After watching the first two periods of tonight's Flyers-Blues game, I decided that I was going to start the game recap by comparing the game to the 1969 Flyers-Blues playoff series best known to Flyers fans as the series where Noel Picard got a cheapshot in on Philadelphia's Claude LaForge, virtually ending his NHL career. That cheapshot was the impetus for Ed Snider and company to start building a more physically aggressive team, and, just a few years later, you have the Broad Street Bullies. It was even going to have some cheesy title like "Blues Manhandle Flyers Like It's 1969." Really -- the first two periods were that bad. The Blues absolutely dominated the Flyers, and it didn't help that the Flyers took six minor penalties in the first 40 minutes and continually turned the puck over in their own zone.
Somehow, though, the Flyers only trailed 1-0 going into the third. The lone goal at that point was a 5-on-3 powerplay tally for St. Louis, with Brad Boyes deflecting an Erik Johnson point shot past Brian Boucher. So could the Flyers somehow salvage something despite a miserable start? The answer is yes. Two minutes and fifteen seconds into the third period, Danny Briere was able to beat Jaroslav Halak on a rebound off a Matt Carle slot shot. It was then that the Flyers finally started to get going. After spending seemingly the entire game on their heels and in their own zone, they were getting some offensive pressure of their own -- thanks in part to the great play of James van Riemsdyk, who is really starting to come into his own and show more consistent signs of why he was the #2 overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
Despite multiple chances from both sides throughout the third period, this game would go to overtime, where the Flyers were a goalpost away from escaping St. Louis with an improbable two points. Danny Briere made an incredible maneuver from the near side of the Blues zone into the slot where he rang a wrister off the outside of the far post. Moments later in the Flyers zone, a Blues shot deflected off of Kimmo Timonen's skates out into the high slot, where Blues defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo came charging in unimpeded and blistered a slapshot past a helpless Brian Boucher to get the victory for St. Louis.
Call it a "character point" for the Flyers. They looked flat-out overwhelmed for two periods, but with the help of Brian Boucher, they were able to keep the game close, and you might even say steal a point in St. Louis.
Assorted notes, answers to tonight's questions and the Comment of the Night after the jump.
- Brian Boucher has a new mask. It is orange-er.
- Speaking of Boucher, he was tremendous, stopping 23 of 25, despite being hung out to dry countless times by his defense. The shot totals are pretty misleading, actually. The ice seemed tilted towards the Flyers end most of the game, and it took key stops from Boucher and some key blocks and stick checking from the skaters to keep this from becoming a laugher.
- Chris Pronger did not play tonight. He's still trying to build strength in that knee following offseason surgery.
- The Blues had ten different powerplay opportunities. Ten. They scored just once while on the man advantage -- on that lone 5-on-3. Serious, serious props to Blair Betts, Darroll Powe, Braydon Coburn and Kimmo Timonen, who spent a ridiculous amount of time on the PK.
- There's a reason the Blues penalty kill was best in the NHL last year. They block literally anything and everything that comes their way.
- Sean O'Donnell had an egregious turnover in his own zone early in the third period, resulting in a chance for Cam Janssen right in front alone on Boucher. Fortunately for the Flyers, Janssen got very little on the shot and Boucher was able to make the save.
- There was a weird situation late in the second period. Cam Janssen was demolished into the boards by his own man Brad Winchester. Janssen needed help off the ice, and he might have been out for a few seconds there. Winchester immediately began wrestling with Scott Hartnell, but the scrap only lasted a few seconds, as both quickly fell to the ice. Despite Hartnell getting 19 PIM out of the situation (2 for unsportsmanlike conduct, 2 for the instigator, 5 for fighting and a 10 minute misconduct), the Flyers ended up with a two minute powerplay.
- Jody Shelley played 3:11. Dan Carcillo played 6:24.
- CSN Philly debuted a brand new in-game graphics package, which you may or may not see featured in the highlights package below (I've seen both the CSN feed and FSN feed different times I've played it). Very shiny.
Questions with Answers
This teams scores for Boosh as well as the Phillies score for Hamels. And it’s disgusting.