One of the big stories of this past offseason was the expected emergence of James van Riemsdyk, He spent most of his summer in the weight room, bulking up in preparation for what many hoped would be a breakout season. Once the year began, we were underwhelmed. JvR was loosing puck battles and not scoring goals. He was a healthy scratch for a game or two, as well.
Now, halfway through the season, it appears as though the Flyers' first round pick is finally turning into the power forward we all knew he could be. JvR scored one goal and deserved several others today, powering the Flyers to a 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils. He has eight points in his last 11 games.
He wasn't alone, though. After a dominant first period that saw Johan Hedberg pulled from the game in favor of Martin Brodeur, the Flyers sat back in the second and allowed the Devils to pull within one. Brodeur played admirably in his return, but he was out-dueled by Brian Boucher, who turned aside 34 shots to more than earn the victory.
It wasn't the prettiest of wins, but thanks to some strong play from their goaltender and another fine performance from a budding young star, the Flyers earned the best record in the Eastern Conference at the midway point of the season. That's good enough to send their coach, Peter Laviolette, to Raleigh for the All-Star Game later this month.
After the jump, questions with answers and the comment of the day.
Questions with Answers
- Off the bat on Thursday night, the Flyers had trouble getting pucks past Johan Hedberg. Without help from jumpy boards like at the Prudential Center, how do they beat him today? He wasn't nearly as good today as he was the other night.
- The Flyers have been very good at shutting down $$$$ all year long. Does that continue today? As Keith Jones (actually, might've been Coatesy, not sure), he had the quietest 28 minutes you can have.
- Can you tell that the Flyers have been on the road since before Christmas, re: extra intensity today? They seemed to come out pretty strong, yeah. It tapered off in the second, though.
- The Flyers again had a fine defensive performance against the Devils on Thursday. Again? Wasn't as good, but Boucher was more than adequate.
- Do the Devils look distracted after losing their captain, Jamie Langenbrunner? They actually looked better than they did the other night.
Comment of the Day
Rock and Roll all Night and Suck at Hockey Everyday?
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