Better With Popcorn

Flyers End 22 Year Skid, Win in Detroit

For the Philadelphia Flyers, Detroit had been a city of horrors since 1988. The Red Wings always found a way to snuff out every opportunity for an orange and black victory. A losing streak that spans over two decades is a frustrating and humiliating burden for any franchise. But, Sunday night the Flyers dismissed their demons and found a way to walk out of Detroit a winner.

Brian Boucher got the start in net for the Flyers after Sergei Bobrovsky and Michael Leighton had started the two previous games on the west coast swing. The move paid dividends. Boucher was simply fantastic for the first two periods, stopping the first twenty shots he saw. After a scoreless first period that saw the Flyers outshot 9-8 by the Wings, the offensive support finally arrived in the second.

Less than a minute into the second period, the Flyers sustained possession in Detroit’s zone with some stellar cycling. The puck eventually found James van Riemsdyk’s stick, and his quick turnaround shot surprised goalie Jimmy Howard for the game’s first goal.

The Flyers wouldn’t rest on their laurels after the first goal. Daniel Carcillo, yes that Daniel Carcillo had a superb shift minutes later. His hard work was rewarded when he deflected an Andrej Meszaros point shot in for the game’s second goal. But, the road team wouldn’t stop there.

A little over fourteen minutes into the second period, Scott Hartnell gave the Flyers a 3-0 lead on a beautiful top-shelf wrist shot to the right of Howard. The shot came from a difficult angle right in front of the Detroit goalie, but Hartnell was able to elevate the puck and Howard didn’t have a chance.

It was a dominating second period for the Flyers. They outshot Detroit 19-11 and really took control of the game. The players played like they had endured the 22+ years of losses in the Motor City. Their determination paid off in a big way.

In the third period, the Flyers helped their fans remember why no lead is safe against the powerful Red Wings. Valteri Filppula scored just 51 seconds into the third period on a beautiful move while breaking into the Flyers zone. As the time slowly ticked down during the period, it seemed like the Wings would provide a strong last gasp effort to tie the game.

They got their opportunity at such an effort when Ville Leino was called for goaltender interference while driving the net on a scoring chance. The penalty was a classic case of a player being shoved into the goaltender by a defenseman, yet still being sent to the penalty box. Needless to say, it was a tough call against the Flyers. After Henrik Zetterberg scored on the ensuing power play the call loomed even larger.

But, good teams overcome tough calls. That’s what the Flyers did. In the remaining seven and a half minutes after Detroit narrowed the lead to one, everyone stepped up for the Flyers. Boucher made some crucial saves and the defense helped protect the slim lead. After the final horn sounded, the Flyers finally got their win in Detroit. The streak had been snapped.

The Flyers finished their four-game stretch on the west coast with two wins and two regulation losses. Although their performances were subpar in Vancouver and Anaheim, they found a way to come back home with some crucial points. They are now tied with Pittsburgh at 53 total points, with one game in hand on the Penguins.

Next, they will come home before traveling to New Jersey on Thursday. The game will be the last of the Flyers first road stretch in January, then they will square off against the Devils again at home on the 8th. After the game at home, they’ll hit the road again until the 18th. This is one of the Flyers’ toughest stretches of the season, and getting four of eight possible points on the west coast is a nice way to start.

Winning in Detroit isn’t so bad either.

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