Flyers-Ducks Observations: Winning for Oskar
There is nothing normal about what Oskar Lindblom is going through, but after a tough week on the road away from their teammate, just seeing him maybe was a small sense of normalcy for the Flyers.
“This morning, Oskar was around. Spent time with him. It was the first time we really spent time with him since we heard what was going on,” Claude Giroux said. “His attitude is unbelievable. It was great to see him again with the guys. We wanted to get this win for him, and every win for the rest of the season will be for him.”
Lindblom met his teammates and, noting the team’s three-game losing streak, told them “got to win tonight, guys.” If every win is dedicated to him, this was perhaps the first of many more to come. Alain Vigneault felt like this one was a game they needed to have.
“The only thing we talked about before the game was this was a must win for us,” Vigneault said. “And we needed to do whatever it took to find a way to win this game. And that's what I think we did as a group. It wasn't our prettiest game. We've obviously made some mistakes out there, but when we did, we get some big saves from Carter. And we got some timely goals. We were able to beat a very good goaltender and that's what you need to do to win some games.”
More observations from an emotional win for the Flyers over the Ducks.
When he was called up a week ago, David Kase may not have been on the radar for many fans. He was a fifth-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and while he’s been a pro for a couple seasons now, he’s really not a prospect that stood out on paper.
Kase scored his first NHL goal on Tuesday night, against the team his brother Ondrej plays for and with his parents in the stands all the way from Czech Republic. Talk about a special night for the family.
It was really a just reward for Kase. He’s been solid since the call-up and really earned the opportunity to be playing on a line with two players that are capable of scoring -- Jake Voracek and Morgan Frost.
Kase is not like some of the other prospects in the lineup where his spot is secure. He’s been called up in large part due to the massive amount of injuries that have plagued the team lately. Give him credit for filling the void pretty well to this point.
That might be one of the quietest 40-save games you will ever see. Carter Hart was certainly tested often by the Ducks, but looked so in control throughout the game that there was really not much that looked all that dangerous.
Call it home cooking with Carter. The netminder has been excellent on home ice this season and continued that with Tuesday’s strong game. By making 40 saves on 41 shots, Hart’s GAA dropped to 2.40 and his save percentage rose to .912.
It was the first time this season that Hart had made 40 saves. He did so four times last season. In his career, he now has 12 games where he has faced 38 shots or more. He has an 11-1 record in those games. He certainly doesn’t mind the workload.
Not a bad way to celebrate the one-year anniversary of your call-up to the NHL.
The Flyers got a big boost by having Travis Konecny back in the lineup, and while by his own admission it wasn’t his best game, you could see how Konecny’s presence elevates the team’s game.
For starters, Konecny completed a pretty passing play to set up Giroux for the first goal of the game. Outside of the production, Konecny’s energy and skating ability is just greatly missed. From the start of the game, on the very first shift in fact, that line was clearly on a mission.
Konecny’s return was the beginning of a lot of potential good news for the Flyers. Tyler Pitlick skated on Tuesday and could be able to return this week. Michael Raffl is on LTIR until after the holidays, but the hope is that he’ll return early on the West coast trip. Joel Farabee served the first game of his three-game suspension, so he’ll be able to return on Monday. Scott Laughton will also be out until after the holidays, but the break allows some time to determine more of an exact timetable.
The Flyers have three games left before the break, and maybe just three games left before they can get a lot of their regular lineup back.
A Timely Goal
The Ducks were starting to apply constant pressure early in the third when a drop pass that didn’t connect sent Voracek moving the other way on a two-on-one. On a lot of occasions, Voracek would look to pass. This time, he shot and beat John Gibson to the glove side.
It was a huge goal for the team at that time of the game, some relief that provided breathing room. While the Flyers committed a few penalties down the stretch that allowed the Ducks to have chances to climb back into the game, the two-goal margin made it feel like a greater climb. The Ducks, who have struggled on the road this season, were left chasing the game against a goaltender who was locked in.
At the first TV timeout of the game, the Flyers had a moving tribute for Oskar Lindblom ahead of his fight with Ewing’s sarcoma. A video montage played on the scoreboard. Cards reading “I fight for Oskar” were at every seat in the arena and the fans in attendance rose to their feet and held them up.
From fans to teammates, this is a fight Lindblom is not going through alone. He has the support of everyone. That certainly lifted the spirits and energy level of the players, who seemed to be more up on their skates following the tribute.
It was very clear there was another focus besides just the game itself at Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday and there likely will be for the next few games at least, if not the rest of the season.