Owen Tippett scored his first career NHL hat trick and the Flyers beat the Sabres, 5-2, Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
The 24-year-old winger made it rain after scoring on a nasty third-period breakaway.
“When I got that break, I tried to stay calm,” Tippett said. “That was pretty cool.”
John Tortorella’s side needed a victory to lift their spirits and managed to get one in full force, going 1-1-0 in their seven-game home game of the season.
Joel Farabee and James van Riemsdyk each scored their 10th goals of the season.
Farabee’s scorer broke his slump of 26 straight games without a goal. Sigh of relief for the 23-year-old winger.
Ten different Flyers scored a point. Kevin Hayes and Tony DeAngelo had two assists each. Tyson Foerster scored his first career NHL point with an assist.
“I’m glad they got a result here,” Tortorella said. “A lot of people contributed.”
With the win, the Flyers (25-32-11) tied their win and point totals from last season’s long and terrible 25-46-11 campaign. The Tortorella club have 14 games to play this season.
The Flyers are 2-0-0 against the Sabers (33-29-6) this season and outscored them 9-2. The clubs meet one last time in just over two weeks at the Wells Fargo Center.
• Tippett started this season without a multi-goal game in his NHL career.
He has three multi-goal games this season and 21 total scorers this season.
“Who knows what’s going on with 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 are an impressive mix.
“I go on Instagram, I feel like every summer and I see him doing some jumps or something, it’s kind of crazy,” Farabee said with a laugh. “He’s so explosive. You see it in his skating. I’ve never seen a guy break out of the D-zone. Honestly, it’s pretty amazing, just the way he moves there. he keeps, keeps getting that confidence, he’s quite a tough player to stop.”
Tippett was arguably the Flyers’ biggest advantage in 2022-23. He arrived at the Flyers last March from the Panthers in the trade of Claude Giroux and looks like a legitimate piece for the future.
“I don’t think the players care who they were traded to or anything,” Tortorella said. “I just think he’s growing. He’s got more opportunities here. Florida was pretty loaded with offensive people when he was there. You never know when there’s an opportunity.
“I just think he’s gained confidence. It’s so important for an athlete, in any sport, how they feel about themselves. I think he feels pretty good.”
On Friday night, Tippett scored one power-play goal and two at even strength.
“I like goals, but I think he added more power to his game,” Tortorella said. “Last game, he brought it to the net a couple of times. That’s the thing I want him to keep working on; not just relying on the shot he has. Like, that advantage goal digital, it’s just a big I want the other part of the game too, because I think it’s capable of doing that.
• The Flyers are rebuilding and focusing solely on development for next season. But some victories don’t hurt in the process.
They had lost 16 of their previous 20 games (4-12-4), a streak in which they had scored just 2.05 goals per game.
So while that win didn’t help their NHL Draft lottery odds, it’s good for the confidence of a team trying to build something.
Victories today can help for the future. And there hasn’t exactly been a ton of positives around the Flyers in recent weeks.
“We have to try to get everything in order – our discipline and keep working hard and trying to find a way to win,” Tortorella said on Friday morning. “When you’re developing people and trying to find a way to teach them to be pros, winning is important. That’s why they wear the uniform. So it’s very frustrating for everyone.”
The Flyers hadn’t scored five or more goals since Jan. 17.
• Carter Hart received plenty of running support and finished with 36 saves after returning from the flu.
The second goal he allowed came with 0.4 seconds left and the Sabers on the power play.
Both of Victor Olofsson’s goals for Buffalo were on the power play.
The Sabers have scored 3.66 goals per game, the third most in the NHL. But they also came in giving 3.61.
The Flyers have held Buffalo star Tage Thompson scoreless in two games. The 6-foot-6 winger has 42 goals and 45 assists in 68 games this season.
Craig Anderson, a 41-year veteran Sabers goaltender, stopped 17 of the Flyers’ 22 shots.
• Wade Allison returned to the lineup after missing the last three games with an undisclosed injury.
Tortorella has been very honest about the 25-year-old winger’s propensity for injury.
As the Flyers further assess who will be part of the future, Allison has a good opportunity to end this season on a high.
If he plays well to the finish line, he’ll have a good sample of last-six efficiency heading into an uncertain offseason for the Flyers.
• Travis Konecny pushed him on Friday morning while recovering from an upper body injury. Here’s the latest on him and Sean Couturier.
• The Flyers are back on Saturday as they host the Metropolitan Division-leading Hurricanes (5 p.m. ET/ESPN+, Hulu).
The Tortorella club are 2-10-0 in the second straight sets game.
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