For the first time in 2022, the Flyers put together back-to-back wins thanks to their 3-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. The last time they won two in a row was when the beat the Ottawa Senators on Dec. 18 and then the Seattle Kraken on Dec. 29.
While the Flyers got off to a characteristic slow start, they broke from character with a definitive finish.
It took less than a minute for the Flyers to give up a goal, as Kyle Connor’s one-timer beat Carter Hart.
The Flyers would have to wait more than half the game to tie it. The Flyers best chance to tie it came during a scrum when they were on a power play, but it was immediately followed by a Flyers penalty that negated the advantage. While the Flyers took shots and put pressure on Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck, they also ruined several of their own chances with turnovers and sloppy execution.
Travis Konecny eventually evened the score halfway through the second period with an unassisted snap shot through traffic. The Flyers were already controlling the pace, but the goal sparked several more high-danger chances on the next shift.
“I gave up that first one,” Konecny said. “That was my mistake. So it felt good to get it back and get the team back in it.”
The Flyers had multiple power-play opportunities in the third. While they /generated a series of chances, none went in, keeping the game tied. Van Riemsdyk put the Flyers ahead with 4:09 remaining in the third, jamming home a rebound following a 2-on-1 break with Scott Laughton. Unlike Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings, this time when the opponent pulled its goalie, instead of allowing them to even the score, the Flyers sealed the deal via an Oskar Lindblom empty-net goal.
Although he got caught early by Cole Perfetti’s pass to Connor for the first goal, Hart’s performance over the next 59 minutes gave his teammates a chance to win the game.
“He was outstanding,” Yeo said. “Obviously when he’s playing like that, he’s competing like that, or any goalie is, for that matter, it really builds a lot of confidence in your group and gives you a chance to settle down and get back on the attack.”
The Flyers were creating more dangerous scoring opportunities than the Jets, but then the Jets went on a power play. While the penalty kill limited the Jets chances, they gave up another good chance to Connor. This time, Hart flew over and made the save to keep the score 1-0.
A few minutes later, Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler broke out on a two-man rush. Hart read it perfectly and denied Wheeler’s shot. He finished with 32 stops on 33 shots faced.
PK back on track
After an uncharacteristic stretch where the Flyers penalty kill was a liability, the unit looked more like itself Tuesday night. Their first outing only lasted 30 seconds because it overlapped with a Jets penalty. The Flyers gave up just one shot and set up a breakaway opportunity for Laughton. He drew a penalty on the rush, giving the Flyers back the advantage.
The first full two-minute kill came in the second period after Justin Braun was whistled for delay of game. The first unit started out with a shot block and a clear. Laughton then got in the way of a pass and directed it to Cam Atkinson, whose short-handed shot on goal came before a Jets shot on goal. The Flyers finished the penalty kill with another clear, another shot block and only two shots on goal against.
“Your goalie’s gotta be your best killer,” Laughton said. “So he was good. I thought our D did a really good job of clearing pucks off draws. And that kind of eats up some time. So we did a pretty good job up ice. And then had to get our blocks when we needed them and found a way.”
Lots of Laughts
Laughton was at his best Tuesday after his overtime goal on Saturday broke the Flyers’ historic losing skid. He made a nuisance of himself on the penalty kill, knocking pucks away and helping the team get important clears on more than multiple occasions.. His ability to chase down the puck also contributed on defense.
“Laughts, he’s a warrior; he’s a battler,” Yeo said. “We need him in so many other areas and he doesn’t flinch. He just goes out and plays for the team night after night. Obviously a big part of why he’s got a letter on his jersey right now.”
Laughton was also aggressive on offense, taking the puck up the ice through traffic. As a result, he drew two penalties. He had two shots that were blocked, and his deflection attempt almost gave the Flyers the lead in the third.
While Laughton had struggled with decision-making in past games, he had a cleaner game with just one giveaway. He also won 52% of his faceoffs.
And, at the end of it, he once again helped set up the winning goal. After James van Riemsdyk passed it to him to set up a 2-on-1, he carried it up the ice and perfectly executed a “pass off pads” that van Riemsdyk home.
The NHL is heading on break as the All-Stars go to Vegas for the All-Star game and Skills competition. The Flyers will return to practice Feb. 8.