The last two times the Flyers had come into St. Louis, neither team scored in regulation or overtime, and both times would see the Flyers ultimately lose in a shootout. So for once, it was nice to see a bit of a different script -- in terms of game flow and winner.
Riding a three-goal second period which saw the team's best player and its best line of late put the puck in the net, the Flyers withstood a late surge from St. Louis and managed to pick up a 4-2 win, guaranteeing them at least two points out of their back-to-back against the Central division's two top teams.
A scoreless first period didn't feature a ton of high-energy action for either side, with a couple of netmouth scrambles for the home team being the closest either team would come to a goal. Some nice forechecking by the Matt Read - Sean Couturier - Wayne Simmonds line led to some pressure for them, and a great rush started by Shayne Gostisbehere gave the team maybe its best chance of the period, but the teams would head to the locker room scoreless.
The Flyers would go through a pair of minor injury scares late in the period, as Gostisbehere would head to the locker room after getting hit in the face on a follow-through by Dmitri Jaskin and Nick Schultz headed down the tunnel after taking an Alex Pietrangelo shot off the arm, but both were ready to go by the start of the second period.
Which, of course, was when the offensive explosion finally arrived.
Well, insofar as four goals can be called an offensive explosion. But it's a lot given the history between these two teams, and it all got going almost right out of the gate from intermission. St. Louis would draw first blood, as a blown coverage in front led to Dmitri Jaskin putting one right in front of the net for an easy Robby Fabbri finish.
But it was all Flyers from there, and the goals came in a number of different ways. First, a Giroux faceoff win was corralled by Brayden Schenn, who threw the puck in front of the net all the way from the left boards only to see it bounce off of Michael Raffl and into the net past Brian Elliott. It was the Flyers' first goal in St. Louis in 172:47 of game time, and while they were probably not too concerned with a scoreless streak on the road in an arena they visit once a year, you have to imagine it felt nice for them to finally get one on the board in the Scottrade Center.
Just over three minutes later, an outstanding individual effort by Matt Read gave the Flyers the lead, as he picked up the rebound off a Michael Del Zotto point shot, tapped it over to his forehand, and in doing so fell to the ice but still managed to push the puck past a sprawling Elliott.
After keeping the pressure up for most of the period and getting a chance on the power play, it was the captain who was there to widen the lead. Schenn tapped him the puck from the neutral-zone wall, and Giroux proceeded to just skate right through Magnus Paajarvi and Colton Parayko before deking across and finishing on Elliott to double the Flyers' lead. The goal was Giroux's first ever against St. Louis, making them the final team in the NHL against which he has scored a goal.
As good teams often do when getting kicked in the mouth a bit, the Blues pushed way back in the third, pressing the Flyers from the start and keeping most of the action near Neuvirth's net. A pair of bad penalties only gave the home team even more of a chance to come back, and the first of those saw the Blues almost immediately cut the lead in half on a rebound put home by David Backes.
The hits never really stopped coming from the Blues, who outshot the Flyers 14-7 in the final frame. But they never did break, and the final faceoff in the defensive zone saw Ryan White shoot it from just inside his blue line all the way down into the empty net to secure the win.
Comment of the Night:
Matt rules everything around me