Flyers-Jets: Postgame Review
After the heartbreak of Thursday's loss in Boston and points that slipped away, the Flyers turned forth an effort that earned the points in the standings.
A 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets was a test passed by the Flyers. With some luck finally on their side, it could be the break the Flyers were looking for to get back on track in their playoff push.
Let's hit it with our Postgame Review.
- Puck Luck - In the duration of the five-game losing streak, it seemed like all the little bounces and breaks went against the Flyers. For a change, they got a bounce to go in their favor and cashed in.On Andrew MacDonald's goal, the eventual game-winner, Nolan Patrick's shot hit the end boards and bounced out the other side to MacDonald, who threw a quick shot on goal. A turning point in the game is the review. Connor Hellebuyck had sprawled across and made a tremendous save that appeared to keep the score at 1-0 Flyers. Some 30 seconds or so later, the horn sounded stopping play and the play was reviewed and correctly ruled a goal.
For the Flyers to turn things around and get back on the right track, they needed some things to play in their favors -- get a bounce, catch a break, get a gift of some soft. There it was and the Flyers used it to their advantage in the end.
- Mrazek On the Mark - A day off on Thursday in Boston may have been just what Petr Mrazek needed. The Flyers goalie was back to form on Saturday, showing the poise and composure that he had in Montreal as opposed to his previous four starts.Mrazek appeared to be losing some confidence lately, playing back in his crease, struggling to control rebounds and track the puck. On Saturday, he was on point and made several key stops on the Jets top scorers. Patrik Laine did get him with a one-timer in the third to break up the shutout, but it was truly Mrazek's only blemish on the day.
After his previous four games, which all seemed to get progressively worse, this was a welcome sight.
- Sanheim's Return - Travis Sanheim slotted back into the lineup for the injured Robert Hagg and for a player who hadn't played at the NHL level in over two months, he looked like a natural.The time in the AHL served its purpose for Sanheim. He looked confident and sure of himself on the ice, very decisive in decisions with the puck and positioned well without it. He only played 12:44 -- which is only alarming when you look at the rest of the ice time numbers for defensemen not on the top pair -- and had one shot and one giveaway in the game.
But more than anything, Sanheim took the opportunity to be back on the ice and treated it very much like Oskar Lindblom did. Lindblom was brought up to fill in for Wayne Simmonds while he was out with injury. Simmonds has since returned and Lindblom is still here. The same could be the case for Sanheim, who likely gets a two-week trial period here to be a regular again. In his first game of that audition, he played the part well.
- Riding the Pine - The Jets may not have found a way to get on the board if not for their fourth power-play opportunity of the game, created by an unnecessary tripping penalty taken by Travis Konecny. As a result, Konecny did not see the ice again following Laine's goal.On one hand, the Flyers really can't afford to be teaching kids a lesson that way at this stage of the season, especially when that kid is part of your top line. That said, Konecny's energy level has been on overload lately, and while that can help create scoring chances and get everyone else fired up, it can also lead to bad penalties.
So this was a hard way to learn a lesson, not playing for the last 11 minutes of the game, but Dave Hakstol stuck to his guns on this and laid down the law. Konecny should come out of that a better player.
- Snapping the Streak - Credit the Flyers for a solid 60-minute effort to snap their five-game losing streak. It was obvious that it was going to take such an effort and the Flyers delivered the required effort against one of the Western Conference's top teams.In this extended stretch of games against top teams in the league, the Flyers needed to prove they could pass that test to some extend. They nearly pulled out a victory in Tampa, and the thought of having a two-goal lead in the third period had to creep in during this game. They struggled against Florida, didn't match up against Pittsburgh for the last half of the game, and couldn't withstand the final push of Boston in the closing seconds.
A win against Winnipeg is a step in the right direction.
It also helped that the Flyers had one of those games that was low-scoring, tight-checking and put the emphasis on defense. For a team that had allowed 22 goals in the last five games, a 2-1 win was exactly the way to turn things around and to bring confidence to a team that needed to turn things around in their own zone first and foremost.
So it's back to scoreboard watching on Saturday afternoon and evening with Washington and Pittsburgh in action, and a couple of days of breathing room in the standings before the Flyers take the ice again.
Kevin Durso is Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.