goal. The worst part is the Flyers 2nd unit, when the full 2nd unit is on the ice, has only 1 goal this year.

However, yesterday the Flyers made a move to hopefully solve that. The Flyers moved Brandon Manning off the 2nd unit and put Travis Konecny in his spot. With Konecny’s recent offensive spike, the Flyers are hoping it translates to the power-play too.

One good thing is the Flyers have not had to rely on the power-play to win games.

 

Playoffs???
After falling to the bottom of the Metro Division in November, the Flyers have turned things around in a big way. With the Flyers getting a point and in the end a victory, they jumped into the first wild card spot.

Even better is the Flyers are only 1 point out of the last divisional spot and only 7 points out of the division lead. With the way this Flyers season is going, I do not think a wild card spot is on the Flyers mind.

If their play can keep up, the Flyers should have no problem getting into the playoffs as a divisional team. Remember, the Flyers play the most divisional games out of any team in the NHL over the remaining 35 games.

 

Result : Flyers 2 – Capitals 1, WIN

Record : 23 – 16 – 8

Next Game : 1/23 Detroit Red Wings, Detroit MI, 7:30 pm NBCSports Philadelphia

 

Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

 

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