Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR1) Gm 17: CHI 0, PHI 4 - Mann Down
Wow, so many headlines that you could use for this game. The Flyers get their first shutout, they get a point in their 6th straight, Giroux and Coots both get 3 points, Brandon Manning's return to Philadelphia, the list goes on. What should we start with?
THE FLYERS KILL ALL OF THE PENALTIES!
Doesn't sound realistic enough.
Almost as realistic as the Flyers WINNING their 5th out of their last 6, 4-0 over the Chicago Blackhawks, who still cannot win a game in Philadelphia. Except when the Stanley Cup is on the line, of course.
Both teams came into this game from two different directions. Philadelphia was on a 5-game point streak, 4 of which were wins, while Chicago had recently fired long time coach Joel Quenneville, the man behind the bench for all 3 of their Stanley Cups.
So naturally, it was Chicago that got off to a good start. Despite the fact the Flyers have scored the first goal in each of their last 5 games, they haven't always started each game great. And Saturday was a perfect example of that. The Blackhawks controlled play for the first 10 minutes, and the Flyers depth that had been a huge part of this streak struggled.
But once the Flyers whethered the storm, they came back guns blazing. After Philadelphia's top line strung together a few nice shifts, the usually reliable Duncan Keith turned the puck over in an area where no defenseman should ever blindly play the puck. Captain Claude was there to take full advantage, fooling Corey Crawford with a beautiful backhand deke, burying his 7th goal of the season and continuing the Flyers newfound trend of scoring first, and they took that 1-0 lead to first intermission.
While it was good to see Giroux get on the board, the captain has been effective all season long and after today is actually on pace to score 4 more points than last season. Even with Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere now producing, the Flyers still had one big star still waiting to break out - Sean Couturier. Coots had just 8 points in his first 16 games, a scoring pace that matched the his pace from the last 4 years before his breakout 76 point campaign last year. Even his defensive metrics showed he wasn't the same shutout center that finished 2nd in Selke voting this year. And without the track record that some of those players had, most weren't 100% sure he would rebound to his level of last year.
Saturday's performance calmed those questions, at least momentarily. It started at the end of an Oskar Lindblom penalty, when Duncan Keith failed to settle the puck at the Philadelphia line, springing Couturier. Coots proceeded to knock Chris Kunitz off him like a fly, draw a penalty, and outwait Crawford to bury a beautiful goal (technically even strength as it went in just as Lindblom exited). But Coots wasn't done. Just a few minutes into the 3rd, Couturier took a pass up the left wing from Giroux and burned the Blackhawks defense yet again. Coots tried to swing it across the crease to Travis Konecny, but got lucky, as the puck deflected into the net off of...
THERE AREN'T ENOUGH LOL'S IN THE WORLD!
Good to see you back, Brandon! Haven't missed a beat, I see!
And I the most embarassing thing would be if Mandog was healthy scratched!
And Dave Hakstol still wonders why we always yelled at him for playing Manning over Travis Sanheim or/and Robert Hagg. I do feel bad for Manning because he is a nice person, but I'm sorry, that's just too funny. Coots got credit for his 2nd of the game, and looked like he might get the hatty as he came up the ice towards an empty Chicago net in the final minute with Nolan Patrick. But Coots was covered, an unselfishly pointed his stick to the empty net, telling Patrick to fire away. Nolan did just that, sealing the Flyers victory. A late Wayne Simmonds penalty put the shutout in doubt, but the Flyers even killed that off, recording their first shutout win of the season.
While the Flyers hot streak may have come against some falling empires (Anaheim, LA, Chicago), a solid but unproven Coyotes squad, and the highly touted but struggling Sharks. But despite this, the Flyers deserve credit for pulling themselves out of the abyss (again) to claim the 2nd spot in a weak Metropolitan Division. And with JVR and Michael Raffl close to returning from injury, combined with stars like Provy and Coots finding their stride, the Flyers seem like they're on the up and up. This probably means a 6-game losing streak is on its way to even things out, knowing how this team does things. But let's just enjoy the ride while it lasts.
LOL Brandon Manning.
They did it! The Flyers PK went 4/4 on Saturday, their first game since 10/18 @ Columbus. Granted Chicago's PP isn't very good and the last PP lasted just 24 seconds before the game ended and another one was cut short because of a Chicago penalty 53 seconds prior to the Flyers penalty. It's a Gritty post Election Day Miracle.
The Flyers have now won each of the last 16 regular season meetings in Philadelphia against the Blackhawks, a span of 23 years.
Saturday's game was eerily similar to the Flyers-Blackhawks meeting in Philly last year. The Flyers won the game 3-1, with all 3 goals scored by the Flyers top line (then Giroux-Couturier-Voracek). While TK didn't score, and the Flyers got an extra ENG and failed to shutout Chicago last year, the overall style was nearly the same.
After the shutout, Brian Elliott's save percentage is back up to .909%, the same number he posted last year. Elliott's numbers prior weren't necessarily his fault, as the Flyers struggled mightily out of the gate defensively. But he came up big early for the Flyers in this game and was obviously a major part of their success Saturday.
Because of the Flyers recent success and solid play on the part of Christian Folin, Andrew MacDonald has now been healthy scratched for 7 straight games and 8 times overall this season. Hak has made it clear he wants to get AMac back in the lineup sooner rather than later, but at least he's been willing to admit AMac's faults this year rather than play him at will because veteran presence.
Speaking of playing time, it's time to talk about Nicholas Aube-Kubel. NAK hasn't received more than 9 minutes of ice time in any of his first 6 NHL games, and hasn't even received 5 minutes in each of his last 3 games. He's been solid in both my eyes and apparently Dave Hakstol's, making it even more confusing why he has played so little. The only real reason is that the Flyers simply view him as an injury replacement for Raffl/JVR and nothing more. And it's going to be hard for NAK to prove otherwise with such limited minutes.
To wrap it, here's Elliott with the helmet, apparently fresh off a few lines with Jorald (if you know what I mean).
Truly the epitome of the modern athlete, folks.
1st - S. Couturier (PHI) - 2 G, 1 A
2nd - C. Giroux (PHI) - 1 G, 2 A
3rd - B. Elliott (PHI) - 1.000 SV% (33 Saves/33 Shots)
CHI - 10/12 @ CAR (7-7-3)
PHI - 10/13 vs. FLA (5-5-3)