Earlier today, when the Flyers were preparing for this game against the Winnipeg Jets, we hoped that the start of a long road trip out West would also be a slump buster for the orange and black. About ten hours later, it certainly feels like a result that could do just that.
I won't lie: When James van Riemsdyk was dancing around the neutral zone with about 30 seconds left in the game, I slouched back on my couch a little bit. I figured it was over, and I started mentally writing this game story ... Ondrej Pavelec steals one for the Jets ...
But then he barreled up the left wing, and Wayne Simmonds, who's been playing like that face shield makes him Metal Mario, somehow went unmarked by the Winnipeg defense. Simmonds parked in front of the net, Dustin Byfuglien stared at van Riemsdyk, and the dish was just perfect enough for Simmer to poke it between Pavelec's pads.
The Flyers absolutely dominated at five-on-five play all game long. Every line. Guys from Claude Giroux to Simmonds to Max Talbot to Reemer to .. well, basically every forward had phenomenal games, and this was going to be a cruel, cruel Tuesday night if the Flyers wound up losing. We've faced a lot of those lately, and thank Orange Jesus, this one was different.
With less than a minute left in overtime, Danny Briere and Jaromir Jagr connected for another similar goal -- Briere behind the net, Jags in front, beating the defense and Pavelec with a shot from the slot. The Flyers really owned that area of the ice tonight, and three of their five goals came from winning battles and beating the Jets defense near the crease.
It was exactly the win the Flyers needed to kick off their West Coast trip. That's gonna be a fun flight to Edmonton tonight. (Well, until they realize they're flying from Winnipeg to Edmonton...)
Questions with Answers
- Pavel Kubina's first game as a Flyer. So, how's that? He played 20 minutes, got some PK time, some PP time. He was beaten on Andrew Ladd's PPG in the second period, but it was a really strong play from Blake Wheeler that made it happen. Can't blame him too much for that.
- Ilya Bryzgalov needs a bounce-back game. Does Ilya Bryzgalov have a bounce-back game? Bryz made some saves and overall wasn't awful, but two of the four goals against were just bad -- Dustin Byfuglien beat him low to the short-side in the first period to open the scoring, and Evander Kane gave Winnipeg the lead on a goal that hit nothing in front ... except the top of Bryz's glove. The Flyers as a team got the win and deserved it, and Bryz made some key saves along the way... but he shouldn't have allowed at least two of those goals tonight.
- Speaking of, how does the Winnipeg crowd treat Bryz? They aren't exactly the best of friends. Admittedly jealous of that atmosphere. It'll wear off, Jets fans. Don't you worry. They're still the Thrashers at heart.
- The leash is off. How does Zac Rinaldo contain himself? I noticed him crash into somebody in front of the net tonight, but he played just six minutes in total, fewer than anybody else in the game.
Comment of the Night
Waiter? CZECH PLEASE!!