If you had the Philadelphia Flyers shutting down two of the best players in the NHL, give us the lottery numbers right now. Connor McDavid, whilst having one assist, did not record a single shot on goal. That breaks a streak of 88 games in which the Edmonton forward had at least one shot on net. Leon Draisaitl had just two shots as the Oilers failed to get any contribution from their bottom six, a common theme for an Edmonton team that has fallen to 1-3-0.
Meanwhile, the Flyers got contributions from Cam Atkinson, Joel Farabee, and Sean Walker in the 4-1 victory. It was Atkinson who was the star in this one as his scored his first two real goals of the season after an empty-net goal in the win over Columbus to start the season. After missing the entire 2022-23 season, getting offense this early from Atkinson is a positive sign.
His first came off a redirection in front off the shot from Owen Tippett. The latter factored in Atkinson’s second goal as well. Exiting their own zone, Tippett found Atkinson sneaking past the Oilers defense. Hitting him in stride and with nothing but Jack Campbell in his way, Atkinson had the Edmonton goaltender leaning toward his right as he pulled the puck back to his left and into the vacant side of the net. Tippett, who is looking for his first goal, has begun to look more and more like the player the Flyers saw last season.
Atkinson’s first goal ended up being the game-winner but it was Joel Farabee that kicked things off with his second of the season. Travis Sanheim got the play started as he tipped the puck away in the neutral zone, allowing both Farabee and Bobby Brink to set up the 2-on-1. Brink, who is still looking for his first NHL goal, had a chance to fire a shot on Campbell. Instead, Brink slid the puck past a diving Vincent Desharnais to give Farabee the wide open net. While Brink hasn’t scored yet, he continues to show off his ability to find his teammates for scoring opportunities. His playmaking skills have been on full display, something he’s well known for having.
While Atkinson was in the box late in the second period, the Flyers aggressive penalty kill found a way to get on the board. Sean Couturier, who continues to look better and better, stole a pass attempt from Connor McDavid. Couturier sent a quick feed to Sean Walker, who was joined by Joel Farabee on the short handed rush. Couturier came in late to join but Walker didn’t need him as he wired a shot from the top of the faceoff circle that beat Campbell. It was his first in a Flyers’ uniform and the first short handed goal of his career.
A few days after a shutout against the Canucks, the only blemish on Carter Hart’s night was a goal by Zach Hyman in the first period. Getting the puck at the line, McDavid sent what appeared to be a shot on net that was tipped by Cody Ceci. The puck went to Hyman at the side of the net who backhanded it up and over Hart for the Oilers only goal of the night. Hart would stop 22 of 23 shots for his second consecutive victory. The young goaltender has given up just eight goals while facing 113 total shots. He’s a large reason the Flyers have won three of their first four games.
The Flyers will hit the road for a mini two-game road trip. Their first stop will be Dallas to face the Stars on Saturday before ending the trip in Vegas to take on the Golden Knights on Tuesday.