If there was any doubt that the Flyers can't hang with the best the Eastern Conference has to offer, it evaporated tonight. Led by a suddenly resurgent power play and an increasingly confident Martin Biron, Philadelphia shut down the best team in the Atlantic Division tonight by a score of 4-2.
The Devils are a team that plays for the first goal. They have the best goaltending in the league and are an amazing defensive team. So when they get the lead, they do not give it up. Period. Entering tonight, New Jersey had a win percentage of .867 when scoring the first goal, which is far and away better than any other team in the league.
The Flyers didn't get the memo. After NJ scored the first goal of the contest, Philly fought back with two power play tallies. They also apparently forgot about the whole "the power play sucks lately" thing. They've scored two power play goals in three straight games now, which means the unit is officially back.
Another critical component is officially back as well, and he goes by the name of Danny Briere. He scored a goal and added an assist, both on the power play, and he now has five points in the last three games. If he can keep it up into the playoffs, and his history says he will, the Flyers look very dangerous.
John Stevens deserves a lot of credit for the last few games. His moves prior to Friday's win at Buffalo are what spawned Briere's resurgence, and his continual confidence (even when many of us, myself included, may have waivered) in Martin Biron has made him look like a genius.
Biron was outstanding again tonight, and there's certainly nothing like outplaying the number one goaltender in the world. He's 6-2 in his last eight with a GAA of 2.17. Tonight, he made 32 saves and stood on his head in the third period while the Devils recieved power play after power play.
The penalties were extremely frustrating tonight, and when all was said and done, 11 minors were called against the Flyers. Many of them were questionable, but the most satisfying part of it all was that the penalty killers battled hard and Biron was unstoppable. Despite the penalties, the Flyers were still able to deliver a convincing win against a team that is, in my opinion, the highest of benchmarks.
- Jeff Carter scored his 40th goal of the season. Only 13 Flyers have ever accomplished that feat.
- The Flyers won their 40th game of the season.
- The Devils have lost three straight on the road and four of five.
- NJ has lost two games in a row for the first time since early January.
Questions With Answers
- The Flyers sucked last time out against the Devils. Is it a "versus NJ" thing? The Flyers can hang with anybody. That's a fact now.
- Can the offense break Brodeur? Yes. Marty the Great looked human tonight, and that's rare for him against the Flyers.
- Can the PP step it up at home? Yes! As I already said, the power play is officially back. I think that largely has to do with Danny Briere, too.
- Regardless of the outcome, is there a disappointing feeling after this game or a encouraging one? The ultimate encouraging feeling. As I talked about in the pregame, with this win the Flyers can still catch the Devils for first place. Is it still going to be very hard? Yes, without a doubt, and the ball is in NJ's court. But if the orange and black keep their feet on the gas, it could happen. Either way, home ice advantage gets more certain with every win.