Don’t you dare call this a ‘statement win.’ A rout, 5-1, by the Philadelphia Flyers (25-14-6) on the Dallas Stars (26-13-5) is the textbook definition of that dirty label John Tortorella likes to avoid. Not only did the Flyers hang with the Stars, but they dominated play.
“I don’t believe in statement games, measurement games, and all that. That fine. They [the Flyers locker room] can talk about it. They feel good about themselves. They had a really good road trip. We had a little bit of a dip prior to that. You win three road games and you grind away at it on the road, the amount of travel we’ve had here [during] the first half [of the] year; they should feel good about themselves. Hopefully, we can keep on riding it.”John Tortorella; 1/18/2024
Morgan Frost made a magnificent play along the boards, springing Sean Walker for a one-on-one chance on Jake Oettinger, 1-0. The puck was chipped hard from the board to the center of the ice; an impressive awareness play from Frost to earn the primary assist with 1:00 remaining in the first period shifted momentum.
Sean Couturier nabbed his 300th NHL assist on a faceoff win. Owen Tippett sank his first goal, ripping off the dot, 2-0. Then, Tyler Seguin cut the deficit to 2-1. Dallas got onto the scoreboard with 7:18 remaining in the second period on their fourth shot.
Then, it was all Philadelphia.
Cam Atkinson added a powerplay goal, 3-1. The Flyers finished 1/4 on the man advantage. Scott Laughton put a smooth deke that the Stars love to hate on Oettinger to convert his penalty shot, 4-1. The finale was a masterpiece when Tippett added his second goal, putting Joel Hanley and Oettinger in the spin cycle, 5-1. Sam Ersson improved to 12-5-3, redeeming his loss to Dallas on October 21st.
‘Tipper the Ripper’ (+)
Tippett ripped his first goal from the faceoff circle past Oettinger. The second, even Tortorella seemed dumbfounded:
“He [Tippett] has the chance to be something special. I think he just feels good about his game, [he’s] hitting the net more with his shot, and I haven’t seen a goal like that. I’ve seen a lot of good goals. I haven’t seen one of those in quite a while.”John Tortorella; 1/18/2024
Tortorella said Tippett is playing freely. Philadelphia is getting the job done whether they dress 11 forwards and seven defensemen or the standard 12 forwards and six defensemen. Stringing together five straight wins gives everyone confidence, and it showed throughout the forwards, defensemen, and goaltending in every facet of the game.
“When everyone’s playing well, it’s fun. It gives everyone confidence when the team’s playing well and it’s a full group effort.”Owen Tippett; 1/18/2024
Hoping to create a scoring opportunity, Tippett scored an electrifying goal to leave a lasting impression on the Flyers fanbase here for his arrival while simultaneously commanding the attention of casual watchers.
Working the Forecheck (+)
Dallas (7th; 57pts) is one point ahead of Philadelphia (9th; 56pts) in the NHL standings. One, while a lonely number, isn’t alone in this instance. One also represents the number of shots a quality NHL team had against the Flyers in the first period. Credit that to the overall improvement in checking, especially the forecheck.
“That’s a really good team [the Stars]. It’s probably one of the most balanced teams in the league. If you give them a chance to look up ice and get going, as far as how quick they can play, you’re going to be in trouble. I thought we did a really good job of just getting sticks on pucks to keep our forechecking going, not letting them turn up, and spread us right away, and have those few seconds to move the puck.”John Tortorella; 1/18/2024
Travis Sanheim, in the first period, got his stick involved to break up what would’ve been a high-danger chance in close on Ersson. Nick Seeler blocked four shots, doing his part in limiting the Stars’ attack. Passing and shooting lanes were clogged as Philadelphia swarmed.
Hockey Hounds (+)
No, we’re not talking about the dogs (though you should check out all those incredible Hockey Hounds for adoption).
In this sense, Tortorella mentioned players with a nose for the crease. Atkinson is finding his scoring touch again, streaking. Tippett is almost subconsciously on fire.
Noah Cates is another. Since recovering from his broken foot, he still has a lot of jam and remains dialed in on the forecheck, and because of those critical aspects, he didn’t have to put his name on the stat sheet to prove his worth on the ice.
Next, the Philadelphia Flyers host the Colorado Avalanche at 1pm on Saturday.
(AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)