Tippett late goal gives Flyers win, sweep of road trip

Owen Tippett

      Too bad the Flyers don’t play more games against the Western Conference.

      Monday night’s 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues at the Enterprise Center completed a three-game road sweep of Western teams and raised their season record to 13-7-3 against the other conference.

      A goal by Owen Tippett with 5:33 left in the third period made the difference for the Flyers, who moved into second place past Carolina in the Metropolitan Division.

      Tippett, who had 10 shots for the game, deked past defenseman Justin Faulk and beat goaltender Joel Hofer for the game-winner.

      Joel Farabee added an empty-net goal with 53.1 seconds to play in the game.

      Tippett has elevated his game in the past couple weeks and looks like a threat every time he steps on the ice.

      “It was just one of those games where you didn’t want to pass up a shot,” Tippett said in a televised interview after the game.

      Tippett recently had to change stick models because of some bad (but also good) luck

      “I had a couple sticks sent to me,” Tippett said. “Unfortunately they broke. TK’s (Travis Konecny’s) were the closest to mine. The last game and a half I’ve been using that one.”

      The Flyers keep surprising everyone except the Flyers themselves.

      “It was a great road trip for all of us,” Tippett said. “We’re kind of happy to get the sweep on the road trip and get home to our fans.”

      Coach John Tortorella indicated he was pleased that Tippett got 10 of 11 shots on net. Near misses had been a problem back in December and earlier this month.

      “I said the other night if he hits the net a little bit more, he would probably have five or six more goals,” Tortorella said. “He’s one of those athletes that develops on his own. He has a chance to be a really good player.

      “It (the goal) was a great individual effort.”

      Ryan Poehling’s goal with only six seconds left in the second period broke a 1-1 tie but St. Louis tied it at 1:18 of the third to make it 2-2.

      Goaltender Carter Hart picked up the win for the Flyers.

      The Flyers scored first in this game on a goal from Scott Laughton at 1:03 of the second period. That ended Laughton’s 10-game goal drought.

      “We did a good job of putting pucks on net and retrieving them,” Laughton said of the first two periods during an intermission interview. “I think we controlled most of the play

      “That was a huge goal by ‘Poehls,’ He (Hofer) is a big body so we had to get some traffic on him.”

      The Blues’ Oskar Sundqvist scored a power-play goal with 1:41 left in the middle frame.

      The Flyers knocked off Minnesota on Friday, then followed that up with a victory over Winnipeg on Saturday.

      Are the Flyers finally starting to believe they’re a playoff team?

      “Yeah, I think so,” Tippett said. “Obviously we’re still a ways out (from the playoffs). We’re just taking it game by game. Not worried about what can happen in the future. Just control what you can control and see what happens.”

      >Cates back in action

      Flyers center Noah Cates returned to the lineup on Monday night after missing 22 games due to a foot injury he suffered in a game at Long Island on Nov. 25.

      Cates registered just one goal and three assists in the 21 games he played in before the mishap in New York.

      The Flyers have been getting by for the most part with Scott Laughton as a fill-in pivot.

      Cates did not post a point in 12 November games but did show signs of coming out of the offensive slump in the game against the Islanders.

      “I thought his best game was when he was injured,” coach John Tortorella said before the game. “He and I have had convesations about just not relying on the strength of his game, the defensive part.

      “He needs to explore himself offensively. He knows he needs to bring other things, he knows he needs to keep improving as a player in all facets. I just want him to play tonight, I have full trust he’s going to be ready to go. And then we’ll work it from there.”

      Cates seldom gets caught out of position because he sees the game so well.

      “He’s very coachable,” Tortorella said. “He’s so far ahead as far as the mental part of the game.”

      Cates has waited patiently to make sure he’s a hundred percent again. It hasn’t been easy sitting that long.

      “It feels like a long couple months,” he said. “It’s good to be back around the guys. I’m really ready to go.

      “I thought it (Nov. 25) was one of my better games. It’s about being prepared about how I want to play when I get back. That’s definitely a game I’ve been thinking about. It’s nice to get back into action and prove that again.”

      Cates said one of the biggest things he’s going to concentrate on is his confidence.

      “There’s a good feeling in this room and I want to add to that,” Cates said.

      >Short shots

      The Flyers have Tuesday off, will practice in Voorhees, N.J. on Wednesday and begin a four-game homestand with a game against the Dallas Stars on Thursday. . .Marc Staal was scratched as the Flyers went back to a six-defensemen alignment. . .The Flyers got their first look at former teammate Kevin Hayes in a Blues uniform. He continues to wear his traditional No. 13. . .Ex-Flyer Brayden Schenn played his 900th NHL game. . .Sean Couturier missed his second straight game for the Flyers with a minor injury.

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About Wayne Fish 2338 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.