Ivan Provorov's hockey intelligence is off the charts for a guy who just turned 21 years old a week ago.
When he talks the game, he resembles a player with mounds of NHL experience.
In actuality, he's only 128 games into his professional career.
But it doesn't take Provorov's precociousness to understand what makes him click with Shayne Gostisbehere and how both can be a grueling pain in the opposition's side.
"If we play on offense, they can't score," Provorov said simply.
In a 3-1 win over the New Jersey Devils, Provorov and Gostisbehere were a two-headed monster, a blue-line duo that can terrorize the competition when it's performing the way it did Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center (see observations).
"We look toward the challenge," Gostisbehere said. "Obviously we're playing against the other teams' top lines and it's a challenge every game, it's the teams' best players. I think as a pair, we just need to keep it simple, pick our spots and it's working."
It more than worked against the Devils.
Provorov scored a goal, played 23:13, was a plus-2 and led the Flyers with six shots on goal and nine total shot attempts. Gostisbehere opened the scoring with a doozy of a primary assist, played 20:09, was a plus-2 and strong in his own zone.
Most ideally, though, when Provorov and Gostisbehere are wreaking havoc in the opposition's zone by keeping their team on the offensive, the Flyers can be awfully tough to beat.
Saturday was case in point as the Flyers seized a commanding 3-0 lead in the first period to eventually win for the sixth time in the last seven games, creeping to within a point of the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot.
"Doing the little things and taking care of the puck," Provorov said of the fast start, which has often eluded the Flyers through 46 games thus far. "If we take care of the puck and move it forward, we don't have to play defense and that helps us to create offense and create energy."
It can also limit the counterpart's best unit. In this case, it was the Devils' first line of Taylor Hall, Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt, New Jersey's top three scorers. The trio was held in check with just a goal and an assist, while each player finished a minus-2.
"It's not just the D-pairing, I think it's a combination of the group of forwards that spent most of the time against that line," Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said. "They did a good job. It's a big challenge, those are good players that have been generating a lot. I thought Provy and Ghost did a good job along with the majority of the time with [Sean Couturier's] line."
When asked about neutralizing the Devils' big boys, Provorov showed that hockey intelligence of his, which belies his age.
"Just take away time and space," he said. "When guys can skate that fast, just try to limit their time, angle them and don't give them time to pick up their head — just be on them hard.
"That whole line is pretty fast, but our main focus was to try and limit their chances and play on offense."
Provorov and Gostisbehere are tied for second among NHL defensemen with nine goals apiece, while Gostisbehere's 33 points are tied for fourth. He recorded his 33rd point off a sparkling play in which he took the puck from his own blue line, skated around Hischier, darted toward the middle and hit a wide-open Travis Konecny for a 1-0 lead 3:29 into the game.
"Honestly, I just knew if I was skating, he was going to find that lane," Konecny said. "Sure enough, I didn't have to move, it just came right to me."
Konecny registered two more points Saturday, giving him nine in his last 10 games, as the Flyers' youth answered the bell against a divisional opponent. And when Provorov and Gostisbehere are driving play, the Flyers are a different animal for a variety of reasons.
"It's good, it's fun to watch, they're both really good with the puck, make good plays and both can score," Valtteri Filppula, who netted the Flyers' other goal, said. "It's definitely fun to see them out there and they get a lot of minutes, too, which is nice."
Goalie Michal Neuvirth, who won his second straight start, quipped: "They don't feel young to me."
They're not looking it.
"I think we understand the game in a similar way," Provorov said. "We move the puck, we understand where we are on the ice all the time, which helps us get out of our zone quick, get through the neutral zone real fast and create something on offense."
Which creates trouble for whomever the Flyers see down the stretch.