The captain wasn’t happy after Monday’s win. The Flyers started slowly (again) and needed a furious comeback to get two desperately needed points.
It’s easy to say that wounded Buffalo had a lot to do with the Flyers’ rally, which is fair. The Sabres are on an 0-15-3 slide into oblivion. Their best player, Jack Eichel, isn’t playing. Taylor Hall, on an $8-million-a-year deal, sometimes disappears.
But the Flyers have a winning streak for the first time in a month. They have another game against the lowly Sabres tomorrow, with a chance to move into a playoff spot depending on what happens with the Devils-Bruins game tonight. Boston (39) is one point ahead of the Flyers (38) with three games in hand.
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Samuel Morin, his family, and a goal for the ages
Samuel Morin was asked what he intended to do with the puck from his first NHL goal, an improbable shot from the point to beat the Rangers on Saturday. He said he wants to give it to his “best friends.”
That’s how the burly Flyers defenseman describes Pascal and Sylvie Morin.
“My parents have always been there for me,” said Morin, who endured consecutive catastrophic knee injuries and is now a contributing defenseman for the Flyers. “They’re awesome. I wish they could have been there. My parents, my sister [Amelie] were always there for me when I was really down. They’ve always been there for me.
“I’ve got a really good family. They’re like my best friends. I’m really lucky.”
It’s a small example of Morin’s popularity in the Flyers’ locker room that his teammates took up a collection and paid that $3,000 fine he incurred for fighting Brendan Lemieux last week.
The Flyers were getting blown out by the Rangers, and Morin had enough of Lemieux’s agitation. He hit him with a couple of rights before — this is why he got fined — pulling Lemieux’s hair as they tumbled toward the ice. That’s a no-no.
“I kind of blanked out there,” he said. “I did some stuff that I shouldn’t have done. But the boys took care of the fine for me, so it was all good.”
Sylvie Morin said it was the perfect scenario for when her son scored his first goal to have Michael Raffl, Shayne Gostisbehere, Nic Aube-Kubel and Scott Laughton on the ice to celebrate. They are closest to Samuel, she said.
“It’s been a long road for Sam,” she said, “and when we saw him score, the emotions came out and my husband and I — we both cried.”
“Sam is an easygoing guy,” his sister said. “He’s always having fun. He loves his job and he likes to be around people. He sees the good in other people. I think that’s why he’s so popular.”
It’s fair to criticize the Flyers’ sloppy start Monday against Buffalo and wonder if/when goalie Carter Hart will snap out of his funk. But it’s also good to remember these behemoths on the ice are human beings.
“Sam has had a long road back,” Pascal Morin said. “Now the goal is to stay where he is. To play in the NHL has always been his dream. It was great to see Sam contribute to the success of the Flyers team.”
“It’s hard to put into words when you see your son go through so much and finally have such a nice moment,” Sylvie explained. “For two years, it’s been hard, and a long road. He’s starting a new chapter.”
Things to know
The Flyers needed three goals in the third period to overcome lowly Buffalo. It was a key win, but many of the players called the sluggish start frustrating.
Hart is hitting the reset button for the week. Flyers coaches hope the extra practice time helps the young goaltender, who is no longer working with his longtime confidant.
Chuck Fletcher’s hands are somewhat tied with the trade deadline approaching.
Ice, ice, baby
Tuesday’s off day allowed Alain Vigneault to shorten his bench Monday and play veteran forwards extended time in the comeback against Buffalo. Here’s a look at each forward’s ice time:
Sean Couturier 21:44, Claude Giroux 20:14, Jake Voracek 18:45, Scott Laughton 18:09, James van Riemsdyk 16:41, Michael Raffl 15:56, Kevin Hayes 15:48, Nic Aube-Kubel 15:04, Travis Konecny 15:03, Joel Farabee 8:40, Oskar Lindblom 7:15, Nolan Patrick 7:06.
Flyers’ next 5
Wednesday: at Buffalo, 7:30 (NBCSP, NBCSN)
Saturday: at N.Y. Islanders, 7 p.m. (NBCSP)
Monday: at Boston, 7 p.m. (NBCSP)
Tuesday, April 6: vs. Boston, 7 p.m. (NBCSP, NHLN)
Thursday, April 8: at N.Y. Islanders, 7 p.m. (NBCSP)
From the mailbag
The Flyers avoided an absolute disaster, but this pattern of sluggishness followed by an attempt to come back won’t work against good teams.
Shades of the past 2 seasons, screw up the first two periods and then decide to play hockey in the third.
Very glad they got the two points but how can you give the worst team in hockey a bad effort? They had better play better hockey on Wednesday.
If they were playing any other team they wouldn’t have gotten a point. And don’t blame Moose, he only gave up one questionable goal. Pheww. Go Flyers.
It’s pointless to make any trade that isn’t going to be beneficial in the LONG run. Dealing for this year might make the fans feel good now but isn’t likely, IMHO, to pay dividends in the longer term. And that’s what’s needed — something for the longer term. One player isn’t likely to make this year’s team a Stanley Cup winner ... Suck it up for this year.