This week, the Flyers played shorthanded through a COVID outbreak and injuries. They were unable to pull off a win with their decimated lineup but stole a single point thanks to a heroic effort from Martin Jones. On Tuesday, the Flyers closed out their West Coast road trip against the Anaheim Ducks, falling 4-1 in a game that saw Troy Terry score his first NHL hat trick. Then, they returned home to face the cross-state rival Pittsburgh Penguins, suffering another loss. The Flyers finished the week with their second overtime loss of the season to the San Jose Sharks. 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 Cam York and Carter Hart.
Be sure to check out last week’s streaks as well.
Hot and Cold Streaks, Including Cam York
Hot Streak: Cam York
With Ivan Provorov out due to COVID, Cam York played against his hometown team in Anaheim. Although it was only his fourth NHL game, he slotted into the second pairing alongside Justin Braun. On Thursday, after Travis Sanheim was ruled out, York moved up to the top pairing.
York averaged just over 22 minutes per game and didn’t look out of place doing so. He blocked three shots and didn’t hesitate to play physically, landing seven hits. York also displayed his skating ability on the rush, as he was frequently the one weaving through the neutral zone to set up offensive opportunities. It resulted in his first NHL point, an assist on James van Riemsdyk’s goal against the Sharks.
As with any young player suddenly shouldering a significant workload, there were some bumps in the road for York. He struggled to position himself on the penalty kill, leaving Bryan Rust unattended right in front of the goal. And on Saturday, he was unable to get back in time to stop Tomas Hertl from netting the overtime winner. But the mistakes he did make could be explained by a lack of experience and preparation time. After all, the game against the Sharks was only his sixth in the NHL, and he’d only had a couple of practices – if that – to learn to play on the special teams units. Given the promise York showed this week in a large role, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him remain with the Flyers even when Provorov and Sanheim return.
Honourable Mention: Cam Atkinson
First of all, props to Martin Jones on his performance against his former team, the San Jose Sharks. He stopped 44 of 47 shots – an outrageous workload – for a .936 save percentage. That deserves at least a brief acknowledgement before we dive into this week’s honourable mention.
Although the Flyers as a team failed to produce more than two goals in any of this week’s games, Cam Atkinson was their most consistent performer. He recorded two goals and an assist – a point in each contest. The assist came 0n Saturday, where he fed the puck to York at the point for a shot that van Riemsdyk redirected into the back of the net. Atkinson got his first goal of the week against the Ducks – a midair deflection of a pass from Joel Farabee. Then, he scored a second time two days later against the Penguins, blasting a shot past Tristan Jarry. He now has six points in his last four games and leads the Flyers in goals.
Cold Streak: Carter Hart
It wasn’t really Carter Hart’s fault that he had a rough week. After all, he was playing behind a patchwork roster filled with borderline-AHL players. To make things worse, he’d just returned from COVID protocols. Nevertheless, his two starts were not the quality the Flyers have come to expect from him.
Against Anaheim and Pittsburgh, Hart made a combined 52 stops on 61 saves for a .852 save percentage and a 4.5 goals against average. It was his worst two-game stretch since early December when the fiasco against the Tampa Bay Lightning resulted in Alain Vigneault’s firing. Particularly during the Pittsburgh game, Hart didn’t look sharp. Granted, the Flyers’ defence put him in many bad situations – but in those situations, he was unable to make the kind of game-saving stops he had before his bout with COVID.
Next week, some of the Flyers’ better players should return to action. Getting Provorov and Sanheim back will put a sounder defence back in front of Hart. Hopefully, with more support and practice time, Hart will regain his form.