Better With Popcorn

Rookie Rebellion: Read Leads Charge in Game 3

Throughout the 2011-12 season, the Philadelphia Flyers have received a copious amount of production from their rookies. Considering how many they have had in the lineup on any given night this season, they kind of had to in order to be competitive.

Through three games, it is clear that that same effort is being carried over to the postseason as well.

After an impressive Game 1 from Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier followed up the effort in Game 2 with his first career hat trick. In Game 3, it was Matt Read’s turn to lead the rookie rebellion.

“We have a great rookie bunch in here and everyone plays their role and whose night it is doesn't matter,” Read said when asked about the string of excellent games from the rookies thus far. “We just make sure the teams winning and I was lucky tonight to score a couple goals. I'll move forward and worry about game four."

Following the Flyers crucial 8-4 win in Game 3 on Sunday, the team now has a commanding 3-0 series lead. By the end of the high-scoring affair, five different players had registered two goals. Read was one of them.

He scored his first goal of the game with five minutes remaining in the first period only a minute after James Neal had brought the Penguins within one. After Neal managed to bring the Penguins back within striking distance in the second, it was Read once again who reestablished the Flyers two-goal lead.

With the amount of scoring that occurred in the game, it’s hard to isolate any one performance as any more important than any other. Read’s goals were merely necessary pieces to a necessary end.

This perfectly sums up the roles of the rookies this season.

They haven’t been any more important than any other piece on the team. That’s not the point, though. That’s not what it’s about. It’s not a case of personal accolades or individual honors. The Flyers have played as a group all season. Superstars, journeymen and rookies. They have all had a job and they do it.

Because of it, the team has found success.

"I thought we all did our jobs out there,” Read said when asked about the rookie's success. “We all played well and those little things like keeping your head up and having an extra look when you’re out there and just making the right plays and not worrying about getting hit or something like that. Just playing hockey and have fun with it."

The last part of Read’s statement is what rings loudest. The group is concerned about the situation they find themselves in. They don’t care that it’s the Pittsburgh Penguins; they don’t care that it’s Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin; They’re just playing hockey just like they’ve always played hockey.

It’s what the rest of the team expected of them.

“There was no question on our end, and I think their teammates would probably say the same thing,” head coach Peter Laviolette said after Game 3. “There was no question as to whether or not they would be able to play in a pressure filled game or an atmosphere like this.  They’re terrific young hockey players and I think that their teammates would probably say the same.”



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