That's what I'm talkin' about, boys. The Philadelphia Flyers looked like a hockey team again tonight, beating the New York Islanders in convincing fashion on home ice. Six goals, three players, each with two a piece.
And you know what's refreshing? The guys who are supposed to lead this team actually did tonight. Mike Richards set the tone early, showing a ton of determination in the first period, resulting in a power play goal and a shorthanded one. In the second period, Jeff Carter took over, scoring back-to-back goals less than three minutes apart.
The Flyers coupled some bad luck with a few undisciplined plays in the latter part of the second period, giving the Isles several power play chances, including a five-on-three. John Tavares tried to get his team back into it, scoring two consecutive goals of his own to make it 4-2. But on another power play late in the period, Claude Giroux one-timed a beautiful Richards feed to shift the momentum back to the Flyers side.
Giroux would add one more tally off a beautiful pass from Scott Hartnell to round out the scoring.
Richards, Richards, Carter, Carter, Tavares, Tavares, Giroux, Giroux. Your goal scorers tonight.
With the win, the Flyers jump from 13th to 10th, one point out of the Eastern Conference playoff race with games in hand over the two teams ahead of them. They're also just five points back of 5th place. Things can change quickly id these guys can keep this kind of effort up. Note: Those numbers may be slightly different after other games go final. Still, the point stands -- the Flyers are much closer to playoff positioning then it seemed a night ago.
Much more, including the usual fare -- highlights, questions, comment of the night -- after the jump.
Some assorted thoughts...
- Richards is trying his best to put any doubts about his captaincy to rest. He put the team on his back tonight, especially early on, and as Peter Laviolette said post-game, "he played like a captain tonight."
- The power play looked faaaaantastic tonight. They moved the puck around beautifully, got plenty of chances, and were just generally awesome. Three for five. Very nice.
- A major critique of the Flyers over the last few weeks was that the role players, the bottom two lines, were the best players on the ice for the team. You can't win games when your best players aren't your best players. Well, things changed tonight. The top line of Hartnell-Richards-Giroux was unbelievable. They had a ton of chemistry, a ton of pressure on the puck, and a ton of energy. They seemed to make things happen every time they hit the ice, and it's no shock that they put up seven points.
- For those of you who were hoping the Flyers would trade for Martin Biron, did tonight change your mind? He was less than impressive, obviously, by allowing six goals.
- Not all of it was Biron, though. Remember those shots that didn't get through on Carey Price last night? Well, they got through tonight. 37 shots total on Biron. That's what happens when you're solid on the PP. The Isles still blocked 11, too.
- Johan Backlund was really good at opening the door on the bench tonight. Always aware, always ready, he never left his teammates waiting.
- Tavares cross-checked Scott Hartnell into Martin Biron about midway through the third period. Hartnell wound up with 4 PIM while Tavares wound up with zero.
- Similar to Sidney Crosby's first game in Philadelphia, a physical Flyers defenseman took a few teeth out of a division rival's highly touted first overall pick. Derian Hatcher knocked Crosby's tooth loose in his first Wachovia Center match, and tonight, Tavares lost a tooth or two thanks to hit along the boards from Chris Pronger. Lighthouse Hockey has something to say about this in their recap, calling him such words as "tool."
- No Flyers finished with a minus rating, while no Islanders finished with a plus rating.
- The Flyers have won 12 straight against the Islanders.
- Laviolette's first win as a Flyer.
- Tavares sucks.
Questions With Answers
- Power play. Can they turn it around? As already mentioned, mission accomplished.
- Goaltending. How does Boucher perform? Solid. Neither goal was his fault. 22 saves.
- Sixty minute effort, yay or nay? Yes. How awesome is that? Some might say there was a minor lapse in the second period when all those penalties came, but I'd argue that the penalties came as a result of hard work and pressure.
- Can they outwork the Islanders? All night long, baby.
Comment Of The Night
We win tonight.
>> doubleh, prior to the game