This week, as the league-wide Christmas hiatus came to a close, the Flyers kicked off their return with a west coast road trip. The stretch began with a back-to-back against the Seattle Kraken and San Jose Sharks. On Wednesday, the Flyers pulled off a narrow 3-2 overtime win over the Kraken. But the next day, in a near repeat of the Seattle game, the team suffered a loss to the Sharks. The week ended with another defeat, this time at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings. Through these three games, some players found 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 Felix Sandstrom and Keith Yandle.
Be sure to check out the last edition of Flyers Hot and Cold Streaks as well.
Hot and Cold Streaks, Including Felix Sandstrom
Hot Streak: Felix Sandstrom
With Carter Hart out with COVID, Felix Sandstrom got the call for Thursday’s game against the San Jose Sharks. It was not an ideal roster that he backstopped that night, with Sean Couturier headlining the list of missing players. Nevertheless, Sandstrom put together a spectacular performance in his first NHL game.
During regulation, Sandstrom’s 42 saves tied the Flyers franchise record for most saves in an NHL debut. In overtime, he stopped another to break the record. Ultimately, Sandstrom saved 43 of 46 shots for a .935 save percentage. According to Natural Stat Trick, he was expected to allow 4.56 goals; in reality, he allowed three.
Even more was Sandstrom’s composure in precarious situations. He saved all nine shots he faced on the penalty kill, as well as stopping 10 of 11 high-danger chances at even strength. In fact, the only other high-danger chance he failed to stop was Logan Couture’s goal on a shorthanded breakaway – more a reflection on the Flyers’ man advantage than Sandstrom himself.
Though it’s unlikely Sandstrom will find himself playing in another game this year, he did make an excellent first impression. In future seasons, he may find himself getting the call again.
Honourable Mention: Joel Farabee
Joel Farabee started the week slowly, but finished it with a bang. Though he did not record any points against the Kraken, he scored two goals in the following two games. The first came against the Sharks, a third period tally that tied the game at two apiece. While the Flyers were unable to seal the win in overtime, Farabee’s goal bought them a point. Then, on Saturday, Farabee found the back of the net to strike back after the Kings scored just 12 seconds in. His second goal brought his season total to 10, trailing only Claude Giroux and Cam Atkinson on the team leaderboard.
Cold Streak: Keith Yandle
In the same vein as before the pause, Keith Yandle has been a liability, directly contributing to another shorthanded goal this week. On a San Jose clear, the puck took an odd bounce off the glass and drifted to centre ice. Yandle, circling back slowly, was unable to cut off a speeding Logan Couture, failing to corral the puck and trailing Couture all the way to the net. Not only that, the Sharks recorded three shots on goal during Yandle’s power play shift.
Yandle’s lapses were not confined to the man advantage, either. During the Kraken game, he often found himself trapped in the defensive zone on long shifts. An unfortunate tumble also produced a three-on-one for Seattle. Then, against the Kings, Yandle gave away the puck in the defensive zone, resulting in a shot that glanced off the post. Though none of these are necessarily egregious errors on their own, together they paint a frustrating picture of Yandle’s performance this week.
It’s worth noting that Yandle did log an assist this week. Previously, he had not recorded a point for four games. Still, one even-strength assist is far from the production the Flyers would like to see out of Yandle as they continue to keep him on the first power play unit.