Noah Cates, Morgan Frost spearhead upset of Pittsburgh


Cates, Frost spearhead Flyers’ upset of playoff-bound Penguins originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Led by their kids, the Flyers pulled off an upset of the rival Penguins with a 4-1 win Sunday at the Wells Fargo Center.

Noah Cates (two) and Morgan Frost, two prospects from the club’s 2017 draft class, provided the first three goals.

Travis Konecny ​​iced the game with an empty-net marker.

Cates factored into all but one of the Flyers’ goals (two goals, one assist).

The Flyers (-43-11) have won 25 consecutive games for the first time since March 5-8.

They avoided being swept by the Penguins (45-24-11) in the regular-season series between the two clubs. The Flyers went 1-1-2 against Pittsburgh this season. The last time they finished winless against the Penguins in the regular season was 2017-18. They went 0-2-2 and then were outclassed by Pittsburgh in the first round of the playoffs.

Ron Hextall was general manager of the Flyers then. He was in town Sunday as GM of the Penguins. Pittsburgh has 101 points and is headed to the postseason.

“Their number one centerman has three Stanley Cups, their number two centerman has three Stanley Cups, their number three centerman has a couple himself and they’ve got a real good fourth line,” Flyers interim coach Mike Yeo said. “Obviously a very deep team. I knew we were going to be challenged all the way throughout the lineup and I thought that our guys responded well.”

• Management had to really like what it saw from the Flyers’ third line made up of kids.

Cates and Owen Tippett are 23 years old. Frost turns 23 next month.

“It’s nice to be around some younger guys,” Cates said. “It feels a little easier to talk to those guys when they’re a little younger. Not new, but a little bit younger, a little bit more personable. It’s really nice, we’re chatting a little bit, we’re helping each other out and talking on the ice a lot and obviously producing a little bit.”

Frost, who is searching for his game at this level, looked like the uber-confident playmaker you would see at the junior hockey level. He played his best game of the season and it came against Sidney Crosby and company.

The first-round pick has goals in back-to-back games for the first time since his first two games in the NHL (Nov. 19-21, 2019). He also recorded an assist for a two-point game.

The Flyers will hope the performance does wonders for his confidence.

Cates, a fifth-round pick, has gotten better and better at this level ever since making his NHL debut last month.

The winger has been over a point-per-game player in the last five games, putting up seven points (three goals, four assists). He has nine points (five goals, four assists) in 13 games and has shown the ability to scale the lineup.

“I’ve always thought he was a good player,” Frost said. “He did his thing in college and it’s fun to watch him here now having success.”

Tippett, who came to the Flyers in the Claude Giroux trade, picked up his second assist since being acquired. He has three goals and the Flyers like his makeup.

Yeo wanted the young trio to not be scared to make mistakes against an accomplished Pittsburgh team. I answered the bell with a confident, fearless type of game.

In a lost season, this marked a small win for the Flyers.

When Crosby made his NHL debut on Oct. 5, 2005, Frost, Cates and Tippett were all 6 years old.

“I don’t want to say it’s easy for a young guy to get intimidated against a team like this, but that could easily be the case,” Yeo said. “They showed no signs of that.”

• Martin Jones, who has been in net for the Flyers’ last five victories, was very good with 37 saves on 38 shots.

The Flyers held stars Crosby, Jake Guentzel and Evgeni Malkin quiet until the trio scored the Penguins’ lone goal late in the third period with the extra attacker.

Louis Domingue, a depth goalie for Pittsburgh, stopped 39 of the Flyers’ 42 shots in just his second start of the season.

• The Flyers’ power play did not remain dormant, going 1 for 3.

Cates netted the marker in the third period to cushion the Flyers’ lead to 3-0.

Keith Yandle had assists on both of Cates’ goals. Ivan Provorov also recorded a helper.

• Carter Hart (lower body), Cam Atkinson (lower body), Rasmus Ristolainen (upper body), Cam York (lower body), Patrick Brown (upper body) and Kevin Connauton (lower body) are not expected to play again this season .

Depth defenseman Nick Seeler (lower body) has not been totally ruled out. He rehab skated Saturday and took part in a portion of practice.

“I would say probably the only player that I would think maybe has a chance of coming back would be Seels. You guys saw him on the ice today,” Yeo said. “Even that might be a bit of a long shot here. Not really expecting anybody else back.”

More: Couturier, the defenseman? No, but his presence to incomplete Flyers is felt

• The Flyers are right back at it Monday when they visit the Blackhawks (8 pm ET/ESPN+, Hulu).

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