Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR1) Gm 65: PHI 6, NJ 3 - New Dirty
Remember kids, what do you do if you don't have enough NHL-caliber players to ice a competent roster? Just through as many dangerous body checks into the boards as physically possible!
Man, the Devils really are still living in the '90s, aren't they?
Well, it's a good thing they aren't as good as they were back then anyway. The Philadelphia Flyers WIN 6-3 in the Battle of the Jersey Turnpike, doubling up a Devils squad that looked like they belonged in the AHL.
The good news for the Flyers, coming off a tough OT loss to Columbus on Thursday, is that the Devils are not a very good team. With key players such as Taylor Hall, Kyle Palmieri, and Micro Mueller out with injuries, combined with recent deals sending Brian Boyle to Nashville and Marcus Johansson to Boston, the Devils couldn't really ice a competent roster. The bad news is the Flyers have historically played down to inferior competition, and that trait roared its ugly head once again last night.
New Jersey's strategy of "injure as many Flyers as possible" became apparent early, when Curtis Gabriel laid a dirty hit on Nolan Patrick, sending him flying face-first into the boards. Gabriel got five (but not a game misconduct) for boarding, but the Flyers did less than nothing with the ensuing power play. The most eventful play was a shorthanded breakaway for New Jersey that Cam Talbot shut down.
Then, the Flyers got another power play a few minutes later, and naturally, they made good on it. With Claude Giroux on the left side on a rush opportunity, G sauced the puck to the slot for James van One-T-sdyk, who blasted the puck past Cory Schneider to give the Flyers the early lead. And a few minutes later, Ryan Hartman took a loose puck behind the net before reversing it to JVR once more, who put the puck into an open net.
Philadelphia may have had a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes, but their bad habits caught up to them in the 2nd. Talbot, no doubt rusty from a 19 day layoff. That showed on a couple of ugly rebounds that were cleaned up by Damon Severson and Jesper Bratt respectively, and in a 4-minute span the Devils had somehow tied the game.
With 30 seconds to go in the 2nd, it seemed like a disappointing frame was about to come to an end, and the Flyers were going to have 20 minutes to avoid an embarassing defeat. But then Cory Schneider tried to play a loose puck in front of his net, and just like Thursday on the Bjorkstrand no goal, chaos ensued. The puck was passed by Schneider, but it deflected off TK's skate and then hit a Devil and bounced in. All-in-all, it was a good goal since TK didn't kick it in, and the Flyers salvaged a lead once again.
Thankfully, the Flyers didn't go into a shell in the 3rd. Instead, they went to the attack, taking advantage that the Cory Schneider they were facing wasn't the elite goalie of years past, but a fledgling netminder with a sub .900% save percentage. Which it made it a little less surprising that a simple wrist shot from elite 1st line center Sean Couturier squeaked under Schneider's arm just 27 seconds into the period.
From that point on, the Flyers seemed to take control of the game. Despite outshooting Philadelphia 12-7, the Devils never seemed on the same level as Philadelphia in the 3rd. The Flyers put the game away for good on a rare deflection goal from Ivan Provorov, who has continued to look better since the All Star Break. With the Devils net empty late, JVR sacrificed a hat trick to give TK a tap-in for his 2nd goal of the night. Kevin Rooney, who may or may not be a real person, scored after that for the Devils, but the game was long lost at that point.
This certainly wasn't the most dominant effort for the Flyers this season, but it does provide a bit of optimism. There was no doubt the Flyers looked like the better team in this one, and they weren't even close to playing their best hockey. The fact the Flyers have proved that they aren't a genuinely a bad team, which is obviously if they want to win with this core. For now, it's another must have victory, as the Flyers remain 6 points out of Carolina for the last playoff spot in the East.
Regardless of what happens this season, remember - they did it. The Flyers became the FIRST team in NHL history to use 8 different goaltenders in the same season. History has been made!
Overall, not a bad debut for goalie number eight, Mike McKen... nope, that's not him. It was Anthony Stola-getting warmer. There it is - Alex Lyon! Whoever it was, he played alright. A little shaky on some rebounds, but kept the Flyers in this when he needed to do, stopping 30 of 33 in the victory.
While they didn't make any ground on the playoff race, the Penguins controversial OT loss to the Sabres has the Flyers 5 poins back of the 9th seed. Progress!
Good on Ryan Hartman for recording his first point as a Flyer with a beautiful assist to JVR. He wasn't great Thursday in Columbus, but has made a positive impact in his other two contests as a Flyer.
While the Flyers starts to games often draw ire, they should be commended for their work late in games. In addition to some great comebacks, Philly has scored at least 1 goal in the 3rd period in 12 straight games, the first time they've done so in nearly 5 years.
Quick look at the farm - Joel Farabee is having arguably the best season of any NCAA freshman for Boston University. Undrafted free agent Yegor Zamula has continued his breakout season with a 4-game point streak (6 assists). And Morgan Frost was just named OHL Player of the Month in February. The kids are alright, folks.
Gabriel's hit was far from the only dirty hit from New Jersey. Travis Konecny took a hit up high. Jake Voracek took a flying cross-check from behind. New Jersey was dirty, but the Flyers were up to the task. Patrick got his revenge with a big hit on Gabriel, and TK won a jawing battle with several Devils in the penalty box in the 3rd.
In fact, Curtis Gabriel received a 1-game suspension for his illegal boarding hit on Nolan Patrick. Probably should've been more, to be honest.
JVRn't you aware that JVR is on fire as of late? van Riemsdyk has a 4-game point streak going (4 goals, 2 assists). He's on pace for 32 goals and 59 points over the course of a full season, exactly what the Flyers hoped for when they signed him this offseason.
Calvin Pickard! That's who played last night!
1st - J. van Riemsdyk (PHI) - 2 G, 1 A
2nd - J. Voracek (PHI) - 3 A
3rd - C. Giroux (PHI) - 2 A
PHI - 3/4 @ NYI (37-20-7)
NJ - 3/2 @ BOS (38-17-9)