Not too long ago, the Flyers went through an extended stretch of terribleness that included a four-game span in which the Flyers scored a total of three goals. Tonight, the Flyers had three goals on eleven shots in the first period, and doubled their total to six before the curtain mercifully closed on the Rangers.
An abbreviated list of things that happened in this game that were awesome:
- In his first trip back to MSG, Blair Betts scored in the first minute. Talk about your instant karma. On the back of that early goal, the Flyers held the lead for 59:06 of this game.
- Daniel Briere's goal was only the second of the game, but you knew from then on it would be a fun night in Flyerland. He had an obscene amount of time alone in front of Henrik Lundqvist, and eventually scored a goal that Chris Therien described as "a nasty, filthy move."
- Simon Gagne scored a natural hat trick, and his first hat trick of any variety since 2005. 2005! That's a full Olympiad ago. He was pretty clearly happy about his night, as well he should be.
- Michael Leighton got his first shutout as a Flyer tonight, making some pretty impressive second-chance saves along the way. It might be time to pump out that "what does playing outside mean to you, Michael?" article, because this guy who got put on waivers by the worst team in the league is now 4-0-0 in four starts, with a .951 save percentage and a 1.50 GAA.
- James van Riemsdyk needed like 75 tickets for all his friends and family who wanted to see the New Jersey native's first game at The Garden. JVR didn't do anything spectacular, but the guys who showed up wearing the same outfit as him sure did.
- When he called a timeout after the Flyers went up 3-0 in the first, John Tortorella's face turned approximately the same shade of red used by the Alabama Crimson Tide.
- The six-goal winning margin was the largest the Flyers have ever had in 126 games at Madison Square Garden.
A couple things that were not quite as awesome:
- The Flyers were still throwing themselves around to block shocks when it was a 6-0 game. While some might put this in the awesome category, I don't like seeing needless endangerment and risking injury when the game is safely out of reach.
- After Henrik Lundqvist was pulled during the first intermission, Simon Gagne scored on the first shot of the second period, which was also the first shot back up Chad Johnson ever faced in the NHL. The guy has got to have a rough enough life sharing a name with Ochocinco, so for the Flyers to make his first ever shot faced an embarrassing goal feels like unnecessary salt in the Ranger wounds. Sort of.
- The Flyers only had two goals in the third period, to the Rangers' twelve. The Flyers still outscored the Rangers 1-0 in the frame, so it wasn't all bad.
After the jump, video, questions answered, and a Mr. Hankey count:
Pronger, Gagne, and Leighton Postgame:
Michael Leighton gets the start again. Does his luck finally run out, or is he secretly incapable of losing? Michael Leighton is the best kept secret in the world, and will probably never be scored on again. I would like for him to give up a goal every fifth start, though, so Boucher can keep his record.
- The Flyers have to be looking forward to meeting Travis and all the other cool stuff that goes along with the Winter Classic. Can they possibly stay focused on tonight's game? Absolutely, which means they should all be super chipper for Travis.
- What asinine products will MSG pimp tonight to desecrate the glass behind the nets? Chase Bank. Yawn.
- Will Ryan Parent finally score an NHL goal, or does he leave the decade with a 0 in that column? Parent didn't score, but that just means he's saving his offensive firepower for the Winter Classic.
- Does Peter Laviolette have any spiffy New Year's neck wear to show off after the smash success that was his Christmas tie? Pete's tie was dark blue, and pretty muted. I did hear a rumor, though, that his Fenway Park tie is going to be made entirely of baked beans.
Consecutive wins since the Flyers' locker room filled with poo right before Christmas:
Next time, we're doin' it outside. Go Flyers.