The Flyers walked into the Wells Fargo Center with a lot to prove tonight. Finding themselves up by three in the third yet again, the heat was on, but solid play and dynamic offense led the Flyers to a well-deserved and much needed victory.
The first period didn't leave any lasting impressions -- a lot of sloppy play, a few scoring chances here and there, and a big save or two, but nothing stood out. It seemed like neither team could get their footing, with almost every trip to the offensive zone being "one and done." The Flyers were able to generate some sustained puck possession after Eric Fehr was sent to the box for roughing, but alas, they didn't convert.
Not really the response we were looking for, but not terrible either. Meh.
The second frame had a noticeably different feel to it. The Caps got on the board quickly after Ovechkin capitalized on a Steve Mason flub. Pure butterfingers right there -- Mason tried to collect the puck, but somehow just ended up passing it to the Washington captain, who was, by the way, left wide open in front of the net. Quality stuff.
All in all, the second period started as a back and forth game on the scoreboard -- Voracek tied the Ovechkin goal, Fehr got the lead back, and then Matt Read tied it again in the second half. The Flyers eventually broke that mold by adding two more tallies from Mark Streit and Voracek on a five-minute major power play (more on that later) to end the period 4-2.
Wayne Simmonds got the scoring going in the third period, giving the Flyers the dreaded three goal lead. This, of course, cued worries about another complete collapse, something the Capitals' broadcasters made damn sure I knew. But, of course, not all three goal leads are meant to be blown, and the Flyers coasted to victory.
A few things to note.
*The first line continued its dominance tonight, combining for 2 goals and 3 points. Raffl and Giroux showed some great chemistry and worked really well together on the forecheck. Oh, and Jake Voracek harkened back to his his former self, which is certainly nice.
*The third period ended tonight with a five-minute power play for the Flyers after Tom Wilson charged the shit out of Brayden Schenn, catapulting him into the boards. Just a really dirty and dangerous play, and Wilson was rightfully ejected from the game. It was nice to see the Flyers capitalize twice on the ensuing power play, but watching Schenn try to skate off the ice was absolutely brutal. Hopefully he's alright, but he was kept out for the remainder of the game.
* Chris VandeVelde Industries got his first point as a Flyer after replacing Schenn on the power play. VendeVelde's keeping Jay Rosehill out of the lineup is real, and it's spectacular.
With that win, the Flyers are at .500 yet again, and just one point out of a playoff spot. Next game is Thursday against the Blue Jackets. Go Flyers.
Comment of the Night
Enjoy your unpaid Christmas vacation, Tom Wilson.