Rays of hope from the Philadelphia Flyers California trip

Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

They did it. For the first time in 14 attempts in their franchise history, the Philadelphia Flyers have swept all three California teams on a road trip. And while the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks in particular are trudging through awful seasons, that shouldn’t diminish the accomplishment

A third-period comeback — and finally an overtime win — in San Jose. A regulation road win over a Kings club that is solidly in the playoffs. And a dismantling/near-shutout of Anaheim. Perhaps most notably, it was Samuel Ersson collecting his first three NHL wins as he backstopped the Flyers to back-to-back-to-back victories while looking cool, calm, and collected in Cali.

This bodes exceptionally well for the Flyers, who need to ease up in their usage of Carter Hart, both for the remainder of this season and beyond. Perhaps Hart/Ersson can be a winning tandem, which has the benefit of only costing the Flyers less than $5 million per season — less than what 19 other goalies in the league make on their own at the moment.

The Philadelphia Flyers get top marks for their play on their California trip

But beyond Ersson’s inspired play (.930 save % on the trip), the good vibes extended to many of the Flyers’ young skaters:

  • Noah Cates – G, 3 A on the trip, 7 pts in his last 8 games
  • Morgan Frost – G on the trip, 9 pts in his last 10 games
  • Joel Farabee – 1 G, 1 A on the trip, 5 pts in his last 6 games
  • Owen Tippett – 2 G, 2 A on the trip, 9 pts in his last 10 games

Throw in the Swiss Army knife that is Scott Laughton — 2 goals and 2 assists on the trip, and now primed to blow past his offensive career highs — and the Flyers are suddenly looking like they have a formidable and dangerous middle-six of their forward corps that could help this team for years. There is still a need for superstar talent at the top of the lineup, of course, but let’s not sleep on Travis Konecny and the year he’s having.

Taking advantage of the career-high ice time and all-situations usage that John Tortorella has entrusted him with, TK is becoming a legitimate sniper with the look of a top-line forward. His chemistry with Kevin Hayes has been mostly fantastic, and it will be interesting to see what he could do if he were to be paired with Sean Couturier once again after his return to the lineup.

Either way, Konency is not playing like some passenger who merely scoops up points by being in the right place at the right time. It might be overly optimistic, but maybe we are looking at the new norm for him.

As for the blueline, Cam York is looking confident and steady on the blueline while chipping in some points. Meanwhile, Tony DeAngelo‘s 4-game point streak came to an end in Anaheim, but he is playing much better since being disciplined by Tortorella. Message seemingly received. Lots of good Flyers news to go around, wow.

There’s still a long way to go if this team wants to make an unlikely run at a playoff spot or, more importantly, set the foundation for greater success with this group in the seasons to come. But for the first time in what seems like far too long, the Philadelphia Flyers are giving everyone some reasons to be excited, pull those Flyers Starter jackets out of the closet, and show some real pride in backing this team.