Hartnell and Jagr Power Flyers to 4-2 Win
With all the attention focused to the status of Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger, lost was the solid effort of the Flyers following two consecutive losses.
Even with an up and down first, the Flyers (5-2-1) dominated the Leafs (5-2-1) for a large majority of Monday night’s 4-2 win.
In both the Washington and St. Louis losses, the team lacked any kind of motivation. Their skates looked like they were stuck in mud and their heads looked like they were stuck in just as dirty of a place.
But on Monday, the Flyers returned to the form that the fans had come to expect of them in the early season.
Not only did the Flyers lose their captain early but they also fell behind on a bad bounce. Phil Kessel fired a shot that got past goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to give the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead.
Instead of folding under the pressure the team battled back.
This was something head coach Peter Laviolette acknowledged.
“I think we've been victim of some tough bounces and tough breaks with regard to goals against,” he said. “Guys fought through it tonight. That was good to see.”
Coming into Monday night, the Flyers had amassed a poor record at home, winning only one of four games played at Wells Fargo Center this season.
Laviolette was happy to see this change.
“We want to win at home,” he said. “We fought back. Tied it up. And then eventually went up. It was good to get a win at home."
The Flyers win largely can be accredited to the stellar play of their first unit.
Scott Hartnell and Jaromir Jagr are two players who have started the season slower than either player would have liked.
But on Monday night, both players ferociously attacked the score sheet ending the night with two goals a-piece and a combined total of six points.
Jagr tied the game on a break away. The play developed on an amazing pass from Claude Giroux that split all four players of the Toronto penalty kill and sent Jagr up the gut.
In the third period, Jagr would score on an almost identical play, this time set up by Hartnell.
“I will take Jagr on any goalie in the league any time,” Hartnell said with a laugh. “It was almost a carbon copy of his first goal.”
Hartnell would join the score sheet in the second.
The forward set himself up in front of the net in anticipation of a pass from Daniel Briere. After attempting a first shot, Hartnell followed his own rebound, crashed the net and put the puck in the net.
In the third, Hartnell would once again set up in front. Following an impressive bit of work from Jagr in the corner, Hartnell would one-time a pass from Giroux that cemented the Flyers win.
For a player like Hartnell it is crucial that he establishes himself in front of the net.
“Both of my goals... you go to the net hard,” he said. “It's not the first one that goes in often, it's the second and third whack at it."
For both Jagr and Hartnell, Monday night brought a sense of relief. Both players capitalized on their strengths and ended frustrating scoreless streaks.
“Truly, I needed it,” said Jagr. “I feel a lot better right now than I have, that’s for sure.”
Hartnell couldn’t have agreed more.
“Yeah, its nice to get one,” he said with a smile. “Even if I had to get on my knees and shovel it in under his pad.”