Flyers

Don't worry about Ivan Provorov, he can go from 'good to great'

Don't worry about Ivan Provorov, he can go from 'good to great'

Ivan Provorov always stays at one level.

When he speaks after a game, it's hard to tell if the Flyers won or lost.

The 21-year-old is that calm and together.

His game is very much the same. Everyone has become so accustomed to Provorov's robotic consistency that when his play wavers ever so faintly, a panic almost sets in.

Wait, was that Provy? He messes up?

"It's part of hockey, you can't be perfect," Provorov said Saturday. "Nobody is perfect."

The funny thing is Provorov was saying this after evaluating what was arguably his best game of the season. There were some areas he didn't like. He came in with one point and a minus-5 rating through seven games. 

In Saturday's 5-2 victory over the Devils (see observations), Provorov notched two assists, blocked four shots, played a team-high 23:24 and was a plus-2. 

He collected the primary assist on the game-winning goal, a play in which he sent a pass along the wall from the back boards in the defensive zone, springing Jakub Voracek for a breakaway attempt to give the Flyers a 3-2 lead with 3:10 left in the third period.

Provorov's recollection of the play was impressive. He wasn't just trying to fling the puck out of the D-zone to briefly relieve pressure.

"I think it was a D-to-D pass from Travis [Sanheim], I looked one way and I thought I was going to rim it the other way," he said. "But I saw I had two guys beat if I go on my backhand up the wall and that's what I did, and luckily it went by the D and Jakey went on the breakaway and scored."

Following a better output, there was no switch to Provorov's postgame demeanor — that's not who he is or what he's about.

But while the tone of his voice didn't change, his message spoke volumes.

"I don't think I've played bad this year," Provorov said. "I think it's a few bad bounces, a little bad luck. But overall, I think I started good and I'm going to continue to get better and go from good to great."

If Provorov's performance didn't ease concerns, the "good to great" statement should. The 2015 No. 7 overall pick is not the player to worry about on this Flyers team. When he's human, he's still effective. He's also coming off a Grade 3 AC separation suffered in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. It wasn't expected to impact his offseason or the start of this season, but who knows.

Nonetheless, Provorov's rookie year should be a good reminder of how fast he's able to adjust after a mistake or rough night. Many remember his embarrassing stumble and turnover during a 7-4 loss to the Blackhawks, his third NHL game. He finished the defeat as a minus-5 and was a minus-9 through his first 11 contests.

A 19-year-old could have crumbled.

Instead, Provorov ended up setting a franchise rookie record with his 21:58 ice time per game and earned the Barry Ashbee Award as the Flyers' top defenseman.

He hasn't been a question mark since and shouldn't be now.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers

Where will Cam Talbot fit in Flyers' unusual goalie picture?

Where will Cam Talbot fit in Flyers' unusual goalie picture?

MONTREAL — The Flyers have had so many goaltending trios over the past 12 months that looking at a locker room with Brian Elliott sitting next to Cam Talbot sitting next to Carter Hart shouldn’t seem bizarre at all.

But somehow it is.

If you thought the goaltending position was complex before, there’s a lot to untangle moving forward, especially when you look at the make-up of each netminder.

Hart was drafted three years ago, Elliott signed here two years ago, and Talbot was traded here nearly a week ago. Unlike some of the previous combinations we’ve seen from the Flyers in the past, all three goalies believe they’re still capable of being a No. 1.

Talbot and Elliott combined have over 700 NHL regular-season games played, excluding the postseason, and now they’re forced to take a backseat to a red-hot Hart, who will continue with his heavy workload unless the Flyers tail off in the standings. 

Talbot was the last one off the ice following Thursday’s morning skate in Montreal and needed “a bagger,” as he referred to it, after doing very little since learning of his trade to the Flyers last Friday.

“I heard this was a great group of guys and they’re obviously on a bit of a hot streak right now,” Talbot said. “So, I just want to come in and try not to mess with the chemistry in here.”

There simply are not enough nets and games to go around for this new-look three-headed monster, and who knows how it plays out moving forward.

“I don’t know those details, ins and outs,” Elliott said. “You just have to come here with a smile on your face and ready to play when called upon. I’ll never turn down a start. It’s a coach’s decision. I’m available and I just want to help the guys.”

Elliott will back up Hart for Thursday’s game against Montreal, and likely Saturday’s outdoor game at Lincoln Financial Field, but after that, who knows where it all goes with the trade deadline on Monday.

You have to believe general manager Chuck Fletcher would like to find a playoff-bound team that could use a veteran goaltender like Elliott, but his injury history could scare a handful of teams away.

Fletcher also needs to evaluate Talbot moving forward, and determine if he’s the goaltender who solidified the Oilers' net from 2015-17, which included Edmonton’s only playoff appearance in the past 13 years, or if he’s the player that has seen his play take a tailspin over the past 18 months.

Even Talbot would like to figure that part out.

“That’s a hard question to answer,” Talbot said. “Anytime your numbers slip like that, you always look internally. I’m never looking at anything else. I’m always looking at what I can do different on a given night. I’m not the kind of guy to place blame on anything else but myself. I just have to find that confidence again and hopefully I can do it behind this group.”   

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers

Flyers respond to Radko Gudas suspension; Philippe Myers to play a bigger role

Flyers respond to Radko Gudas suspension; Philippe Myers to play a bigger role

MONTREAL — Scott Gordon didn’t think Radko Gudas came down that hard on Nikita Kucherov and realizes the league could have come down a lot harder on Gudas.

“It certainly could have been worse,” the Flyers' interim head coach said Thursday. “You never know how it’s going to go. He did it and nobody got hurt obviously, but there’s some history there.” 

Gudas declined to comment on his recent two-game suspension, obviously displeased that he’ll also miss Saturday's Stadium Series game against the Penguins during a critical point of the Flyers' season (see story)

Thursday night marks the third game Gudas has missed. The physical, shot-blocking defenseman has been one of the Flyers' more consistent players on the blue line and Gordon admitted there’s some uncertainty among the Flyers' defense core without him.

“He’s played so well that he’s one guy I haven't had to worry about,” Gordon said. “He’s obviously a big loss for us and has played a lot of really good hockey for us.”

The Flyers are 12-2-1 in the five weeks since Gordon paired Gudas with Robert Hagg, which, in turn, has helped the Flyers stabilize the back end.

With Gudas’ suspension and the integration of 22-year-old Philippe Myers, Gordon has elected to shuffle up his blue line by pairing Hagg with Andrew MacDonald, a duo that spent the majority of last season together.  

That leaves Myers, playing in his second NHL game, looking to find some chemistry and cohesion with Shayne Gostisbehere. Give Gordon some credit for having the foresight to play Myers on Sunday in Detroit, which went a long way toward developing his comfortability for Thursday's game against the Canadiens.

“It’s huge for sure. I was a little nervous in that first game,” Myers said. “Those first couple of shifts I settled in a bit, but tonight I’m just going to focus in on my game and keep it simple.”

“I think he’s going to go into this game a lot more sure of himself,” Gordon said. “This is a great opportunity for him and I have no doubts that he’s going to do well.”

As the Flyers' seventh defenseman in that 3-1 win, Myers saw time with four different defensemen (see story). Against Montreal, he’ll be paired mainly with Gostisbehere. They took three shifts together in Myers' debut, but still, there’s some unfamiliarity that exists between them.

“We had a little chat after morning skate and we’ll try and talk a lot out there,” Myers said. “We’re two good players and we’re going to try and make plays out there, keep it simple and play our game.”

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers