With the way the Flyers offense has played lately, a two goal, second period deficit against the defensive minded New Jersey Devils seemed like an insurmountable cliff to climb.
Not so fast. The Flyers took over the hockey game after Anssi Salmela scored early in the second and never looked back. James van Riemsdyk opened the scoring on a great individual play and shot that beat Martin Brodeur late in the period. With time continuing to run down, Jeff Carter actually somehow didn't miss a shot and beat Brodeur to tie the game with 24 ticks remaining.
Somehow, it was a hockey game, and the Flyers had all the momentum. In the third period, Philadelphia would add a tie breaking goal from Mike Richards to give the home team the lead for good. They won this game by doing all the things we talked about; they were opportunistic offensively and solid defensively and in goal.
One place where they could've used serious improvement, though? Specialty teams. Ilya Kovalchuk had an absurd 11:02 of power play time, and being a man down for six whole minutes of the first period didn't help the Flyers gain any edge off the bat. That's not an excuse, though, because a solid penalty kill can lead to momentum. The Flyers didn't do that, and when they finally got a power play of their own, Salmela scored his goal shorthanded.
Sticking with Salmela: he was seriously injured tonight when, just after his goal, he took a shot from Carter. Much more on that here. He's walking around and talking and didn't go to the hospital, but he has some teeth and a broken nose. He should be fine, though.
Salmela's fine, Flyers win. See you on Wednesday, Devils. After the jump, questions with answers and the comment of the night.
- 4th: Pittsburgh - 59 GP, 72 pts (didn't play)
- 5th: Ottawa - 59 GP, 70 pts (didn't play)
- 6th: Montreal - 60 GP, 62 pts (didn't play)
7th: Philadelphia - 57 GP, 61 pts (won tonight)
- 8th: Tampa Bay - 57 GP, 61 pts (didn't play)
- 9th: Boston - 57 GP, 59 pts (didn't play)
- 10th: NY Rangers - 59 GP, 59 pts (didn't play)
- 11th: Atlanta - 57 GP, 58 pts (didn't play)
- 12th: Florida - 58 GP, 57 pts (didn't play)
- 13th: NY Islanders - 58 GP, 54 pts (didn't play)
Questions With Answers
- Can the Flyers keep Kovalchuk off the board? Yep. Very impressive considering he had so much PP time.
- Do they focus too much on the Kovalchuk/Elias line, giving room to Parise? Generally speaking, no. Parise scored but special teams are a different animal.
- Can the Flyers offense finish their chances and be opportunistic? Yes. They still missed a lot of chances (looking at you, Jeff) but they were still good in this department. Improvement.
- Leighton hasn't been the reason for recent losses. Is he the main factor towards the decision tonight? Leighton came up big several times, including on a late PP where the Devils were trying their hardest to tie the game.
Comment of the Night
Why did that loud horn go off all of a sudden? Why are some of the fans standing and cheering? I don’t get it…
>> Ben Feldman