Exhale, Flyers fans.
The Philadelphia Flyers won Saturday afternoon for the first time in 2022 and stopped a franchise-record 13-game losing streak.
Getting two goals from Cam Atkinson and solid goaltending from Carter Hart, they defeated the Los Angeles Kings in overtime, 4-3, at the Wells Fargo Center and won for the first time since Dec. 29.
Scott Laughton’s OT goal enabled the Flyers to escape after blowing a late 3-1 lead. The Kings tied it at 3-3 after pulling their goalie for an extra attacker.
“Once the overtime started, our guys didn’t feel sorry for themselves, and they got back on the attack,” interim coach Mike Yeo said.
Laughton called the win a relief.
“It feels like you kind of can’t get out of it when you lose that many in a row,” he said. “When they scored that third goal to tie it up, it was a little deflating, a little bit of an unlucky bounce and they get it on net. But I thought we did a good job in OT of keeping the puck and having possession, and found a way to win. We have to keep building on that.”
“It’s been a long time coming,” Atkinson said. “We can feel good for ourselves, but we still have a lot of work to do.”
Here are some quick observations:
1. The Flyers figured out how to close out a game — barely.
Seven times they were either tied or ahead in the third period during their 13-game skid. They lost all seven, of course.
This time, they faltered at the end of regulation, but recovered.
The Kings had gotten to within 2-1 on Viktor Arvidsson’s goal late in the second period.
“Here we go again” was probably the thought circulating through Flyers’ fans’ minds. But Hart (37 saves) and the Flyers finished off the win, even if it was tougher than they would have liked.
Atkinson scored on this own rebound while on a shorthanded breakaway, giving the Flyers a 3-1 lead with 11:54 left in regulation. Just 45 seconds later, Arvidsson’s power-play goal sliced it to 3-2.
Anze Kopitar tied it with 37.4 second left in regulation.
Don’t panic, Hart said, was the message heading into overtime.
They didn’t, and Laughton’s rebound was the difference.
Hart collected his first win since Dec. 14. Atkinson had a hat trick in that 6-1 victory over New Jersey.
2. Did anyone know Rasmus Ristolainen had such good hands?
Surprise, surprise, surprise.
The big defenseman made a slick move around a defender and tapped a perfect backhand pass to Gerry Mayhew, who scored from the doorstep to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead midway through the first period.
“Makar-like,” Mayhew said of Ristolainen’s feed, referring to Cale Makar, Colorado’s star defenseman.
The line of Morgan Frost centering Mayhew and Max Willman has been very effective recently. Mayhew has goals in consecutive games.
“The message for our line is to get pucks deep,” Mayhew said. ” …. If we continue doing the things we’ve been doing, we’ll be fine.”
3. Claude Giroux showed his hockey smarts, and it led to a 2-0 lead for the Flyers.
Giroux, aware that Atkinson was breaking toward the net, flipped a one-hop knuckler at goalie Jonanthan Quick and hoped for a rebound. He got one. Atkinson swooped in and knocked home the rebound with 10:36 left in the second. It marked the second straight game the Flyers had built a 2-0 lead. They did it Tuesday, but lost to the Islanders, 4-3.
“It’s always that much more special to score one against one of your good buddies,” said Atkinson, who works out with Quick in the offseason. “I’ll take that one.”
And the shorthanded tally he added in the third.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) January 29, 2022
4. Isaac Ratcliffe was solid in his NHL debut.
The 6-foot-6, 225-pound left winger, playing on the fourth line, had three shots and four hits in 9:02 and looked like he belonged. He leveled defenseman Mikey Anderson with one of his crunching hits.
“I hope,” Ratcliffe said before the game, “I can bring a little spark and change the tides a little bit.”
“I was happy with what we saw from him in his first game,” Yeo said.
“Just tried to bring some energy,” said Ratcliffe, whose teammates call him “Ratty.”
Atkinson now has 17 goals, tops on the team — and two more than he scored in 56 games with Columbus last season. … Ivan Provorov had seven blocked shots — two more than the Kings’ entire team. … The Flyers will host Winnipeg on Tuesday, their last game before the All-Star break. After facing the Jets, they won’t play for eight nights. … “We have to carry the momentum from today’s win into Tuesday,” Hart said. … Ten of the Flyers’ next 12 games are at home, and they will have the first eight-game homestand in franchise history during that span. … The Flyers finished with a 1-10-2 record in January. … Keith Yandle was honored before the game and given several gifts by the organization for recently setting the NHL record for consecutive games played. … Arvidsson has four goals and two assists in two games against the Flyers this season.
Rookie lap for Isaac Ratcliffe, who makes his NHL debut today. pic.twitter.com/rhcZxCut72
— Olivia Reiner (@ReinerOlivia) January 29, 2022