Flyers-Blues: Postgame Review
As the Flyers hit the halfway point of their season, they did so in style with a strong 6-3 win over the St. Louis Blues.
This was very much to type of game the Flyers are looking to have on a nightly basis if their goal is to indeed reach the playoffs, but that didn't mean that a game with so many positives didn't have a few mistakes along the way.
Let's jump right in with our Postgame Review.
- Setting the Tone - In his NHL debut, Tyrell Goulbourne essentially set the tone. The rookie didn't get much playing time, but on his very first shift, two big hits on the Blues top defensive pairing helped set up the opening goal.
Goulbourne first hit Jay Bouwmeester in the corner during a strong forecheck by the fourth line. Then he crushed Alex Pietrangelo to force the puck away from the Blues defenseman and right to Scott Laughton for the opening goal.
It's not Goulbourne that deserves all the credit, but that shift set the tone for the game ahead for all four lines. The Flyers had been looking for better starts and even after having a good first period on Thursday, came out of that tied with the Islanders. In this one, they had a 2-0 lead and never looked back.
- Top Line Surges - By now, it's almost expected that Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier are going to find a way to make things happen. The duo has been strong all season and continued that on Saturday.
The addition of Travis Konecny to the top line has been a bright spot though. You see Konecny not trying to do too much and letting the game come to him more. Of course, it helps that you have two of the top players on the team.
But the success of Giroux and Couturier has to be admired. This was the halfway point of the season for the Flyers. Giroux has already matched his goal total from last season and is up to 51 points, quietly in second in the NHL. Couturier has 21 goals, already far exceeding his career-high, and 40 points, a new career-high in that category too.
- Winning Special Teams - In the past few games, even their recent wins, success on special teams hasn't been the Flyers strong suit.
The Flyers only had to kill off one penalty, but it came at a point when the Flyers desperately needed a kill and they had one of their strongest penalty kill in quite some time.
The power play had struggled early in the game, but scored a big third-period goal. So a perfect 1-for-1 on the penalty kill and a 1-for-3 effort on the power play was more than enough to be on the right end of special teams.
- Four(th) Score - When St. Louis finally got on the board late in the second, it was Ivan Barbashev scoring the goal. If you haven't heard that name before, you're not alone?
The goal was Barbashev's first of the season, another fourth-line player scoring on the Flyers.
Now granted, Barbashev played the last half of the game with Vladimir Tarasenko and Paul Stastny, so those kind of players can help anybody produce.
But in recent games, a lot of players who don't have a lot to show for their season have been cashing in on the Flyers, and that's quickly becoming a problem.
- Consistently Inconsistent - The Flyers closed the first half with one of their better games, and it was perfectly fitting of the Flyers.
You just can't get a read on this team. One night, they look the way they did Tuesday against Pittsburgh, seemingly going through the motions in the final period. In the next, they deliver an effort that shows a team with playoff aspirations.
It's the perfectly consistent inconsistency that has become the Flyers identity. There's one more game before the Flyers head to the week-long break, and we'll see which version of the team shows up for that.
Kevin Durso is Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.