PHILADELPHIA – Morgan Frost knows a lot of his future with the Flyers could hinge on his performance this season and a game like Tuesday night’s just might help his cause.
Frost was all over the ice, starting rushes and finishing them. He scored a pair of goals, including the go-ahead goal with 2:15 to play to lead the Flyers to a 3-2 win over Montreal on Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
The victory extended the Flyers’ winning streak to four games, their first four-game win streak since Dec. 29 to Jan. 5.
Frost finished off a two-on-one rush with Joel Farabee for his second goal. Then Owen Tippett scored an empty net goal with 1:46 to play. That proved to be an important goal because Montreal kept its goalie out and scored with just over 22 seconds to play.
Throughout the season, coach John Tortorella has made it a point to say that a number of players, especially some of the young ones, are on trial for positions on next year’s team.
Frost is aware of this and is hopeful a game like this can show the coaching staff his potential.
“I don’t think it’s just one game,” he pointed out after the game. “It’s throughout the whole season. I’ve said it before, I think the young guys still have a lot to play for here, myself included.
“I want to be here next year. I want to be here for the long run. So every game is important to me.”
Although Frost is posting decent offensive numbers, there’s still the matter of that minus-10 staring him in the face.
Don’t think for a second Tortorella isn’t paying attention to some of the questionable stuff like that.
“I know the situation I’m in,” Frost said. “I’m trying to do the right things. Whether it’s making more plays or be more reliable defensively. Even faceoffs – my faceoffs have been pretty terrible all year. I’m just trying to hone in on that now, show I can play a complete game.”
Tortorella throws compliments around like 100-pound barbells, which is to say not very far and not very often.
“He’s getting more and more consistent,” Tortorella admitted. “He’s improved right on through away from the puck, which is a very important part of his game. Positioning, battles. . .just a 200-foot player. We know he has skill. For a coach to put a player out there he’s not sure of, the other stuff has to be sound. I think he’s really improved there.”
The coach did say Frost’s effort in this game against an also-ran like Montreal was admirable but he wants to see performances like that against contending teams like Ottawa, Pittsburgh and the Islanders, which are coming up on the schedule.
Frost’s first goal at 3:41 of the second period gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead.
As a Montreal penalty expired, Frost took a Kevin Hayes pass and sent it past goaltender Caleb Primeau, son of former Flyers captain Keith Primeau. Frost said Hayes deserved much of the credit on the play.
“He does that stuff a lot,” Frost said. “He’s got unbelievable vision. I just had to get it (the shot) off as quick as I could and the credit goes to him on that one.”
Frost now has 16 goals for the season, a total which seemed rather improbable when the season began.
“I’ve been given a really good opportunity here,” he said. “I have to give kudos to my teammates and the coaching staff in helping me out. I think some of the stuff I do at times is high risk but when I’m playing my best is when I’m feeling good enough to try that stuff and hopefully it will start paying off a little bit more.”
Tortorella said: “He keeps on improving. That’s encouraging to me. I didn’t know him two years ago. People who did see him play then to where he is now are shocked at where he’s at.”
Montreal countered at 9:39. The Flyers lost a faceoff and Brendan Gallagher had a close-range opportunity. His shot eluded Felix Sandstrom, filling in for Carter Hart (lower-body injury).
>Sandstrom finally rewarded
Sandstrom finally got rewarded for some strong work in goal. It was just his second win of the season (2-10-2).
“He’s played well, my only complaint with him was he always let in a bad goal,” Tortorella said. “He made some key saves (tonight) at key times.”
Hart’s injury took place at the morning skate, so Sandstrom didn’t have much time for mental preparation.
“I found out during the day,” he said. “It (a second win) is great. It’s been a battle. The guys did a great job today so it was fun to be out there. I feel better and better.”
>Back in action
The Flyers head to Ottawa for their next game on Thursday night against the Senators. . .Hart was a late scratch, so the Flyers called up goalie Samuel Ersson on an emergency basis to back up Sandstrom. . .Nick Deslauriers, back in action after missing a couple games due to injury, said the Flyers have been displaying an improved brand of hockey. “I think our game has been better,” he said. “We’ve lacked a couple second periods where we played so-so but I think we came back to forecheck and stayed out of the box.”