Flyers make Connor McDavid look almost ordinary in win over Oilers
Edmonton's star had no goals and one assist, total, as the Flyers swept the two-game series with Edmonton this season.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Containing superstar Connor McDavid was a key as the Flyers swept both games against Edmonton this season.
In the Flyers' workmanlike 4-2 win Wednesday in Edmonton, McDavid had a dazzling assist on a shorthanded goal, but he was kept in check the rest of the night and finished with just one shot.
Defensemen Ivan Provorov (career-high eight hits), who played 28 minutes, 8 seconds, and Andrew MacDonald (four blocked shots in 25:14) did a great job containing McDavid, and the forwards — especially the line centered by Sean Couturier — did not give him much time and space.
"We limited his chances throughout the game," said Jordan Weal, who scored his first goal in 13 games. "He's going to get a couple here and there, but if you can minimize them and keep the puck in their end as much as we did, you're going to have a good chance to win."
"Our guys kept him to the outside," goalie Brian Elliott said after making his 11th start in the last 13 games. "Hats off to the guys in front of me, for sure."
The Flyers limited McDavid with a defense that had three rookies: Robert Hagg, Travis Sanheim, and Mark Alt, who was playing because of a hand injury suffered by Brandon Manning.
The Flyers had a huge territorial advantage in the first two periods.
"Our main focus was to play with the puck," Provorov said. "If you play with the puck, play on offense, they can't score. We played a good system game."
McDavid had no points in the Flyers' 2-1 win over the Oilers on Oct. 21.
Wednesday's victory gave the Flyers just their second two-game winning streak of the season — and gave them back-to-back road wins for the first time since Jan. 22-25 last season. They played in Vancouver on Thursday, trying to win three in a row for the first time this season.
The Flyers headed into Thursday just six points out of a playoff spot despite a recent 10-game losing streak in which they went 0-5-5.
Raffl warming up
Weal, Dale Weise, Michael Raffl and Wayne Simmonds (empty net) scored in Wednesday's win.
For Raffl, who scored on a breakaway after taking a feed from Voracek, it was his fourth goal in the last seven games. He has flourished recently on the new-look second line, which includes center Val Filppula and right winger Jake Voracek.
"It's only two games," Raffl said of the new unit. "Let's talk after 15 or 20."
Entering Thursday, Elliott had 199 career wins. … Simmonds (two points) and Voracek each had eight shots in the win over the Oilers. Simmonds looks fully recovered from several injuries that reduced his speed for a good part of the season. … Radko Gudas sat out the final game of his 10-game suspension Thursday. He is expected to replace Alt in Tuesday's home game against Toronto. The Flyers, 4-6-4 at home, will be trying to end a six-game winless streak at the Wells Fargo Center. … On Wednesday, Provorov became the sixth player in franchise history to play in 110 straight games at the start of his career, passing Bobby Clarke (109). Defenseman Chris Therien, now a Flyers broadcaster, has the club record: 156 consecutive games to start his career before he was a healthy scratch.