In limited minutes, Tyrell Goulbourne has provided energy for the Flyers, who are 7-1 when he is in the lineup.
A speedy and physical winger, Goulbourne averaged just 5 minutes, 25 seconds per game before Thursday night's loss to Tampa Bay, but coach Dave Hakstol believes he has made an impact.
"I think he's been a spark. I don't think anything is a coincidence," Hakstol said about the Flyers' success with Goulbourne. "He's done his part. When you really look at his game, there haven't been many holes defensively, and that's a real credit to him. I think he's concentrated on that."
Goulbourne has been with Scott Laughton and Jori Lehtera on the fourth line.
"He's been a straight-line, hard player whenever he's been on the ice, and I think that's an element that's always welcomed on our team and in our dressing room," said Hakstol, who has especially liked Goulbourne's strong forechecking.
Goulbourne has made the most of his limited playing time. He said that he has "more in the tank," but that "I have to earn the guys' trust in here and the coach's trust as well. I think for the majority, I've done a good job with that, and I just want to keep building on that. I kind of have the mentality to work [hard] for another shift. You never know when the last one is going to be."
Goulbourne was asked to compare the differences between the AHL and the NHL.
"Positioning," he said. "They're always where they're supposed to be" in the NHL, "and if they're not, that's usually when the puck is in the back of the net. D-men are always on top of you and their positioning is excellent. That was the big thing for me and how quickly you have to make plays. The speed of guys and the strength is similar, but it's how quick they make decisions and their positioning on the ice that have been the biggest difference for me."
Goulbourne turns 24 Friday and his family traveled from Edmonton to be at Thursday's game and spend time with him during the all-star break.