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Statement game: Flyers win in Pittsburgh (again), take big step toward Atlantic title

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[Shift Charts] - [Head-to-Head TOI] - [Corsi and Fenwick] - [5-on-5 Faceoffs]

Kimmo Timonen has been a vocal critic of his team's play in recent weeks, but despite leaving the game at the end of the second period with what the Flyers are calling a lower body injury, it's safe to assume he won't be upset with the performance this evening. 

It felt a whole lot like a playoff game right from the drop of the puck tonight, with a whole lot on the line. Had they won, the Penguins would have tied the Flyers in points atop the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference, but that wasn't in the cards tonight.

Philadelphia fell behind twice in the game but answered each time with tallies of their own, something we haven't seen in some time from this team. They battled, they got pucks deep and in most instances, they simply outworked the Penguins.

That's what's been missing over the last month or so. Maybe it was the importance of the game or maybe it's the ability to simplify the style when playing on the road, which would explain the franchise record for road wins, which was set tonight. No matter the reason, though, the Flyers tonight had what they've been missing over the last weeks. It was unbelievably refreshing.

Of course, that's not to say they dominated the game. Frankly, they shouldn't expect to dominate a game against a team like Pittsburgh. There were certainly stretches where the Flyers were blown away by the Penguins -- the first five minutes of the third come to mind -- and that's not exactly what you want to see.

Against a good team, though, you can't avoid that. You have to play through it and survive it, and thanks to Sergei Bobrovsky's brilliance tonight, the Flyers were able to do so. A few more bullet points after the jump, as well as questions with answers and the comment of the night. 

- Ville Leino scored two goals tonight, his first ones since scoring a hat trick in Atlanta two weeks ago.

- On the whole, that line was incredible tonight, which is obviously very good to see. We've gone through these stretches lately where only one line has been on at a time, and that line in particular has really struggled. Tonight, all three scoring lines were on, generating chances and working hard. Encouraging.

- As mentioned, Bob was fantastic tonight. Aside from Tyler Kennedy undressing him on one play in the second period, and one goal that he'd like to have back as well, he was the reason the Flyers kept the lead at the start of the third period.

- Let's not give up that many odd man rushes again, eh guys?

- The Flyers swept all three games at Consol Energy Center this season. Claude Giroux scored the game-winner in all three. They've haven't swept the series on the road vs. PIT since 1983-84.

- Monday's Two O'Clock Number was on the frightening number of giveaways the Flyers had vs. Boston. The Flyers gave the puck away just three times tonight. 

Questions with Answers

  1. Can the Flyers get back to their game -- as in, no "lazy hockey" -- in such an important game? Yes.
  2. Similarly, does being on the road help them simplify the game and help them stop the stupid turnovers/bad breakouts? It seemed to, at least in my eyes. They did a much better job of protecting the puck in the neutral zone and at the bluelines. 
  3. Sergei Bobrovsky has been stellar in Pittsburgh this year. Does that continue? It does. 
  4. The Versteeg-Richie-JvR line was the Flyers' best against Boston. Can they keep that going? They were good, but they weren't the best line tonight. That's by no means a bad thing.
  5. The Penguins were very sound defensively against the Flyers last week. They controlled the pace of the game from start to finish. Can the Flyers steal that from them and dictate the flow tonight? For most of the game, yes. Give the Pens credit: they're good too, but the Flyers were able to control them... for the most part. 

Comment of the Night

Pens fans are looking around asking when the shootout is going to start

>> goldomatic, with a HAHA PENS CANT WIN UNLESS ITS A SHOOTOUT joke