Flyers

Flyers weekly observations: Scott Laughton's importance, high praise for Ivan Provorov

Flyers weekly observations: Scott Laughton's importance, high praise for Ivan Provorov

While the Flyers lost their winning streak and point streak, they still put together a productive 2-1-0 week.

Alain Vigneault's team is 7-1-1 over its last nine games, a stretch in which the Flyers have allowed 2.11 goals per game. Since Nov. 1, the Flyers are 12-3-4 and tied with the Capitals for most points in the NHL at 28, continuing to make strides under the new coaching staff.

We'll get into that and more with our weekly observations:

• Scott Laughton's performance in Saturday's emotion-filled 4-3 win over the Senators served as a microcosm of his importance to the Flyers.

The team-first attitude, the hard skating, the physicality, the forechecking, the penalty killing and the secondary scoring.

He is not undervalued by the Flyers.

If I look at today’s game where it got heated, he’s one of the guys I thought that responded the best. He responded in a physical nature when the opportunity was there, but when he needed to make plays with the puck or defend, he did that — he did both of those things.

As a coach, it’s really easy to trust a player when he’s doing the right things and playing the right way on the ice.

- Vigneault

And check out these marks: the Flyers are 7-0-0 when Laughton records a point and 6-1-1 since his return following a 13-game absence because of a broken finger.

• In 30 games, Ivan Provorov has already matched his goal total from last season (seven) and set career highs on the power play (four goals, six assists).

He's projected to pass his numbers from a breakout 2017-18 season in which he scored 17 goals and 41 points. The 22-year-old's rebound from his letdown 2018-19 campaign might be the most impactful development to the Flyers' overall rebound so far in 2019-20.

Before the Coyotes' 3-1 win Thursday over the Flyers, Arizona head coach Rick Tocchet extolled Provorov.

"I think he's one of the best young defensemen in the league," Tocchet said, via Coyotes public relations.

"He plays with an edge in a sense that he doesn’t play safe. He’s up the ice, he makes plays, he’s not scared the way he plays. Not so much scared physically, just the way he plays, he’s trying to win the game. As a young guy, he wants to be in those spots. When I watch him, he wants the puck. I love young kids like that, they’re not scared.”

When asked if Provorov reminded him of anyone, Tocchet said "a little bit of Phil Housley," who is a Hall of Fame blueliner and now an assistant coach with Arizona.

• Carter Hart owns 10 wins and a 2.39 goals-against average.

By Dec. 8 of last season, Brian Elliott, Calvin Pickard, Anthony Stolarz, Michal Neuvirth and Alex Lyon had combined for 12 wins and a 3.30 goals-against average.

As much as some people want to knock the previous coaching staff, the Flyers were a mess in net at this point last season and things predictably unraveled. Really, from the outset of 2018-19, things were problematic between the pipes for the Flyers.

• One of the biggest signs of growth with the 2019-20 Flyers has been goal prevention. They've allowed 80 goals through 30 games. In 30 games last season, the Flyers gave up 111. That's 31 more goals.

A lot goes into that — goaltending and offseason acquisitions to name a few. But Vigneault's system has turned the Flyers into a more structured team.

Much more often compared to 2018-19, the Flyers, even if they're struggling to score, look like they're controlling games instead of letting the opposition do the honors. Through 30 games last season, the Flyers had 11 losses by three goals or more. This season, they have only four such defeats.

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

After shutting out Sidney Crosby, Penguins, Flyers have taken down NHL’s top 4 teams in span of 14 days

ap_jakub_voracek_matt_niskanen.jpg
AP Images/Matt Slocum

After shutting out Sidney Crosby, Penguins, Flyers have taken down NHL’s top 4 teams in span of 14 days

BOX SCORE

(Story coming...)

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

Penguins' Evgeni Malkin may have complimented Flyers fans

Penguins' Evgeni Malkin may have complimented Flyers fans

At least Evgeni Malkin understands he is not well-liked in Philadelphia, nor are his Penguins.

That is clear.

The three-time Stanley Cup champion Malkin was unhappy with Penguins fans Sunday when they sarcastically cheered Matt Murray for some saves after the goalie had allowed two markers in just over two minutes of a game against the Bruins. Murray, who has won two Cups with the Penguins, surrendered three goals in the first period of the game Pittsburgh eventually won, 4-3.

Malkin was annoyed by the mock cheers for the 25-year-old Murray.

Via a story by The Athletic's Rob Rossi, here's what Malkin said:

It was stupid.

I’m not understanding our fans. Muzz won two Cups for us. You boo him — why? If you come to the arena, support our team. All of us. We try. We play so hard this year. We work so hard through injuries. We play good hockey. Maybe not last couple games, not early this game. But we try.

I understand: You pay money for ticket, you do what you want. But it’s tough to sit on bench and hear that. I don’t like it. We hear that in Philly, not Pittsburgh.

What Malkin likely meant by his Philly comment was that the Penguins expect to be jeered in Philadelphia by the rival fans, but not by their home fans in their own building.

That irked the 33-year-old Malkin, who has played in Pittsburgh his entire 14-year career. Malkin was sticking up for a teammate, which anyone can respect.

What's also clear is Malkin probably wouldn't love playing in Philly full-time. Everybody knows the city's tough love with its sports teams. Boos are expected when expectations aren't met.

Carter Hart put it well in December:

“Sure, they get on us when we’re not playing well, but as an athlete in a big sports market, what more could you ask for?” Hart said. “They’re loyal and they’re passionate.”

Maybe Flyers fans will sarcastically cheer Malkin Tuesday night. You've got to love their creativity.

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