KANATA, Ont. — The Flyers have hit the 20-win mark before Christmas for the just the second time in the last seven years. Their 5-4 win on Saturday night wasn’t always pretty, but teams in the past might have rolled over after turning a 2-0 lead into a 3-2 deficit. Not saying they’ll win the Stanley Cup, but this team has shown some mental fortitude in the first half of Alain Vigneault’s first season as the head coach.
Some other thoughts from Ottawa.
Moose was tight. Brian Elliott made 30 saves and then stopped two in the shootout. Anthony Duclair’s attempt hit the post, which was a bit of good fortune for the Flyers goalie. The duo of Elliott and Carter Hart is a welcomed sight from a year ago when the Flyers used six goalies through the first 38 games. Can you name them? Answer below.
Power Five. Vigneault said following the game that “the power-play got some real good looks.” Boy, I dunno. The Flyers had five shots in five power-play opportunities covering 8:06. The goal they scored came off a wonderful stretch pass from Jake Voracek to Kevin Hayes. Ottawa, which was missing three of its top defensemen, kept them on the perimeter quite often and managed to generate three shorthanded chances. But to be fair, they are now 5 for 13 on the PP in the last four games.
Keep yer gloves on. There was some bad blood between the two teams after the game two weeks ago when Ottawa’s Mark Borowiecki knocked Travis Konecny out with a clean mid-ice body check. The Flyers sent diminutive rookie David Kase down to the AHL and activated enforcer Chris Stewart for Saturday’s game. Stewart was chirping with Borowiecki during warmups, and it appeared as if the referees warned both benches. This led to a mostly tame 65 minutes of play. Too bad.
Misha in action. Did you notice Misha Vorobyev took two faceoffs late in the third period and won them both?
Ghost busted. Ottawa took that 3-2 lead on a power-play goal after Shayne Gostisbehere got caught flatfooted by Colin White during an awkward line change. “It was just a miscommunication. [The coaches] wanted me to go. I got on there and the puck came around [to White],” Gostisbehere said. “I had to take a penalty on that one. They scored. It sucks. But you’ve got to play the odds there.”
Answer, man. The six goalies the Flyers used through 36 games last season were Brian Elliott, Calvin Pickard, Anthony Stolarz, Michal Neuvirth, Carter Hart and Alex Lyon.
Looking ahead. The Flyers host the Rangers on Monday where they’ll try to get win No. 21 in their final game before the holiday break. Look for Carter Hart to start in net (that’s an educated guess) and for Joel Farabee to get a warm ovation in his first game back from a three-game suspension.