Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
The Flyers are back to the .500 mark -- the NHL's definition of it, at least -- with Saturday's 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators.
Midway through the 2013 season, the Flyers are back to the .500 mark. Or maybe it's just the NHL's weird definition of .500. They have 11 wins and 12 losses, but one of those losses came after the 60 minute mark, so in the NHL, they've collected half of their possible total points. Hey, whatever! We'll take it! .500!
There have been setbacks and there's been plenty of frustration over the last month or so, but it's hard to argue that the Flyers aren't playing better hockey lately. Hell, there were frustrations and setbacks in today's win 2-1 over the Senators -- failing to capitalize on bad Ottawa turnovers, a bad start, etc. -- but ultimately, it's hard to argue that the Flyers weren't the better hockey team.
Ilya Bryzgalov was solid aside from one goal he'd love to get back, the special teams looked good (even if they went 0-for-5 on the power play, both units looked like a threat each time they hit the ice) and most importantly, the Flyers are rolling three lines that all appear to be legitimate scoring threats.
It's going to be tough to keep this going with the Rangers, Penguins and Bruins all on deck this week, but the Flyers are getting the bounces and for the better half of the last three weeks, they haven't looked like the inept bunch they were to start the regular season in January.
Some more thoughts on today's game:
* Zac Rinaldo, meanwhile, had one of his most effective games as a pest. He drew a penalty in the third period along the boards when Zach Smith roughed him up after he mouthed off, and then later in the period, he delivered a clean hit along the boards and Daniel Alfredsson (!) cross-checked him in the back as retaliation. Alfie was kicked out the game, and Rinaldo only got a two-minute penalty. He probably didn't even deserve that.
* Jake Voracek, man.
Two more points Another point today, including an amazing individual effort on the first goal. He good.
* Simon Gagne again looked great in orange and black. He was again used on that line with Sean Couturier and Max Talbot, and they again went head-to-head with Ottawa's top unit. So far this season, it's been rare to see Talbot and Couturier making news in the offensive zone. With Gagne added to the mix, it's become almost routine.
* Claude Giroux had nine shots on goal today. He also good.
Questions with Answers
- Simon Gagne was all over the place in his Flyers re-debut on Wednesday. More of that? Yep!
- Can the Flyers keep up their hot special teams play? The results weren't there on the power play, but they looked dangerous, the late 5-on-3 not withstanding. On the PK, the Flyers completely shut down Ottawa's attack. Lots of blocked shots.
- Does the weird, early start have any noticeable impact on the game? God, the Flyers looked awful off the start. Then again, that usually happens on Tuesday nights, too, so who knows if it had anything to do with the 12 p.m. start.
- Claude Giroux has been on fire lately. Keep it up? No points to show for it, but nine shots on goal is not too bad.
Comment of the Day
Wanted an Alfredsson-Rinaldo fight so bad.
>> Kurt R., because we were all thinking it