The Flyers managed to bungle another first period. And against a Sharks team that spent last week losing the Panthers, Rangers, and Islanders. After a great start with a power-play goal against the Sharks’ fourth-ranked penalty kill, the Flyers looked like they were ready to take control of the game. And then the Sharks out-everything them. Carter Hart had big saves at even strength, and on the penalty kill, to keep the game from getting worse. The Sharks’ goal was as a result of a big rebound that Hart kicked right back out in front but cut him a break with all things considered. The Flyers did manage to kill a bench minor for Too Many Men and then rung one off the crossbar with a minute left. But, any momentum that was gained from that charge was lost when the Flyers scrambled to close out the period and Derek Grant took a slashing penalty.
The Flyers rebounded with a much better second period. Stop me if you’ve heard that before. Kevin Hayes factored into both of the Flyers’ goals in the second period by scoring one and helping set up Travis Konecny’s. And any chances the Sharks got were stifled by Carter Hart. Going into the third having a 3-1 lead, against a Sharks team nearing the end of a road trip, is exactly where you want to be.
The third period went great. Besides an out of character Giroux turnover and that blindside hit that resulted in a stint of 4v4 hockey, the Flyers did what they had to in order to win. Also, Kevin Hayes is awesome. I love that guy.
Alain Vigneault put Scott Laughton on the second line tonight, which is a glowing endorsement on how Vigneault feels for Laughton as a player, right? And Laughton spent all night getting in the middle of plays with Hayes and Konecny. Vigneault said the line made took some high percentage plays but it went well for them tonight so it wasn’t an issue. I don’t know if Laughton will spend the rest of the season on the second line, or if this is a temporary experiment by Vigneault to get a better feel for Nate Thompson and Derek Grant, but it’s working so far. Scott Laughton had such a great run in Junior and his game looks great right now.
People were lamenting the Joel Farabee and Connor Bunnaman moves but not appreciating that Chuck Fletcher kept Nicolas Aube-Kubel with the Flyers after yesterday’s trade deadline. Whether it’s on a power-play unit, or at even strength, Aube-Kubel is hunting pucks and knows where to be to put up points. The guy looks great out there and it should be acknowledged that both Fletcher and Vigneault made sure to keep him in the lineup after retooling of the bottom six.
Nate Thompson played 12:39 and Derek Grant played 12:38 tonight. Neither of them was glaringly terrible and ultimately didn’t hurt the Flyers’ chances to win. While that Grant slashing penalty was not great to take at the end of the first, the ensuing power play didn’t result in anything for the Sharks. And, just for comparison purposes, James van Riemsdyk played 12:21 and Aube-Kubel played 12:41 minutes. So not a bad night overall for two new guys just trying to get acquainted with a brand new team and system. Vigneault said neither of them had a lot of time to get acclimated before Tuesday’s game so this is about as good as a result you can get for a situation like this.
Ghost wasn’t in the lineup. Flyers won again. What does it all mean?