3 Takeaways from Flyers Win Against Devils

The Philadelphia Flyers beat the New Jersey Devils in a 6-1 blowout at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night. The victory brought them their first three-game winning streak of the 2021-22 season. They had lost 10 consecutive games prior to the streak. The regulation win allowed them to leapfrog their opponent for sixth place in the Metropolitan Division. Cam Atkinson led the way with three goals and one assist. 

The Mike Yeo Era

The coaching change seems to have finally awoken the Flyers offense. In their final 17 games under former head coach Alain Vigneault, they scored just 28 goals. In five games under interim coach Mike Yeo, they’ve scored 20 goals. James van Riemsdyk broke out over the weekend, scoring three goals in two games, including both game-winners. He had only two goals in 24 games previously. 

Mike Yeo Philadelphia Flyers
Mike Yeo, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Oskar Lindblom scored against New Jersey for his second goal in five games since the coaching change. He did not score a goal in 21 games with Vigneault behind the bench. The top line of Sean Couturier, Scott Laughton, and Travis Konecny controlled the pace of play throughout the game. Claude Giroux acted as a catalyst for Atkinson’s big night. He finished with one assist a plus-5 rating.

Related: Flyers Need More from Couturier Moving Forward

Entering the season, the Flyers expected goal-scoring depth to be a strength of the team. They struggled to find the back of the net early in the season, but they hope to get into a more confident offensive rhythm in a new system.

Hat Trick for Cam Atkinson

Atkinson’s first hat trick with the Flyers helped him surpass Giroux for the team lead in goals with 12. The 5-foot-8 winger stood out from start to finish against New Jersey. He recorded seven shots on goal and a plus-5 rating. 

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Atkinson helped drive the positivity surrounding the Flyers dressing room at the beginning of the season. He talked about the strong vibe of team chemistry after a win against the Boston Bruins in October and mentioned the importance of “staying positive on the bench” during games. He acted as the spark plug of energy in the Flyers first home win since Nov. 16, which Yeo stressed as an important element of the victory in his postgame availability.

Flyers fans must’ve felt refreshed when they threw hats on the ice in celebration of Atkinson during the third period. The team has bounced back from a tumultuous month and taken an initial step in a positive direction. The franchise’s most recent 10-game losing streak came in 2017-18. The Flyers won six consecutive games immediately following the streak. Giroux’s 102-point season helped them claw back into the race and earn a postseason berth on the final day of the season. 

Flyers, Devils Defensemen on Full Display

Flyers defensemen recorded seven points in Tuesday’s victory. Travis Sanheim scored his first goal of the season and added one assist. His partner Rasmus Ristolainen finished with two assists. Justin Braun scored during the second period on a fluttering shot from the point that fooled Mackenzie Blackwood. Ivan Provorov also jumped into a tie for the team lead in points among defensemen by notching two assists.

Sanheim and Ristolainen are developing strong chemistry as a second pair. They executed a beautiful passing play to assist Atkinson’s first goal. Ristolainen dictated the physical pace of the game yet again. Both blueliners are willing to be aggressive jumping into offensive plays, and they will continue to work on their selection and stay defensively responsible. Yeo spoke after the game about how his defensemen drove play to enable the offensive explosion.

“I don’t think you can have success without your defense being part of the offense. What I liked about it tonight was that they weren’t forcing the issue. You look at the offense that came from our blue line tonight, a lot of it was literally from the blue line. It’s not like they were forcing the issue up the ice.”

-Mike Yeo

The Devils’ defensemen also displayed some skill in an otherwise lackluster effort. P.K. Subban scored their only goal on a shot from the top of the circle. The former Norris Trophy winner has been a disappointment since coming to the Devils in 2019-20, but he still has the skill to make offensive contributions. Dougie Hamilton didn’t find the scoresheet but showcased the smooth-skating ability that makes him one of the top defensemen in the NHL. Jonas Siegenthaler also played a strong defensive game in 19:07 time on ice (TOI).

The Flyers were able to expose the highly-skilled blueliners with chances the other way. Subban turned a puck over on his first shift after his goal and allowed a scoring chance to van Riemsdyk. Hamilton played the pass on a shorthanded 2-on-1 opportunity late in the second period and allowed Atkinson to fire his second goal of the night past Blackwood. The Devils have now lost 9 of their last 11 games.

Dougie Hamilton, New Jersey Devils
Dougie Hamilton, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Flyers will travel to Montreal to face the Canadiens on Thursday and return to the Wells Fargo Center to face the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. The respective teams currently occupy the bottom two spots in the Atlantic Division. The rollercoaster of emotions in Philadelphia continues. This time, it appears to be headed upwards.


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