PHILADELPHIA -- I overheard somebody in the press box from the Minnesota delegation tonight: "This team will be lucky if they win 10 more games the rest of this year!" If the game on the ice was any indication, he's probably about right. The Wild were flat out abysmal for 60 solid minutes tonight, and considering the Flyers played one of their most complete of the season, the equation certainly worked out in favor of the good guys.
All four lines were rolling well tonight, and
for the first time all year for the first time against the not-Columbus Blue Jackets, the specialty teams got goals on both the penalty kill and the power play. Of course, it was Sean Couturier who scored the shorthanded goal, because he's still incredible. Peter Laviolette remarked about how he gets chances because of his positioning defensively, and how he's able to generate chances off the rush from the defensive end. Five straight games with a goal ain't bad at all.
A lot of the players also mentioned the emphasis on getting pucks on net from the point tonight. That's not an easy feat against the Wild, who boast the league's best shot-blocking numbers, but the Flyers were successful in moving the puck laterally from D-to-D, generating traffic in front of Josh Harding and then getting pucks in the mix down low.
Kimmo Timonen, Scott Hartnell and Braydon Coburn each scored goals as a result of that strategy, with Juicy and Jake Voracek adding the other two. Oh, and Darroll Powe scored against his old team. Good for him. We won, though.
- Claude Giroux got his 200th point on Timonen's goal, but he still doesn't look quite right. After even the most inconsequential of plays, you can see him slamming his stick against the ice, putting his stick on his head and looking to the sky, or any number of very outward signs that he's frustrated. Players go through slumps, it's not a huge deal. He just needs to stop pressing so hard. He's Claude freakin' Giroux, you know?
- Jody Shelley played and wasn't awful. He got 9:02 in ice time as a result of not being awful. Good things.
- Scott Hartnell scored his 20th
point goal of the year. He should be an All-Star, but he's not. Maybe he will be with injuries. Not that his game necessarily translates to an ASG anyway.
- Ilya Bryzgalov wasn't really challenged tonight, but when he did see pucks, he was solid. We'll take it.
- The Corsi/Fenwick shot differential sheet from tonight's game -- linked at the top -- shows you just how big special teams were tonight. That sheet only includes even strength situations, and most Flyers players had a negative score tonight at even strength. Yet on the game, they outshot the Wild 34 to 26. A lot of those shots were on the power play, and we have Cal Clutterbuck and his four minor penalties to thank for that tonight.
Questions with Answers
It's bad (or perhaps it's good) when you answer all the questions to answer in the recap. Anyway...
- How's Ilya Bryzgalov play? Solid, if relatively unchallenged.
- Does Sean Couturier keep his goal scoring streak going tonight? He certainly does. That's 10 goals now on the season.
- Can Claude Giroux (and the top line) get going again? The line was good, but G still seems a little lost, even despite his point on Timonen's goal.
- Jody Shelley sees the ice. He clearly tries to do something to prove his importance, right? He didn't fight or anything, and Cal Clutterbuck was likely asking for it tonight, too, but Shelley was a positive contributor. Three hits, two shots on goal. Finished with a positive shot differential, even.
Comment of the Night
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>> goldomatic, who is King in the art of wishful thinking