Reese’s Remarks: Flyers Solve Samsonov, Capitals 2-1

Flyers' Cam Atkinson
PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 20: Philadelphia Flyers Right Wing Cam Atkinson (89) skates with the puck during the first period of a National Hockey League game between the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers on October 20, 2021, at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)

Not only did the Philadelphia Flyers snap a six-game losing streak, but they also defeated a playoff team in regulation.

Today’s 2-1 victory felt like this team reached a new level. In a way, they did. Many conversations with Mike Yeo in press conferences pertain to the concept of “learning how to win.” Maybe this win is a catalyst?

“The commitment to each other was there right from the drop of the puck.”

Mike Yeo; 2/26/2022

A depleted Flyers lineup defeated a mostly healthy Washington Capitals team. Joel Farabee and Derick Brassard returned to the lineup, but it didn’t cause Gerry Mayhew to disappear. Mayhew looks like he belongs on an NHL roster.

Claude Giroux became the third-fastest scorer in team history, while Cam Atkinson notched the game-winning goal. It is easy to tell that these two love playing together. Is it unrealistic to believe that Giroux wants to remain in Philadelphia? The chances could be higher than we all think. Just another nugget to think about when considering the trade deadline options.

Here are more observations from today’s 2-1 victory versus the Capitals:

Mazziotti Selects: Cam Atkinson (+)

Firstly, take a moment to read the Flyers Six-Pack: The 2021-2022 Story So Far…

In that piece, Anthony Mazziotti talks about how he would have loved Atkinson to be a Philadelphia Flyer a few years earlier. Atkinson also is vocal about his love for Philadelphia, so the feeling I suggest would be mutual.

Today, he secured the game-winner. Rasmus Ristolainen started the sequence of events with a hit on Joe Snively before working the puck to Atkinson. Atkinson moved the puck towards the center for a give-and-go from Scott Laughton as they entered the offensive zone. Laughton gave, and Atkinson scored with 1:22 remaining in the first period.

“He’s a momentum changer. He has the effect to change the outcome of games.”

Joel Farabee; 2/26/2022

Hot Start (+)

From the onset, the Philadelphia Flyers made the most of their opportunities. An opening draw victory allowed Atkinson entry to the offensive zone. He dropped a pass back to the slot for Giroux, who fired it past Ilya Samsonov with 19:49 remaining in the first period.

Farabee earned a point in his return, chipping the puck from the boards to Atkinson before the offensive zone entry.

Get this! The Flyers are undefeated at home this season when leading after two periods. They’ve generated hot starts in 2021-2022, but the next part was even more critical. Playing a full sixty minutes is the foundation of “learning how to win.” Also, another returning player kept Alex Ovechkin off the stat sheet again:

Carter “the Hitman” Hart (+)

Except for a powerplay goal scored by TJ Oshie with 13:07 remaining in the second period, Carter Hart was spectacular. If we’re being honest, even when he gave up that goal, it was a perfectly placed shot by Oshie that hit the post on the way.

Earlier in the second period, Samsonov robbed Travis Konecny with a sprawling glove save. Hart returned the favor, denying Snively. He continues to give his team a chance with his play between the pipes. Unfortunately for Hart, his performance does not accurately reflect his record.

Hart improved upon each of his career numbers today versus the Washington Capitals.

Frost a Healthy Scratch (-)

In a lost season, you have to let the prospects loose. Morgan Frost is struggling to find consistency in his game. Brassard missed most of his one-year deal with a hip injury.

Both are in a contract year. Frost will be a restricted free agent, whereas Brassard is unrestricted. Making Frost a healthy scratch shows Yeo figures Brassard to be the best option. It is a fair assessment, but what do you do with one or the other ahead of the deadline?

Chuck Fletcher ought to take offers for everyone and anyone on the Philadelphia Flyers roster except Farabee, Hart, and Cam York. If Frost is a healthy scratch in the eyes of this Flyers coaching staff, then package him in a trade for something blockbuster with Giroux or Ristolainen if it makes sense.

If Philadelphia hasn’t checked out on Frost, move Brassard at or before the deadline.

What I’ll Miss About Ristolainen (+)

Everyone likes his physicality. I include myself in that observation. He bullies Tom Wilson, which is a sight to behold. It’s something that I’ll miss about Ristolainen, amongst some flashes of brilliance in the offensive zone.

“He enjoys playing against that team. Obviously they’ve got some physical players, and Risto, it doesn’t seem to take much to drag him into the fight.”

Mike Yeo; 2/26/2022

It sounds like Ristolainen turned down an offer that would officially make him more overpaid in Philadelphia. He wants to be on a winning team, which the Philadelphia Flyers are not. In turning down that offer, he’s saving Fletcher from himself. Trading Ristolainen at the deadline already made sense, but now it seems inevitable if the Flyers want a return on their steep investment, even if at a loss. He’ll thrive as a powerplay body, as would Frost, which makes sense in a package to a team that wants to sustain an effective unit (like the Anaheim Ducks.)

Zack MacEwen can always slug it out with Wilson.

“I believe we’re starting to create a little bit of an identity where we don’t want to be responding to what other teams do; we want to be initiating.”

Mike Yeo; 2/26/2022

Flyers 2, Capitals 1

(Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)