After a shootout loss to Pittsburgh where the Philadelphia Flyers' offense looked rather anemic, the team and its fans (okay, mostly the fans) were looking for a player to step up tonight on Long Island and get the team back on track, and James van Riemsdyk was up to the task.
Just twenty-two seconds after Jeff Carter put the Flyers up 1-0 with a wrist shot from the top of the offensive left circle right off a faceoff, van Riemsdyk strode down the right wing, went wide on his man, backhanded the puck on net, and recovered his own rebound in an all-world effort to beat Rick DiPietro five-hole to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead. Less than two minutes later, Blake Comeau would bring the Islanders back within one, but less than three minutes after that, the Flyers regained their two-goal lead as Andrej Meszaros' point shot went wide, jumped off the boards behind the net and came out the other side before DiPietro could get a handle on what was happening, giving van Riemsdyk a slam-dunk. He would secure his first career National Hockey League hat trick during a powerplay midway through the third period on a slapshot from the high slot that deflected off an Islander stick.
Meanwhile, in net, Sergei Bobrovsky was looking to further solidify his position as 1A for the Flyers after a strong performance the other night. Several times throughout this season, when it seems like all Bobrovsky has to do to kind of lock himself in as the top goalie in Philadelphia is have a solid performance, he's struggled. Call it 'Niittymaki Syndrome' or whatever you want, but Bobrovsky persevered tonight and turned in a very strong performance, making 36 saves, many of which were on top-quality chances. In particular, he made an incredible cross-crease glove save on an Islanders 2-on-1; Michael Grabner fed Kyle Okposo all alone in front, but Bobrovsky got across quick enough to get a piece of Okposo's shot with his glove.
Overall, it was a solid win for the Flyers -- perhaps their first in some time. Things will not get easier any time soon though, as they have a date tomorrow night against the Boston Bruins in a key Eastern Conference matchup.
Assorted notes and your comment of the night after the jump...
- Just two seconds into the game, Dan Carcillo dropped the gloves with Micheal Haley (yes, his name is Micheal), and some nineteen seconds later, Sean O'Donnell took on Zenon Konopka. O'Donnell would also participate in a fight in the third period, this time against Matt Martin. He didn't seem to have any energy at all, and Martin got a fair number of whacks in on the 39-year-old.
- The Flyers were outshot 15-4 in the second period. Remember when the Flyers used to have dominating second periods, the best in the NHL?
- The game had to be temporarily delayed as the Islanders ice girls picked up the hats (and shoe) that came flying onto the ice surface from Flyers' fans after van Riemsdyk's third goal. It was almost like a home game, just without the Bro Hymn and obnoxiously loud foghorn.
- With tonight's win, the team hit the century mark for points. It is the eighteenth time in franchise history that they've amassed at least 100 points, tied with Boston for the most all-time (though it looks like the Bruins will reach 100 points by the end of this season as well, giving them nineteen).
- Speaking of franchise marks, this was the 24th road win this season for the Flyers, which ties the franchise record. The team has four road games remaining.
- This game didn't go to a shootout! Forget the two points -- that on its own is a positive.
Questions with Answers
Usually this is the space where I, the recap writer, answer questions from Travis, the game thread writer, using my knowledge of the game that just took place. Unfortunately, Travis was too busy to write them for today's game. So now I will do my best to write the questions for him.
- Does the Flyers' offense continue to struggle creating chances? No, they created a number of good chances, and of course van Riemsdyk finished on three of them.
- Bob? Bob.
- Does Rick DiPietro's face break? No. But then again, Roy Halladay is in Florida now, not Long Island.
- Samsies. That's not even a question, Travis.
Guaranteed JVR scores at least 2 more goals this week.>> EREX21, after JVR's first goal, and yes, this week is over after tonight