Friday, March 24 2023

Flyers turn some heads, rally past Lightning for first 3-0-0 start since 2011-12 originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

If the Flyers wanted their first 3-0-0 start since 2011-12, they needed to beat a team that has won two of the last three Stanley Cup titles.

And do so in its building.

Not only did the Flyers answer that challenge Tuesday night, but they also pulled it off in comeback fashion.

John Tortorella’s club erased another 2-0 deficit to knock off the Lightning, 3-2, at Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay, Florida.

The Flyers have won their first three games under Tortorella a year after they lost 57 games and won three straight only once.

Scott Laughton, James van Riemsdyk and Noah Cates scored the Flyers’ goals in the come-from-behind effort. Carter Hart was excellent again in net for his third consecutive win.

Prior to the upset, the Flyers were 0-6-4 in their last 10 matchups with the Lightning (1-3-0).

• Impressive work by Tortorella.

He’s taking over a team that went 25-46-11, a team that desperately needed direction and structure.

He has no Sean Couturier, no Cam Atkinson, no Rasmus Ristolainen.

He has inexperience all throughout his lineup.

And he somehow has a 3-0-0 start.

“I think a big thing is being aggressive in our game,” Laughton said nine days ago about Tortorella’s system. “I feel like, especially last year, we were in between on our forecheck, our neutral zone, you’re almost a step too late and we weren’t very connected in our game.

“He’d rather see an aggressive mistake than you sitting on your heels, which is big for our group. A lot of puck support in the offensive zone and moving our feet.

“I’m excited about it.”

Over the past two seasons combined, the Flyers were tied with the Devils for the NHL’s most goals allowed per game (3.56). They’ve held the opposition to two goals in each of their three games so far in 2022-23.

The last time the Flyers started 3-0-0, Scott Hartnell was the team’s leading goal scorer and Ilya Bryzgalov the No. 1 goalie.

Of course, it is extremely early, but the Flyers had little to no outside expectations entering this season. They’ve found a way to start 3-0-0 and they beat the Lightning in Tampa Bay to do it. They deserve some credit.

“I think we should shut our mouths, as I said — shut our mouths, keep our head down and work,” Tortorella said six days ago. “And not talk about rebuild, retool or playoffs, this. I don’t even want to get into the conversation because I don’t think we deserve to be in that conversation right now. We just need to get our foundation straightened out and try to play as hard as we can the right way. That’s my expectation that we’re going to try to get to.”

• A notable change in the Flyers right now is how they’re still able to play the right way when trailing in the game.

That has allowed them the chance to actually come back.

Last season, the Flyers were the only team in the NHL with zero comeback wins from two-goal deficits.

They’ve got two such wins already this season.

In the third period Tuesday, Cates jumped on a turnover, all driven by his forecheck, and beat Tampa Bay netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy for the game-winner.

More: Feeding off Phils’ celebration, Flyers rally and go to 2-0-0 under Tortorella

• The Flyers have a power play goal in three straight games to open the season.

Last season, they never had a stretch of three consecutive games with a man advantage goal.

They tied Tuesday’s game early in the third period when van Riemsdyk got a piece of a Kevin Hayes shot on the power play.

• In their wins over the Devils and Canucks, the Flyers had momentum-swinging second periods. They combined to outscore New Jersey and Vancouver 4-0 in the middle stanza.

Against the Lightning, the Flyers got hit early in the second period by a pair of Steven Stamkos power play goals as Tampa Bay seized a 2-0 lead.

Laughton scored arguably the Flyers’ most important goal of the night midway through the middle frame. It gave the Flyers a realistic shot heading into the third period trailing by only one.

Hart had 24 saves by second intermission. He finished with 36. Three of Hart’s six goals allowed so far have come with the Flyers on the penalty kill.

The 24-year-old finished as the game’s first star.

• Atkinson (upper body), Ristolainen (lower body) and Owen Tippett (upper body) were out for the Flyers. All three have been considered day to day.

Atkinson and Ristolainen have yet to play this season. Tippett suffered his injury in the Flyers’ season-opening 5-2 win over the Devils last Thursday.

• The Flyers are right back at it Wednesday as they stay in Florida to face the Panthers (7 p.m. ET/TNT).

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Source: Yahoo Sports


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