Better With Popcorn

The Gordie: Umberger gets goal, assist, fight in win over rival Penguins

R.J. Umberger has arrived.

After being seemingly invisible through the first six games, R.J. Umberger made his presence felt in his home town. The Pittsburgh, Penn. native scored a goal, registered an assist and dropped the gloves in Philadelphia's 5-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday.

That is a Gordie Howe hat trick, and it provided a much-needed boost to a Flyers team that was just 24 hours removed from an embarrassing 4-0 loss to the Blackhawks on Tuesday.

Even with a shoddy defense and playing the back end of a back-to-back against a rival and one of the Eastern Conference's top teams, the Flyers still had an advantage. They improved their record to 10-1-1 all-time at the CONSOL Energy Center, completely erasing any home ice advantage the Penguins have in their arena.

Things in the first period quickly resembled Tuesday's loss. Just 3 minutes, 50 seconds into the game, the Penguins had a 1-0 lead thanks to Nick Spaling's first of the season.

They nearly made it 2-0 just minutes later with constant pressure on goaltender Ray Emery. Much like Mason has had to do in his starts, Emery remained strong under duress and kept the puck out of the net. Emery finished with 22 saves.

That allowed the Flyers to put stress on a goalie who folds under constant pressure in Marc Andre Fleury.

Midway through the first, the Flyers had the puck in the corner and all five Penguins gravitated to that area. It left Mark Streit open above the left circle. Claude Giroux found Streit up top, who fired a slap shot that deflected off Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang before beating Fleury to tie the game.

Less than four minutes later, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare scored his first career NHL goal to give Philadelphia a 2-1 lead.

Bad blood between the two teams began to boil at the end of the first period. Penguins forward Simon Depres went into the corner and blasted Sean Couturier, drawing an interference penalty. Umberger didn't like it, stepped up and fought Depres.

The fight sparked the Flyers, who out-shot the Penguins 17-6 in the second. It didn't matter thought when the Penguins tied it up on Pascal Dupuis' goal nine minutes in.

The third period was mostly Flyers, brought to you by Umberger's home coming.

Umberger, benefiting from being on the ice with both Jakub Voracek and Giroux, scored his first goal of the season. Voracek created a turnover on the boards and Giroux managed to find an open Umberger with the pass, who scored to make it 3-2.

It was Umberger's first goal as a Flyers in over six years. The last time he scored was in the playoffs against the Penguins on May 13, 2008. His last regular season goal with the Flyers was a month prior against New Jersey.

The assists for Giroux and Voracek were the second of the game for both, who now have nine points (two goals, seven assists) on the season each.

Two minutes later, Umberger aided Matt Read's goal to make it 4-2, completing the Gordie. Pittsburgh cut the Flyers lead in half with less than three minutes to go but Sean Couturier's empty netter sealed the deal.


John Russo
Editor; Featured Writer
Twitter: @Roose_TCL@TCLFlyers