Saturday, February 2, 2013

PowerPlay Shines as Flyers Take Home a Huge Victory

Flyers celebrate 3rd victory of the season
The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 5-3 tonight.

The win was huge for the Flyers as they broke their 3 game losing streak. Philadelphia came into tonight's contest last place in the Eastern Conference. Last time the Flyers fell to last place was in 2006, and they stayed there for the rest of the season. Tonight's victory brings the Flyers to a 3-6 record tying them for 12th, 2 points out of the 8th spot.

The Flyers PowerPlay was a major factor in tonight's win, finally in a positive way, as they were a perfect 3 for 3 on the man advantage.

Foster scores 1st goal as a Flyer
Philadelphia used one of their early PowerPlays to get off to a great start to this game. Kurtis Foster opened the scoring on a laser shot from the point giving he Flyers a 1-0 lead. The goal was Foster's first tally as a member of the Flyers.

Turnovers cost Philadelphia the game last night versus Washington and it was something the team still needs to address. This time it was Ilya Bryzgalov, who turned it over as he played the puck to the corner right to Eric Staal. Staal found a wide open Joni Pitkanen who beat Bryzgalov tying the game at 1.

Ilya Bryzgalov went on to play a fantastic game stopping 39 of 42 shots.

With about 5 minutes remaining in the 1st period, the Flyers exploded for 2 goals in 58 seconds. First it was Braydon Coburn burying the rebound off Jake Voracek's shot on an odd man rush, then it was Danny Briere scoring on the PowerPlay after receiving a nice backdoor pass from Claude Giroux. The Flyers led 3-1.

However, Philadelphia was only able to enjoy their 2 goal lead for 33 seconds. Another turnover cost the Flyers; this time it was Luke Schenn in the corner turned the puck over to Eric Staal again, who went one on one with Bryzgalov and made the Flyers pay, cutting the lead to 1 again.

Knuble scores the eventual game winner
The 2nd period started off even better than the 1st for Orange and the Black. Only 52 seconds into the period, Matt Read took advantage of a costly turnover, this time by Carolina, behind their own net and Read left it for Mike Knuble, who scored on a nice wrap-around. This was Knuble's first goal since the Flyers signed him last week.

The Flyers' 2 goal lead was restored and Philadelphia played like the more confident team. And that would pay off as they were awarded a third PowerPlay which they used to add to their lead. Claude Giroux sniped a shot from the top of the circle, scoring his 1st goal in 6 games, giving the Flyers a commanding 5-2 lead that would carry over into the 3rd period.

The Hurricanes came on very strong in the final stanza and scored a PowerPlay goal of their own 3:29 into the period from Patrick Dwyer. Carolina kept pushing as they outshot the Flyers 15-3 in the 3rd; however, Bryzgalov had all the answers.

Bryzgalov stands tall
Philadelphia was able to hold off Carolina preserving their 5-3 victory. They were successful tonight not only because they received contributions from their major players: both Claude Giroux and Danny Briere had a goal and an assist while Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 39 of 42 shots, but received contributions from everyone. They had 5 separate goal scorers, were perfect on the PowerPlay, and blocked an incredible 32 shots, 21 coming from their 6 defensemen.

The Flyers know they could have been better in the 3rd but its effort like tonight from everyone that wins games.

The Flyers improve to 3-6.

Game Notes:
  • Luke Schenn, despite the one poor turnover, played a very good game as he led the team in blocked shots and hits.
  • Schenn had 6 blocked shots, 5 hits and 1 shot in 22:42 minutes.
  • 10 different Flyers registered at least 1 point tonight.
  • The 42 shots the Flyers gave up tonight was the most they've allowed all season.
  • The Flyers scored more PowerPlay goals tonight than they scored in their last 3 games combined.
  • The Flyers penalty kill was nearly perfect. Carolina scored their only PowerPlay goal with just 4 seconds remaining on one of their man advantages. So the Flyers went 5 for 6 on the penalty kill.
  • The 24 shots the Flyers took was tied for their season low.
  • Last time Mike Knuble scored a goal for the Flyers was April 25th 2009.
  • During the game GM Paul Holmgren announced that Wayne Simmonds, who took an elbow to the head yesterday, has officially been diagnosed with a concussion. He will be re-evaluated day by day and is out indefinitely. 

To watch the highlights of tonight's game: CLICK HERE

Drop the Puck:
The Flyers will get a much needed rest as they have off until Tuesday, when they faceoff against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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