Travis Sanheim plays better in the friendly confines of the Wells Fargo Center. A lot of rookies play this way and the key is to get the most of them on the road as well. In the regular season Sanheim had 10 points on the season and seven of them came in the 25 home games he played there.
Sanheim had a nice chance late in the first period in Game 3. That seemed to give him extra confidence that grew as the game went on. Murray had to make a great stop to keep him off the board.
“They came hard. We expected that. He had to make some big saves. That was a great job by him allowing us to settle in,” Sidney Crosby mentioned. “We ended up scoring the first one which is important, but he definitely helped set the tone for us.”
In what seemed like it was a throw away game for the team it was valuable experience for the rookie defenseman. He scored his first playoff goal, logged 16:21 of ice time, fourth most on the d-core. The 2:21 on the power play helped. The team was 0-6 but that’s a team effort, a bad one. On that goal it seemed like Penguins goalie, Matt Murray lost sight of the puck when one of his own players tried to block it and failed; although it was a fast, accurate point shot.
“There’s gonna be traffic. You’ve just got to deal with it,” Murray stated.
For some reason he seems to shoot more at home as well. He registered four shots, tied for the team lead with Shayne Gostisbehere and Claude Giroux. It’s easy to focus on the negative after a playoff loss and being down in the series 2-1 but for a 22-year-old, these minutes will pay dividends that will extend to next season and beyond.
If the Flyers fail to advance to the next round Sanheim and Oskar Lindblom will get to join the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in their quest for the Calder Cup. That’s important. Flyers fans may focus solely on the big club but in order to get the big club to the next level their young players need as much playoff experience as they can get. The more reps, the more situations the better.
Sanheim has long-term, top four ability. The Flyers have done a great job in developing him and he’ll be an important player for the rest of these playoffs and for many years to come.
Note: The Flyers pre-game show was something to see.