Flyers-Kings observations: Nolan Patrick, Oskar Lindblom finding their mojo
5 observations from the Flyers' latest win, a 5-2 victory in Los Angeles on Thursday.
LOS ANGELES — Five observations from the Flyers' hard-working 5-2 win Thursday over the Kings, a victory that was a lot more difficult than the final score hints:
Young guns blossoming
Center Nolan Patrick and left winger Oskar Lindblom are blossoming before our eyes.
Patrick had two assists Thursday and has four points over his last two games. Lindblom had a goal and an assist for his first career multi-point game. He set up the winning goal in a 3-2 victory in Anaheim on Tuesday, and he scored the game-winner in Los Angeles.
The maturation of Patrick and Lindblom is vital for the Flyers to improve on last season's 98-point campaign. So is the development of the young defense, which again played well on Thursday.
Goalie Brian Elliott stopped 25 of 27 shots in his second straight solid performance, steering the Flyers to their first winning streak of the season. OK, it's only two games … but it's a start.
Elliott will likely get the start in San Jose on Saturday and, with Michal Neuvirth not used as a backup for precautionary reasons Thursday, coach Dave Hakstol may be tempted to also use Elliott in Arizona on Monday.
My advice: Don't do it.
Hakstol wore down Elliott last season and it may have contributed to his abdominal injury.
Play Cal Pickard on Monday — or Neuvirth if he's healthy.
The Flyers have been among the NHL's best faceoff teams this season, but that hasn't translated to success. They are second in the NHL with a 55.6 percent success rate on draws.
They won just 37.9 percent of their faceoffs Thursday and still won. In fact, they have won less than half of their faceoffs in just three games, and won them all.
Needed: Better discipline
The Flyers need to show better discipline than they displayed Thursday. They committed five penalties (four of the stick variety), four more than the Kings. When your penalty kill is as weak as the Flyers, that is playing with fire.
That said, the Flyers' penalty kill turned the momentum in their favor by killing a five-on-three for 1:36 in the first period. That, more than anything else, keyed the victory.
Couturier, Provorov making strides
One of the most encouraging signs in the first two games of the trip: Center Sean Couturier and defenseman Ivan Provorov are starting to look like their old selves.
On Thursday, Provorov scored in his second straight game and was dominant in the defensive end, and Couturier collected his first assist of the season and was in the middle of numerous scoring chances. Couturier has 10 shots over the last two games.