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November 16, 2023

Five thoughts: Morgan Frost, Owen Tippett, Travis Konecny propel Flyers' win streak

Morgan Frost and Owen Tippett have found a rhythm, Travis Konecny is growing into a star, and Louie Belpedio is playing some solid defense with the Flyers on a three-game win streak.

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Owen-Tippet-Flyers-Hurricanes-Goal-11.16.23-NHL.jpg James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports

Flyers winger Owen Tippett has four goals in his past three games.

The Flyers topped off a five-of-six losing skid by dropping the first game of a West Coast road trip to the then-winless and league-worst San Jose Sharks, because this team would. 

Then they proceeded to beat Anaheim, Los Angeles, and Carolina in the days that followed to spark a three-game win streak, because this team also would. 

The ebbs and flows of the NHL season can be strange. 

The Flyers, oftentimes, even stranger.

But hey, take the wins as they come, especially when they come against quality opponents like the past week has brought.

Here are five thoughts from it...

Getting Going

After sitting out the loss to San Jose, Morgan Frost was put back into the lineup and has since put up four points in the last three games, including two goals against the Kings on Saturday sparked on plays where his sole priority was just getting the puck on net.

Owen Tippett has also really gotten going with four goals in the last three games as well, with the latest being a quick wrister off of a drop pass from Frost that found its way in to open up the scoring Wednesday night in Carolina.

Both were major offensive contributors to the Flyers last season, but for various reasons – Frost especially – they've gotten off to slow starts in this one. 

But hopefully these past few games are signs that they've found a rhythm. 

Belpedio Blossoms

Every season has that one unsung hero and right now Louie Belpedio is making a strong case to be this one's.

Since his call-up in late October, the 27-year old has been playing some very sound defense, not to mention getting a little involved offensively too. 

He's only been skating an average of 13 minutes on the bottom pairing in the 10 games he's been up so far, but in those 10 games, he has two goals, an assist, has gone plus-4, and drove the play – and the screen on it – that led to Tippett's opening tally against the Hurricanes. 

Not bad at all, and perhaps even a revelation for a defenseman who, to this point, has been an AHL lifer. 

Holding Down The Fort

The Flyers' past three wins all came with three different goaltenders between the pipes. 

For Friday night's 6-3 win out in Anaheim, it was Samuel Ersson stopping 35 of 38 shots. 

Against the Kings in a 4-2 win on Saturday, it was Cal Petersen saving 35 of 37. 

Then in the 3-1 win over Carolina on Wednesday, Carter Hart was finally back to stop 31 of 32 from a Hurricanes team that was especially pressing late. 

Hart, who returned after a bout with food poisoning, is always going to give the Flyers their best chance. But a team always needs depth between the pipes, and while the Flyers were suspect in that regard given Ersson's shaky start to the season and Petersen's struggles at the NHL level in general the past few years, it's at least a good sign that with Hart down, they both stepped in and stepped up in a pinch. 

Even Flow

One thing that really stood out from Wednesday night's win over the Hurricanes was how much smoother the Flyers seemed to be with the puck and how well they were sustaining offensive pressure. 

The possession that led to Travis Konecny's first-period goal that put them ahead 2-0 is a great example of this.

There was no panic. They kept their foot on the gas, Nick Seeler made a great read to take the shot up high with Carolina playing the point passively, and Konecny was right there in front to tip the puck home – and this clip doesn't even show the cycling before that allowed the Flyers to effectively set up camp. 

Now, will they always look this fluid? No.

But give the Flyers credit: As a team, they look a whole lot better than they did a year ago, and eons better than the total mess they were the year before that. 

That doesn't mean they're a contender or anything – after all, head coach John Tortorella will be one of the first to tell you how far they are from that – but just in terms of watching them from night to night, it's been a way more enjoyable experience, and maybe that's one of the biggest early signs of progress. 

TK Starstorm

Speaking of Konecny, his goal Wednesday night was his 10th of the season just 16 games in.

As of Thursday, he's 14th among the NHL's goal-scoring leaders, but that puts him in company with Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, Colorado's Mikko Rantanen, the Rangers' Chris Kreider, and Detroit's Alex DeBrincat – who also have 10 goals each – and not all that far off from Toronto's Auston Matthews and Vancouver's Brock Boeser at the top right now (13 goals). 

He's also in some good company among Flyers who have reached a similar feat, as gathered by NHL Network:

He's been all over the ice since Tortorella took over behind the bench last season, and though it can be argued that the Flyers' next stars aren't even in the building yet (like Matvei Michkov and Cutter Gauthier), Konecny has really taken the reins as a skilled veteran presence and, still at just 26 years old, one of the faces who may just be able to see this rebuild all the way through. 

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