There is a calm about the way the Flyers are playing. They don’t panic when they’re down, as displayed on the latest road trip, specifically against the Dallas Stars.
“The room is together, and I think that’s the biggest improvement we made from last year. I don’t think our room was awful last year, but our room needed to change. It’s been very well talked about and documented.”John Tortorella; 10/26/2023
John Tortorella wasn’t concerned about generating offense. He hammered on about the defensive mistakes, but the response from the lineup tonight was well-received. Here’s how it all played out in Philadelphia:
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Minnesota Wild
Nicolas Deslauriers and Pat Maroon dropped the gloves about as quickly as the puck did in the opening faceoff. Maroon threw most of the punches, but Deslauriers took him down.
“Two seconds into the game, Dealer [Deslauriers] got us going with a fight. Everyone on the bench gets pumped up when something like that happens. It’s a good way to start the game, especially coming off a long road trip and being back on home ice.”Owen Tippett; 10/26/2023
Sean Couturier recorded the first quality shot on goal versus Filip Gustavsson. A delayed drop pass allowed Couturier to take a more rounded approach to the crease, and for a moment, it looked as if he had room to slip the puck between pads, but Gustavsson held on.
Nick Seeler helped generate the first scoring play, zooming along the boards from the defensive zone onto the offensive. After the entry, he dropped the puck off for Travis Konecny to step in and snap a shot above Gustavsson, 1-0, with 6:03 remaining in the first period.
Carter Hart battled through periods of sustained pressure throughout the game, starting in the first period. The Wild had a three-on-zero rush in the defensive zone, yet Hart denied the clear scoring chance. Credit Sean Walker for backchecking to help disrupt the shot attempt at the last second.
After the first intermission, the Flyers entered a small lull period in the opening minutes. Both teams battled in the neutral zone, which Minnesota couldn’t sustain an attacking presence. Then, Vinni Lettieri served a minor penalty for holding, drawn by Walker.
Couturier, who made an impression earlier in the offensive zone, converted on the powerplay. Gustavsson made the initial save on Cam Atkinson but couldn’t glove the puck. Cleaning up the rebound, Couturier made it 2-0 with 12:32 remaining in the second period.
Jake Middleton was booked for cross-checking, drawn by Tyson Foerster. Couturier converted the first powerplay opportunity and then had his fingerprints on this conversion. He chipped the puck off the board, which deflected off of a skate from a member of the officiating crew. The puck travels in line with Bobby Brink, who had a point-blank shot on Gustavsson for his first NHL goal, 3-0, with 10:08 remaining in the second period.
“It’s nice to get a bounce there; a little luck. I was able to put it home; saw a little area in the five-hole. It’s nice to get lucky.”Bobby Brink; 10/26/2023
Following two powerplay goals, Philadelphia began to dip. The Wild were getting dangerous chances in front of the crease in the defensive zone. Hart made incredible saves to finish the second period, preserving his shutout bid.
“You could tell, even toward the end of the second period, that we got caught out there in some long shifts. Sometimes when you’re down that much, it almost relaxes the other team because they have nowhere else to go except up, right? It allows them to play loose. That’s why teams end up into a little bit of a shell when they have a big lead; we’ve played well, let’s just get the game done with, and they forget to play. You don’t want to write it up, but I’m really happy how we responded.”John Tortorella; 10/26/2023
Then, the Flyers fell back on their heels again, but for a little longer following the second intermission. This time, they didn’t come out unscathed. Hart had more traffic in front of him after a shot from the blue line from Jon Merrill, and Dakota Mermis got Minnesota on the scoreboard on the rebound, 3-1, with 16:55 remaining in the third period.
Not long after, Marcus Foligno had an open shot on the crease, 3-2, with 15:30 remaining in the third period. Yegor Zamula overcommitted in the defensive zone, and Walker couldn’t compensate for his positioning to cover. It was a no-brainer for Marco Rossi to find Foligno for the sure goal. Suddenly, the Wild were right back into the game.
Atkinson stripped Kirill Kaprizov of the puck in the neutral zone, transitioning into a dangerous possession and a tremendous shift. With the puck, Atkinson led Owen Tippett into a breakaway, 4-2, with 13:26 remaining in the third period. There wasn’t any shortage of scoring chances on offense, and quality defense helped pace this battle. Minnesota became careless with the puck in the offensive zone late in the game.
Travis Sanheim began the transition onto offense by knocking Brock Faber off the puck in the defensive zone. He quickly passed to Joel Farabee, and Farabee went tape-to-tape with Brink at the crease. Brink scored his first two NHL goals, 5-2, with 8:58 remaining in the third period.
Earlier, Foerster drew a penalty that resulted in a powerplay goal by Brink. Extending the lead, Foerster stuck with his shot that missed wide, finding Sanheim in the slot, 6-2, with 5:14 remaining in the third period. At home, Philadelphia continues to roll, including this victory over the Wild, who could be waning confidence.
“He’s [Foerster] played well. He needs to score a goal; just like Bobby [Brink], they judge themselves on that; but Tyson has been strong on the puck. He’s done a lot of wall work, makes a great pass tonight; he’s done all the other things other than what we’re hoping he’s going to do, and that’s score. That’s why we’re happy with his play. The scoring’s going to come; that’s his strength. He’s worked at everything else, and that’s shown up in our eyes in that part of the game while he has struggled to finish.”John Tortorella; 10/26/2023
The Flyers host the Anaheim Ducks at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday, October 28th, at 1pm.
(Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)