As weekends go, the Flyers have had far worse.
Oh, they’ve had better too, but coming off two truly pathetic efforts in New York and Pittsburgh, to register a pair of shootouts -one a win, and one a loss- and come away with three out of a possible four points is nothing to sneeze at.
That’s what happened this weekend, after the Flyers dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to the Toronto Maple Leafs 24 hours after winning by that same score in New Jersey.
The goal scorers against Toronto were Ivan Provorov, Claude Giroux and Travis Sanheim. The latter had an eventful night, and Brian Elliott was really good again in goal, giving the Flyers chance after chance to win the game.
Garnering those three points has the Flyers at 6-5-2 through 13 games, which has them in fifth place in the Metropolitan Division, and three points out of a wild card playoff position.
Yes, it’s way too early to talk about such things, but November is a very busy month for the Flyers with 16 games in 30 days and 14 of those games are against divisional or conference rivals, meaning that once the calendar flips to December, a third of the season will have been played and the standings will become a crucial part of the conversation about the Flyers.
How they get there and what their status will look like at that point will have to do with the play of several key players, many of whom I’d like to highlight now:
Usually when a guy scores a goal, they garner attention from the media. But, if I’m being honest, Provorov was always going to be a guy I was including in this post, whether he scored or not.
The Flyers’ defense has been in the cross hairs lately, and deservedly so for its uneven and sometimes erratic play.
However, Provorov has been steady. Not great, like he was two seasons ago, but also not the same guy who took a huge step backward last season.
He’s been reliable. With a veteran partner like Matt Niskanen, who is taking some of the pressure off of Provorov that was so prevalent a year ago, the still-22-year-old defenseman has made strides toward being the top defenseman on the team again.
He still garners the most minutes of any of the Flyers defenseman, meaning coach Alain Vigneaut and assistant Mike Yeo, who is in charge of the defense, recognize Provorov’s skill and ability.
For the second time this year, Provorov has been moved back to the top power play unit as well, replacing Shayne Gostisbehere. The last time was a brief stint. This time, I’m thinking he’ll get a longer look.
Especially if you score on the power play: