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Carter, JVR, Zherdev lead Flyers to 5-3 triumph over Canadiens


24 hours later, the lead still stands. In fact, it's grown. Your Philadelphia Flyers are still the best team in hockey, and thanks to the Rangers come-from-behind win against the Penguins tonight, they're now three points up. That wouldn't have happened if the Flyers weren't able take care of their own business in Montreal tonight, though, and they almost didn't.

Luckily, Nikolay Zherdev, James van Riemsdyk and Jeff Carter combined for perhaps the best game of each of their individual seasons, potting four of the teams' five goals, including the game-winner on the power play late in the third.

Sometimes, when a unit gets together for the first time and looks fantastic, you look around and question things a bit. Why didn't we do this before?! That's not really the case with this unit. When looking at them on paper, you think, oh, sure... they can probably get the job done offensively, but defensively? Oh God, that's probably a nightmare.

Hasn't been the case. They're not a liability defensively, as proven by the fact that Peter Laviolette threw them out on the ice to close the game with an empty net at the other end. The trio were the only three forwards on the Flyers to finish the game with positive Fenwick numbers, a stat that records how many shots are directed at the net while a player is on the ice at even strength, proving that the line kept the ice tilted toward the Montreal end while they were on the ice.

The Flyers desperately needed the energy that line had tonight as well. Without it, this game could've been a run away for the Habs. After a furious start in the first period and start of the second period which gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead, Montreal quickly took over.

From there, the Flyers appeared to be on their heels for almost the entire rest of the game. A two-goal lead was blown and the Canadiens were able to tie the game in the third period. The Flyers looked like they didn't have anything left in the tank. But then, enter that line again.

On the power play in a 3-3 game (on a penalty drawn by JVR, mind you), the three combined with some hard work in the paint to bang home a loose puck. 4-3 game, and they'd never look back. Big saves from Sergei Bobrovsky and some timely help from the post saved the Flyers throughout, but a lot of the credit has to go to that unlikely trio of maligned Flyers, who pushed the team to a huge victory tonight in Montreal.

Some notes, including the hilarious three stars choices from the Montreal fans and the scare that is Chris Pronger's lower body injury, after the jump.

- All season, the fans in Montreal (or, anybody with a computer who can type "") have had the opportunity to select the three stars of the game. Tonight, they selected Sergei Bobrovsky as the first star, Brian Gionta as the second star and P.K. Subban as the third star.

Bob played fine but he certainly wasn't the best player on the Flyers tonight (I think we already covered who was), Gionta scored the game-tying goal in the third (alright, fine whatever) and Subban scored a goal too. But uh, Subban made at least one, possibly two turnovers that led to Flyers goals. The bleu blanc et rouge glasses they wear up there clearly are blinders, aren't they?

- Chris Pronger left the ice in the third period with what the team is calling a lower-body injury. Not. Good. According to a tweet from Sam Carchidi, the PR staff says Prongs isn't in a lot of pain, but we don't know what the injury is. He missed time to start the season with a knee injury, remember. We'll hold off panic until tomorrow when we hopefully know more.

- Philadelphia sports teams have gone undefeated since Saturday, when St. Joe's basketball fell. That's nine straight wins and counting. And Cliff Lee. (Thanks, Steve.)

Questions with Answers

  1. Beating Carey Price again. Can the Flyers do it? Five times.
  2. Against Pittsburgh, the JVR-Carter-Zherdev found itself pinned in the defensive zone. Surprisingly, they held their own when that happened. Can they do that again, if they are indeed still together? You already know the answer to this.
  3. On a level of 1 to 100, gauge the whininess of the Bell Centre crowd. Eh, about a 93, which is actually pretty good for them. (Yes, I picked 93 for a reason.)
  4. Spacek and Gomez return to the lineup for the Habs. Their impact tonight? Meh.
  5. Still in first place overall at the end of the night? You know it.

Comment of the Night

Homer says Pronger to be placed on LTIR tomorrow.

>> mtitanic