PHILADELPHIA – Maybe the Flyers lost the battle on Saturday but they could wind up winning the war.
While they had nothing to show in the way of points for a 1-0 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights at the Wells Fargo Center, they did show improvement in their defensive play, which is what they will need to succeed in the long run.
Giving up nearly five goals a game in their first four contests was hardly a formula for a winning season.
It took a stand-on-your-head performance by Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury to keep the Flyers off the scoreboard.
On the flip side, the Flyers nearly got through 60 minutes without giving anything at their end.
Only a Sean Couturier turnover allowed the Knights to score in the final 1:25.
The Flyers know if they keep playing responsible hockey like that on most nights they’re going to win a lot of games.
“I thought we played with a lot more speed than we’ve been playing with, through the neutral zone, carrying pucks,’’ Scott Laughton said. “Making plays.
“Just didn’t come out on the right side of it tonight but if we keep playing like that, I thought it was one of our quickest games of the year so far.’’
Claude Giroux liked the effort level.
“I think we played great,’’ he said. “I think we did a lot of good things defensively. It’s just tough to lose at the end of the game like that.
“You know he (Fleury) had a couple desperate saves there. He’s a goalie that doesn’t quit on the puck.’’
Wayne Simmonds also appreciated the team defense, especially when he took a penalty with 4:15 to play. The Flyers managed to kill that penalty, and knocked off all three power plays in all.
“I thought we played solid team defense,’’ Simmonds said. “I think it was better all-around team defense – definitely better than the games before.’’