PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 05: James van Riemsdyk #21 of the Philadelphia Flyers celebrates the game winning goal against the Chicago Blackhawks in the final seconds of the third period on January 5, 2012 at The Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
It might have been the most entertaining hockey game of the year. It wasn't the prettiest, that's for sure, but it sure was damn entertaining. Sort of like Monday's Winter Classic, actually, except this one was a win, and that means we get to smile and stuff.
It was an up-and-down battle between the Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks tonight, and it featured the triumphant return to relevance for one Mr. James van Riemsdyk. The evening was sort of reminiscent of the 2011 playoff run for Reemer, in which he was all over the ice and the puck in dominant fashion, and he wound up with two goals for his efforts.
Both of his goals were actually created by his teammates, and both were relatively easy finishes in front of open nets. The first came off a juicy rebound from Chicago's Ray Emery, while the second, in the final minute of a tie game, was off a beauty of a pass from Scott Hartnell. But those are the kinds of pucks one finds when they are at the top of their game, and for at least one night, Reemer was definitely on top of his game. Let's hope he keeps that up.
The defense, on the other hand, wasn't really on top of their game. Ilya Bryzgalov wasn't necessarily horrible, although he wasn't great, but defensive breakdowns allowed the Blackhawks to climb their way back into the hockey game late in the third period. JvR's last minute goal was awesome and all, but it really shouldn't have been necessary.
Still, it was a relief to watch the team lose another lead, just like they did on Monday, and then answer by winning the hockey game. The inability to hold the lead in the third is still a pretty loud concern, but tonight we'll take the outcome. After all, it was damn entertaining in the end.
One other note: Kimmo Timonen left the game with a hand/wrist injury. According to those at the WFC tonight, he didn't speak to the media and we'll know more on his status on Friday when Paul Holmgren speaks at practice.
Questions with Answers
- Patrick Kane can't score. Tonight isn't the night he gets back on track, is it? He scored a game-tying goal, but then he took a penalty and the Flyers scored the GWG on the power play. If he got back on track, he quickly derailed himself again.
- How's Matt Read look on the top line? Thought Read looked good. Overshadowed by JvR's big night, but Read had a goal and was used quite a bit on the power play, too.
- Ilya Bryzgalov back in goal. How's that go? Bryz was fine, except for maybe that one Chicago goal.
- Ray Emery in net for Chicago. Does he look good? Thought Emery was solid. Most of the goals he allowed weren't really his fault -- basically just the Flyers outnumbering the Blackhawks around the crease and getting to loose pucks. Not much a goalie can do about those.
Comment of the Night
Triple word score.
>> conelli, on Harry Zolnierczyk's goal