Oh Danny Boy! Briere Nets the OT Winner in a 4-3 Victory >

by Nick Arnold

Saturday, Feb. 09, 2013

Writer’s Note: The Flyers are currently 3-0-0 in games where I am pre-assigned to write the game review for. Hooray for me!

Ahh, the weekend. The short period of time between work weeks where we try to recuperate from the feeling of “I swear to God I’m going to choke my boss out with a phone cord if he doesn’t give me the raise I so desperately need and deserve”, or at least a similar feeling of anger and frustration. And what better way to start off the weekend than with a Saturday afternoon Flyers game at the Well? How about a Saturday afternoon Flyers game in which Wayne the train Simmonds makes his return?

That’s right, friends. The Wayne Train is back on its tracks after being derailed by Erskine’s elbow eight days ago. The Flyers and their fans let out a collective sigh upon learning that Simmonds did not suffer as bad an injury as was originally thought, and were treated to a quick return to the ice by Simmonds today.

While Wayne didn’t make much of a direct impact on the outcome of the game, he looked good out there for the 15+ minutes of ice time he got, most of it spent on Giroux’s wing on the first line. The team as a whole had a few slipups and defensive breakdowns, but all-in-all it was a good effort by our boys in Orange.

Unfortunately, one of those breakdowns occurred only 17 seconds into the game. The Flyers looked out of sorts as they fell out of position right after a faceoff loss in their zone, leaving Tlusty wide open for a shot on Bryzgalov. Our netminder made the first save, but left a tasty rebound off his pad that was quickly deposited into the back of the net. 1-0 Hurricanes.

The defense hardened up a bit after that, blocking shots and taking away passing lanes. Each defensive pairing buckled down, but none more than Timonen and Luke Schenn.

Schenn dished out hits like it was his job – which uhh…it is, I guess – and Timonen did everything right, from blocking shots, taking away passing lanes and even sprawling to the ice to clear the puck a few times. 

And even though several of the pucks Timonen blocked left him on the ice for a second or two before he limped to the bench, you better believe he was back on the ice a few shifts later to do it all over again. I don’t think I could say it any better than my buddy Mikey D did: “Timonen and L. Schenn are pure poetry together; Schenn is the paper, Timonen the pen.”

About 6:30 into the first period, Wallace was ejected from the game for a big hit on Tye McGinn. Wallace left the ice and hit McGinn up high, elbowing McGinn’s head into the glass. Thankfully McGinn wasn’t injured on the hit and returned to the game, continuing the strong play he’s exhibited throughout his time with the Flyers this season.

With six minutes left in the period, the younger of the Schenn brothers netted his second goal of the season to tie the game. As the Flyers pressed in the Hurricanes’ zone, Read had to go to the bench after his stick got slashed in half with no penalty call. Basically short handed, Timonen set up at the left point and shot a wicked wrister towards the goal. B. Schenn positioned himself perfectly to block out a defender and got his stick on the ice to deflect the shot right past Ward for the tying goal.

The Read-Couturier-Knuble line continues to be dominant each game, and today was no exception. Early on in the second period, Matt Read took advantage of a Carolina turnover off of Knuble’s skate to whip one past Ward for his 5th goal of the season and the Flyers’ 2nd goal of the game to take a 2-1 lead. Read is the leading goal scorer on the team, although today’s goal was his only goal on a team other than Florida this season.

The Flyers power play was average today. No powerplay goals, but not for a lack of trying. There were a few setups right off the draw on the powerplay early in the 2nd, but Ward came up big and turned away any shots he faced on the Flyers’ man advantage. Shortly after, Philly had a 3-on-1 chance brewing, but just as Ward was done soiling himself the play was blown dead on a penalty call. Zac Rinaldo was harassed behind the play for roughing up Alexander “I get paid too much” Semin. The resulting call was offsetting minors – Harrison for roughing, and Rinaldo for embellishment.

Now normally I’d be fuming at Rinaldo for taking another dumb penalty and screwing his team over. However, this is a case of Rinaldo getting a penalty for nothing more than being Rinaldo. As Harrison shoved him into the boards, Zac did nothing more than laugh about it. How this constitutes as diving or embellishment is way beyond me, but wondering how officials make these calls has become a waste of time and breath.

The fast paced offense continued immediately as the Hurricanes scored on the ensuing 4-on-4. Jeff Skinner was left unimpeded to shoot on net, pick up the rebound, swing to the other side of the net and beat Bryz up high. Tie game…for about fifteen seconds.

Brayden Schenn, after reading Mikey D’s rant about how he hasn’t done much of anything good so far this season, sped through center ice and into the Carolina zone with his head up all the way. He sent a pass through both defensemen right onto the stick of Jake Voracek, who finished the play off for a 3-2 lead.

The third period started out with major defensive play on the Flyers’ part. Grossmann destroyed a daydreaming Semin in the open ice early. Later, Luke Schenn laid out Eric Staal. The positioning and shot blocking was impressive, and the Flyers dominated the physical play. In the end, our boys outhit the ‘Canes by a whopping 32 to 16 margin, and blocked 20 shots to the Carolina’s 11 blocked shots. It was refreshing to see the Bullies hitting and playing solid defense.

About 8 minutes into the third, the Hurricanes set up in the Flyers’ zone. It was one of those “Uh oh…something bad is going to happen on this shift” feelings. They were firing the puck left and right, most of the shots missing or being blocked but not leaving the zone. Finally, Corvo blasted one high that went off of Foster. Bryzgalov had no chance as the puck trickled into the net to tie the game.

Bryzgalov was dependable again today. He left a few more rebounds than I would have liked, but besides on the first goal he was able to make up for it and make the second and sometimes third saves. On a late game penalty kill on a questionable elbowing call on Grossmann, Bryz faced a one timer from Semin to Staal and came up big, stoning him and allowing the Flyers to regroup and clear the puck.

He came up big once again with 12 seconds left, making a few saves and setting up what was almost the best last-second goal I could have witnessed. Voracek sped up the ice, stripping a Carolina defenseman of the puck and racing into the Hurricanes’ zone. He waited and passed it to Giroux, who stalled and made a beautiful behind the back pass to Read, who was left 1-on-1 with Ward. Read made a move and whipped a shot at Ward, who made a solid save. The puck trickled free, but Read hit the post as the last second ticked off the clock. For the 2nd straight game, the Flyers were headed to overtime.

As soon as OT began, a defensive breakdown led to chances for the ‘Canes to put the game away, but Bryzgalov wasn’t having any of it in his house. He again left a juicy rebound or two, but got back to make the second saves. Grossmann and Briere set up in the offensive zone. Danny Boy criss-crossed with Grossmann, decided to keep the puck after seeing that his d-man was covered, and ripped a shot that went off the post, off of Ward, and into the net.

I swear, someone must have told Briere that it was May before this game began. While he had a few turnovers and missed passes, he had 5 shots on goal and was all over the ice at times throughout the game, setting up plays and giving Ward trouble around the net. His efforts paid off as he scored his 2nd goal of the season to lift the Flyers to victory.

Bryzgalov stopped 30 shots, the defense stepped up, and the goal-scorers continued to do what they do. Giroux had another quiet game with no points and a -1, but his passes and positioning were much better this game. He almost set up two goals and rang a shot off the post. If he keeps moving in this direction, it’s only a matter of time before our Ginger Jesus erupts into the offensive machine he’s supposed to be. In the meantime, the Flyers move to 5-6-1 after a successful 3-0-1 homestand.

Good afternoon, everyone, and good hockey.

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