PHILADELPHIA – It didn’t take long for Owen Tippett to make an impact on his new team, the Flyers.
Less than 24 hours after arriving in Philadelphia following Saturday night’s trade which brought him to the Flyers in exchange for Claude Giroux and a swap of draft picks and prospects, Tippett was a force in the Flyers’ 2-1 win over the New York Islanders on Sunday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center.
Tippett, a power right wing, made his presence felt from the opening whistle. Playing on a line with Morgan Frost and Oskar Lindblom, the 23-year-old Tippett looked right at home in his new uniform, wearing No. 74. Tippett banged a few bodies and even saw some time on the power play.
Interim head coach Mike Yeo said Tippett made a good first impression.
“Looks like a hockey player to me,’’ Yeo said. “Liked a lot of the parts of his game, heavy shot, scoring chance in the second period went off the pipe. I liked him shooting off the flank on the power play to set up (Kevin) Hayes’ goal. Liked his wall play. For a guy who told me this morning he’s working on his 200-foot game, I didn’t have anything to point out. Obviously a great start for him.’’
Because of the 2 p.m. start, Tippett didn’t get a chance to even skate with his new team until the game began.
“The adrenaline kicked in for him,’’ Yeo said. “He was very excited for this opportunity. Coming here, knowing the opportunity he’s going to get with the ice time. Great to get him in right off the hop.’’
Frost revealed he and Tippett were teammates on the Team Canada’s World Junior team a few years back, so that helped with chemistry.
Tippett admitted the last 24 hours were a whirlwind.
“It’s a quick turnaround,’’ he said. “Found about six last night, got on a plane, got here and right into it. It helps when you can jump right in, it kind of takes your mind off playing (a game). So I jumped right in and it was great.’’
Added Frost: “I’ve always enjoyed watching him play. I thought we did some good things.’’
Hayes liked what he saw of Tippett’s game.
“I thought he was great,’’ Hayes said. “He’s a big power forward who shoots the puck hard, skates hard. That combination he can be a success in this league. He’s a north-south player who plays heavy.’’
The Flyers bounced back from a 1-0 deficit with a pair of goals from Hayes in the second period.
Joel Farabee was instrumental in both. On the first, Farabee rushed up behind defenseman Sebastian Aho as he broke from the side of the Islander net and pushed the puck to Travis Konecny. From there, a quick pass to Hayes resulted in a tying goal at 4:22.
Hayes struck again during a Flyers power play at 14:55. This time Farabee dove and pushed the puck to Hayes for a shot past goalie Ilya Sorokin.
“What I loved about Joel’s game today is he’s capable of making those plays and when he’s playing his best hockey, he’s as effective defensively,’’ Yeo said. “I thought his decisions with the puck were outstanding. He was on the right side of things all game, a huge part of why we won the game today.’’
Meanwhile, Hayes is starting to look more like himself prior to three surgical operations on his lower abdomen and groin.
“We don’t look at these as wasted games,’’ Yeo said. “We have to continue to build our identity as a team. And you want guys feeling good about themselves. Hayes has been through so much this year. He could have packed it in but he wants to play.’’
Hayes continues to make progress.
“I feel better every game,’’ Hayes said. “It was just a metter of getting my confidence back.’’
Carter Hart picked up the win in goal for the Flyers, who now begin a five-game road trip on Tuesday at Detroit.
>Mayhew claimed by Ducks
Forward Gerry Mayhew was claimed off waivers by the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday. Mayhew had six goals and no assists in 25 games with the Flyers this season.
>Yeo’s take on Tippett
Before the game, Yeo was asked for his scouting report on Tippett.
“You use the terminology weight to his game in the sense he’s strong on the puck, competitive with the puck. . .the kind of guy who can hang onto it, protect it,’’ Yeo said. “He can be strong in your checking game. He’s a (scoring) threat anytime the puck comes near him. He’s a shooter, he wants to shoot it and he has a great shot. That’s something I think could be real beneficial to our group.’’
>Coach discusses Giroux
Yeo said it was no surprise when he heard Giroux was traded.
“I think everyone sort of knew it was coming,’’ Yeo said. “I don’t know if today’s any different to be honest with you. I think now it’s sort of happened and we all recognize how important G was to our group and what a great player he is. But now it’s time to move on, look forward. Time to focus on what’s coming up down the stretch here. Young players get an opportunity and I’m excited to see Owen get in here today.’’
The coach said he had a conversation with Giroux before he left for Florida.
“I just wanted to thank him, he was outstanding for me,’’ Yeo said. “Obviously the coach-captain relationship is extremely important. He was nothing but incredibly respectful, just the way he responded to any situation. He was more like a partner than just a player. As a coach telling him what to do, he was very helpful.’’