Better With Popcorn

Voracek steps up in Dominating Win

It may only be a single game, but Tuesday night’s dominating 5-1 win over the Washington Capitals will allow fans of the Philadelphia Flyers to rest easy for at least one night.

The team brought a five-game winning streak into the game. They also brought with them an injury list that included the league’s leading scorer in Claude Giroux and the team’s captain, Chris Pronger.

With the team’s best players on the sideline, the Flyers were going to need other players to step-up.

That wasn’t a problem on Tuesday night.

Thirteen different players registered a point for the Flyers, including goals from each of the team’s four lines.

While any player on the team could have been singled out as a standout, one of the more impressive performances came from Jakub Voracek.

Part of the Jeff Carter trade, Voracek did not have the quickest of starts this season. Through his first 13 games, the former seventh overall draft selection had only registered a total of five points (two goals, three assists).

That has quickly changed.

Through his last 16 games, Voracek has scored an astounding 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) and has had three different multi-point games, including a three-point night against his former club, the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Prior to the game against the Capitals, Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette commented on the fact that with Giroux out of the line-up, the team was going to have an opportunity to show what they’re worth.

“It’s a team game,” he said to reporters. “I mean it when I say there’s an opportunity for others to step in.”

In his two most recent games, Voracek had only played 13:44 and 15:10, respectively. On Tuesday night, Laviolette rewarded the winger with extra time, allowing him to play a little over 17 minutes.

While the increase was not substantial, Voracek took advantage of the opportunity.

With the Flyers already leading by three, the 22-year old battled in front of the Washington goal and managed to put a stick on a Matt Carle point shot to add to the Flyers lead. He also registered five shots on net, which tied his season high.

He also made his presence known in the defensive phase of the game.

With much of the focus being on the offensive dynamic of Giroux’s game, many forgot to account for the fact that he also averages close to three minutes of penalty kill time per game.

Laviolette stated before the game that he regretted not giving Voracek more ice time. He even singled Voracek out as a player that he expected to step up in the absence of Giroux.

The Kladno native lived up to the challenge.

Voracek played close to four minutes on the penalty kill on Tuesday, doubling his season total (not average; his total short-handed ice time). He also finished the game a plus-2.

With Giroux out for an indefinite length of time, it will be up to players like Voracek to step up and replace the production of the team’s missing super star.

While filling the enormous void left by Giroux may be impossible for one man, Tuesday night’s impressive win proved that the team is capable of doing it by committee.

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