Tippett is terrific as Flyers wrap up 2022 with win over Kings


The Flyers wrapped up 2022 on a solid note. 

On Saturday, they defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-2. This is the first time the team has won consecutive games since Nov. 5-8. 

It wasn't going to be an easy one by any means. Prior to today's matchup, the Kings have been red hot with a 7-1-2 record through their last 10 games. Only the Golden Knights have a better record in the Pacific Division. 

Samuel Ersson started his third consecutive game for the Flyers and is 2-0-1 during the stretch. 

Period of penalties

The officials made their presence known early in this one. Through the first 20 minutes, five penalties were called and four were against the Flyers. 

Two were very questionable. Let's break it all down. 

First, Kevin Fiala was tripped by Cam York, so the Kings went to the first power play of the day. Not even 10 seconds later, Travis Konecny was called for tripping Alex Iafallo. Both Konecny and head coach John Tortorella were visibly upset with this call - and rightfully so. 

The Kings were off to a two-man advantage, and the first minute displayed a very aggressive Flyers' penalty kill. When down two players for an extended period of time though, it will eventually catch up. Adrian Kempe found the back of the net, but that's all the Kings would get for the power play. 

Just moments after the Flyers were back to even strength, Carl Grundstrom was called for interference, so it was off to the first power play for Philadelphia. Scott Laughton was able to capitalize on it, scoring his third power play goal of the season. This was easily one of the better power plays the Flyers have had in recent weeks.

But wait, there's more. 

Joel Farabee was called for slashing, and just three seconds after it was killed off, Nick Seeler was called for tripping. 

It felt as though the Flyers were never able to settle in, but they were able to exit the period only down a goal. 

Stick taps for Tippett

Through the past five games, Owen Tippett has been finding his groove. He scored the lone goal in the second period on what could best be described as a goal scorer's goal.  

He has now scored in his second consecutive game and has four goals through the last five. With 11 on the season, he only trails Konecny in goals on the team. 

While his contributions have been recognized offensively, it's also important to note his performance defensively. This was a complete 200-foot game from Tippett and one of his best outings of the season. 

A consistent version of this Tippett is exactly what the Flyers could use.   

Relief for Noah Cates 

It's been a rocky stretch for Cates, who hadn't scored a goal since Nov. 15 against the Blue Jackets. 

The 23-year-old ended his 20-game goal drought against the Kings, while also collecting his first-career NHL short-handed goal. 

It was an unconventional shot from the top of the zone, but it just goes to show you what can happen when you put the puck on the net. 

New Years resolutions? 

Sure, why not. 

When you step back to evaluate the status of the team, there is good ... and there is bad. What can we hope to see in 2023? 

  • You cannot say enough good things about how Konecny is playing.

He has become a consistent producer this season - something the team desperately needed. While averaging over a point per game, he is the Flyers leading scorer with 18 goals. 

His career-best is 24 goals in a season. He accomplished this three separate times in consecutive seasons - in 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20. 

He currently has 18 goals through 31 games and all signs point to him finally passing that 24-goal mark. He could realistically end the season with 30 plus goals. Now, that's something to be excited about. 

  • Keep York with the big club.

York has been quite the addition to the Flyers' blue line since being recalled from the Phantoms on Dec. 8. It was a surprise when York didn't make the initial roster back in October, but that is now a thing of the past. 

Between his speed and skillset, there's no reason to loan him back to the AHL affiliate team. Today's matchup against the Kings marked his 40th career NHL game (10 this season and 30 in 2021-22). He collected an assist on Laughton's power play goal.

  • This one may simply be a wish, but the power play has to improve at some point, right? 

Having a man-advantage shouldn't be *this* brutal to watch on a daily basis. The Flyers ended the 2021-22 season with an NHL-worst 12.6 percent and are currently only above the Canadiens on 2022-23.

And when you're at the bottom (or second to last), you can only hope things go up from here. Please. 

Next Up

The Flyers will remain in California as they ring in the New Year. They'll open up 2023 on Jan. 2 against the Ducks at 10:00 P.M. EST. The game will be on NBC Sports Philadelphia and streaming in the MyTeams app. 

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