CALGARY, Alberta — The Flyers stampeded into Calgary and put an end to their longest losing skid since 2008 with a 5-2 win over the Flames on Monday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
It was the Flyers’ first win in almost a month after their previous victory came back on Nov. 9 over the Chicago Blackhawks.
Dave Hakstol elected to break up the Flyers’ top line and the decision yielded positive results as the line of Valtteri Filppula, Michael Raffl and Jakub Voracek combined for seven points and a plus-8 rating.
The Flyers jumped on the Flames in the second period with three goals in a span of 1:11.
Voracek assisted on three of the Flyers' first four goals, and Scott Laughton scored twice.
Brian Elliott was spectacular in victory as he stopped 43 of 45 shots.
• Elliott had to produce some key saves during the first 5½ minutes. The Flames were looking to come out of the chute with some jump after they were completely flat against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. They fell behind, 6-1, in an eventual 7-5 loss. Elliott may be criticized for some of the rebounds, but they’re mostly controlled where he’s in position for the next shot or the rebound is in the vicinity of a teammate.
• The first goal was an example of when Elliott expected the defense of Travis Sanheim and Brandon Manning to clear the puck. Manning wasn’t in position and Sanheim took a weak backhanded swipe and whiffed. With that said, if Elliott protects the five-hole, he likely prevents Troy Brouwer’s rebound goal, but it’s a bang-bang play.
• The Flyers had a big opportunity early in the opening period when Ivan Provorov threaded a beautiful breakout pass to Jordan Weal. Unable to really make a move, Weal had his shot glance off Mike Smith’s right pad. If Weal had been playing with confidence (like last season), he likely would have challenged Smith a little more. Not a very challenging save for the Flames’ netminder.
• I liked the early pressure generated by that new-look line of Raffl, Voracek and Filppula. Raffl and Voracek are very strong on the puck and their size and physicality help them carve out space down low. Together they answered with a goal one minute after the Flames got on the board. Andrew MacDonald pulled the trigger on a shot from the slot, which created a rebound chance and Filppula connected right in front of the Flames’ crease.
• Nolan Patrick prevented an early goal when he covered up the back post on a play during which Elliott got caught in traffic on the other side. A good, smart play by the rookie to deny Matthew Tkachuk of a shot on net.
• The Flyers’ power play once again looked stale and failed to generate a shot on net in the first period. Sean Couturier had a good look in the slot but his shot clanged off the post.
• I didn’t like Provorov’s game through the opening 25 minutes. Coupled with a couple of unnecessary icings, he had the turnover that sprung Johnny Gaudreau free for a breakaway. MacDonald took a hooking minor in an attempt to slow Gaudreau down. The Flyers’ PK did a solid job of not giving the top unit the time and space it had in Philadelphia.
• There was a beautiful give-and-go between Raffl and Voracek to set up the Flyers’ third goal. It was a play that started when Raffl forced a turnover in the Flyers’ zone. Raffl has been playing some of his best hockey since his 21-goal season playing alongside Voracek and Claude Giroux.
• The Flyers’ power play wasted no time going to work just 10 seconds after Couturier drew a high-sticking penalty. Brouwer committed a giveaway, and Voracek threw it in front where the Flyers had all sorts of net-front presence with Couturier on one side and Wayne Simmonds on the other. Couturier banged away and Simmonds finally stuck it home for a cushy 4-1 lead.
• Sean Monahan loves games against the Flyers. Coming off a hat trick in the contest in Philadelphia, Monahan and the Flames capitalized off a Patrick turnover. Monahan picked the top right corner on a perfectly placed shot on Elliott.
• The Flames’ defense has been turnover-prone, especially behind the team’s own net. That led to some excellent chances for the Flyers. Weal made Calgary pay when he jumped on a turnover and tried to stuff it home, which created an easy rebound opportunity for Laughton and the Flyers’ fifth goal of the game.
• Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic collided with Dale Weise. Hamonic was ejected for an illegal check to the head even though replay showed that Hamonic didn’t clip Weise. I’m not sure it deserved a match penalty regardless.
Lineups, pairings and scratches
Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Wayne Simmonds
Michael Raffl-Valtteri Filppula-Jakub Voracek
Jordan Weal-Nolan Patrick-Travis Konecny
Taylor Leier-Scott Laughton-Dale Weise
Ivan Provorov-Andrew MacDonald
Shayne Gostisbehere-Robert Hagg
Travis Sanheim-Brandon Manning
Scratches: Forward Jori Lehtera (healthy), and defensemen Mark Alt (healthy) and Radko Gudas (suspended).