A Lively Powerplay Provides Flyers Boost

Something that the Philadelphia Flyers faithful want that cannot be placed in a Flyer’s Santa Sack is a powerplay unit to perform the way that they did against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night. Everything seemed to fall into place. When the puck bounces the right way for one team, that’s a recipe for a successful night on the ice. The Flyers were prepared to take on the Sabres with Jack Eichel in the lineup, but he was a late scratch due to an apparent upper-body injury. That night at the Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia played three periods of quality hockey.

The Youth

On paper, if one were to look at the starting lineup for the Philadelphia Flyers, no one would have guessed that Mikhail Vorobyev would be the one to start off this buffet of goals. However, he did just that. Scoring first has always been very important for the Flyers in games against quality teams. Misha tallied the first of the night and his first of this season. With the help on that goal was Phil Myers, another young player in Philadelphia.

About Mikhail Vorobyev, head coach Alain Vigneault stated:

“Every time he’s come here, he’s gotten a little bit more confident. I thought tonight, he wanted the puck and made some plays.”

Alain Vigneault; 12/19/19

Travis Konecny also recorded three points. While all of those points were assists, he was responsible for puck movement on that Mikhail Vorobyev goal and two other powerplay goals from Ivan Provorov and James van Riemsdyk.

Regarding the success of the powerplay, Travis Konecny stated:

“We tried to keep it simple tonight and Provy’s goal was big. It was just a simple play, get the puck to the net. Haysey’s and Nisky’s were pretty special plays.”

Travis Konecny; 12/19/19

The Powerplay

When the powerplay unit is converting 60% of their chances in a game, that is good execution. Throughout this season, the Philadelphia Flyers have rapidly improved on the powerplay and penalty kill from a season ago. Credited with a powerplay goal on Thursday was Matt Niskanen, Ivan Provorov, and James van Riemsdyk. This is where the veterans of the Flyers showed up. Sean Couturier and Kevin Hayes did their jobs perfectly to provide scoring chances to Nisky and JvR.

James van Riemsdyk commented on the powerplay:

“I think our powerplay still has a ton of room to get better. We are getting some goals off it too, off the rush. As the year goes on, we got to find ways to score more within our set up.”

James van Riemsdyk; 12/19/19

Alain Vigneault commented that a lot of the scoring chances were predicated on getting the puck to the crease, and crashing the net. James van Riemsdyk elaborated:

“Both of my goals weren’t really shots on net. Our line the last few games have done a good job of playing off each other. We’re spending some good time down in the offensive zone and make some simple plays at the net.”

James van Riemsdyk; 12/19/19

Who’s Next

Tonight, the Philadelphia Flyers visit the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre at 7 pm. Last time these two teams met, the Flyers won the game, but bad blood spilled when Brady Tkachuk jumped Scott Laughton in the closing minutes of a loss.

Thursday, Tyler Pitlick commented on what the win against the Buffalo Sabres meant to the Philadelphia Flyers as they moved forward:

“It’s a big win. Every point is important. We got a lot of goals and we got them from a lot of people too, so that’s huge for everyone’s confidence going into the next game.”

Tyler Pitlick; 12/19/19

Currently, the Philadelphia Flyers are three points out of third place. With a win tonight and a loss for the Carolina Hurricanes or Pittsburgh Penguins, the Flyers will be one point away from jumping into third place in the Metropolitan Division behind the New York Islanders. The forecast for tonight’s game against the Ottawa Senators shows heavy hands and high intensity. If at all, this one is about to be physical all over again. Follow on Twitter (@EricReesePSN and @PhiladelphiaSN).

Mandatory Credit – © Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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