Imperfect Flyers have shown growth (and guts) in a few key areas originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
VOORHEES, N.J. — John Tortorella said it last season after his first game as the Flyers‘ head coach.
That the NHL is “a find-a-way league.”
In Year 2 under Tortorella, the Flyers want to show signs of growth by finding ways to win. The organization feels strongly that winning and developing should go hand in hand with its rebuild.
The Flyers have not been perfect recently, but they’ve gutted out some wins to fend off longer skids. They’re 2-3-1 in their last six games. The two victories came in shootouts and each prevented three-game losing streaks.
Growing type of wins.
“Every game, every team, all year long, you’re never perfect,” Tortorella said Monday at morning skate. “There are mistakes, there’s bad luck, whatever comes, you’ve just got to try to overcome it. I like our room. I think that’s where our biggest improvement so far this year has been, our locker room and how they handle some of the things that go on.”
Three of the Flyers’ last four wins have come by one goal. The club is now 3-4-2 in games decided by one goal.
On Saturday night in Pittsburgh, the Flyers picked up their first come-from-behind victory. The 4-3 shootout decision over the Penguins featured dig-down-deep type of moments from the Flyers. Scott Laughton scored a game-tying shorthanded goal in the third period. And after relinquishing a lead with 20.6 seconds left in regulation, the Flyers killed off a penalty for the final minute of OT and went on to win in the skills competition.
They’ll try to build off the win Monday when they face Pittsburgh again, this time in Philadelphia (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).
The Flyers are 12-10-2 through 24 games. Last season, they were 8-11-5 and had already endured a 10-game skid.
The penalty kill has been one of the Flyers’ biggest strengths this season. It entered Monday ranked seventh in the league at 84.8 percent. Over the last 10 games, it’s 32 for 34 (94.1 percent).
Against the Penguins, Travis Sanheim blocked seven shots and Cam York five, including some clutch ones on the PK. Nick Seeler is the Flyers’ leader in that style of defense, blocking the NHL’s fifth-most shots (65).
Given the Flyers have mostly struggled on the power play, their penalty kill has been a momentum-changer.
“Killed off some penalties and just like the other night, we’ve scored some huge goals on it, too,” Tortorella said. “I look at Yorky blocking shots on the penalty kill, Seels, how many shots we do block, it really helps your team in those type of situations. I think that grows the toughness of your team. And that gives you momentum and then to score a goal, it just doubles it up.”
The Flyers have scored six shorthanded goals, putting them in a four-way tie for the NHL’s most. Their power play is 10 for 81 (12.4 percent).
“It has kind of overridden some of the problems our power play has given us this year, where it’s kind of deflated us,” Tortorella said. “So we’re about even right now, I’ll put it to you that way. It has really helped us and our power play has put us in some tough spots as far as momentum.”
Source: Yahoo Sports