Power From the Point; Flyers Dominate Wild, 5-1
When the Philadelphia Flyers announced that Chris Pronger was going to be out for the remainder of the season, many questions arose as to how the injury was going to affect the team.
Of course, there was the concern about his contributions in the defensive zone, but one of the most glaring of the issues was how the team was going to replace his booming shot from the point.
While the team has yet to find any one to consistently fill Pronger’s role in the offensive zone, the team did successfully utilize point shots on way to dominating the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night, 5-1.
The Flyers opened the scoring within the first three minutes of the game.
With Minnesota forward Matt Cullen in the box for holding, the Flyers found early success on the power play.
Following a series of failed attempts, Kimmo Timonen sent a rocket towards the left corner of the Minnesota goal and beat Josh Harding with a picture-perfect shot over his glove hand.
Timonen’s shot wasn’t the only shinning moment of the goal.
Claude Giroux recorded his 200th NHL point on the play and Wayne Simmonds executed a masterful screen in front of Harding that made tracking the sniper-like shot from Timonen impossible to locate.
The special teams play proved to be important in the second as well.
At the midway point of the period, Andrej Meszaros was called for boarding.
Considering that the Wild had been generating a good amount of chances, it was the perfect time for the team to swing momentum into their favor.
Instead, it turned out to be a turning point for the Flyers.
After a miscue by the Wild in the offensive zone, Matt Read and Sean Couturier entered the Minnesota zone on a 2-on-1.
Following a sequence of masterful passing, Couturier netted his fifth goal in as many games to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead.
The team’s augmented lead didn’t last long.
Minnesota quickly struck back when former-Flyer, Darroll Powe skated up the left side and beat Bryzgalov with a slap shot over his left shoulder.
The quick-strike failed to deter the Flyers.
A little over a minute later, Braydon Coburn took a shot from the point that deflected off Wild defenseman, Nick Schultz and went into the net to give the Flyers a 3-1 lead.
Four minutes later, another deflected shot, this time off the stick of Scott Hartnell, fluttered past Harding to give the Flyers a three-goal cushion.
The team added another goal in the third when Jakub Voracek capped off the night with a one-timer from Max Talbot.
Throughout the night it was evident that the team was able to create a consistent presence in front of the Minnesota goal.
“We’ve got to go to the net if we want to score goals,” Giroux said after the game. “I think the D are working a lot in practice on getting the shots through. Tonight was a great example of how working hard for something is going to pay off.”
Timonen explained that the defense had been working on their shots for quite some time.
“We've been practicing that actually, almost every day," he said. "A lot of teams are playing the way Minnesota plays, they really sink down low and usually what happens is the D is open."
With three of the five goals revolving around strong play in front of the goaltender as well as booming shots from the point, it was evident that it was a strategy the team actively tried to implement.
“They moved the puck out high and were able to find some lanes from out high and get some traffic in front of the net, we talked about that,” head coach Peter Laviolette explained. “We just need to make sure we're moving up high, getting lanes, and firing it in there. Both things happened well tonight and we picked up some points because of it.”
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