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Top line leads healthy Flyers past first-place Bruins

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photo by Elsa/Getty Images via d.yimg.com

This whole hockey thing is pretty fun.

The Flyers played a great game tonight, powered by Simon Gagne, Scottie Upshall, and Antero Niittymaki, and they beat the best team in the East on their home ice 4-2. Due to the health of the club, they were able to roll four lines with ease, and almost every forward contributed. The top line of Gagne, Mike Richards, and Mike Knuble had eight points, including all three third period goals that led the Flyers to victory. Upshall added a goal in the first, and all game long I thought that him, Danny Briere, and Claude Giroux played with a bit of unrealized potential. The chemistry there will come with time.

While the offense may have been the story tonight, the unsung hero was without a doubt the defense. Kimmo Timonen's return to the lineup definitely gave them a boost, or as Al Morganti put it on the post game show, a calming effect. As a team, the Flyers played excellent defense, and I can think of several times where guys like Gagne and Upshall contributed on the defensive end.

In goal, Antero Niittymaki had an excellent game as well. He absolutely robbed David Krecji in the first period with flash of the leather, but he didn't stop there. He ended up with 24 saves and, again, followed up a shaky performance with an excellent one.

Questions With Answers

  1. How is the chemistry between Briere, Giroux, and Upshall? While we can't give the other two any credit on Upshall's goal since he did it by himself, I thought the overall chemistry of the line was good for having never played a game together before. They seemed to create a lot of chances early on in the game, and in time, the goals will come.
  2. Do the Bruins regret starting Manny Fernandez? I was not impressed with him at all tonight. As a commenter said over at Stanley Cup of Chowder, "Manny apparently decided the best way to stay in town was to sabotage any trade value he may have had."
  3. Do the Flyers regret starting Antero Niittymaki? Not one ounce.
  4. Any odd healthy scratches before the game (meaning a trade is imminent)? Sadly, no. I would've liked some intriguing ones on the Boston side... like Phil Kessel or Marc Savard, who have been rumored in deals for Chris Pronger and other big name stars.
  5. Do the Flyers learn their lesson from last time these teams met by playing a full 60 minutes? This was a comeback win, as Boston had a 1-0 lead but I don't think the Flyers necessarily played all that poorly. In fact, the five-on-five play was even all game until the Flyers ran away with things in the third period.
Game Thread Roll Call
Name # of Posts
chillicothe20 27
doubleh 21
Salmon 12
Shagg 11
Orangeaid186 7
Stanley Cup of Chowder 7
Alon 4
Have a Seat 2
Ivan Monteiro Prado 2
Ben16 1

Another tough contest comes on Thursday night against Calgary, but before that we've got one of the most exciting days of the year tomorrow. Broad Street Hockey will be all over the Philly angle of every single trade made tomorrow, and it'll be up to the minute, so this is certainly the place to be for all of your trade coverage starting first thing in the AM.

Go Flyers.

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