Flyers Slug It Out With Ottawa, Win 6-2
If you looked at the standings earlier in the day, looked at the score of this game and din not see any of it you would have thought the Flyers handle their business like they should against a bad team. Not exactly the case with tonight's game.
One of the things I wrote on today in the pre-game was the Flyers need to have a quick start and they did that tonight as Briere scored just 2:03 seconds into the game. The Flyers would score again just over two minutes later when Richards would net hist first goal of the evening giving the Flyers a 2-0 lead.
Bobrovsky would make some nice saves in this period when called upon and was looking like the night for the Flyers first shutout of the year.The quality of play declined from mid period through the end of the period.
The second period started off much like the way it ended in the first with the Flyers allowing the Senators some quality opportunities. Bob again would come up big for three quarters of the second period keeping the shutout bid alive.
The Flyers would finally get on the board when Richards netted his second of the game on the power play on a redirected shot-pass by Braydon Coburn giving the Flyers the 3-0 lead. Just under two minutes later the Flyers were on another power play when Milan Michalek snapped a shot passed Bobrovsky killing the Flyers chances for their first shutout and cutting the Flyers lead to two.
Then with just 45 seconds left in the second period the Senators would score again,this time even strength as Foligno scored on the backhand to cut the lead to one. The period would end 3-2 with the Flyers being outshot in that period 13-5.
Lately the Flyers have been having lapses in play that seem to be more mental than anything else. The mental lapse usually does not span more than five minutes, but during that time the Flyers seem to surrender multiple goals giving up momentum and sometimes the lead to the opposing team.
With Pronger back in the fold and working himself back into game shape one would hope he will bring the defensive zone discipline with him. He played as expected tonight coming back from injury, he lumbered a little but did manage 20 minutes of ice time an two assists. Back to the game and the start of the third period.
The Flyers must have received an ear full at intermission from Lavy and most likely Pronger had something to say. Looking to shake things up Lavy jumbled the lines to start the third giving Leino and Zhedev stints on the fourth line.
The Flyers were looking to recapture the breathing room they gave up in the second period and they got it 7:50 into the third from their most consistent line, Briere, Hartnell and Leino. Briere would receieve a pass from Leino, curl behind the net and throw the puck in front where Scott Hartnell got two wacks at it and put it in for his 16th of the season and more importantly a much needed two goal lead.
With the Flyers leading four to two they turned it up even more when just over three minutes later JVR would score to make it 5-2 for his eleventh of the season. Just a minute twenty seconds later Andrej Meszaros would score his second goal in two games to make it 6-2 ending Elliot's night.
With the Flyers in control of the game tempers flared and fists started flying. Jeff Carter was the first to throw down tonight, that's right I said Jeff Carter as he is far from a fighter. He and Jesse Winchester exchanged blows with Carter giving and taking some, they would fight to a draw and each would receive five minutes for fighting.
There were lots of roughing minors handed out during these fights tonight. The next bruiser to throw down for the Flyers was tough guy Claude Giroux, just like Carter he is not known for fighting but went after Foligno throwing hey makers and connecting on a couple. In an interview later Giroux stated he just wanted to stick up for himself. Not so sure Lavy likes to see him and Giroux punching helmets with the chance of breaking their hands.
Finally Shelley would go with Chris Neil and at the same time Hartnell and Ruutu would go at it along with O'Donnell and Carkner which is not a good matchup for O'Donnell. Shelley handled Neil with no problems, Hartnell and Ruutu was pretty much a draw while they did not show the O'Donnell fight on tv.
Overall it was a league leading 31st win for this team and it's 67th point on the season good for tops in the Eastern Conference. While it does get frustrating to see the Flyers give up late leads, have mental lapses and take dumb penalties they are winning.
If they continue to do so while working on fixing these issues before the playoffs, as a fan you can't complain. There will always be areas to improve on as no team is perfect. The fans will have to put their faith in the leadership of this team and their should be no reason to think that Laviolette won't get it straightened out these areas by playoff time.