The Red Wings rolled into Philadelphia Tuesday night with points at a premium for both clubs. The Wings sat just one point out of first overall in the Western Conference, while the Flyers need all the points they can get in a competitive Atlantic Division. On a special night where the Flyers retired Mark Howe’s #2 jersey, the Flyers and Bryzgalov gutted out a 3-2 win for two of the biggest points thus far.
The first period saw the Flyers falling behind, yet again, on the game’s first shot. Henrik Zetterberg potted his 16th of the season on a nasty backhander. Despite being shaky in the opening minutes of games, Ilya Bryzgalov had ZERO chance on the pepper from Zetterberg. So let’s just squash any thoughts of it being his fault right now. Yet again, the Flyers responded positively.
Philadelphia managed to outshoot the Wings 9-2 in the first stanza with goals coming from Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux. Voracek took some miscommunication between MacDonald and his defensive teammate and made the Wings pay. Jake grabbed a loose puck and jammed it in front of the Detroit cage. It ricocheted off a defenseman and past MacDonald.
Shortly after that Giroux composed a sweet symphony on ice. Coburn slammed a loose puck past the defense of the Red Wings and Giroux did the rest. He glided in as if riding a Pegasus, draped in gold cloth that would make Midas himself jealous, while emerging from the clouds from heaven itself.
The only thing greater than the grace of his strides on approach, was the move and finish itself. With a subtle flinch of his stick he froze MacDonald as if he was caught in the headlights of an oncoming semi. With a quick drop of his shoulder, Giroux made MacDonald look worse than DeNicola does when trying to ask Max Talbot on a date....
“I , uh, um, I, What? I want, Max, I um, I want you! Wait, What?"
The Flyers carried a 2-1 lead into the 2nd period, the same period where Nicklas Kronwall decided to make his presence felt --
Now there has been never ending debate about the legality of this hit. I will simply say this. The hit was avoidable and the principal point of contact was Voracek’s head. Take what you will from this statement.
The thing that alarms me is the utter lack of response from the boys in orange. Other than a few words from the yapping Brayden Schenn, I saw NO response from anyone wearing the Flying P. Now I think it is ridiculous when players attack after just any hit, but there are certain times when a player needs to answer the bell for what he has done. Unfortunately, Kronwall never had to do so. Not that he would fight anyway. But I digress.
Max Talbot added a tally while shorthanded to extend the lead to 3-1. Max fired the puck into a yawning net past none other than Mr. Kronwall himself. How’s that for retribution, #55? Game Winner.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the stellar play of Ilya Bryzgalov. Ilya stopped 35 of 37-shots, several of which were at huge times during the game, including a point blank chance by Valtteri Filppula with 56-seconds left --
Bryzgalov truly looks like he is coming into his own towards the end of the season. When, we all know, it matters most. This bodes very well for the Flyers coming down the stretch in a jumbled Eastern Conference.
If Philadelphia can get healthy and gel down the stretch, there is no telling how far they can go. We can only hope it’s a path that leads them to 40 lbs of silver come June.
Until next time…LET'S GO FLYERS!!!!
Updates on Voracek (stitches, concussion testing) and Jagr (hip) will be coming sometime today. Stay tuned to O&BP.