VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers have won four consecutive games for the first time since the 2020-21 season.
They'll have a chance at five straight Sunday when they host the Maple Leafs (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).
They haven't won five or more games in a row since 2019-20, the last time the club made the playoffs.
The Flyers are still very much in the infant stages of John Tortorella's process. They're 15-17-7, in seventh place of the eight-team Metropolitan Division and not expected to join a playoff race this year, but victories definitely make things more interesting.
Significantly more interesting when you consider what has transpired over the last two years with the Flyers. They had separate losing streaks of 13 games (0-10-3), 10 games (0-8-2) and 10 games (0-7-3) in a little over a span of a year.
So a four-game winning streak is not nothing.
Maybe it causes an occasional peek at the standings ...
"Not once," Tortorella said Saturday following practice. "I don't look at the standings if we're 10 games over [.500]. I don't. It's not coach's speak for me, it is I think about each and every day. We've got enough things going on that I want to get through the day and do my job the best I can for that day than worrying about projecting or forecasting or seeing what else is out there.
"It's the way I've always done it. I've never really been a big standings guy. If you know your team's in the hunt, when it starts getting into late March and April, sure, you're looking at stuff like that. So it's one day at a time."
Three of the Flyers' four straight wins came against clubs below them in the standings. The Flyers beat the Sharks, Coyotes and Ducks, all of whom entered Saturday among the bottom five of the NHL.
With the 23-9-7 Maple Leafs coming to town, are they a good barometer for the Flyers? A chance to show the past four wins were not just a byproduct of the competition?
"I don't believe in barometers, either," Tortorella said with a smile. "I don't. Not to be difficult, I just don't get convoluted with, 'Whoa, if we beat that team, this is who we are.' I don't look at it that way. I look at it each and every day.
"If you don't look at your team and coach your team for that particular day, you're going to miss something. I'm not saying all the bad stuff. It's the good stuff, too. You're going to miss an opportunity to let them know, 'Damn right, that was great last night, this part of our game was really good.' It doesn't always have to be correcting.
"And it's ever-changing, it changes in 24 hours with these numbskulls out here. ... In all sports, quite honestly, you never know what you're going to get from athletes, so you've got to just worry about each and every day."
The Flyers have featured a good bit of youth in their lineup. Tortorella and general manager Chuck Fletcher felt that was a major emphasis this season heading into training camp.
"To me, that’s the main storyline of this camp — let’s see what we have, let’s see how good these kids are," Fletcher said.
Right now, five of the six forwards on their top two lines are 25 years old or younger. Their top defensive pair features a soon-to-be 26 year-old and a just-turned 22-year-old. And their No. 1 goalie is 24 years old and his backup 23.
The Flyers have seen some growth recently, but there's still plenty to evaluate before they make conclusions.
Tortorella confirmed that you must evaluate carefully when a team isn't in a playoff race.
"I do think you find out more if we're six or seven games over .500 and we're in the middle of the battle of the Metro," he said. "I do think there is more information there, some very important information. I don't want to minimize our games because I think when you play a game, you try to win. I think there's pressure to do that. But I'm not going to sit here with us being two games under and the climb that we have, to think that I'm going to see those type of situations.
"I hope we put ourselves in a spot that we're sniffing. You start sniffing and then how do you react in those type of situations? For coaches, it's constant information you're looking for out of players. That's not through speaking with them; it's watching them. And the more and more important the games are, the more and more information you get, good or bad."
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