Ho-hum. Another day, another win for the Philadelphia Flyers. I know, I shouldn’t say things like that. I don’t want to alter the karmic kismet of this team. But a few things have become increasingly evident. This is a good team. A really good team. After winning back-to-back games against the Columbus Blue Jackets, a Metropolitan division rival, the Flyers entered Saturday’s matchup with the Winnipeg Jets with an increasingly visible collective confidence.

Let’s get into some takeaways from this one.

Ivan Provorov Makes an Early Impact

The rollercoaster season that Ivan Provorov experienced in 2018-19 is a distant memory. While he lacks the offensive dynamism of a peak Shayne Gostisbehere or even the flashes Travis Sanheim displays, Provorov is a better two-way defenseman than he’s credited for.

This is an elite-level play in both skill and determination. It’s plays like these that were few and far between a season ago, when Provorov was in the midst of an up-and-down season. He’s already eclipsed his point total from a season ago and is just four assists away from tying his career high. He’s been invaluable to this squad.

Scott Laughton’s Scoring Has Been Critical

I’d be remiss if I didn’t focus on the guy who finished off that earlier play. Scott Laughton’s two-goal performance on Saturday increased his goal total on the season to twelve, which matched a career-high he set a season ago. Here’s the thing: he’s done it in 40 fewer games this season. They’re not all gorgeous, top-10 play candidates:

The Flyers’ 8-3 record in February coincides with Laughton’s increased scoring output. Consider this: after posting ten points in 20 games from October-December, Laughton’s scoring fell of a cliff in January, as he contributed just two points (both goals) in eleven games. He’s already up to eight points in eleven games this month with two games left to play. It’s tied for the most points he’s had in a single month since March of 2019, when he had eight points in 15 games.

Laughton’s points have been critical to this team’s success this season. The Flyers are 13-2-1 when Laughton has at least one point. If you look at a season ago, when the team was an unmitigated disaster, the Flyers were 16-8-1 in games when Laughton scored. The season before? 9-2-6. A staggering 38-12-8 over three seasons. That’s absolutely bonkers. You could make the case that a guy who’s played in primarily bottom-six roles has been one of the team’s most important indicators of success over the past three seasons.

He’s also tough:

When asked after the game where that puck hit him, he exchanged a glance with the reporter, a bit of non-verbal communication, a cringe, a sly smile and a nod. He also intimated at one point that he wanted to make sure everything was still there…

Sean Couturier is on His Way to the Selke

Perhaps the biggest travesty in NHL Awards voting a season ago was that of Sean Couturier’s 7th-place finish in voting for the Frank J. Selke trophy. He garnered just two fist-place votes. When the mid-season awards voting came out for 2019-20, Couturier led the way. If he keeps up plays like this, he just might earn the trophy:

The Flyers’ best two-way player is 21 points off his career-high pace of 76, which he posted in back-to-back seasons the past two years. He’s gone over a point-per-game pace in stretches this season, including January and February of this year.

Tyler Pitlick Has Been Better Than Expected

When Chuck Fletcher opted to trade Ryan Hartman -who had been acquired in a trade that sent Wayne Simmonds to Nashville- to Dallas for a guy named Tyler Pitlick, people were a bit confused. Hartman wasn’t terrible and Pitlick didn’t appear to be much of an upgrade. Pitlick’s been exactly what you need in a bottom-six forward:

For what it’s worth, Pitlick’s put up more points (17 v. 14) in fewer games (54 v. 60) than Hartman has this season in Minnesota.

Some Things Are Bigger Than Hockey

Here are a couple of things to make you smile on this Sunday morning. First, the Flyers honored a little boy, who’s been getting cancer treatments at CHOP and was announced as cancer-free:

We learned postgame from head coach Alain Vigneault that Oskar Lindblom met with the team postgame:

AV is a gem and this organization is lucky to have him. Look how he lights up talking about Oskar, especially his smile. The team released video of Lindblom greeting his teammates postgame:

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