Flyers’ defensive play keeping them in every game

Ryan Poehling

      PHILADELPHIA – Even though the Flyers lost on Sunday, their string of strong defensive performances continued.

      In wins over Toronto and Boston, plus a gritty overtime defeat at Carolina, the Flyers were stingy at their end of the ice. If not for some shaky goaltending by Felix Sandstrom, the 4-1 loss to Florida might have been a lot closer.

      Third period is where the Flyers have been shining of late. Whether ahead or behind, the Flyers seem to find a way to catch their second wind.

      “Our puck support has been great,” Scott Laughton said. “We’ve made a lot of five-foot plays across the blue line. We create a lot for ourselves. If we keep rolling like that for the last 10 games, we’re going to be on the positive side more than the negative.”

      Sometimes the little things can lead to big improvements.

      “It’s just attention to detail,” Ryan Poehling offered after the 4-1 loss to the Panthers at the Wells Fargo Center. “We’ve done it all year. I think to be cognizant of that every game is the big thing. . .staying above them, not giving them chances.”

      Laughton likes the way his team’s players are making themslves accountable on the defensive side of the puck.

      On Sunday, they held the Panthers to a season-low 15 shots.

      “Our game from this week to maybe two weeks ago is better than it’s been,” Laughton said. He then praised the play of rookie defensemen Ronnie Attard and Adam Ginning.

      “They’ve done a heck of a job back there,” Laughton said. “And ‘Sanny’ (Travis Sanheim) and ‘Yorkie’ (Cam York) have been battling and playing a lot of minutes. All those guys have done a good job. We just keep grinding.”

      There’s not a lot of time to dwell on Sunday’s loss. The Flyers have to get right back at it on Tuesday night in New York when they play the high-flying Rangers, now back on top in the NHL.

      “You don’t have time to breathe right now,” Poehling said. “The playoff race is so tight. We have so many games in such a short amount of days.”

      >Stolarz’s excellent season

      Stolarz is enjoying perhaps the best season of his career. He entered the game with a 13-5-2 mark, 2.02 goals-against average and .925 save percentage.

      The 29-year-old goaltender was originally selected by the Flyers in the second round (45th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Going into Sunday’s action, he had already established a new career high for victories in a season.

      “Yeah, ‘Stolie’ played a real good game,” Laughton said. “He’s a good goalie. You have to tip your hat sometimes. We had some chances, we just couldn’t bear down and bury them. That’s the game.”

      Stolarz never really had a chance with the Flyers. He played in only 19 games with the Flyers, then played with Edmonton and Anaheim before winding up with Florida.

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About Wayne Fish 2426 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.