PHILADELPHIA -- At one point last season, one of the potential new slogans we were considering to throw at the top of the site was "Making backup goalies look like Jesus since..." That's a trend that's continued into this season, as the Flyers had gone 0-4 against backup goaltenders early on this season.
When the Hurricanes announced on Sunday that backup Justin Peters would start against the Flyers tonight, the fear was that the Flyers would yet again get shut down by yet another no-name goaltender. Thankfully, they put an end to all that.
Scott Hartnell scored twice and Claude Giroux continued to make the ladies of Philadelphia swoon by adding another goal to his team-leading total as the Flyers beat the Hurricanes by a more-convincing-than-it-looks score of 3-2.
The story of the night at the Wells Fargo Center really had nothing to do with Hartnell, Giroux, the still-brilliant play of Sergei Bobrovsky or even the fine play of Eric Wellwood, who made his NHL debut tonight on a line with Mike Richards and James van Riemsdyk. Instead, the story was really the pre-game comments made by the guy responsible for Wellwood's addition to the lineup -- Danny Briere.
Briere lambasted Colin Campbell and the NHL before the game, but the Flyers win in his absence proves quite a bit. The fact that Jeff Carter was able to step into Briere's spot on the line with Ville Leino and Hartnell and that all three players seemed to play without missing a beat goes miles toward proving the depth on this team.
Not many teams can lose one of their best scorers and still dominate a game offensively. The Flyers did just that tonight. After the jump, a few bullet points, some post-game video and audio, as well as questions with answers and the comment of the night.
- Bobrovsky was fantastic yet again. It doesn't seem to faze him at all that he's played in four straight games now. He doesn't look any weaker than he did in Pittsburgh on October 7th when he opened the season with a win.
- I think we're all kind of falling in love with him a little bit. From the loudest "Bob! Bob!" chants of the season thus far to a Rocky-like urging on when he was tripped up in the first period by Chad Larose to the wild ovation he got when he skated out to the top of the circle to thank Dan Carcillo for blocking a shot with his man-parts, he's quickly becoming quite the spectacle. Imagine what it'll be like when he learns English.
- The Flyers won 65 percent of the face-offs tonight. All the centers finished above 50 percent. Betts went 7 for 12, Carter went 13 for 20, and Giroux went 11 for 18.
- Eric Wellwood was fantastic in his NHL debut. He looked like he belonged playing with James van Riemsdyk and Mike Richards. With Richards in particular, Wellwood seemed to develop almost instant chemistry. He might not be here long, and over the long haul, that's probably what's best for his development, but we have reason to be excited about this prospect.
- Hartnell seems to really be clicking at this point. He has six points in his last six games, including his two goals tonight. Frank Seravalli asked him if it was the air. He laughed.
- The Hurricanes second goal late in the game was a bit strange. Joe Corvo just kind of threw it in front of the net and it floated by everybody -- including Bobrovsky. The goalie said after the game that he wasn't looking at Corvo and that it caught him off guard.
- Jody Shelley played 8:05 tonight. It's nice to see him getting ice time because that means he's taking a regular shift, and that means the fourth line is playing a regular role... which helps everybody.
Questions with Answers
- Justin Peters starts in goal for the Hurricanes. The Flyers tend to struggle with backup goaltenders. Same old story tonight? Nope.
- Does Nik Zherdev turn it up and prove to the coaching staff that he deserves to stay in the lineup? Laviolette said he thought Zherdev had a good game, but of course he's going to say that. Personally, I didn't notice Zherdev at all.
- How much does Danny Briere's absence impact the offense? Didn't really seem to impact a thing.
- Does Bob keep it up? He most certainly does.
- How does Eric Wellwood look in his NHL debut? Wellwood looked great. His speed is really noticeable. He's a good fit with Richie and JVR.
- Does Jon Matsumoto (if he plays) prove to the Flyers that they should've given him a chance all along? Matsumoto played 5:15. Didn't notice him at all.
Post-Game Video: Peter Laviolette
Post-Game Video: Eric Wellwood
Post-Game Video: Jeff Carter
Comment of the Night
My prediction from Hartnell?
Shave and a haircut, two goals.
>> BroadStreetBully, who owns a Delorean