The ultimate sacrifice in hockey is throwing yourself in front of a blazing shot to turn it away.
When it happens on home ice and leads to just a team’s third victory in two months, it might be appreciated just a bit more.
First-year Flyer Patrick Brown simply plays the game that way. Diving in front of high-speed pucks could be described as almost second nature to him.
Such an instance came up in Saturday’s emotional win over Washington.
“I think that’s a big part of my game,’’ he said on Tuesday morning at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia prior to the Flyers-Edmonton Oilers game. “It’s a big part of our team’s game. You have to be willing to sacrifice the body to win big games, especially in tight games like that one.’’
With penalty kill specialists such as Sean Couturier (back surgery) out of the lineup, it’s crucial to get strong play from guys like Brown.
“The PK has been pretty good,’’ Brown said. “I think we see when they bobble the puck, we’ve been able to go get it quickly and get it down the ice. I think that maybe we’ve been passive at times but we’ve been (mostly) aggressive and able to get the puck down the ice.’’
It’s safe to say Brown should be a stalwart on the fourth line for the remainder of the season. Whichever trio plays, it has to be versatile.
“I think that’s a role that I love,’’ he said. “Whether it’s winning faceoffs, blocking shots or playing hard minutes, I think that’s where I can contribute.’’
>Hoping for momentum
The Flyers headed into Tuesday night’s game against the Oilers having put together only one two-game winning streak since the end of 2021.
Having defeated Washington on Saturday, the Flyers wanted to continue that trend and build a little momentum for the rest of the homestand.
“I think that’s the key,’’ interim head coach Mike Yeo said. “Let’s keep building here. The message is it’s nice we won a game, obviously we take from that game what we can be better at. We looked at some video at how we can put ourselves in defend mode but we don’t want to be a team that can be satisfied just winning one game.’’
Yeo was asked how important it is to continue to try to build a winning culture again in Philadelphia and make it a place where players want to be next season.
“I think it’s huge,’’ Yeo said. “I think you are a winner or you are a loser. . .I don’t want to say it that way but we have to have that mindset. You take pride in things that winners do. I don’t think it would do us any service just to mail in these games.’’
No doubt there will be a lot of offseason changes but for the players who will be here, it has to be a better climate for a proud franchise.
“Once we start to build that respect,’’ he said, “we’ll carry that into next season.