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Reborn Flyers aim to extend streak vs. struggling Canadiens

Sportsnaut
Nov 16, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Flyers right wing Cam Atkinson (89) skates with the puck against the Calgary Flames at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 16, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Flyers right wing Cam Atkinson (89) skates with the puck against the Calgary Flames at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Flyers will look for their fourth consecutive victory when they travel north to battle the host Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.

After a 10-game losing streak, the Flyers have used a coaching change to take their season in a positive direction. On Tuesday, the Flyers crushed the New Jersey Devils 6-1 thanks to a hat trick and four points from Cam Atkinson.

Over the past three games, the Flyers have appeared to be much more cohesive.

“We’re getting everybody on the same page and knowing where everybody is going to be at all times,” said Flyers defenseman Justin Braun, who added one goal. “Top to bottom, I feel we are all doing that about the same.”

The Flyers won back-to-back games on the road over the Vegas Golden Knights and Arizona Coyotes before coming home to defeat the Devils. The players believe the opening win against the powerful Golden Knights helped immensely with their confidence.

“We got that win in Vegas and that was huge for us,” Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim said. “Now we just have to keep this thing going.”

The Flyers have been winning without of their top goal scorers producing. Travis Konecny reached 99 career goals 13 games ago. He’s still stuck on 99.

If the Flyers are ultimately going to reach the playoffs, they’ll need Konecny to score goals in bunches.

“When you think of TK’s game, you think energy,” said Flyers interim head coach Mike Yeo, who took over for the fired Alain Vigneault. “You think relentlessness. You think skating. He’s starting to make more plays. He’s starting to skate. I think he’s starting to feel better about his game.”

The reeling Canadiens will hope to avoid an eighth straight loss Thursday. In their most recent game Tuesday, they lost 5-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Jeff Petry returned to the Montreal lineup after missing the previous four games with an upper body injury. After the three-goal loss, the defenseman opened up with some brutal honesty about the team.

“It’s frustrating,” Petry said. “It’s the same things over and over. We’re not playing as a team; we’re not playing as a group. It’s like you’re searching to find where people are. It seems like there’s no structure out there.”

Petry said that he noticed the same issues before returning to the ice.

“You sit on top and there are times when you’re scratching your head,” Petry said. “It feels like everyone knows where they should be, but they’re not going to those places. We’re not making it easier for anyone on the ice except for the other team.”

In July the Canadiens were battling in the Stanley Cup Finals. Fast forward to December and the Canadiens have dealt with a litany of injuries and roster decisions impacted by COVID-19. They’re in last place in the Eastern Conference.

“It’s part of what we’re dealing with now with the injuries and the COVID,” Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin said. “I think guys have done their best and a good job. You just got to find a way to win one game, get out of this run and hopefully move on.”

–Field Level Media