PHILADELPHIA -- Jaromir Jagr and Scott Hartnell have been the focus of a lot of media attention over the last few days. The questions, as ridiculous as they might seem just seven games into the season, have been fast and furious.
"Hartnell looks out of place. I wonder if he'd waive that no trade clause."
"Jagr's really slowed down. Seven games without a goal, jeez. Wonder if he's ever gonna get it back."
Tonight was how one answers their critics. Hartnell scored two goals and Jagr scored two, both on the power play, as the Flyers topped the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2. Seeing Jagr score two goals, both off gorgeous passes from Claude Giroux and Hartnell, and then pull out his trademark salute in Flyers orange was just beautifully bizarre.
Less bizarre was Hartnell's first goal, though, where predictably, he literally fell into the net on a second-chance opportunity in front of Leafs goalie Jonas Gustavsson. As for Gustavsson, he was phenomenal despite literally zero help from his defense and a ton of pressure from the Flyers (despite the fact that Toronto outshot the Flyers, a deceptive figure).
The only real negative in the game for the Flyers was the injury to Chris Pronger. It was just one of about 18,000 stick fouls committed by the Leafs in the game, but it's looking like it'll keep Pronger out for at least a week or two. We don't know much more than that. Full story on that over at SBNation.com for now.
Aside from that, it was a solid and much needed win for the orange and black tonight, and a damn fun one to watch at the same time. Can't complain there. Questions with answers and the comment of the night below...
Questions with Answers
- The poor start was cited as the main reason for the Flyers rough outing against St. Louis. Can they avoid a similarly sluggish start this evening against Toronto? Not nearly as poor. It was helped by Mikhail Grabovski's first high sticking penalty of the night just 28 seconds into the game, of course. Power plays in the first minute usually help.
- Toronto is 5-1-1, but they really haven't looked fantastic in their last three. It took overtime to beat a struggling Montreal team in their last game, and prior to that they were crushed by Boston and needed a third period comeback, aided mostly by some advantageous power play chances, against Winnipeg. How do they look this evening, and are the Flyers a match? Outside of Gustavsson and Kessel, who scored his ninth goal of the season tonight, I didn't think the Leafs looked anything like a 5-1-1 team. Especially not on defense. Yikes.
- Jonas Gustavsson hasn't been good. Sergei Bobrovsky has been very good in limited in action, both during the preseason and in his one regular season start. Does the trend continue this evening? Both goaltenders were very good tonight.
- Penalties. Can they stop? Four. It's progress.
- Jody Shelley is in the lineup for the first time all season, and Matt Walker is in there over Andreas Lilja. Presumably these moves are all about toughness against a Toronto club that likes to pride themselves on that sort of play. Do the moves seem to make any sense in the context of the game? Walker was meh. Shelley actually had three shots on goal, which is just absolutely shocking.
Comment of the Night
Jumping up and cheering a Jaromir Jagr goal in the Wells Fargo Center just felt wrong. But if its wrong I don't want to be right.