Four games ago, Flyers coach Alain Vigneault put together a line that had Scott Laughton centering James van Riemsdyk, and Joel Farabee.
The three players are making their coach look like a genius.
“They’ve been, without a doubt, our most efficient line,” Vigneault said after the trio led the Flyers to a much-needed 7-4 win Sunday in Washington. “I think a lot of that has to do with how James is playing; he’s playing the right way; he’s playing the right way defensively, he’s on the forecheck, he’s got a great stick, and he’s creating turnovers. He’s been a force for us and that whole line has developed some chemistry.”
Laughton had his first career hat trick Sunday, van Riemsdyk added a goal and an assist, and Farabee had three helpers as the Flyers bounced back from two painful losses against Boston.
“We’re pressuring their defensemen and getting out of our zone pretty easy,” said Laughton, adding it was his first hat trick since his final season with Oshawa in juniors (2012-13). “I think it starts with having a good forecheck and creating turnovers, and then we’re just playing simple — putting pucks on net and trying to get there. And we obviously have one of the best net-front guys in the league in JVR, and he’s really hot right now.”
Since they were put together, the players have accumulated some eye-opening numbers in four games: Van Riemsdyk has eight points (two goals, six assists) and is plus-5, Farabee has seven points (four goals, three assists) and is plus-7, and Laughton has four points (three goals, assist) and is plus-five.
Combined, they have nine goals, 19 points and a plus-17 rating in four games.
A reader suggested they should be called the Flavor Line, as in the first initial of their last names (FLVR) — Farabee, Laughton, van Riemsdyk.
“You get rewarded when you play the right way, and we have to continue to do that and make it hard on teams,” Laughton said.
Defenseman Phil Myers returned to the lineup and was on the top pairing, but Travis Sanheim was apparently sidelined because of the COVID-19 protocol. All Flyers players and staff members were administered COVID-19 tests before the game and were negative, after which the NHL decided to play the game.
The Flyers (8-3-2) are tied with Boston (8-1-2) atop the East Division, but the Bruins have two games in hand. ... Farabee became the first Flyer to have three games with three or more points before his 21st birthday since Justin Williams in the 2001-02 season, according to the NHL. ... Michael Raffl equaled a career-best with a plus-4 rating. ...The Flyers are 3-1-1 on the road, where they have a three-game winning streak. ... Washington has lost three straight in regulation for the first time since January 2019. ... The Flyers and Caps will face each other eight times in a season for the first time since 1981-82. ... The Flyers have been badly outshot in 11 of 13 games this season. ... Including last year’s round-robin tournament, the Flyers are 5-0-1 against the Caps over the last two seasons. They have averaged five goals in each win. ... The Flyers have already had three hat tricks this season (Laughton, Farabee, and Travis Konecny). No other team has had more than one. ... RW Tyson Foerster, the Flyers’ first-round draft selection last year, suffered a leg injury while playing in initial pro game Saturday for the Phantoms. The Flyers have not yet given a medical update.