After becoming the 10th coach in Flyers history to reach the 100-win mark, Dave Hakstol deflected the attention.
“It was a great two points for our team — and we needed them,” the third-year Flyers coach said after the 5-3 victory Saturday in New Jersey.
It was the Flyers’ fourth straight win. Sean Couturier had seven goals in those four games, including two on Saturday, along with an assist.
“I just want to keep it going,” said Couturier, who has a career-high 25 goals, tied for third in the NHL entering Sunday. “There’s still another half of the year to play. I had a good first half but need a better second half to make a push and make the playoffs. Just need to keep going and rolling.”
The win put the Flyers within one point of a playoff spot heading into Sunday, when one point separated the five Metropolitan Division teams battling for two wild-card spots.
“When you look at the Metro now, it’s so stacked up you cannot afford to lose a game,” said right winger Jake Voracek, who, along with Claude Giroux, had two assists Saturday.
The Flyers will meet another Metro opponent Tuesday, traveling to Madison Square Garden and facing the fading New York Rangers for the first time this season. Entering Sunday’s matchup in Pittsburgh, the Rangers had just three wins in their last nine games (3-4-2) and had not registered a regulation victory since Dec. 19.
The Flyers are 12-4-1 since their 10-game losing streak ended.
“It [stinks] to lose, but you kind of learn from it and I think that’s kind of what happened during that stretch,” Couturier said. “You have to learn from your mistakes, and we’re playing better hockey now with the lead.”
The Flyers won Saturday without one of the NHL’s best offensive defensemen, Shayne Gostisbehere, who missed the game because of an illness. The Flyers were 2 for 2 on the power play despite not having Gostisbehere as its quarterback. Ivan Provorov was on the first power-play unit.
The power play is a sizzling 7 for 14 during the four-game winning streak.
Rookie Travis Sanheim, a healthy scratch the previous five games, replaced Gostisbehere in five-on-five situations and played just 6 minutes, 2 seconds and was minus-1 while being paired with Radko Gudas.
Without Gostisbehere, most of the other defensemen played more minutes. Provorov, who celebrated his 21st birthday with two assists and five hits, led the way by playing 25:14,. Andrew MacDonald (plus-2) played 24:34, and Brandon Manning played 22:57.
Robert Hagg took Gostisbehere’s spot on the top pairing, alongside Provorov.
As far as the first matchup between the players selected 1-2 in last June’s draft, the Devils’ Nico Hischier slightly outplayed Nolan Patrick. Hischier had an assist in 15:52, and Patrick had no points in 8:59, though he did win 5 of 7 faceoffs (71 percent); Hischier won just 3 of 10.
Patrick had two high-sticking penalties early in the second period.
“Those penalties are unacceptable,” Patrick said. “I think I was a little too excited for the game. I have to have my stick under control there.”
Couturier, snubbed from the all-star team, has had two goals in each of the last three games. Voracek, another player bypassed for the All-Star Game, went into Sunday leading the NHL in assists with 45 and was tied for third in points with 53. Giroux, who turned 30 on Friday, was second in the league in points (54) and in assists (40). … Tyrell Goulbourne had three hits in 4:56. … The Flyers will practice in Voorhees at 10:30 a.m. Monday.