Philadelphia Flyers Hot and Cold Streaks: December 12 – 18, Including Travis Sanheim

Travis Sanheim
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Though the Philadelphia Flyers remain far from perfect, they took a few more strides forward this week. On Tuesday, the team strung together its third consecutive win, closing out the season series against the New Jersey Devils on a high note. It was a convincing victory, with the Flyers dominating through all three periods. Two days later, the streak came to an end in the form of a sluggish-looking 4-3 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens. Still, the Flyers managed to bounce back and finish the week strong with a 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators. Through these three games, some players facilitated the team’s success. However, others did not perform quite so impressively. Each week, we’ll take a look at Philadelphia Flyers players who are on a hot or cold streak. This week, we’ll examine Travis Sanheim and Keith Yandle.

Be sure to check out the last edition of Flyers Hot and Cold Streaks as well.

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Hot and Cold Streaks, Including Travis Sanheim

Hot Streak: Travis Sanheim

Surprisingly enough, a defenceman was the team’s most consistent point-scorer this week. Travis Sanheim recorded two assists and two goals through three games. Against the Devils, Sanheim opened the scoring and logged a secondary assist on Cam Atkinson‘s first goal. He tacked on another assist on Jackson Cates‘ first NHL goal in Thursday’s loss to Montreal. But the highlight of the week for Sanheim was his game-winning overtime goal against the Senators. He badgered Thomas Chabot in Ottawa’s end, forcing the Senators’ defenceman to make an errant pass along the boards. Atkinson corralled the puck and chipped it to Sanheim, who managed to elevate the puck over a diving Anton Forsberg to seal the win for the Flyers.

Sanheim’s success this week extended beyond even his offensive presence. He had a +3 plus-minus and 57.36 percent Corsi through the three games. With an average of just over 23 minutes on ice per night, Sanheim also shouldered a heavier workload than every Flyers blueliner except Ivan Provorov. He and Rasmus Ristolainen are quickly emerging as a steady second pairing, and his propensity for joining the rush has orchestrated many productive sequences.

Honourable Mention: Cam Atkinson

Cam Atkinson is hitting his stride once again. This week, he logged a hat trick and an assist against New Jersey and another assist on Travis Sanheim’s overtime goal against Ottawa.

Atkinson’s first goal came with the Flyers up a goal on the Devils. He received a pass from Rasmus Ristolainen and quickly flipped the puck under Mackenzie Blackwood‘s arm. The next was on a shorthanded odd-man rush, where Atkinson blasted a shot over Blackwood’s shoulder. He recorded an assist on Oskar Lindblom‘s tally, then netted his third goal of the night. Through the rest of the week, Atkinson only recorded one more point, but it was a crucial one – a short feed to Sanheim that resulted in the overtime goal.

Atkinson now has 20 points on the season, 12 of which are goals. This week, he was in excellent form, proving his own scoring capabilities while also helping to orchestrate chances for other Flyers. When Atkinson is hot, it’s good news for the team as a whole.

Cold Streak: Keith Yandle

Keith Yandle has never been the Flyers’ most defensively reliable blueliner. His propensity for ill-timed turnovers continued to hurt the team this week. But as a more offensively inclined defenceman, it was hoped that he could be effective on the man advantage. And while the power play as a whole has been better as of late, Yandle has been more of a liability than a weapon.

Against the Montreal Canadiens, a miscue from Yandle led to a shorthanded breakaway – and almost a goal – for Nick Suzuki. Though he narrowly emerged from that one unscathed, he was not so lucky in Saturday’s game. It was Alex Formenton who got the breakaway this time, after Yandle failed to gather the puck in his own end. Formenton slipped a shot past Martin Jones, tying the game at two apiece. Shorthanded chances should not be occurring this frequently in the first place, but when they do happen, players need to be able to negate those mistakes. Yandle’s numerous turnovers and subsequent inability to recover in time to break up plays has made it risky to put him out on the man advantage.

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