That old crooner Roger Miller once sang about being a mythical ‘king of the road,’ but that was more about the hobo lifestyle than anything else.
This season’s Flyers team is becoming a whole different kind of road kings because they are simply playing well against their opponents away from the Wells Fargo Center.
They extended their streak to at least a point in nine straight road games on Friday night with a 2-1 overtime loss to the Seattle Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena.
The Kraken’s Oliver Bjorkstrand scored 2:35 into overtime for the game-winner.
But given this was the second half of a back-to-back and happened a few time zones away, the Flyers had to be somewhat satisfied with their effort. Plus, the Flyers used the point to hang onto second place in the highly competitive Metropolitan Division.
“Overall a good effort,” Travis Sanheim said. “We’ll take the point. That’s a tough way to come in, back-to-back, after a (Christmas) break. So we’ll take it.”
As they have throughout the season, shorthanded situations continue to help the Flyers generate offense in a tight-checking first period.
With the Flyers down a man late in the opening frame, Scott Laughton set up Travis Konecny for a shot past Seattle goalie Joey Daccord at 16:21.
Konecny bounced back after missing the third period of Thursday night’s 4-1 win at Vancouver due to a brief illness. He has scored four of the Flyers’ nine shorthanded goals.
It was the Flyers’ ninth shorthanded goal of the season, tying them for the NHL lead. Calgary and St. Louis also have nine.
The Kraken tied it at 5:45 of the third period. With Tyson Foerster in the penalty box, Vince Dunn’s point shot nicked off Flyer defenseman Nick Seeler and past Carter Hart.
Admittedly, the Flyers were showing some wear down the stretch in this one.
“Yeah,” Sanheim said. “I think it’s always tough in those situations. The team that’s down usually keeps pushing. They get pretty desperate. We have to find a way to get a little bit more of a push there and get back on our toes.”
Hart gave the impression he made a sub-par read on the Bjorkstrand winner but no one could fault him for the overall effort.
“We got a point, obviously you want two,” Hart said. “Coming on the back-to-back, the travel. . .we played hard and well. Last goal I obviously want back. I just made a bad read. Didn’t think he was going to shoot it.
“I thought we had great energy. I think we established early in the game with our forecheck. Getting pucks in deep, getting physical. I think that’s been a part of our identity.”
The Flyers’ John Tortorella coached his 1,500th NHL game.
“Carter played really well,” the coach said. “It’s why we’ve been able to find points, both of our goalies (including Sam Ersson) have played well.”
Young defenseman Egor Zamula continues to impress with his recent play, particularly on the power play.
“I like ‘Z,’ again tonight, that one group had the puck most of the time,” Tortorella said. “But Z has shown us a little bit more each power play that he plays. We’re going to keep working at it and see where it goes. His game has grown, he’s much more consistent. I think he understands the pace a little bit more. That was his biggest drawback. He played too slow. He’s playing quicker. I think that’s helped his game.”
The Flyers resume action on New Year’s Eve night (Sunday) when they visit the Calgary Flames. Game time is 8 p.m. Eastern time. It’s officially billed as the “Ed Snider Legacy Game”. . .Sean Couturier played in his 754th game as a Flyer, moving him into sole ownership of fifth place on the team’s all-time games played list. . .Philadelphia has 19 shorthanded goals over the past two seasons and that puts them second in the NHL over that span.