The Flyers have a chance to tie one of the more bizarre records in NHL history Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center: most consecutive victories immediately after a winless streak of at least 10 games.
A win over the Los Angeles Kings would give them seven straight victories after a 10-game losing streak.
That would equal the greatest in-season turnaround in league history. Toronto followed an 11-game winless streak (one tie) with a seven-game winning streak in 1967 and won the Stanley Cup a few months later.
“It’s a combination of things,” coach Dave Hakstol said when asked if confidence was the biggest factor in the team’s stunning turnaround. “I think confidence, swagger, whatever you want to attach to it, is a big part of this game.”
When you’re going good, “you have the mentality you’re not going to take less than finding a way to win,” he added. “I can tell you, when you’re on the other end of close losses, tight losses, it starts to wear on you.”
The Flyers were a league-worst 2-4-7 in one-goal decisions before their six-game winning streak, which has included a pair of one-goal victories. During their streak, they have been 6 for 22 on the power play while their opponents have been 1 for 9.
The Flyers were outscored by a 14-2 margin after the second period during the 10-game skid. Conversely, they have outscored their opponents, 8-1, after the second period in the last six games.
After facing the Kings (20-10-4), the Flyers (14-11-7) conclude their five-game homestand Wednesday against Detroit.
Los Angeles, which is directed by former Flyers coach John Stevens, blew a two-goal lead Saturday and dropped a 4-3 overtime decision to the host Islanders. That same night, the Flyers rallied past Dallas, 2-1, for their first overtime win since Oct. 7.
Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere scored the overtime winner as he was reunited with Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek, a trio that hadn’t been together for a while.
The Flyers had been just 1-5 in overtime games and had lost their last five in those situations.
“The three of us have had success in the past …but earlier in the season we didn’t get the job done,” Giroux said. “Going back together, we kind of got a little excited again.”
Brian Elliott has been the goalie for all six wins during the streak; he had a career-high 11 straight victories last season with Calgary.
“Brian does such a good job on a daily basis of approaching his day of work,” Hakstol said. “I think that’s something guys can feed off of. They know he does the work. He is prepared. I think that gives everyone a level of confidence.”
Elliott will make his eighth straight start Monday. Michal Neuvirth was the goalie when the Flyers dropped a 2-0 decision in Los Angeles on Oct. 5. Jonathan Quick made 35 saves to key the win.
The unflappable Stevens spent part of four seasons as the Flyers’ head coach; he hasn’t been the head coach at a game played at the Wells Fargo Center since 2009. … The Kings have allowed a power-play goal in five straight games. … Voracek had a league-high 33 assists entering Sunday. … Giroux needs four games to pass Simon Gagne for 10th on the Flyers’ all-time list. … The Flyers have allowed a league-low 46 five-on-five goals this season. … Anze Kopitar paces the Kings with 17 goals and 39 points. … Former Flyer Jeff Carter hasn’t played for the Kings since Oct. 18; he had surgery to repair a skate cut on his left leg.