If the Flyers could start games the way they usually finish them, well, they would be among the NHL’s best teams.
Entering Thursday’s matchup against Montreal, the Flyers had outscored opponents by 23-12 in the third period, including a 3-0 domination Tuesday against Carolina that enabled them to turn a 1-1 deadlock into a 4-1 victory.
The plus-11 goal differential in the third period is second-best in the NHL, behind only Nashville’s plus-12.
The third-period success, some players believe, comes because of new coach’s Alain Vigneault’s tougher practices.
Vigneault gives the players more days off the ice as a way for them to recover from game action, but when they do practice, they go harder and usually a bit longer.
“The practices have definitely been high-paced. They have a good tempo, and I think they’ve been definitely helping us,” defenseman Ivan Provorov said.
“In our practices, we go hard. It’s boom-boom-boom,” right winger Jake Voracek said. “Obviously, in the beginning, it was hard to get used to, but you get used to it.”
Travis Konecny, the Flyers’ top point producer, said practices have been beneficial.
“There’s a very high tempo, and there’s not a lot of breaks,” he said, “and even the breaks we do get, we’re doing laps in between. It’s little things that people laugh at and don’t really understand the logic behind it, but look at the third periods and we’re outskating teams.”
Provorov brought up another point, noting the Flyers have been in close games or trailing in some third periods, giving them a heightened sense of urgency late in games.
“Some games we’ve been behind and needed that push, and some games we were tied and we were pushing extra,” he said. “And honestly, some games we didn’t have that good of a start, so we needed that good push in the third. I think all those things combined give us the outcome of the third.”
Samuel Morin is expected to miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL in his right knee, GM Chuck Fletcher announced.
The 6-foot-7, 230-pound defenseman suffered the injury in the Phantoms’ 4-2 win over Wednesday over Wilkes-Barre-Scranton.
It’s the same injury he suffered two seasons ago.