This was what the doctor ordered. A five goal first period, by far the best one-period effort by the Flyers all season, led to an 8-5 victory over the Maple Leafs last night in South Philly. Jeff Carter had his first career hat trick and an assist, Claude Giroux scored his third goal in as many games and his eighth on the season to go along with two assists, Danny Briere had a goal and three assists, and even Randy Jones had a goal and an assist.
When Randy Jones has a good game, you know it's a good night.
That first period was what the Flyers need to play like all playoffs long. They literally had the Maple Leafs completely at their will, and there was nothing Toronto could do about it. It was fun to watch, that's for damn sure.
A big key in the win was the play of the defense. As a unit they played excellent all-around hockey, and it even showed on the scoreboard. In addition to the offense from Jones, Kimmo Timonen and Matt Carle each had two assists a piece. The Flyers had gone 12 games without a goal from the defense.
We can't ignore the let down in the second period. There was one, and Toronto at more than one occasion clawed their way back into this game. They cut the five goal lead into three several times, but let's be honest here. It's natural human tendancy to let up when you score five goals in the first twenty minutes of a sixty minute game. It's impossible to keep that kind of pace up for sixty minutes. Some credit has to be given to the Leafs for not backing down, too.
But when Toronto did shift the momentum a bit, I thought the Flyers did a good job of coming back and turning the tide back to the right direction.
A repeat performance is due tonight in Ottawa, where a win puts that little letter next to the Flyers name in the standings.