National Redhead Day made for a great day for Claude Giroux.
The Flyers' captain registered his first three-point night of the season, leading the Flyers to a 5-2 win Monday over the Arizona Coyotes.
Overall, the Flyers finished their four-game road trip with seven out of a possible eight points.
Who else stood out in the victory and what does the general manager think of the Flyers' performance on the road?
Here are my observations:
• Goalies talk about playing better the more they get to play and I have to wonder if Calvin Pickard was given a little boost with the recent injury to Brian Elliott, knowing it was an opportunity to seize the chance to earn a few more starts.
Pickard had his best start as a Flyer after allowing at least four goals in his previous three starts this season. Pickard’s best period came in the second when he had to come up with some big saves on the penalty kill, including a point-blank opportunity on Derek Stepan in the final minute of the middle stanza.
• Can’t blame Pickard for the Coyotes' power-play goal on Alex Galchenyuk’s perfectly placed shot in which he picked the top-left corner as the Flyers' goalie was completely screened on the play, but I’m having a hard time listening to Dave Hakstol’s rhetoric when it comes to the penalty kill. The Flyers have now surrendered at least one power-play goal in eight straight games, and Hakstol said he has seen some “positive signs” out of his PK. I’m not sure what that means but I don’t see those signs when you’ve allowed a goal in eight straight.
• Nolan Patrick has most certainly turned a corner on this four-game road trip with five points (two goals, three assists). Patrick has deceptive speed since he doesn’t always skate at a very high end, but when he wants to find another gear, Patrick can reach down and get it. His speed appears to be tied to his confidence. When he’s feeling it, he’s flying. His puck pursuit has been excellent, especially against the Coyotes.
• Hard to believe but Sean Couturier had his first multi-point game of the season. If he plays for another 10 more years, Couturier won’t score an easier goal than the one he had Monday night. The goal was also a backbreaker for Arizona as the Flyers took a pivotal two-goal lead into the third period.
It really do be like that sometimes. pic.twitter.com/H3HPHjdOkP— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) November 6, 2018
• Two things stood out about this road trip. First, the Flyers never trailed at any point during this four-game stretch. They scored the first goal in all four games and the only time they fell behind was the overtime loss in San Jose. Previously, they had scored first just once in their first 11 games. Also, the Flyers consistently scored by getting traffic in front of the goaltender and getting deflections off sticks, bodies and defenders.
• General manager Ron Hextall told reporters prior to Monday’s game: “There’s nothing to get excited about right now.”
Even with a win and seven out of a possible eight points on the road trip, the Flyers' record stands at a very mediocre 7-7-1. The challenge moving forward is whether they can take their simple-minded approach back to the Wells Fargo Center, where they have a goal differential of minus-12 and will face this same hungry Coyotes team Thursday.
• Travis Konecny took a big hit from Coyotes defenseman Kevin Connauton and went hard into the boards. Konecny left but encouragingly returned with about four minutes remaining in regulation and didn’t appear fazed from the hit.
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