Last season, the Philadelphia Flyers maxed out on a four-game winning streak.
“I don’t know where we were supposed to be at this time of the season. All I know is we’re just trying to be consistent. This was a hard game. ‘The trap game’ and all that, there was a lot of emotion in yesterday afternoon’s game. The thing that I appreciate with our club tonight is how we started the game. In back-to-backs, how you start a game determines quite a bit as you go through there.”John Tortorella; 11/19/2023
Good teams put away the teams they should beat. The extra cushion on the lead ensured a victory on home ice at the Wells Fargo Center. Here’s how it all went down on Broad Street:
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
Sam Ersson and Spencer Martin went head-to-head. Both teams faced back-to-back games in their schedules with opposite results.
“After the game we had yesterday against a good team, getting the win there gave us lots of energy. We’re a team in very good shape. I think we handled that back-to-back very good.”Sam Ersson; 11/19/2023
Travis Konecny helped establish pressure on Martin, getting the puck deep into the offensive zone for his teammates. Sean Couturier had an early chance because of all the attention Konecny drew, but Martin turned away the long-traveled set-up.
Cam York fed a short pass to Ryan Poehling in the neutral zone. He chipped the puck off the boards toward Joel Farabee at center ice. Closing in on Martin, Farabee used his body to keep Yegor Chinahkov off the puck, then swept a backhand past the goaltender on the blocker side, 1-0, with 14:49 remaining in the first period.
Adam Fantilli took a sharp-angle shot on Ersson, causing an erratic rebound. Ersson kept his wits, freezing the puck with his glove. Then, Chinahkov served a minor penalty for slashing, killing any momentum they gained after Farabee scored. Travis Sanheim had a chance to put a clobbering shot on goal, but his missed opportunity turned into an unintentional pass. Owen Tippett pounced on the unintended pass, nearly turning it into a powerplay goal, but Martin made the save.
Sean Kuraly would’ve drawn a tripping penalty on the upcoming sequence. However, on the delayed penalty, he located Alexandre Texier, who scored before the Blue Jackets received an official powerplay, 1-1, with 4:58 remaining in the first period. Texier canceled the tripping minor intended for Tyson Foerster by scoring, which is even more valuable.
Nicolas Deslauriers and Mathieu Olivier exchanged fists to close out an evenly matched, equally chippy first period. At the end of the fight, both showed a brief sign of mutual respect following the stalemate.
Bobby Brink made scoring on the powerplay look simple, accepting an easy pass from Sean Walker before uncorking a quick wrist shot, 2-1, with 18:49 remaining in the second period. Kirill Marchenko served a minor penalty for tripping. Brink scored the only powerplay goal for the Flyers, who finished 1/4.
“I knew that I was going to have a lane there, and we’ve talked about shooting and the front of the net guy setting a good screen. Beezer [Farabee] did that. When he sets a screen like that, you just got to put it in a spot, and it ended up going in.”Bobby Brink; 11/19/2023
After Philadelphia reclaimed the lead, they served an avoidable bench minor penalty for too many men on the ice. Garnet Hathaway and Poehling broke free for a two-on-zero, spreading Martin thin. Poehling secured the finish, 3-1, with 13:20 remaining in the second period. The Flyers’ penalty kill remained perfect, finishing 5/5. The shorthanded goal served as the game-winner, too.
“The thing that sticks out to me with him [Poehling] is that he can skate. He’s long, he can skate. [I] talked to his prior coach [and] got some information on him there, and I just wanted to see him up in the lineup. He’s got to sink or swim there. I think he’s done some real good things. He’s been a good player for us all year long.”John Tortorella; 11/19/2023
Deslauriers and Olivier continued their chippy story arc throughout the second period. Olivier tried to jab at Hathaway along the bench, and Deslauriers noticed. Trying to play peacekeeper, Olivier snuck a cheap punch at Hathaway, earning a double-minor for roughing. Only a minor for Deslauriers, however.
Boone Jenner created traffic along the post. Ivan Provorov put the puck on the goal, and it deflected off of Jenner, 3-2, with 2:03 remaining in the second period. The scoring play was credited to Provorov originally.
Konecny and Deslauriers continued to do all the right things, starting with a strong forecheck. In the defensive zone, Ersson made another save on Fantilli. He represented just one of the scoring chances Columbus created, but Philadelphia answered with neutral zone defense by Noah Cates, Farabee, and Deslauriers.
“When you’re dealing with a club that’s growing, I think one of the biggest factors are momentum swings and situational play that involves the swings. Does it put you in a bad spot because you don’t understand situations? Does it give you a better look to keep it because you’re smart with situational play? Those things, intertwined, are huge for winning in this league.”John Tortorella; 11/19/2023
The great forechecking paid off. Louie Belpedio jumped the puck into the offensive zone, where Konecny entered in stride. Reading the retreating defense, Konecny decided to shoot instead of pass, beating Martin to extend the lead, 4-2, with 7:20 remaining in the third period.
York officially turned the Blue Jackets inside-out, scoring about as full-rink of an empty-net goal as imaginable. He played the puck around the boards, getting a generous bounce from the neutral zone, 5-2, with 2:26 remaining in the third period.
Overall, the Flyers improved to 10-7-1 on the season. They’re second in the Metropolitan Division and rank 11th in the NHL. Only three teams (CBJ, SEA, VGK) have played more games (19).
Next, the Philadelphia Flyers visit the New York Islanders on Wednesday, November 22nd, at 7:30pm.
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)