Flyers-Capitals: Postgame Review
How's that for a home opener?
The Flyers came out firing and scored early and often in a huge win to open the schedule at Wells Fargo Center with a convincing 8-2 victory over the Washington Capitals.
Here is the postgame review.
- The Flyers first line was all over the place. Jake Voracek was the only player on the line to not score a goal, but he came close in the third and had three assists. Every time he was near the puck, he generated some form of a scoring chance. Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier each tallied two goals. Giroux had four points.
The line as a whole combined for 10 points. On a night when the Flyers were facing a team that boasted high scoring numbers, they were the team putting the puck in the net.
- Credit the Flyers for taking advantage of the Capitals schedule. This was Washington's third game in four nights, the second half of a back-to-back, and the team had three rookie defensemen in the lineup, including one making his NHL debut. As tough as Washington can be and will be this season, their inexperience defensively coupled with a grueling schedule hurt them and the Flyers made them pay.
- This game really defined how far Scott Laughton has come. The play on his shorthanded goal late in the first can't be undervalued here. Locked in a 1-1 game with the end of the period nearing, Laughton's goal woke up the crowd and lifted the Flyers. He later added a second goal with the fourth line on the ice. The fact that the Flyers are able to roll four lines is a big difference this season, and Laughton's just one piece of the puzzle. On Saturday night, he was a big piece to the win.
- The Flyers have been rolling three young defensemen in every game. I'm including Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere in that grouping.
Gostisbehere is off to an excellent start. He may not have any goals, but he's been around the puck constantly, is playing more minutes and creating more chances.
Provorov remains steady as she goes. One big difference between his rookie season and the early going of his sophomore season is that he's controlling the puck more and actively moving the puck up ice, whereas he was a little bit more stationary and focused on play away from the puck last season. He's doing all this while averaging roughly 25 minutes per game. It may be hard to believe, but the Flyers have themselves a true No. 1 defense, and he's 20 years old.
And don't forget rookie Robert Hagg, who also has quietly put together a few solid games in a row. His positioning has been good, his skating looks good, he's involved on the play quite a bit, and those things have been consistent over the last week. Hagg earned a spot on the roster out of camp and is showing why, even if it's not something that can be seen on a scoresheet.
- The change in lines to move Valtteri Filppula to the second line and drop Nolan Patrick to the third line has been a good one so far. Filppula seems to be adjusting well to being on the first power play unit and playing alongside Jordan Weal and Wayne Simmonds, and the trio executed a nice tic-tac-toe passing play on Filppula's third goal in two games.
Patrick was one of the few Flyers not on the scoresheet in Saturday's game, but he's providing a good balance to that line as well. His focus on two-way play isn't lost, and he's remaining active in the offensive zone. But it's been Filppula's success that has more or less changed things for the Flyers, at least in the first few games he's played on the second line.
Kevin Durso is Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.