Owen Tippett had his first career NHL hat trick and the Flyers beat the Sabers 5-2 on Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
The 24-year-old winger made it rain when he scored from a dirty stoppage in the third period.
“When I got the break, I tried to stay calm,” Tippett said. “That was pretty cool.”
John Tortorella’s team needed a morale-boosting win and were able to get one by narrowly improving to 1-1-0 on a season-long seven-game homestand.
Joel Farabee and James van Riemsdyk each scored their 10th goal of the season.
Farabee’s mark snapped a streak of 26 straight games without a goal. A sigh of relief for the 23-year-old winger.
Ten different Flyers registered a point. Kevin Hayes and Tony DeAngelo each had two assists. Tyson Foerster recorded his first career NHL point with an assist.
“I’m glad they’re getting a result here,” Tortorella said. “Many people participated.”
With the win, the Flyers (25-32-11) matched their win and point totals from last season’s long and horrific 25-46-11 campaign. Tortorella’s club has 14 matches left.
The Flyers are 2-0-0 against the Sabers this season (33-29-6) and have outscored them 9-2. The clubs will meet for the final time in just over two weeks at the Wells Fargo Center.
• Tippett entered this season without a multi-goal game in his NHL career.
He has three multi-goal games this season and a total of 21 markers during the season.
“Who knows what’s going to happen to some of the older guys here,” DeAngelo said with a smile, “but I’ll tell you what, this guy is going to be here for a long time.”
Tippett’s strength and speed make for an impressive mix.
“I go on Instagram, it feels like every summer and I see him jumping or something, it’s kind of crazy,” Farabee said with a laugh. “He’s so explosive. You can see that in his skating. I’ve never seen a guy break out of the D zone. It’s unbelievable, honestly, just the way he moves there. If he keeps going at that pace, he keeps getting that confidence going, he’s pretty a hard player to stop.”
Tippett has arguably been the biggest positive for the Flyers in 2022-23. He came to the Flyers last March from the Panthers in the Claude Giroux trade and looks like a legitimate piece for the future.
“I don’t think the players care who they were traded for or whatever,” Tortorella said. “I think he’s just going to grow. He’s going to get more of an opportunity here. Florida was pretty loaded with offensive people when he was there. You never know when an opportunity is going to come.
“I just think he’s gained confidence. It’s so important for an athlete in any sport how he feels. I think he’s doing well.”
On Friday night, Tippett had one power play and two even-strength plays.
“I like the goals, but I think he’s stepped up his game,” Tortorella said. “Last game, he brings it to the net two or three times. I want him to keep working on it; not just trusting his shot. Like that power play goal, it’s just great. I want the other part of the game, too, because I think he can do it.”
• The Flyers will rebuild and focus purely on development next season. But some wins don’t hurt in the process.
They had lost 16 of their previous 20 games (4-12-4), allowing just 2.05 goals per game.
So while this win didn’t help their NHL draft lottery odds, it’s good to build something for the confidence of a trying team.
Profits now can help in the future. And there haven’t been many positive things about the Flyers in the last couple of weeks.
“We’ve got to try to get everything right — our discipline and continue to work hard and try to find a way to win,” Tortorella said Friday morning. “When you’re developing people and trying to find a way to teach them to be professionals, winning is important. That’s why they wear the uniform. So it’s been very frustrating for everybody.”
The Flyers had not scored five or more goals since January 17th.
• Carter Hart got plenty of run support and had 36 saves in his return from the flu.
The second goal he allowed came with 0.4 seconds left in the game and the Sabers were on the power play.
Both of Victor Olofsson’s goals for Buffalo were man advantage.
The Sabers scored 3.66 goals per game, third most in the NHL. But they also arrived allowing 3.61.
The Flyers have held Buffalo star Tage Thompson to a goal in two games. The 6-foot-1 winger has 42 goals and 45 assists in 68 games this season.
Craig Anderson, the Sabres’ 41-year-old veteran netminder, stopped 17 of the Flyers’ 22 shots.
• Wade Allison returned to the lineup after missing the last three games with an undisclosed injury.
Tortorella was very honest about the 25-year-old winger’s propensity for injury.
As the Flyers continue to evaluate who will be a part of the future, Allison has a good opportunity to end this season on a high note.
If he plays well through the goal line, he’ll have a solid sample size with an efficiency of six heading into an offseason full of uncertainty for the Flyers.
• Travis Konecny pushed it Friday morning while recovering from an upper-body injury. Here’s the latest on him and Sean Couturier.
• The Flyers are back at it Saturday when they host the Metropolitan Division-leading Hurricanes (5 p.m. ET/ESPN+, Hulu).
Tortorella’s club is 2-10-0 in the second game of back-to-back games.
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