JVR Hat Trick Lifts Flyers
In the two games prior to Saturday night’s matchup against the New York Islanders, the Philadelphia Flyers couldn’t quite get it together. In Tuesday’s shootout loss to the Washington Capitals, the offense showed up and the goaltending didn’t. Thursday, the team again lost in a shootout when the goaltending made an impression while the offense fizzled. Saturday night, both made their impact felt in a 4-1 victory over the Islanders.
It didn’t take long for the two teams to prove that they hadn’t grown anymore fond of each other. In the game’s first 20 seconds, two fights had broken out. The first came immediately after the game’s opening faceoff between Michael Haley and Daniel Carcillo. In the past, the Flyers have failed to bring much intensity to the ice against the Islanders, and the early fisticuffs may have prevented that from reoccurring.
While New York carried play for the first eight minutes, it wouldn’t be long after that when the Flyers would put their stamp on the contest. Jeff Carter scored his team-high 34th goal of the season after Claude Giroux won a faceoff to goalie Rick DiPietro’s right side. Carter immediately snapped off one of his trademark wrist shots and Philadelphia took the early advantage.
Less than 30 seconds later, the Flyers would do some more damage to the lowly Islanders. James van Riemsdyk worked his way in on DiPietro in the open ice. The young forward flipped a shot at DiPietro, and although the original shot was stopped, van Riemsdyk put home the rebound to make it 2-0.
The Islanders wouldn’t give in easily, however. After a scramble in front of goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, the puck was passed to Blake Comeau who was unmarked by any Flyers skaters. Comeau scored on the empty net, and it seemed like the game would turn into a tooth-and-nail battle. Number 21 in white had other plans.
Defenseman Andrej Meszaros intentionally fired a slap shot wide of the Islanders’ net which caromed beautifully to the opposite side. And, there was van Riemsdyk. The New Jersey native easily deposited the puck behind DiPietro to give the Flyers a 3-1 lead. The score would remain unchanged until the third period.
In the third, van Riemsdyk put the final nail in the Islanders’ coffin. On a power play, a battle along the boards saw the puck squirt out into the slot in front of DiPietro. Van Riemsdyk took the loose puck and fired a rocket slap-shot past the Islanders goaltender for his first career hat trick.
Philadelphia always has a strong following at the Nassau Coliseum and Saturday was no different. Quite a few hats found their way to the playing surface once the lanky winger scored his third goal.
Although the Flyers offense made the most of their chances, it was Bobrovsky that kept the game from getting close. The Russian net-minder, was just as, if not more impressive on Saturday than he was in his brilliant showing on Thursday. In the last two contests, Bobrovsky has saved 66 of 68 shots faced. His recent play has many feeling that he’ll get the starting job for good when the playoffs begin.
Some things continue to stay the same, and the Flyers domination over the Islanders is no different. With Saturday’s win, the team has beaten their Atlantic Division rivals 20 times in their last 21 meetings. Even though Saturday’s win was customary, tomorrow the Flyers face a much tougher task when the Boston Bruins come to Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
For their sake, they should hope that the James van Riemsdyk that took the ice Saturday night shows up on Sunday.
HAT TRICK (vid c/o Shawn Carson aka @FlyerGuy_18)