Flyers split season-series versus the Kraken

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Flyers' Sean Couturier
Philadelphia Flyers’ Sean Couturier celebrates after scoring a goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Calgary Flames, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

After consecutive wins against two teams competing for a postseason berth, the Philadelphia Flyers (28-19-6) welcomed the Seattle Kraken (21-20-10) to the Wells Fargo Center.

Cal Petersen competed head-to-head versus Joey Daccord. It would be the first start for Petersen since becoming the de facto backup goaltender. He wasn’t tested too often with high danger scoring chances, but John Tortorella thought Petersen performed well:

“He [Petersen] didn’t have a lot of work. He made some key saves at some key times. Early on in the game, he moved the puck really well for us. It’s a tough game; he hasn’t played in a while, and against a good team, I thought he played well.”

John Tortorella; 2/10/2024

It didn’t need to be said, Tortorella was curt in his responses after defeating the Winnipeg Jets, but he wasn’t happy with the way his lineup became lax in victory. To compete, Philadelphia cannot afford to take a night off, and that message landed, evident in the way the Flyers smothered the Kraken.

Philadelphia went on their first powerplay, and Scott Laughton buried a one-timer set by Cam York, 1-0. The Flyers scored the first goal and took advantage of situational hockey. Tomas Tatar tied the game, 1-1, alone in the slot, which was challenged. The goal stood and put Seattle on a powerplay. Ryan Poehling scored a shorthanded goal the second time the penalty kill was deployed, 2-1.

Petersen and Daccord turned away all shots on goal in the second period. Jared McCann tied the game, 2-2, to bring the Kraken close on a puck that deflected off of Sean Couturier. After hearing it from Tortorella, Couturier tipped the game-winning goal, 3-2. Just before the final horn, Laughton shot the puck into the empty-net, but it was a couple milli-seconds late from standing.

A Complete Game (+)

Tortorella says the Flyers know ‘who they are’ as a team and how they must play. The battle is consistency.

“We know how we have to play. The biggest thing is, can we do it consistently? I thought we started the game really well. [It’s] two games that we’ve scored the first goal, which is really important for energy. If we’re not all on that energy ride, as far as playing on our toes, we’ll struggle. The biggest thing is we have got to be ready to play forward-north, check forward, [and] take chances that way for us to be competitive.”

John Tortorella; 2/10/2024

Philadelphia didn’t dominate the Florida Panthers throughout the contest on Tuesday. Tortorella said they played a ‘good two periods.’ Then, the aforementioned mood after beating the Jets. The Flyers won consecutive games after the NHL All-Star Break, but neither performance completely satisfied.

It’s clear what he wants out of a consistent night of hockey: unrelenting checking.

En route to a win versus the Kraken, Philadelphia executed and checked to remain competitive and stay ahead. After going 0/4 on the powerplay versus Winnipeg, the Flyers were 1/4 versus Seattle. Additionally, Poehling scored consecutive shorthanded goals, but this time the penalty kill finished a perfect 3/3. Petersen, who made 9/10 saves in the first period, only faced nine more shots throughout the rest of the game.

“I thought they answered the proper way, starting the game. I just like how we kept on building in our game. In the third period, I thought we went through the front door. They tie us, but we just kept on pushing forward, held them to two or three shots; I just like the way we went through the front door, not on our heels.”

John Tortorella; 2/10/2024

Sean Couturier

Couturier is one of the foundations of the Flyers. Tortorella needed Couturier to get going, which is why he heard about it from his bench boss.

“I respect Couts [Couturier]. I needed more out of him. I was waiting most of the night for that to get going. He probably doesn’t need to hear it, but he probably will again if it happens that way. He’s a pro. He knows when things are going well [and] when he needs to do more, but it was frustrating for me because we needed him, and he ends up scoring goal [the] next shift.”

John Tortorella; 2/10/2024

Tortorella emphasized Couturier isn’t allowed to have a night off. When asked about Couturier scoring the game-winner, Tortorella read the body language. He accepted the showmanship:

“Oh, that was ‘F’ you to me. I’m sure it was. So be it. That’s part of it. That’s what I like about him [Couturier], though. He’s a crusty, old pro. He’s a huge part of this. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him in how he’s handled this year, after taking two years off. There’s no free passes. We need him terribly, in games, to be consistent.”

John Tortorella; 2/10/2024

Up Next

Next, the Philadelphia Flyers host the Arizona Coyotes tomorrow night at 7pm.

(AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)