On the national stage, it was the toughest game of the Philadelphia Flyers’ season. A 7-3 defeat at the hands of the Boston Bruins is probably not going on the season’s highlight film. Two nights later, the team rebounded well, with a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers. The Black and Orange later travelled to Buffalo to take on the Sabres. In the first game of the weekend slate, a Brian Elliott shutout gave the Flyers a 3-0 win. In Game 2, it was another shutout, this time from Carter Hart, and another 3-0 Philadelphia win. During these games, certain players stood out to me for their exceptional play, as the Flyers try to push towards the top of the division.
Our Ghost Host
It feels good to be putting Shayne Gostisbehere on one of these Week in Review pieces. Over the past couple of years, Ghost’s name has been on the rumor mill. However, he has ultimately stuck with the Flyers, and he showed that he can still be a solid contribution during Wednesday’s game against the Rangers.
Both Erik Gustafsson and Shayne Gostisbehere got their first goal of the season in the first period of that game. The goal from Ghost gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead, which they would never look back on. Plus, that was on the power play, where he could see increased minutes. Even better for the Flyers, Gostisbehere had an unreal six shots on goal, tying Kevin Hayes for second most shots. During Saturday’s game against Buffalo, he added his 2nd goal in as many games, off a feed from the red hot James van Riemsdyk. He also had another six shots on Buffalo goaltender Carter Hutton.
The Flyers have a log jam on defense, so Gostisbehere has not played every game this season. Earlier this week, the Orange and Black lost a defenseman, Mark Friedman, to the Pittsburgh Penguins. This could line up for more opportunities for Gostisbehere, as the team tries to keep pace in a tough Eastern Division.
Sean’s on a Streak
There has been no Flyer that has been more efficient at getting points on the board than Sean Couturier. Last year’s Selke winner has dealt with a handful of injuries this year, but when he’s been on the ice, he’s been one of the team’s most impactful players.
In the team’s disaster on Lake Tahoe, Couturier was one of the Flyers that performed well. He had one goal and one assist in the outdoor game. A few days later, he had a secondary assist on a James van Riemdsyk power play goal in the win against the New York Rangers. On Saturday, Couturier was the first star of the game against the Buffalo Sabres, as he had another goal and an assist. It was another day in the office for Couturier during the second game of the weekend slate, adding yet another goal. That’s 6 points in 4 games for the 28 year old.
Even before last week’s slate of games, Coots was still putting up points. He had 2 goals and 1 assist against Washington on February 8. In 8 games this season, Couturier has 11 points. If this pace keeps up, he will be one of the top Flyers scorers this year, even with his injury troubles.
Brian the Brick Wall
I touched on this at the beginning of the piece, but Brian Elliott has been playing pretty well as of late. It’s so weird to think that over a month into the season, Elliott is the goaltender that has been rock solid. With Carter Hart showing some struggles, Elliott has stepped up.
Elliott’s week started off when he came in relief of Hart during the Lake Tahoe game. He stopped 11 of 12 shots, and put an end to Boston’s offensive attack. This got him the start for Wednesday’s game against the Rangers. He allowed 3 goals, but the Flyers were able to put up 4 in the win. On Saturday, Elliott stopped all 23 Sabres shots in Philadelphia’s victory.
In 8 games this season, Moose is posting some of the best numbers of his career. At 35 years old, Elliott has a 2.03 goals against average and a .931 save percentage. He has also posted 2 shutouts, tying last year’s total in 23 less games. Elliott has been one of the pleasant surprises with this year’s Flyers squad, and he may play more games if this pace holds.
J.V.R You Kidding Me?
Not only is James van Riemsdyk the leading scorer on the Philadelphia Flyers, he’s also the top scorer in the entire Eastern Division. In 18 games this season, JVR has 25 points.
His hot streak continued over the past week, putting up points in each of the past 4 games. He scored 3 points in the Flyers loss to the Bruins in Lake Tahoe, leading the team. He added yet another goal in the victory against the Rangers, this one on the power play off a feed from Joel Farabee. In Game 1 against the Sabres, he was the primary assist on Shayne Gostisbehere’s goal. A day later, he had another goal and assist on 4 shots against Buffalo once again.
It’s an unreal pace for the Middletown, New Jersey native. Van Riemsdyk has never come close to a point per game pace during the regular season. In the shortened 2021 year, he’s hit that mark and then some. He’s gone from a decent middle six winger to the top of the Flyers scoring attack.
Photo Credit on Features Image: Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images