The Philadelphia Flyers (20-13-6) stumbled into 2024 into an eventual four-game losing streak, snapped today versus the Calgary Flames (17-17-5). On a day that also honored Ed Snider, John Tortorella prepared a lineup to avenge an earlier loss. Every step of the way, fists were thrown, and liberties were taken en route to a hard-fought win, 3-2.
“It was a good game for Mr. Snider. A good style game for him, rest his soul.”John Tortorella; 1/6/2024
It took a complete effort from the Flyers to redeem themselves of their last memory of 2023, a 4-3 loss to the Flames on the road. Jonathan Huberdeau gave Calgary a lead, but Morgan Frost tied with an even-strength goal. MacKenzie Weegar regained a lead, but Sean Couturier scored on the powerplay. Tension began to boil between the second and third periods before Travis Konecny scored the game-winner on the penalty kill, making Philadelphia the NHL team leader in shorthanded goals. Additionally, Konecny is tied for the individual league lead in shorthanded goals.
For a moment, the Flyers are ahead of the New Jersey Devils in the wildcard race and hot pursuit of the New York Islanders, standing in third place in the NHL Metropolitan Division. The Devils host the Vancouver Canucks, and the Islanders visit the Vegas Golden Knights tonight.
Morgan Frost and Cam Atkinson (+)
Yesterday, Tortorella was complimentary of the energy from his lineup in a shootout loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. That was without Cam Atkinson and Frost. Today, the impression from Atkinson and Frost wasn’t lost on Tortorella.
“I noticed Cam [Atkinson]. He was more energetic and active. He had some chances. Frosty [Frost], what did he have? One [goal] and one [assist]? [They] carried the puck well, didn’t turn the puck over much. They played well.”John Tortorella; 1/6/2024
Atkinson drew a penalty on his best scoring chance against Jacob Markstrom. His contributions don’t appear on the stat sheet, but Atkinson was active on the forecheck and helped with shot-blocking.
“I had my energy. I had chances. That’s all I can really do, and they’re going to go for me, so it was a good step in the right direction.”Cam Atkinson; 1/6/2024
Frost did more of what Atkinson showed but converted on the crease after Sean Walker fired another shot on goal when his initial was blocked. In the offensive zone, Frost created rebound opportunities for his teammates, too. Walker allowed Frost to strike on a rebound during even-strength play, but on the powerplay, it was Frost who gave back to Couturier. He had a great response after holding a meeting with Tortorella about his benching versus the Blue Jackets.
“I had some things I wanted to get off my chest. It was a good back-and-forth, nothing crazy. Just to go in there and speak my mind and hear his thoughts and hash everything out was good. After being out again, I just wanted to come play with energy.”Morgan Frost; 1/6/2024
A Powerplay QB (+)
Without the slightest hesitation, Tortorella credited the emergence of Yegor Zamula as the powerplay quarterback for his contributions to fundamentally improving the man advantage. Yes, Philadelphia is 2/24 since Zamula began quarterbacking the powerplay against the Vancouver Canucks. but William Penn didn’t climb the Comcast Center overnight! If Zamula cracks the code of a league-worst powerplay, then maybe Comcast should erect a bronze statue of him.
“Zamula made a big difference. It’s a quarterback. I think he has that type of mentality, that type of poise. He’s made a huge difference to give us a chance just to settle it down sometimes. Other guys are playing well, I think there’s a little chemistry with it right now. We have all those powerplay chances and the way we score a powerplay goal is throwing it off the goalie’s back from behind the net. The game is funny that way, but I think Z has done a terrific job settling things down, and other guys have chipped in from there.”John Tortorella; 1/6/2024
On both of those conversions since trying Zamula as the powerplay quarterback, he recorded a point. He scored against the Canucks, then recorded a secondary assist today before Frost placed the shot on goal that turned into a successful rebound conversion by Couturier.
Broadstreet Bullies Hockey
A list of Flyers had a role in ‘Fisiticuffs in Philadelphia’ on ice. At various points, Joel Farabee, Nicolas Deslauriers, Garnet Hathaway, Cam York, Couturier, and Konecny all threw punches. The back-and-forth and competition weren’t for the weak of heart.
“The type of game, the style of game, I think he [Snider] had us playing that way up there maybe, I don’t know. I wish I knew him. I just have second-hand information, and a ton of it, about what type of man he was. I just wish I had a chance to meet him and just talk to him for a bit. I’m glad we responded. I think the organization; the tribute they paid to him, I thought was one of the better tributes I’ve seen. This organization gets it with that type of stuff. Families, and the history of it, people that have given people opportunities to be in the organization; I think it’s a really good organization. I’m happy it ended on a good note for him, and certainly well recognized, and he should be.”John Tortorella; 1/6/2024
Snider would be in the locker room, telling his organization how proud he is of them.
Next, the Philadelphia Flyers host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday at 7pm.
(AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)