Recap: Flyers beat Jets 4-0 and hit all the right notes
If you were going to script a Flyers win that actually portends an optimistic future, then it’d look something like the win they got tonight.
The first step was getting contributions from all the right places. Goals and points coming from young players who figure to be part of an (eventual) competitive core.
It started with this goal from Noah Cates, assisted by Frost and Tippett.
Noah Cates could be a shutdown center for years to come. So, to see him scoring and producing is, obviously, a very good thing.
Morgan Frost continues to flash the potential of being an offensive centerpiece. The way he settled that pass banked off the boards and then immediately found the lane to Noah’s stick… it was high-level stuff. Whenever I watch Morgan, I get the feeling that there’s more still there. He’s treading water too much, still. He has the skill to take over games. I want to see it more. Obviously, that’s a tall task. And I’m not complaining. In some ways, it’s good to think this.
This isn’t the ceiling. This isn’t everything he’s capable of in the NHL.
I don’t have similar thoughts about Keiffer Bellows. Either way, that was a gorgeous snipe.
I labor under no delusions that Kieffer Bellows has a long-term future with the Flyers, but that was awesome. For better or worse, Rasmus Ristolainen would seem to have a long-term future with the Flyers. This performance made that seem like a good thing. In truth, Risto has been playing far better for most of this season. But it was all defensive value. Today, he flashed offensive value.
That was a great backhand pass with accuracy and touch. It was all preceded by one hell of a swing wide on a checker to get behind the net in the first place. This is why everyone keeps thinking they can fix Risto. The big guy can really move when he wants to. Somehow, that wasn’t even Risto’s most notable play of the evening.
Well, hello there, Rasmus Ristolainen. Known offensive defenseman. For a second there, I thought he was some other defenseman named Rasmus who plays for Buffalo. In all seriousness, that was a beautiful stretch pass. And if he’s capable of bringing that kind of offense even occasionally while being a steady defensive force? That’s an incredibly valuable player.
And, well, if Owen Tippett is gonna keep doing THAT… you always have time for those guys.
But wait. Derek. The Flyers won. Don’t you hate that?
Well, that’s where we get to the difficult tightrope the Flyers find themselves walking. See, win or not, that same problem reared its ugly head. When desperation set in, the Jets were able to hit a gear that the Flyers were completely unable to match. The expected goal numbers of the entire game flipped from advantage Flyers to advantage Jets.
All in a period, they erased a scoring chance deficit built over 40 minutes. And that is going to keep happening, as long as the Flyers lack the kind of game changing talent that shifts momentum.
Now, the Flyers might have been unable to match the pace of a desperate Jets… but Carter Hart was.
Hart was phenomenal. A 40 save shutout somehow doesn’t do justice to the way he turned aside the all-out blitzkrieg of the Jets in the third period. He saved 3.88 goals above expected according to the expected goals stat, and yet that also fails to properly depict the way he completely closed the door.
The Flyers scored 4 goals, so people will want to overlook the impact of Hart this game. They shouldn’t. He was fantastic.
An average goalie performance could have allowed 4 goals in this game easily.
But Hart didn’t. He allowed 0.
Having Carter Hart is awesome, but contending teams don’t get overwhelmed for long stretches this frequently.
Which leads me to that awkward situation I was talking about. This is great. You want to be happy they won? I’m not trying to stop you. I don’t blame you. But, because of nights like tonight, one of two situations will play out.
There’s only two ways this goes.
- Young talent emerges as difference makers. Stars and superstars. And we all live happily ever after.
- Young talent emerges as “good players” or “nice pieces” and we end up clawing to be 13th place for 5 years, until the team is blown up and a proper tank is done over 3-5 years.
They will either be 2017 Colorado, or they will be 2010’s Buffalo. There is no middle ground, because the Flyers have left themselves no middle ground. I’m not saying that as a bad thing, or a good thing. It could be either.
But those are the two options.
The Flyers are not contenders. But much like contenders, they are “all in.”
I’ll bet it pained you to write this article since you’re such a pro tank loser. I stand by what I said on Twitter when you cried like a little baby and blocked me not once but twice. Man the hell up and enjoy what this team is doing even though they have a ton of work to do.
What work do they have to do?