Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR4) Gm 78: PHI 6, MTL 3 – Vanada
It’s a good time to be a Philadelphia fan north of the border. The Philadelphia Flyers WIN, 6-2, over the Montréal Canadiens. No, it hasn’t been a perfect Canadian swing for the Orange and Black. Of course, Thursday’s victory wasn’t nearly as dramatic or important as the one the 76ers pulled out in Toronto on Wednesday. But the Flyers are hardly in a position to be picky about their victories; before tonight, they hadn’t won since April 7.
It’s hard to blame any fans who may be feeling conflicted or even outright disappointed the team won tonight. After all, the Flyers have had nothing to play for now for weeks, other than lottery odds, which obviously took a hit Thursday. But while the Flyers may have given themselves a slightly worse chance of acquiring a slightly better young player than they might have otherwise gotten, the young players they do have right now took a step forward. That seems like at least a decent tradeoff, no?
The Flyers’ aggressive-retool this offseason is going to be so hard to execute in part because of the team’s cap situation. Before factoring in trades, free agent signings, draft picks, extensions, or anything else, this is what I feel comfortable projecting the 2022-23 Flyers as.
|?||Sean Couturier||Cam Atkinson|
|Joel Farabee||Kevin Hayes||Travis Konecny|
|James van Riemsdyk||Scott Laughton||Oskar Lindblom|
|Ivan Provorov||Ryan Ellis|
|Travis Sanheim||Rasmus Ristolainen|
This roster has a combined cap hit of $72,827,690, per CapFriendly. That leaves the Flyers with nearly $10 million in cap space, which sounds like a lot. But if you’re fancying someone like Johnny Gaudreau to fill that massive 1LW void, it’s probably going to take even more than that to land him. And that still leaves the Flyers with depth holes that need to be accounted for. Filling this one will take a minimum of about $3-$4 million. The more of those holes that the Flyers can fill with cheap, young, talented players, the easier it will be for them to build a good team around the higher-paid veterans they keep and bring in.
It’s one thing to have a lot of young players on ELCs or cheap contracts like Morgan Frost and Owen Tippett will probably be on next season. It’s another for those players to be able to contribute positively to an NHL team. The most important part of building a winning team is getting contributions from the top of your roster. After all, there’s probably no one under 22, save for maybe Cam York, who the Flyers are expecting to be a top-six forward or top-four defenseman.
The Flyers won’t be able to see what a successful first part of that equation looks like until at least next season. But they saw what the second part could be on Thursday night in Montréal. FAstrong forecheck by Bobby Brink set up a James van Riemsdyk jam-play goal. Brink then came in off a face-off win by Kevin Hayes to ensure Philadelphia maintained possession, a possession that ended with Ivan Provorov’s second-biggest goal walking in off a face-off win from the left-point against the Canadiens in his career.
Yeah, the Flyers would cough that lead up before the halfway mark of the second period. But the Flyers were able to stop the bleeding this time around. The Flyers regained control of the game during a lively second period that saw the teams combine for more shots (36) than they did in the first and third periods (34). Linus Högberg, making his NHL debut after Kevin Connauton was injured on Tuesday, started a rush that ended with fellow Swede Oskar Lindblom beating Carey Price on a sharp-angle shot that Price never appeared to pick up. Later in the period, Ronnie Attard joined the fun, recording an assist on a perfect backdoor pass to set-up Travis Konecny with a wide open net.
Furthermore, the Flyers didn’t just sit on their hands (or their lead) in the third. They hung with the Canadiens in shots (8-8) and, after adjusting for score and venue effects, actually get credit for driving play in the third (52.15% Corsi, 50.17% Expected Goals). A beautiful feed from Noah Cates sprung Morgan Frost to the goal, where he jabbed in his first tally of April. Then van Riemsdyk added his second of the game, third of the trip, and tied Cam Atkinson for the team lead with his 23rd goal.
The circumstances on Thursday were far from perfect, of course. However, albeit in a very lethargic game, the Flyers made the best of them with a solid performance. But even better — the kids led the way. And that inspires confidence that they can hold their own (and maybe more) in support roles when the Flyers getting two points begins to the matter again.
Before you do anything else, make sure to read Dan Robson’s great article about Oskar Lindblom’s support of Jim McCrossin during the latter’s current battle with cancer after the former helped Lindblom during his fight in 2019-20. Also, make sure to have a box of tissues ready.
The Flyers’ last win without Martin Jones in next was back on March 20, a 2-1 win over the Islanders (the first game after the Claude Giroux trade) with Carter Hart in net. Jones has all four of Philadelphia’s wins since.
After tonight’s win, the Flyers learn two things about how this season will be remembered. First, it means the Flyers can no longer tie their franchise record for most regulation losses in a season. The 2006-07 Flyers, who finished last in the league, lost 48 games in regulation, plus 12 in overtime. In contrast, the 2021-22 Flyers are at 43 regulation losses (plus 11 in OT) with four games left.
The outcome also all but assures the Flyers won’t have the best lottery odds. It would’ve been fairy realistic that the Canadiens could’ve passed the Flyers eventually with a regulation win tonight; the gap between the teams would’ve been just four points if that was the case. Instead, it’s eight, with four games left aside, and the Canadiens can’t catch the Flyers in the first tiebreaker (regulation wins, which Philadelphia leads by five). Meanwhile, the tragic number for the Flyers to be the favorites for the No. 2 pick (points gained by the Flyers + lost by the Coyotes) falls to just one.
Last, but not least, POG Starter Jacket Standings!
Starter, Joner – 3
Unknown, Honey Badger, G, Hollywood – 2
Sander/Sanner/Sandra/Sanny, Gobs, Risto, Coots, Mayhewooligans, Sergeant, Big Mac, Hodgeson, Connauton, The Hög (that’s gotta be his nickname, right?) – 1
3rd: James van Riemsdyk (PHI) – 2 Goals (22, 23), Assist (14), 6 Shots
2nd: Travis Konecny (PHI) – Goal (15), 6 Shots
1st: Ivan Provorov (PHI) – Goal (9), 5 Shots, 25:57 TOI
PHI: 4/24, 4 PM vs. PIT (44-23-11, W1)
MTL: 4/23, 7 PM @ OTT (30-41-7, W1)
All Advanced Stats are 5-on-5 unless otherwise stated and via Natural Stat Trick
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