“I don’t think we’re worried about it. It’s a so much different game when the regular season starts, too. It changes totally from the preseason, so [I] wouldn’t read too much into that. We’ll be fine.”Tony DeAngelo; 10/2/2022
During the preseason, the Flyers finished with a record of 1-4-1. Lacking structure, Philadelphia closely contested opponents. Now that “the real stuff,” as John Tortorella refers to the regular season, started, this roster displays a revived effort.
The Wells Fargo Center attendance surprised, mostly packing the arena. Efforts by Nic Deslauriers, Wade Allison, and DeAngelo were well received. The Flyers were playing with energy and projecting the hard identity Tortorella preaches. At the end of regulation, Philadelphia defeated the New Jersey Devils, 5-2.
“I think in this league; if you’re true, you’re honest, you find your way into the win column.”John Tortorella; 10/13/2022
Allison scored an equalizing goal, knotting the game 1-1 soon after Alexander Holtz gave the Devils an early lead on the powerplay. Travis Konecny and Morgan Frost traded goals the rest of the evening, scoring two a piece, including a powerplay goal. Damon Severson scored the additional goal for New Jersey. Carter Hart earned the victory for the Flyers, saving 35/37 shots.
Responding to Adversity (+)
Last night, technically, was a comeback victory. The final score doesn’t show it but consider the context. A season ago, Philadelphia trails early and likely doesn’t climb out of the hole. Not only did they respond last night to a powerplay goal by Holtz, but the response was swift.
“What I liked best was that they scored first. We came right back, played for a bit, and went back and forth. Real good start for us.”Tony DeAngelo; 10/13/2022
On the ice, the effort was contagious. Deslauriers made a lot of hits, draining the opposition in each zone of the ice. The consistent defensive pressure, meeting the Devils at the blue line upon entry, supported Hart. Routinely, the Flyers were generating high-quality scoring chances. They stuck to their guns, and the rest of the game fell into place.
“I thought Nic banged a couple of bodies, and I thought that revived us a little bit in the second period, and grabbed a hold of it.”John Tortorella; 10/13/2022
Speaking of the second period, Philadelphia didn’t slide. It might’ve been the strongest stretch of play, in fact.
“That was big. There was some talk about that on the bench and in the locker room, actually, about how we didn’t bounce back. It’s going to be important for us this year to make sure we’re answering right back when things happen.”Travis Konecny; 10/13/2022
Responding this strongly to an early deficit showed the difference, though it’s just one game, between this team and last year’s.
Playing Prevent (+)
Defensively, the Flyers were satisfying. Ivan Provorov and DeAngelo both accounted for the assists to tie the game, 1-1. In the offensive zone, they contributed to scoring plays. The puck movement on the powerplay was a lot smoother, a nod to DeAngelo.
Provorov had a busy evening. He made a handful of hits and blocked ten shots.
Since the conclusion of the preseason, there was an emphasis on learning a new system. The expectation was to battle, block shots, and make an intelligent play to get the puck out of the defensive zone. On the top pair, Provorov and DeAngelo popped:
“I think the last five practices have been huge. We worked a ton on our systems and everybody bought in. Tried to execute to the best of their abilities. The main change that happened over camp and this first game was you saw everyone battle, block shots, take a hit when they needed to take the hit, or pin somebody against the boards when they needed to. I think overall it was a great team effort.”Ivan Provorov; 10/13/2022
Additionally, everyone from the newly extended Travis Sanheim to Egor Zamula executed well to round out the unit.
Temperature Check (+)
After the season opener, are you re-investing in Philadelphia hockey?
“No matter what happens in the game, you can’t get away from our game as a team. We just stuck with it and played a great sixty minutes.”Carter Hart; 10/13/2022
The Flyers played a full sixty minutes. The lineup did all the right things and showed confidence. A roster featuring a ton of U25 players provided more than a spark. Versus a division rival, they were a towering inferno. Five goals and a victory between the pipes exclusively belong to the U25 crowd.
There is a reason to be excited about this team. This is the identity Tortorella strived to achieve, and the fans last night were audible in their encouragement. After the game, Tortorella said this about the atmosphere at the Wells Fargo Center during his first game as the bench boss:
“I don’t really hear it during the game. I just don’t, you’re so involved. I just hope they respect [the effort] of our guys tonight; they really gave it.”John Tortorella; 10/13/2022
Philadelphia appreciates this level of care. It’s a mutual sign between the city and the standard Tortorella leads.
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)