Flyers’ revived offense lifts confidence level

Morgan Frost

Lack of offense caused probably the Flyers’ biggest headache through the first couple months of the season.

Then came the recently completed road trip and red lights started going on like your living room Christmas tree.

In fact, heading into Thursday night’s game against the Arizona Coyotes, the Flyers had registered three or more goals in seven straight games.

The last three of those matches took place in California where the Flyers completed a first-ever sweep of the Golden State teams.

Prior to Thursday morning’s pre-game skate at the Flyers Training Center in Voorhees, N.J., coach John Tortorella discussed reasons why things have started to turn around.

“I think some guys are more confident,’’ the coach said. “Some pucks are going in. We score a couple goals in Anaheim (a 4-1 win on Monday night). I’m not so sure that maybe earlier in the year they don’t go in.

“That’s why you have to work hard and earn your puck luck. Just stay about yourself and play hard. If you do the little things as far as effort, I think sometimes things turn around for you.’’

The young guns have been leading the charge.

“I think ‘Tip’ (Owen Tippett) has improved,’’ Tortorella said. “And ‘Frosty’ (Morgan Frost) has been a little more consistent. We have to stay with it and continue to go about our business.’’

Tippett’s 12 goals have already eclipsed his previous career-high of seven and put him on pace to go over the 20 mark.

“It’s good to have team success and when you have that it starts falling for everybody,’’ Tippett said. “We’re creating more offense lately and everybody is chipping in. It’s good to see. I think everyone’s getting more comfortable and familiar with everything. It takes less thinking now. It’s just kind of ingrained. We are just playing now and you can see it’s coming more freely. We’re making more plays offensively.’’

The recent success has certainly lifted team morale in the locker room.

“We’ve been in a lot of close games – some games we deserved a better result; I think they all come out in the wash in a long season,’’ Tortorella said. “But they find a way. They played good, they played bad, inconsistent, but they played hard.

“That’s what we constantly get out of our team. Our team plays hard every night. And we get some results in California.’’

>Hart gets the start

On Thursday morning, the Flyers announced they have sent backup goaltender Felix Sandstrom to the Phantoms on a two-week conditioning assignment.

Sandstrom took ill at the start of the holiday five-game road trip and has not played in more than two weeks.

Carter Hart, out since suffering a concussion on Dec. 23 at Carolina, cleared protocol and was activated on Wednesday. He’s scheduled to start against the Coyotes.

Samuel Ersson, who recorded wins in all three California games, will be on the bench in the Arizona game and probably will start against either Toronto on Sunday night or at Buffalo on Monday night.

“I think the whole two-week situation here really works out well,’’ Tortorella said. “I want to use ‘Erss’ in some back-to-backs, I think he deserves to play. Our schedule is kind of spread out. We’ll see how Carter goes.’’

>Penalty killing helps Konecny

Travis Konecny, now up to 19 goals (just five off his career high), says getting his first real tenure on the penalty kill has helped his overall game.

“I really enjoy the PK,’’ he said. “In certain ways, if I’m not in it five-on-five and my legs might not feel like they’re there, in a game I feel like the PK gets me more involved. It’s an opportunity to get my feet going. . .maybe get a block, feel like you’re in the game. I feel like it keeps me more involved and I’ve enjoyed it so far.’’

>Short shots

The Flyers recalled forward Kieffer Bellows from the Phantoms but he was not scheduled to play against the Coyotes.

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About Wayne Fish 2472 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.