John Tortorella is looking forward to seeing how his team handles the playoff race.
So far, so good.
The Flyers earned a 3-2 win Saturday night over the Kraken at the Wells Fargo Center.
Coming off the bye week and All-Star break, the Flyers (28-19-6) have won three straight games, a series in which they have outscored opponents 9-4.
Tortorella's club did a little of everything offensively on Saturday night, scoring at even strength, both on the power play and on the penalty kill. Nine different players scored a point.
Sean Couturier notched the game-winner, Ryan Poehling scored the team's league-leading 12th goal of the season, and Scott Laughton scored the men's opener.
With 29 games remaining, the Flyers are four wins away from surpassing last season's total (31-38-13). They have a third-place playoff position in the Metropolitan Division.
“We've put ourselves in a good place here and I think the players have recognized that, the way we need to play to continue this,” Lawton said. “It's going to be a sprint to the finish line, and that's happening fast all through the end of the year. It's an exciting time to be in Philly here and be a part of this.”
Tortorella wasn't happy with the Flyers' final two periods in Thursday's 4-1 win over the Jets.
The coach was confident his players would respond.
“I didn't speak to them a single word about the game, and I didn't show them a single clip of the game,” he said Saturday at the morning skate. “We trust them. We know how they felt about it even during the game.”
This time, they kept their foot on the gas. The Flyers are 2-0-0 in their three-game homestand and have yet to trail.
“I thought we played a perfect game,” Tortorella said. “I thought we had poise, and I thought we stayed sharp in the third period.”
The Flyers split a two-game regular season series with the Kraken (21-20-10). Back in late December, the Flyers suffered a 2-1 overtime loss to Seattle at Climate Pledge Arena.
• Cal Petersen made his first start in 91 days and did his job, recording 17 saves.
“I understand the opportunity and it's an opportunity I've been waiting for for a long time,” the 29-year-old said of being in the Flyers' goaltending picture. “I'll keep that mindset every day, but it's an opportunity I don't want to miss.”
The Kraken tied the game at 2-2 just 36 seconds into the third period when Jared McCann's shot came off Couturier's stick.
But Couturier got it back just under five minutes later through a redirection.
The 2019-20 Silk Cup winner was on the ice for Seattle's two goals.
“I feel like both goals were my friend,” Couturier said. “I was so excited about the first goal, I went for it and the refereeing was bad, and then my man scored. The second goal, same thing, was kind of at my feet.
“I feel like all night it was one of those games for me personally, where, I don't know, I was fighting a little bit. I'm glad I was able to get that game back in the third period.”
After McCann's equaliser, Tortorella lashed out at Couturier. When Couturier put the Flyers back in front, the first line players screamed in celebration.
“Oh, that was great for me, yeah,” Tortorella said. “I'm sure he was. So be it, so be it. That's part of him. That's what I like about him. He's a tough old pro. He's a big part of this.”
“Let me tell you something, I have a huge amount of respect for him the way he handled this year after being out for two years. But there are no free passes. We need him badly, in games, to be consistent.”
Couturier has always prided himself on being as close to perfection as possible.
“He's not allowed to have a bad night or take time off; he's not allowed to,” Tortorella said. “We're not good enough to be average.”
Kraken goaltender Joey Daccord stopped 35 of 38 Flyers shots.
• For the first time this season, the Flyers came out on the losing end to challenge their coach.
They fell to 4-for-5 after conceding Seattle's equalizer in the first period. A lengthy review did not determine that the play was offside, resulting in the Flyers being penalized.
But Poehling picked up on the Flyers' coaches when he struck again on the penalty kill. He scored his third goal of the season and second in the last two games to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
The 25-year-old center makes a two-year contract extension look like good business. The penalty kill was taken by the Flyers and the bottom six took advantage of his speed and length.
“He's a big part of our team,” Couturier said.
The Flyers won their third straight game, defeating the Kraken, 3-2, on Saturday night at Wells Fargo Center.
• After being benched for Thursday's third period, which lasted just 10:31, Cam Atkinson had a couple of shots and a blocked shot in 15:16 against the Kraken.
“Obviously the last game wasn’t the best for me,” Atkinson said Saturday after the morning skate. “Just getting back to playing with energy and confidence and shooting the puck and getting into those dirty areas where I score all my goals. It's a work in progress now.”
• Tortorella went with 12 forwards and six defensemen. Igor Zamula has made a healthy scratch.
“He's tied 5-on-5 and I want him to watch a game,” Tortorella said during the morning skate.
Rasmus Ristolainen returned to defense after missing Thursday's match due to illness. Up front, Nicolas Deslauriers has been drawn into the lineup.
Besides Zamula, Marc Staal and Olli Leixel were additions.
• The Flyers wrap up their homestand on Monday when they host the Coyotes (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).
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