After defeating the Washington Capitals, 7-4, we dive into the latest Philadelphia Flyers team news in today’s Phlight Deck.
Amidst scoring a touchdown on the Washington Capitals, the Philadelphia Flyers welcomed Sean Couturier back into the lineup. Along with Scott Laughton tallying his first career hat-trick, his effort put the Flyers back into the win column, 7-4. Philadelphia showed resilience on the road, putting together an outstanding third period after overcoming a two-goal deficit. Vitek Vanecek was pulled from the game after James van Riemsdyk scored. Craig Anderson allowed two more goals before Couturier scored an empty-net insurance marker.
Defensively, Justin Braun had a stellar game. It was by far his best performance of the season, tallying an assist with a plus-three rating. He played on the second pair with Philippe Myers, who was not in the lineup during a 2-1 loss to the Boston Bruins. Braun, who struggled through most of 2020-2021 to date, was the best defenseman on the ice for the Flyers. As Philadelphia gets ready to play the Capitals for the second time tomorrow, we review the latest in the Flyers Phlight Deck.
Sanheim In COVID-19 Protocols
Absent from the lineup during yesterday’s victory was Travis Sanheim. Before the game, the NHL tested every player for COVID. According to the NHL’s press release, “all tests returned negative.” It is still unconfirmed that Sanheim had a positive test. His absence from that game and today’s practice may be an indication of contact tracing.
Sanheim took a rapid test before yesterday’s game. Those tests aren’t as accurate, meaning he could have had a false-positive result. Today, every player practiced, which is a good sign for Sanheim’s COVID protocol. He is still within the NHL COVID protocol guidelines, which means it is more of a precaution he missed practice with the team. Alain Vigneault did note that Sanheim will not be in tomorrow’s lineup.
This Weekend’s Flyers’ Games
News just broke that this weekend’s series of games against the New Jersey Devils will be postponed.
The Devils currently have 16 players under COVID protocols. The league has shuffled around a number of their games in the near future, including their two game set against the Flyers on Thursday and Saturday. With the Flyers’ situation being unknown as well too, this is likely best case scenario given the circumstances. Let’s wish all of the players around the league the best as well.
Flyers’ Brian Elliott Will Start Tomorrow
Brian Elliott will start versus Washington tomorrow night. Throughout 2020-2021, he has been Philadelphia’s most reliable goaltender. This announcement has nothing to do with Carter Hart’s statistics, however. Hart, who is 5-2-2 this season, has an 89.7% save percentage and allows 3.49 goals-against on average. It has not been the hot start many have predicted for him this season.
Elliott lost his first game of the season against the Bruins on Friday night. In a heartbreaking loss, Boston scored two goals in less than thirty seconds to secure the victory. Owning a 3-1-0 record, Elliott secured a 92.9% save percentage while allowing 2.19 goals-against on average. He’ll give Hart a rest, who suffered from back spasms on Friday. Starting Elliott serves as a precaution to Hart while offering another sure hand between the pipes.
Konecny Improving His Game
He was one of the final players to leave the ice in today’s practice. Ever since Vigneault marked him as a healthy scratch versus the New York Islanders, he challenged Konecny to improve his 200-foot game in five-on-five scenarios. He is not known for having a balanced defensive skill set, which he is developing. The trick with Konecny is maintaining his scoring prowess while developing his defense. A combined effort of those two traits will allow him to improve within Vigneault’s system.
Over the last seven games, Konecny has mustered four shots without scoring a goal. Growing pains aside, Konecny plays a vital role for the Flyers. Vigneault praised Konecny’s work ethic in improving his all-around game. He “believes Konecny is working to put it all together.” Konecny stated, “right now, I am trying to play the right way, even if I don’t get on the scoresheet.” His focus contributes to the improvement of the team.
Bottom Six Quality
Defeating the Capitals yesterday had a lot to do with Philadelphia’s bottom-six forwards playing quality minutes. Couturier played on the fourth line as he re-entered the lineup. His play provided a boost throughout the bottom-six forwards while totaling three points and a plus-four rating. Michael Raffl turned in a magnificent performance, adding two assists and a plus-four rating as well. Nicolas Aube-Kubel found his way onto the scoresheet with an assist and a plus-one rating, completing an excellent day for the fourth-line.
The cream of the crop was the third-line. Laughton, as previously mentioned, scored his first career hat-trick. En route to his hat-trick, Joel Farabee logged three assists. Continuing his hot start to 2020-2021, van Riemsdyk had a goal and an assist. Every player on the third-line had a plus-two rating or higher. Performances like these from the bottom-six of any lineup will always likely result in a team victory.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre