The year was 1996. Braveheart won the Oscar as the Best Picture. Carter Hart wasn’t yet born. Gas cost $1.27 a gallon.
And something strange happened to the Philadelphia Flyers: They lost a regular-season home game to the Chicago Blackhawks.
They haven’t lost a regular-season game to Chicago in Philly since then.
The Flyers kept that streak alive Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center. They got two goals from Cam Atkinson and three assists from Joel Farabee in a physical 4-3 win over the Blackhawks.
“It was like an old ’80s game at the old Spectrum, with the scrums and everything after,” Chicago coach Derek King said.
The game marked just the second time this season the Flyers won when trailing heading into the third period. They had been 1-23-4.
Philly is now 16-0 vs. Chicago in this building during the regular season since Nov. 9, 1996, when the Hawks got two goals from Tony Amonte in a 4-1 win. John LeClair scored for the Flyers, and Garth Snow was the losing goalie.
Here are some observations from the Flyers’ fourth win in their last 25 games.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) March 5, 2022
1. Flyers interim coach Mike Yeo challenged his players Friday, and they responded.
Derick Brassard and linemate Atkinson scored third-period goals to erase a 3-2 third-period deficit and give the Flyers a 4-3 lead.
Farabee, the third member of the line, assisted on both goals. The FAB Line had three goals during the matinee.
On Friday, Yeo blasted his team for not always playing hard and not having the right “attitude” to finish off close games. He questioned their level of commitment and said they are relatively healthy and can’t use injuries as an excuse.
He spoke his mind to the team, saying they needed more passion.
“It was good to talk,” left winger Oskar Lindblom said. “Everyone had something to say, and we came out pretty good today.”
They showed more life, got into several scrums, and, most importantly, didn’t wilt when they fell behind.
“We were all embarrassed by the last game, myself included,” said Atkinson, referring to a 5-4 loss to Minnesota in which the Flyers allowed two late goals in a 25-second span. “To do that in front of our fans, that shouldn’t have happened. We wanted to come out strong tonight … and play for each other and the logo on the front.”
Scrums galore. #Flyers showing some life. Yeo woke them up.
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) March 5, 2022
2. As has been the case most of the season, the Flyers’ opponent dominated the second period
The Flyers controlled most of the first period and built a deserved 1-0 lead.
The second period?
Defensive breakdowns. Little offensive-zone time. Lots of Chicago goals.
The Blackhawks outscored the Flyers by 3-1 in the second, getting two goals from Dylan Strome (10th and 11th), and one from Alex DeBrincat (31st) as they built a 3-2 lead. Strome. whose brother, Matthew (five goals), is a Philadelphia Flyers prospect who plays for the Phantoms, had not scored in his previous seven games.
For the Flyers, Atkinson (three points) scored his 19th goal in the second, and his team-high 20th in the third — the seventh time he has scored 20 goals or more in a season.
Atkinson, 32, acquired in the offseason for Jake Voracek, has been as good as advertised, but has not had much of a supporting cast this season. The RW added an assist on Brassard’s goal.
3. Oskar Lindblom is quietly starting to resemble the player who was having a breakthrough season before his stunning cancer diagnosis two-plus years ago.
The 25-year-old left winger scored on a first-period deflection, his ninth goal of the season and third in the last six games.
“I got a little muscle back … and I’m playing a little better,” Lindblom said.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) March 5, 2022
4. Kevin Hayes, who centered the third line, contributed in his first game since Jan. 17.
The 6-foot-5, 218-pound Hayes chipped in with an assist on Lindblom’s goal and didn’t seem bothered by a groin injury that caused him to miss the previous 16 games. That’s a good sign moving forward.
Hayes had three shots and two hits in 16:03.
He said it was “night and day” on how he felt Saturday compared to earlier in the season.
“One thing about Haysie, he has great instincts, and he was clearly moving better than he was earlier in the season,” Yeo said. “Hopefully, he can maintain it.”
5. The Flyers’ power play continued to struggle.
Philly entered the game 30th (14% success rate) in the NHL on the power play, and they continued their season-long struggle Saturday. They were 0 for 4 and are 3 for their last 39.
Things have not gotten better since assistant coach John Torchetti took over the power play on Feb. 9. The PP was clicking at 15% at the time.
Defenseman Kevin Connauton was inured in the third period; Yeo didn’t have an update, but said it didn’t look good. … Travis Sanheim had four blocks. … The reunited line of Farabee, Atkinson, and Brassard combined for three goals and four assists. Each player was plus-3. “We had success earlier this season when we played together,” noted Brassard, the line’s center. “Those two guys were buzzing around today.” … The Flyers sent Wade Allison to the Phantoms. … Chicago had two too-man-men-on-the-ice penalties, giving them four in the last two games. “That’s on me,” King said.