Provorov believes Flyers have found offense-defense balance

Ivan Provorov
      Watching the Washington Capitals and superstar Alexander Ovechkin embarrass his team with three goals in the last three minutes just over a week ago didn’t sit well with Ivan Provorov.
      The Flyers defenseman also finished the game a minus-3, so there was that red number which stuck in his craw as well.
      But fortunately for Provorov, the schedule had the Capitals returning to the Wells Fargo Center this past Saturday and the Flyers exacted some revenge with a 2-1 win. And that wiped the smile off the face of Ovechkin, who wasn’t his usual offensive factor self.
      “For sure, everytime you can shut down one of the best goalscorers in the league, it always helps,’’ Provorov said after Monday’s practice at the Flyers Training Center in Voorhees, N.J. “We played pretty tight, we played pretty solid defense throughout the whole game.’’
      The Flyers hope they can start to get something going coming off their impressive win.
      Taking the initiative more often would help. The Flyers have let an opponent score first 30 times this season and their record in those games is just 3-23-4.
      “Scoring first helps,’’ Provorov said. “The best defense is a good offense. If you have the puck, they can’t score. We have to control the puck down low, keep possession. As long as we stay disciplined. Ever since we snapped that 13-game losing streak, we’ve found a way to play good offense and good defense at the same time.’’
      >Frost back to Phantoms again
      Morgan Frost continued his Philadelphia-Allentown shuttle on Monday when the Flyers loaned him back to the Phantoms. This is the second time this month the center has been back and forth.
      “There’s two parts to the conversation as to whether he should be here developing or there (Lehigh Valley) developing,’’ Yeo said. “When I talked to him this morning, there’s so many positives I’ve seen. The main thing for him is he shouldn’t be discouraged by going back right now.’’
      Yeo and general manager Chuck Fletcher don’t want to mess around with trying Frost at wing, even if it slows the process. They want to keep him at his natural spot.
      “Up here, you can’t take a shift off,’’ Yeo said. “I’m working with him to keep that type of mentality. The other part of the conversation is it’s tough to build that offensive confidence in this (NHL) league against the best defenders night after night.’’
      >Thompson skates
      Veteran center Nate Thompson, who has been sidelined since late November after undergoing shoulder surgery, was out skating on Monday raising hopes he might be able to return to action in the near future.
      Prior to the injury, Thompason had recorded just one point in 19 games. This is Thompson’s second tour of duty with the Flyers.
      “I have to have a sitdown with him here today,’’ Yeo said. “try to figure out what the next steps are, what the plan is going forward.’’
      Thompson is a popular figure in the locker room due to his outgoing personality and willingness to do everything it takes to win.
      “You could see the response the players gave when he came out on the ice,’’ Yeo related. “He’s a player the players have a ton of respect for, has an awful lot of credibility in our locker room.’’
      Thompson took part in more drills than Yeo anticipated, again increasing speculation he might be back fairly soon.
      Then again, Yeo wasn’t surprised by Thompson’s preparation. The coach knew Thompson wasn’t just sitting waiting around for the green light.
      “He’s a tremendous pro,’’ Yeo said. “It’s a real tough injury but he’s a guy that just wouldn’t have taken that time off. He would use that time for rehab.’’
      >Brassard makes it through
      Derick Brassard’s third attempt at getting back into the lineup looks like a successful one. He played in Saturday’s win over Washington and was back on the ice Monday no worse for wear.
      “I talked to him after the game and he felt pretty good,’’ Yeo said. “He’s poised to play the next game (Tuesday vs. Edmonton) so that’s a big step there. It makes us a deeper team. He makes us a better team coming into the lineup. That’s something you have to take advantage of.’’
      In Brassard’s two previous tries at returning to the lineup, he had to shut it down after one game.
      >Allison cleared for contact
      The Flyers are looking forward to getting physical right wing Wade Allison back in the lineup shortly. He’s been out most of the season due to ankle and knee injuries.
      “He’s been cleared for contact,’’ Yeo said. “I believe there’s a chance this week he will be cleared to play. He hasn’t played a lot of hockey this year. He’s got the tools, he looks like he’s ready.’’
      >Hayes update
      Yeo said Kevin Hayes (core injury) could be back for Saturday action.

“I would say that’s a possibility,’’ Yeo said. “But he’s been out so long, there’s no need to rush him back.’’

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About Wayne Fish 1793 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.