At the start of this six-game home stand that is now five games old, Jakub Voracek said that the Flyers needed to get 10 points in these six games in order to really stay in the playoff race. A brutal loss on Thursday night against one of the NHL's worst teams made the task of reaching that mark look particularly lofty.
And yet here the Flyers stand now, one game away from making that happen, after a thorough 6-0 dismantling of the Metropolitan-division-basement-dwelling Columbus Blue Jackets.
From start to finish, this was a game that the Flyers controlled, as there was rarely a moment where it seemed like Columbus was capable of getting anything going. The Flyers outscored the Jackets by identical 2-0 margins in each of the three periods, with a shot advantage in each one to boot.
And of course, when you think of Flyers who lead offensive explosions, you think of none other than Radko Gudas, who entered Saturday night's game with zero goals and six points on the night.
Gudas helped spark the Flyers four minutes into the game with a beautiful pass to Michael Raffl, who tapped it past McElhinney to open up the scoring. The Flyers completely controlled the play in the minutes after that goal, not letting Columbus get any shots on goal in that time and only needing about eight minutes to score again.
That's when this happened.
Really, could Radko Gudas' first goal of the year have come by any means other than "slapshot on goal from the red line"? I think it's pretty fitting.
That was it for the scoring in that period, but the Flyers continued just absolutely suffocating the Blue Jackets defensively into the next frame as well. Columbus needed almost 12 minutes to get a shot on Steve Mason, and after a couple of solid shifts by the visitors, the Flyers essentially put the game away with two separate goals all of ten seconds apart.
Fully content to watch the Blue Jackets turtle even further in the third period, the Flyers would (shortly after Nick Cousins snuck home his fourth of the season) see their phenom of an offensive defenseman score his second goal of the year, on another long shot that Curtis McElhinney probably should have saved.
Hey, they all count the same.
* The 6-0 margin of victory is, by far, the Flyers' biggest in a single game this year.
* The Flyers outshot the Blue Jackets 36-19 despite leading for the entire contest. All but three Flyers players were positive in even-strength possession on the night. Woof, Columbus.
* For you scoreboard-watchers out there, Pittsburgh lost at home to Calgary today and Boston picked up a point but lost in overtime to Washington. Pretty good day in terms of the playoff picture. Root hard for the Blackhawks and (ugh, I guess) the Devils tomorrow.
* I'm hungry.
ALERT: Get a load of this massive slice of pizza.https://t.co/vogWnrXUnu— NHL (@NHL) March 6, 2016
Questions to Answer:
- At what point in the game does Scott Hartnell score his 300th NHL goal? (It kind of seems like a foregone conclusion, right?) The box score says he actually didn't score one. Seems like a mistake. He did commit an incredibly Scott Hartnell penalty, though.
- Steve Mason is back! How's it go for him against his old pals? Barely even noticed that Steve Mason was playing tonight. Not sure he'll ever have an easier shutout in his Flyers career than this one. Good for him though!
- On Thursday, the game was almost over before it began with how quickly Edmonton jumped ahead. Can we get a better start this time around? Flyers were up 2-0 after 1 and outshot the Jackets 17-6. I think that counts as better!
- With no Medvedev, who sticks out in this one (positively OR negatively) among the defenders? It was all about the Radko Gudas show, baby. (Thought that Ghost also looked solid. Good night for everyone, really.)
- Can the power play get back on track after an 0-for-7 showing last time around? A lot like the Edmonton game, actually. Scoreless on the night in four tries, but some really good puck movement and chances in their early opportunities before getting progressively worse as the game went on. Not that it ended up mattering.
Comment of the Night:
MERMAIDS ARE REAL!
Tampa on Monday. Finish this homestand strong. Observations in the morning. Good night and go Flyers.