ST. LOUIS — Key takeaways from the Flyers' 2-0 victory Thursday night over the Blues:
Look up the word "gritty," and they should use Thursday's win as a prime example. Partially because of injuries, the Flyers used four first-year defensemen — players with a combined 27 games of NHL experience — and blanked a team that had been tied for the most points in the league. One of the D-men, Will O'Neill, made his NHL debut.
"Everybody is here for a reason. Everybody can play," defenseman Ivan Provorov said. "The guys who came in did a really good job."
Making the win even more satisfying, the Flyers (7-6-1) were playing on back-to-back nights, while St. Louis (10-3-1) had not played since Monday and was well-rested.
It was the type of victory that can galvanize a team and bring it together.
Provorov is turning into an all-star right before our eyes. He tied a franchise record with 10 blocked shots Thursday, added five hits, and anchored the inexperienced defense. Provorov played 27:11, surpassing 27 minutes for the fourth straight game.
Enjoy, folks. He's only 20 and one day might be remembered as the best home-grown defenseman in franchise history.
Veteran center Jori Lehtera didn't produce any points in his 13:45 of action, but he had his best game as a Flyer. Playing against his former team, Lehtera won numerous puck battles, and his line got the Flyers going in the right direction with some strong shifts in the first period. Until then, St. Louis had dominated the game, getting 12 of the first 14 shots and spending an inordinate amount of time in the Flyers' end.
Speaking of players who had their best games of the season … Brandon Manning scored the game-winner, had six shots, played 22:56, and provided veteran leadership for the oh-so-green defense.
Manning's goal was originally waved off because the refs ruled Jake Voracek had interfered with goalie Jake Allen. But it was overturned after a challenge by Flyers coach Dave Hakstol.
"A little bit of good karma," said Manning, who had a recent goal in Ottawa taken away because of goalie interference. "As soon as I saw it, I was hoping Hak would challenge it. … It all worked out in the end."
Michal Neuvirth withstood St. Louis' first-period barrage and was the main reason the Flyers were in a scoreless tie after the first 20 minutes. Overall, he made 33 saves.
Neuvirth (1.83 GAA, .941 save percentage) has played in only five of 14 games but maybe, just maybe, will start to get more playing time. Brian Elliott (3.11, .892) also played well on the mini-road trip, allowing two goals Wednesday in Chicago.