PHILADELPHIA – Winning streaks are nice but when the Flyers start taking decisions in overtime, you know they’re really on to something good.
Philadelphia went into Saturday night’s game against Dallas just 1-7 in overtime.
But Shayne Gostisbehere’s second goal of the game on a power play with just 1:10 left in the tiebreaker sent the Flyers to a 2-1 win over the Stars at the Wells Fargo Center.
The victory extended the Flyers’ winning streak to six games, and, coming off a 10-game (0-5-5) winless streak, leaves them just one short of the record for such a turnaround (held by the 1966-67 Toronto Maple Leafs).
The Flyers are suddenly a confident bunch and goaltender Brian Elliott, who played superbly once again during this streak, said that good feeling carried over into the overtime.
“I thought we had a real positive attitude,’’ said Elliott. “I thought everybody thought we were going to go out there for overtime and win.
“I don’t think anybody had any doubts or anything. That’s all you can ask for going into those situations.’’
The Flyers continue to play buttoned-down hockey, exemplified by their unwillingness to give up power plays. They only allowed one to the Stars, who were playing the second half of a back-to-back as well as three games in the last four nights.
In the past seven games, the Flyers have permitted only 11 power plays and given up just one goal in that span.
As for overtime, Gostisbehere said the Flyers had discussed ways to improve in this critical area.
“I think after the last overtime game (a 5-4 loss at Pittsburgh on Nov. 27), we sat down as a team and looked at it,’’ Gostisbehere said. “Get our skates up ice, don’t take any chances, be honest and we’ll get our chances.
“That’s what happened. I know we had a power play there (Dallas’ Alexander Radulov for hooking, leading to the winning). But I think we played a pretty overtime up to that time.’’
This turnaround has been so dramatic that many of the Flyers really haven’t had time to think about it from a historical perspective.
“We just keep playing the right way,’’ Ivan Provorov said. “Making the right decisions. If you have to put the puck deep, you do that. If you have room, you can make plays. Just smart decisions. . .don’t force the game.
“When we lost 10 in a row, a few things didn’t go our way. We didn’t play the way we wanted to. But we stuck with it and now we’re playing the right way. We just to continue to play the same way and getting the wins.’’
Dallas took an early lead in this game, getting a goal from Gemel Smith at 7:13 of the first period.
The Flyers responded in the second period. With Philadelphia on a power play, Jake Voracek’s shot went wide to goaltender Ben Bishop’s left but Gostisbehere swept in and practically from his knees lifted the carom into the net at 9:10.
It stayed that way until the overtime when the Flyers won in a bit of a surprise.
The goal had to survive a review because Wayne Simmonds and Bishop appeared to be jousting over possession of their sticks.
“I don’t know what he (Bishop) was doing to be honest with you,’’ Simmonds said. “He might have thought it was his stick because his stick was jammed up between us at first but if wants to pull it, he can pull it.’’
Coach Dave Hakstol, even-keeled as ever whether it’s a win or loss, said the aggressive, confident attitude in overtime was pretty much the formula for success for the entire game.
“I thought we played a good overtime,’’ Hakstol said. “Our goaltender made a couple good saves there. I like the way we approached overtime. I didn’t think we pressed anything, didn’t take any long shifts, no high-risk plays. The guys just went out and did their jobs the right way.
Short shots: The Flyers are just the third team in NHL history to win six or more games in a row immediately following a 10-game winless streak. The others: San Jose Sharks winless in 10 (Nov. 5, 2005) to Nov. 30, 2005, then won six (Dec. 2, 2005 to Dec. 16, 2005) and the Maple Leafs (winless in 11, Jan. 15, 1967 to Feb. 11, 1967), then won seven (Feb. 12, 1967 to Feb. 26, 1967). . .Gostistbehere recorded his fifth career overtime goal and his first since Feb. 20, 2016, which was the fourth in his four-OT-goal rookie season. It’s Gostisbehere’s second career two-goal game; the other came on March 7, 2016 vs. Tampa Bay.
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