Alain Vigneault’s Flyers had just wrapped up a nail-biting win over the best team in the NHL.
He watched his club kill five penalties against the league’s most feared power play in the last 20 years.
His group was in dire need of a reason to feel good about itself after a 1-4-1 road trip.
Following the 3-2 win Wednesday night over the Capitals, the head coach was asked how baffling the home-road disparity has been for the Flyers.
But he wasn’t ready to think about the road again. The team’s trip was long, unsuccessful and chaotic. Just as the Flyers finished it Tuesday, they were playing the league’s No. 1 team the very next night.
So Vigneault had plans to toast this victory. Who could blame him?
Right now, I’m going home tonight, I’m going to have a martini,” he said with a smile. “I’m going to enjoy the win and I’m going to get back to that. Our next game is at home so I’m focused on the homestand right now.
No doubt, Vigneault deserved that martini. The Flyers have earned three of a possible four points against the Capitals this season. In 2018-19, they were owned by Washington, losing all four matchups by a combined score of 18-9. The Flyers are 8-2-3 against the division this season after going 10-16-2 vs. Metropolitan teams last season.
Strong improvements so far.
On top of that, the Flyers currently sport the NHL’s best points percentage at home (.800), going 14-2-4 with a plus-36 goal differential through 20 games. They’re 23-15-6 overall and in playoff position thanks to those impressive home figures.
And Wednesday night’s victory kicked off a stretch of six of the Flyers’ next seven games coming at the Wells Fargo Center.
"For us, this was an important win,” Vigneault said. “Everybody knows we struggled on the road. Coming back home, playing hard, this was a real character win for us tonight. We’re going to take a day off, breathe a little bit and get ready for a big, tough game against Tampa."
Eventually, though, the Flyers will have to figure out that road thing. They are 9-13-2 with a minus-31 goal differential away from home. They allow nearly two more goals per game on the road (3.83) compared to at home (1.95).
“Can I go have my martini?” Vigneault asked with a laugh at the end of his postgame press conference Wednesday night.
The head coach was going to enjoy it.
But he’s cognizant of the road ahead. The Flyers know they can’t always count on a martini at home.
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