5 Takeaways from the Flyers 2-1 Victory over the Washington Capitals
The (6-2-2) Flyers went into Washington on Saturday night and took the last of the 3 possible 4 points from this little road trip after suffering an OT loss in Pittsburgh on Thursday. Winning close games against a good team like Washington, without the services of Ryan Ellis and Kevin Hayes (eligible to return Wednesday vs Toronto), is only something you can build on as a team. I’m obviously not in that locker room but they have to be looking around saying, “Damn, we’re doing this without one of our best defenseman and our 2C.”
An extremely impressive showing from the Flyers last night in every aspect of the game. Here are 5 takeaways from last night’s huge W in Washington.
PK has stepped up
The penalty kill is always something I feel like as Flyers fans, we’ve complained about. From lackluster goaltending, strange defensive strategies, the penalty kill has always sort of been a problem. Saturday night, against a Washington PP that’s always dangerous as long as #8 is there, it went 3/3.
Over the past 5 games here’s how the PK has fared:
vs EDM: (3/4)
vs VAN: (5/5)
vs CGY: (3/5)
vs PIT: (2/2)
vs WSH: (3/3)
In the last 5 games, the PK has killed off 16/19 (84%), with Carter Hart and Martin Jones being their best penalty killers by far. The additions of Thompson, Brassard, Atkinson and Brown have also really helped to improve the unit. The Flyers are currently 15th in the NHL on the PK, killing off 82.9%.
Martin Jones was spectacular, AGAIN
Jones hasn’t had a ton of playing time to start the season with Carter Hart getting 7 of the first 9 games. With Hart getting the bulk of the starts, Jones was due for a one and that’s exactly what AV did. Starting the season 2-0-0 with wins in big games against Boston at home and Vancouver on the road, Jones has stopped 95 out of the 100 shots he’s faced so far this season.
Last night he continued his strong start, making countless timely saves throughout the night. Jim Jackson hit the nail on the head when he said Jones wasn’t making any acrobatic, amazing saves. He was just being calm, collective and in the right spots when he needed to be.
Jones currently leads the NHL in SV% with a .950%.
Derick Brassard’s line finally back on track
The new line of Farabee – Brassard – Atkinson was one of the best lines alongside Couturier’s line to start the season. We saw Atkinson score 7 points (6G-1A) in the first 5 games. Brassard had a couple of helpers on those goals, scoring 6 points (1G-5A) in the first 5 games. Joel Farabee hasn’t scored in 7 games, but even he had 6 points (3G-3A) in the first 5 games. The line was on fire.
Since then, the line has kind of went into hibernation mode. Getting hemmed in their own zone far too often, not creating scoring chances at anywhere near the rate they were in the first 5 games.
Not only did they score to get back on track last night, but the way they scored that goal was beautiful. A hard-fought shift that saw the entire line working their asses off on the forecheck to get something going. Atkinson’s pass to Brassard from behind the net was just tooooooooo clean.
Ristolainen’s first point as a Philadelphia Flyer
Aside from last night being one of the best game for Sanheim – Ristolainen as a pair. It was easily the best game for Ristolainen in a Flyers jersey. It’s even more poetic that he scored his first point as a Flyer during a play where we saw him step up and assert himself more in the offensive zone.
Ristolainen did suffer an injury towards the end of camp that saw him miss a few games to start the season. Maybe now we’re starting to see him get more and more comfortable and healthy as he gets more games under his belt.
Ristolainen jumped up into the play again on Couturier’s goal, being the main reason why the chance created itself in the first place. Great job by Risto to pinch up in the zone, make a nice move in the slot and get a shot off. Couturier, waiting by the doorstep, cashes in on his 5th of the year.
Just a beautiful hockey play.
4th line is fun?
Patrick Brown found himself slotted in the lineup against Washington meaning Nicolas Aube-Kubel was a healthy scratch. A move that not a lot of people are going to have a problem with. NAK has had his spurts where he’s looked okay, but he’s constantly in the box and doesn’t bring anything to the PK like Brown does. Brown is also bigger than NAK, so maybe the Flyers just wanted to go with a bigger 4th line, considering how heavy Washington is even without Oshie in the lineup.
Last night was easily the best game we’ve seen from the 4th line this season. They spent numerous shifts in the offensive zone, creating chances and getting their body checks in. The entire line almost threw down with Tom Wilson and whoever else was out there at the time in the 3rd period.
This is all I saw as Ristolainen, MacEwen, Brown, Thompson and Sanheim all walk over to get into a scuffle.
Are any of those guys Italian? I have zero clue. What I do know is, the Flyers will not be pushed around anymore.
6-2-2. LETS. GO. FLYERS.
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Flyers twitter - Zack Hill/Flyers PR