Fightin For First
The action would start early on tonight even before the drop of the puck. During warm ups tonight Dan Carcillo and Sean Avery were exchanging words at center ice when Derek Boogaard came over and bumped Carcillo with his elbow.
Carcillo then half slashed him on the forearm with his stick and jawed at him as he lapped the Flyers side of the rink. This would set the tone for a hard fought battle to stay in first place in the Atlantic Division.
The first period was lacking in offense as the Flyers generated eight shots on goal and the Rangers just two shots on net. That's not to say that the period was not hard fought. There were some hard hits and a fight between Jody Shelley and Derek Boogaard which saw the decision go to Boogaard.
Shelley could not get in close or get his arm free and Boogaard has a long reach and is able to keep him out. Give Shelley credit for hanging in there and trying to get something going early but he just can't hang with Boogaard he is too big and can control the fight with his reach.
The Flyers ended the first period with Jeff Carter taking a slashing penalty at the 20:00 mark. The Second period started with the Rangers on the Power play, and with seven seconds left on the man advantage Brandon Dubinsky put home a long rebound into an open net.
Sergei Bobrovsky had no chance to get to that puck as he was coming from the far post. Just over three minutes later the Flyers tied it up on the power play with a goal from Mike Richards.
Claude Giroux worked his magic once more with a man on his back his spun on his backhand and threw a no look pass across the front of the net right on the tape of Mike Richards. Richards with emphasis ripped a one timer top shelf launching the water bottle into the air.
At the 9:32 mark of the second Blair Betts stole the puck from Michael Del Zotto in the defensive zone. Betts made a nice move and took a shot on Lunqvist, which he saved with his glove, Betts stayed with it and on the backhand slid the rebound passed Lunqvist to put the Flyers up 2-1.
The play was unassisted but Scott Hartnell deserves honorable mention for pressuring Del Zotto enough for him to lose control and allow Betts to take it away.The next goal was one that Lunqvist would definitely want to have back.
Zherdev was having a good game tonight and was getting some quality shots on net with nothing to show for it. This would change 15:32 into the second when Zherdev was in the corner on the goal line and decided to do what your taught in pee wee hockey, get the puck to the net.
Well Zherdev did just that with traffic heading towards Lunqvist Zherdev fired the puck on net and the puck deflected off of Lunqvist's stick to his waffle, over his shoulder and in the net for a 3-1 Flyers lead.The second period would end with no more scoring.
In the third Brandon Prust picked up a two minute roughing minor for punching Zherdev in the face. The Flyers would capitalize just a minute in to the power play on a Chris Pronger goal, his third goal in as many games.
Just 25 seconds later. Brandon Prust fresh out of the penalty box dropped the gloves with Dan Carcillo. Just like the Shelley Boogaard fight Carcillo could not get inside or reall throw a good punch.
Prust got in a few nice shots while Carcillo was off balance and generally controlled the fight. The decision goes to Prust. The game ended uneventfully and the Flyers won the first of the six meetings between these two teams this year by the score of 4-1.
Sergei Bobrovsky was big when he had to be and stopped 20 of 21 shots he faced tonight, and is now on a five game winning streak. He has stepped up and brought a confidence to the crease that has extended to the fans, at least this fan.
He has changed the way I view the game when the puck is in the Flyers zone. See I no longer sit on the edge of my seat thinking every shot on goal is going to go in. I now sit back and enjoy the opportunities Bob has to make a save on the odd man rush or power play.
I don't know how this will play out when Leighton gets back but I can see Bob staying the starter and Leighton backing up. It is unfortunate for him and seems he has bad luck but he may just lose his starting job because of injury.
Andreas Nodl is also another person who has worked hard to be where he is and could lose his job to Eric Wellwood because of injury. Consider his current stint with the Flyers a tryout of sorts.
If he keeps playing like he is and shows improvement the rest of his time up he will give Paul Holmgren options at the trade deadline, maybe to make some moves to free up salary. This of course is all speculation but the future looks good for the Flyers and Wellwood .
Dan Carcillo's hit on Ruslan Fedotenko will surely get a look from the league office. It looked like his elbow made contact with Fedotenko's head, these are the type of hits the league is trying to eliminate.
Even though it looked like Fedotenko ducked , it is Carcillo, he is a repeat offender and he was leading with his elbow. What do you think ? See the Video
Calude Giroux, Sergei Bobrovsky, Blair Betts
Eric Wellwood and Nikolay Zherdev