Last night, the Philadelphia Flyers had an opportunity to make up ground in the Metropolitan Division. With a win in regulation, the Flyers jump the New Jersey Devils for sixth place. Thus far, 2021-2022 hasn’t been favorable for Philadelphia in this rivalry.
The Devils are 2-6-2 in their last ten games, only defeating the Flyers during their ten-game losing streak. Meanwhile, Philadelphia is closing in on their longest winning streak of the season.
How did it go down at the Wells Fargo Center?
The Philadelphia Flyers typically begin games with a competitive first period. They worked the puck around the ice with some structure to their game. Eventually, that structure afforded an early lead from Travis Sanheim.
“I’ve had a few chances this year. I’m happy to finally get the first one.”Travis Sanheim; 12/14/2021
Sanheim and Rasmus Ristolainen have worked well for most of this season. The stats aren’t glowing, but the tandem has been one of the more reliable in Philadelphia. Jordan Hall released a statistic about Sanheim, stating that his last two goals before tonight were against the New Jersey Devils and MacKenzie Blackwood. Perhaps Blackwood no longer has the Flyers’ number, but vice versa with Sanheim on the puck.
“I don’t think you can have success in the game without your defense being part of the offense.”Mike Yeo; 12/14/2021
Morgan Frost left the ice in the first period and didn’t return.
Eventually, even-strength hockey became four-on-four. Tomas Tatar and Travis Konecny served dual penalties. Ristolainen went to work again, fooling the Devils with incredible passing. Cam Atkinson was on the goal line, stuffing the puck into the net. After one, Philadelphia led 2-0.
Usually, the Flyers are particularly awful in the second period. Tonight, that was not the case. They ran away with this game, sticking out as possibly their best performance in the second of 2021-2022.
Committing two penalties couldn’t knock the Flyers off their stride. First, Cam Atkinson served for tripping, then Sean Couturier. The New Jersey Devils went 0/2 on the powerplay through two periods, surrendering a shorthanded goal. Atkinson and Oskar Lindblom put this one firmly in Philadelphia’s hands.
Justin Braun began the scoring in the second period with a knuckle puck. PK Subban answered on a just as lucky scoring chance. Both goaltenders let in a weak puck, but Carter Hart recovered. He kept Jesper Bratt out of the back of the net before Atkinson scored a shorthanded goal. Soon after, Atkinson forced a takeaway before being credited with the assist on Lindblom’s goal.
Rasmus Ristolainen continued to mow over any Devils player in his path. Morgan Frost did not return in the second period.
“I was told he had to be removed for COVID protocol. We’ll know more tomorrow.”Mike Yeo; 12/14/2021
After two periods, the Flyers led 5-1.
Akira Schmid replaced MacKenzie Blackwood after surrendering five goals.
The New Jersey Devils had two more powerplay opportunities in the third period. First, Rasmus Ristolainen served for interference. Later, Travis Konecny served for cross-checking. Again, the Flyers’ penalty kill did their job.
Cam Atkinson completed the hat trick when Claude Giroux set him up on the crease. Hopefully, Atkinson is back to his red-hot scoring streak we saw earlier this season. The Flyers won, 6-1.
“It’s a play that’s worked a lot for me in the past with centermen and it’s something he and I have been trying. Great pass by him, I just had to beat my guy and put it in the back of the net.”Cam Atkinson; 12/14/2021
Philadelphia needs to consider extending Giroux at a team-friendly average annual value. He and Atkinson already have great line chemistry. Atkinson is a Flyer through 2024-2025 on his current deal. An extension through that time for Giroux at around $7mil is doable. They could mentor Morgan Frost (who didn’t return due to COVID protocol.)
Next, the Philadelphia Flyers visit the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. Faceoff takes place at 7pm.
Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire