This week, the Philadelphia Flyers headed out for a three-game stretch in western Canada. The team kicked off the road trip with an impressive 5-3 win over the previously-undefeated Edmonton Oilers. A mere day later, they played the Vancouver Canucks in the second half of the back-to-back, avenging their season-opening loss with another victory. Then, on Saturday, the Flyers fell short against the Calgary Flames in their only defeat of the week. Though the team as a whole impressed as they snagged four points on this road trip, certain players looked sharper than others. Each week, we’ll take a look at players on the Philadelphia Flyers who are on a hot or cold streak. This week, we’ll examine Martin Jones and Zack MacEwen.
Be sure to check out last week’s streaks as well.
Hot and Cold Streaks, Including Martin Jones
Hot Streak: Martin Jones
Sure, Martin Jones only played in one game this week, against his hometown Vancouver Canucks. But the excellent goaltending he displayed in that contest continued a trend that actually began last Wednesday. Then, Jones saved 37 of 40 shots to push the badly out-shot Flyers to a win over the Boston Bruins. Facing the Canucks, he put on an even stronger showing.
During the first period, the Flyers dominated possession, logging a 71.88 Corsi-for percentage. Consequently, Jones only faced four shots during those twenty minutes, with Quinn Hughes finding the back of the net on one. Luckily for the Flyers, that would be the only goal Jones would allow that night.
In the second and third periods, the Canucks began to make a push, taking advantage of the Flyers’ fatigue from the front end of their back-to-back to put more shots on goal. They fired off 10 high-danger chances at Jones through the last 40 minutes, as compared to their single high-danger chance in the first 20. But the Flyers’ backup netminder stood tall, stopping all 20 shots on goal and weathering five Vancouver power plays.
Jones finished with 27 saves on 28 shots, giving him a save percentage of .964. It was because of him that the Flyers were able to cling to their perilous one-goal lead through the last two periods for a victory. By backstopping a flagging team to their closest win yet, Jones certainly earned himself this week’s hot streak.
Honorable Mention: Carter Hart
It was a great week all around for the Flyers goalie tandem. Carter Hart started two games to Jones’ one, facing his own hometown team—the Edmonton Oilers—as well as their rival Calgary Flames. And they were two solid contests from him.
Edmonton is known for being an offensive powerhouse. With two of the league’s best forwards in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl—and the newly-acquired Zach Hyman to back them up—they’re difficult to face as a goaltender. But Hart, with help from the Flyers’ defensive corps, rose to the challenge, stopping 34 of 37 shots for a .919 save percentage and a subsequent 5-3 victory.
Calgary was a much tougher game for the Flyers. The team as a whole looked fatigued and sloppy, and it was somewhat of a miracle that they hadn’t fallen behind by more than one goal by the time the third period rolled around. They had Hart to thank for that. He faced 35 shots and saved 32, giving up only one bad goal at the end of the game. Had Hart not been as sharp as he was, this contest could have gone a lot differently from the outset.
It’s a good sign for the Flyers that both of their goaltenders are thriving to start the season. If Hart and Jones can maintain the level they’ve displayed thus far, the team will have a chance against any opponent they face.
Cold Streak: Zack MacEwen
Zack MacEwen’s underwhelming performance this week boiled down to penalties. The Flyers as a team found themselves on the penalty kill often on their three-game road trip, but MacEwen contributed more than his fair share to those woes. Against Edmonton, he was called for boarding on Cody Ceci. It was an undisciplined hit, especially when playing a team as effective on the man advantage as the Oilers. (During the resulting power play, Connor McDavid found the back of the net to tie the game at two goals apiece.)
Then, against the Canucks, MacEwen logged two more penalties—five minutes for fighting and an additional two for unsportsmanlike conduct—in a bout with Luke Schenn. It was the latter that was the real problem, as MacEwen grabbing Schenn’s visor during their scrap which gave the Canucks a power play. At that point, the Flyers were clinging to a one-goal lead. While they may have needed something to energize them, the fight had the opposite of the desired result, slowing the team’s momentum in the subsequent penalty kill.
In the final game of the week, MacEwen was called once again, this time for hooking Dillon Dube. Prior to then, the Flyers had been down by one; then Matthew Tkachuk scored on the power play. Overall, MacEwen’s lack of discipline this week greatly exacerbated the team’s penalty struggles. He’ll need to clean up his game if he wants to keep his spot on the fourth line.