DETROIT - The Flyers' winning streak - which has reached nine games, equaling the fourth-longest in franchise history - is alive today because rookie goalie Anthony Stolarz was unflappable in Sunday's 1-0 overtime win in Detroit.
"He's big. He moves the puck well, and he's been great in practice," said right winger Wayne Simmonds after helping set up Brayden Schenn's overtime goal in the game. "But practice and games are totally different, and what surprised me the most was how calm he was in all situations back there. He was totally composed."
Stolarz, 22, was in control the entire night. Whether there was a scramble in front, a player coming in alone or a loose puck near the net, Stolarz stayed poised and always looked in command.
That comfort level, he said, is because of work done with goaltender coach Kim Dillabaugh and Brady Robinson, the goalie development coach.
"I used to be pretty scrambly when I was first drafted," said Stolarz, a New Jersey native who was a second-round pick in 2012, "and working through the years I've kind of created a little patience in my game. Working with Dilly and Brady has been huge. That's one thing they preach - try to be calm in the net and just let the play come to you. And when I do that, I think it's a lot easier. I have a big frame, so when I'm [composed] and in good position, pucks just hit me right in the chest.
An AHL all-star last season, Stolarz was having another outstanding season with the Phantoms before the Flyers recalled him last month after an injury to Michal Neuvirth. Sunday was just his second NHL start and his second appearance at any level in about a month.
Stolarz made 28 saves and became the youngest Flyer to collect a shutout since Dominic Roussel in 1992.
"It was a great second start for him," coach Dave Hakstol said. "Back-to-back nights and on the road, that's the kind of goaltending you need."
Hakstol was asked if the performance will make him more comfortable to use Stolarz in the future. Steve Mason had started 13 of the previous 14 games.
"Honestly, we've been pretty confident with him," he said of Stolarz. "Mase has been going well. I don't think we've overused Mase, even though he's played a lot. We've watched him closely . . . and we just felt it was a pretty good time to get him a day off. And we knew Stolie was ready. We have confidence he can come in and win a game, and that's just what he did."
The Flyers will try to make it 10 straight wins when they play Colorado in Denver on Wednesday. The franchise record: 13 consecutive victories in 1985.
"Guys are playing hard. Guys are having fun," said Hakstol, whose team finished a stretch during which it played 12 games in 20 nights. "I think that's enough reward for everybody. It's fun to come to the rink during the busy portion of your schedule and you're playing pretty well."
During the nine-game streak, Jake Voracek has 15 points, Claude Giroux has 11, and Wayne Simmonds has nine.
"When you have confidence, you're not as hesitant to make a play," Giroux said. "Obviously right now it's working. I honestly think we could have played even better in front of Stolie, but we found a way."
They've been finding a way for the last nine games, enabling them to go from 9-10-3 to 18-10-3. When the streak started, they were four points out of a playoff spot; they were nine points ahead entering Monday, a net gain of 13 points.
"We've had different guys step up along the way," said Schenn, who has a total four goals and two-game-winners in the last two victories, "and that's what you need."