Flyers-Bruins Observations: Deja Vu?
When the Flyers came away from Saturday's game with a 3-2 win in a shootout against the Maple Leafs, it set the Flyers up to be in position for a successful weekend.
The Flyers entered Boston with a tough task at hand. The Bruins were 7-0-1 on home ice this season. They had the leading goal scorer in the league in David Pastrnak with 15 goals. Even getting the game to overtime would feel like a massive victory for the Flyers.
The Flyers did get the game to overtime and then another shootout. Just like on Saturday, the Flyers came away with the victory, another 3-2 result, completing a very successful weekend that has them off to a great start this season.
Observations from the Flyers win in Boston.
There was certainly reason to believe that with the Flyers having played in Toronto on Saturday and the Bruins waited since Friday to take the ice that the Flyers were in for a rough start. It turned out to be the opposite.
The first 10 minutes were certainly careful from both sides, but the Flyers really kept up the pressure and it resulted in two goals. The Flyers led in shots in the first period, 14-5.
Even in the second period, well past the start of the game, the Flyers were faster to get to pucks. It wasn't until the last half of the second that you could start to see the legs fading a bit on the Flyers and Boston starting to take over. But the start to this game was everything.
For the Flyers to go out and establish the lead at 2-0 and hold it into the third period, that may have honestly been part of the difference in this game. If you don't take advantage of the early opportunities, it's more likely that this game doesn't last until overtime or a shootout and instead just ends with the Flyers defeated in regulation.
More From Myers
Three games, three goals for Phil Myers. Honestly, what a week it has been for him.
Myers' goal, the second goal of the first period for the Flyers, marked his third straight game scoring a goal. You know the last Flyers defenseman to score a goal in three straight games? Mark Howe in 1987. That's right, that's three decades gone by and not since a Hall-of-Fame defenseman accomplished the feat that a Flyers blueliner has scored in three straight games.
But what has been more impressive over the last two games is not that Myers is able to make plays offensively. His poise with the puck has been stellar and his positioning and defensive awareness keeps getting better. He's fallen into a much more comfortable role over the last few games and appears to be locking up a permanent spot on the roster.
Carter Hart was perfectly fine in the first two periods of the game, but didn't have a large body of work -- just 10 Boston shots on goal. Some of the Bruins chances in the second were much more dangerous and Hart was up to the task despite limited action.
He didn't get limited action in the third.
Hart did allow two goals and the game was tied, but neither was really his fault. He faced 17 shots in the final period and made 15 saves.
During the third period, Pastrnak got a breakaway and was slashed by Ivan Provorov. The official's arm went up for the first time in the period and only the third in the game. Penalty shot. Hart waited out the move from Pastrnak and ultimately, space ran out, leaving Hart perfectly positioned for the save. With 3:20 left in the third, the arm went up again, this time for a tripping penalty on Oskar Lindblom. Again, Hart stayed poised in goal and made two great saves to help the Flyers complete the kill.
In the shootout, Hart was on point as well, stopping Charlie Coyle and Brad Marchand before forcing Pastrnak to the outside and taking away space to get a shot on goal. That's a pair of shootout wins sandwiched between two more wins in the last four starts for Hart.
Farabee's Return to Boston
The former Boston University forward who signed on with the Flyers after his freshman year was not returning to Boston in just any capacity. He returned as a full-time NHLer.
In Joel Farabee's 11th NHL game, he had plenty of jump, but made his biggest contribution in the shootout with the only goal, a chip shot over Jaroslav Halak. Farabee continues to be an energetic player looking to drive play, win battles and let the scoring come when it will. He has displayed a number of skills in recent games, like the vision and puck skills he possesses as he set up Claude Giroux for a breakaway in the second period.
Alain Vigneault called him one of the better players on the team on Tuesday. On this night, he showed once again that it has been the case for a while now.
Strong Start to Season
You have to go back to the 2011-12 season to find the last time the Flyers had 10 wins in their first 17 games. Through 17 games, this year's Flyers are 10-5-2 and sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division. They hold a tie for fourth in the Eastern Conference with Toronto. They are tied for seventh in the NHL standings.
At the moment, this is a Top 10 team in the league.
Now obviously, that can be exaggerated a bit. It is still the first quarter of the season and they are still making some mistakes with the puck, turning it over, struggling to make exits, making costly passes, having defensive breakdowns, but even those things happen to good teams. Finding a way to win is different. The Flyers are finding ways to win.
At a certain point late in the third period of Sunday's game, it was apparently the Flyers were just trying to reach overtime. The point gained for reaching that is so valuable. But to find a way through overtime and the shootout to be in a position to win and to ultimately do so is different.
It's definitely too early to start talking about end results to the season, but it's not too early to think about the start. With three more games, set to be played this week, the Flyers reach 20 games on the season, essentially the quarter-mark of the season. Thanksgiving is another benchmark. If the Flyers can maintain and hold their position in the standings through those two milestones, it will certainly help the Flyers get more of a reputation as a contender.