Philadelphia Flyers coach Dave Hakstol wants his team to play with some risk, to take chances, go for it when the opportunity presents itself. That's why he appreciates what he is seeing this season from rookie defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere.
"I think you have to be in that high-risk mode," Hakstol said. "You have to have an attack mentality. He brings a little bit of that."
Gostisbehere scored his sixth goal of the season, third in overtime, to help the Flyers defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 on Tuesday. His previous two overtime winners came on the power play, a 4-on-3 situation. He scored his game winner Tuesday in a 3-on-3 situation.
Hakstol said when Gostisbehere is on his game, the Flyers can feed off of the offense he creates. He's been a welcome addition to a blue line that before his arrival was plodding, slow and not very dynamic.
As NHL.com's Adam Kimelman pointed out in his game recap from Tuesday, the Flyers are averaging 2.40 goals per game in 15 games with Gostisbehere in the lineup; they averaged 1.81 in the 16 games before he was called up from Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League.
Philadelphia's power play is 8-for-43 (18.6 percent) with Gostisbehere in the lineup; it was 7-for-48 (14.6 percent) without him. Four of Gostisbehere's six goals have come on the power play. He's scored only one goal in a 5-on-5 situation.
"He can create offense in a lot of different ways," Hakstol said. "He does it getting up ice with just being smart with his first pass. He can also do it in a little more dynamic way with the puck, getting up ice onto the offensive blue line. He has a lot of different elements. He has an attack mentality to him. That's probably the biggest character trait that stands out to me. He's in that attack mode and he's confident to do it."
But Hakstol doesn't want to get ahead of himself on Gostisbehere's overall game. He'd rather be a proverbial Scrooge when comes to his defense and occasional positional issues than overlook them just because the 22-year-old gives the Flyers some offensive flair from the back end.
"He's gotta fill in the rest of the holes in his game in terms of his play without the puck, his defensive play, but he'll work at those," Hakstol said. "Probably the biggest factor as he goes through the rest of this season is remaining confident and keeping his feet on the ground at the same time."