Flyers

Flyers keep the goals coming, impressively close out Bruins to improve to 2-0-1

Flyers

The Flyers got the best of the Bruins in winning time Wednesday night en route to a 6-3 victory at the Wells Fargo Center.

Cam Atkinson (two), Joel Farabee, Scott Laughton, Travis Konecny and Sean Couturier (empty-netter) provided the goals for the Flyers, who outscored Boston 3-0 in the third period.

"Between the second and third, we just said, 'We win a period, we win a game,'" Atkinson said. "All the boys were howling — it's just a good vibe and it's fun to be a part of this group."

Through three games, the Flyers (2-0-1) have outscored the opposition 16-8.

After the first meeting, unlike last season, the Flyers face the Bruins (1-1-0) only two more times.

• Konecny scored a massive goal in the third period to cushion the Flyers' lead to two.

The Flyers' energizer bunny is off to a very promising start. He has three goals through three games.

"Still a young player but a very important part of our team that came here in incredible shape this year," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said in training camp. "He's one of our top two, three conditioned athletes, worked extremely hard, was able to work out because society permitted it. Took full advantage of it and we expect him to be a true force for us this year."

• Three games in, general manager Chuck Fletcher has to like his early return on investment with the Atkinson and Derick Brassard acquisitions.

 

Atkinson was added via trade and Brassard was signed late in the free agency period. So far, they've combined for four goals and five assists. Atkinson scored two Wednesday night and Brassard notched two helpers. They're experienced guys.

Their line with Farabee has been the Flyers' best unit. It came together late in the preseason and good thing it did for the Flyers.

Atkinson's goals were timely. Brassard led the shoot-first winger perfectly in the first period to break ice on the game and Farabee assisted Atkinson's game-winning goal in the third period as the Flyers broke the 3-3 tie.

Farabee scored on the power play at the tail end of the opening stanza, giving him a goal in each of the club's first three games. Dating back to last season, the 21-year-old winger has eight goals in the past nine games.

The sky is the limit for his future in Philadelphia.

"It's just the beginning," Atkinson said. "I think him and I are definitely getting some good chemistry."

• The Bruins' big boys tortured the Flyers last year in the eight-game regular-season series between the two clubs.

Brad Marchand (four goals, nine assists), Patrice Bergeron (eight goals, six assists) and David Pastrnak (six goals, four assists in six games) combined for 37 points against the Flyers.

"I don't think you can totally shut down players of that caliber, with that skill set — they're just the best in the world, they're going to get some chances," Vigneault said Wednesday after the team's optional morning skate. "Hopefully we limit them to a low number. Our best way of trying to stop them from having the chances that they've gotten in the past against not just us, but against all teams, is you need to manage the puck well. If you manage the puck well, you give yourself a chance. If you turn it over, you're looking to get burned."

For the most part, the Flyers held Boston's elite trio in check Wednesday night. Marchand (goal), Bergeron (scoreless) and Pastrnak (assist) combined for two points. The Flyers will take that compared to last season's results.

Facing the Bruins eight times because of division realignment, the Flyers went 2-4-2 against them in 2020-21.

On Wednesday night, the Flyers had eight players in their lineup that they didn't have last season.

• Two of them were Rasmus Ristolainen and Zack MacEwen, who made their Flyers debuts.

Sure, Ristolainen didn't have pretty numbers in Buffalo, but he played big minutes from Day 1 for an organization that experienced all types of turnover. The Flyers feel strongly that he can be significantly better in their environment.

The 6-foot-4 Finnish defenseman is a heavy hitter, but also a smart hitter; he understands how to agitate the opposition, which can lead to it taking penalties.

 

He exhibited that strategy in the first period when he upended and, as a result, frustrated Charlie Coyle. Seconds later, Coyle committed a tripping penalty on Travis Sanheim to put the Flyers on the power play.

Farabee then scored his man advantage goal to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead at first intermission.

"I thought for the most part, you saw that when he had the opportunity to be physical, he did," Vigneault said about Ristolainen. "Thought he was high percentage with the puck. It was his first game back, he had missed quite a few days. ... I liked what he gave us overall tonight."

But the Flyers will get the good and bad with Ristolainen. In the second period, he dumped the puck in as he was headed off, but the Flyers' change was miscommunicated or far too slow. It led to Taylor Hall splitting the defense for a breakaway goal as the Bruins trimmed the Flyers' lead to 3-2.

That may or may not be on Ristolainen, but he will have his lapses. The Flyers will have to work with him on those. The physicality and nastiness, though, can help the Flyers.

"I made a pretty bad play there, I was trying to change but I wasn't able to," Ristolainen said. "Their guy got away and put it in."

MacEwen, who was claimed off of waivers a week ago, had four hits in fourth-line minutes.

• Martin Jones was rock solid in his first game with the Flyers. He finished with 37 saves.

"Jonesy gave us a chance early on," Laughton said. "It's tough, he came in not playing since exhibition and goes against Boston. I thought he was really big for our group."

During his time in San Jose, Jones started 60 or more games and won 30 or more four times.

With more rest and cleaner coverage in front, the Flyers think he can be much better than he was the past two seasons as the Sharks' No. 1.

Boston netminder Jeremy Swayman converted 19 saves.

• With the Bruins wearing their alternate jersey, featuring the throwback "B" encrusted on the front, the Flyers wore their white sweaters instead of the home orange.

• The Flyers are off Thursday and practice Friday in Voorhees, New Jersey before they wrap up their homestand Saturday against the Panthers (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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