Usually called upon for solid defense, Kimmo Timonen won the game tonight for the Flyers netting the winning goal in the shootout against Tampa Bay making the final score 4-3.
A two point night from James van Riemsdyk along with goals from Scott Hartnell and Darroll Powe allowed the Flyers to push tonight's game to extra time. The win was the Flyers' first of the season against the Lightning, making their record 1-3-0 against the Southeast division foe.
The two points from the shootout gives the Flyers 79 points on the season -- now just two back of Vancouver for the best record in the NHL -- and an overall record of 37-14-5.
Trying to win for the first time in four tries over the Bolts, the Flyers came out with a lot of pith and vinegar aimed towards their seemingly unbeatable foe in the Lightning. Physical play and attitude after the play was displayed early by both teams that included Randy Jones and van Riemsdyk dropping the gloves after Jones laid a questionable hit around the knees on Claude Giroux.
The first half of the opening period saw the Lightning dictate play as they outshot Philly 10-2 in the early going. It seemed as though the Flyers were playing the trap as they constantly dumped in the puck from the red line, lightly forechecked, and looked for a counter attack to the Lightning's offensive pressure.
The Flyers' tactic of patience payed off as they found themselves with the first lead of the game.
After dumping the puck in behind Dwayne Roloson's net, Jeff Carter raced to the puck gaining position on the nearest defender then moved the puck to Giroux who was along the boards behind the left side of the net. As he received the pass, Giroux lofted a backhanded pass to van Riemsdyk in the slot, who bobbled the puck before gaining control of it and ripping it past Roloson high on the glove side. JVR's 13th goal on the season gave Philly the initial edge nearly thirteen minutes into the game.
The goal ended up momentarily altering both team's game plans as the Flyers then applied an unstoppable amount of offensive pressure and the Lightning were left looking for answers. This interaction between teams ended with a flurry of Lightning' chances just before Danny Briere was called for hooking with two minutes and eleven seconds left in the period.
Vincent Lecavalier missed an opportunity to tie the game after he failed to put a backhander home late in the period. Lecavalier received the puck at the bottom of the circle to Brian Boucher's left and moved from left to right on Boucher creating an area for him to deposit the puck for the game-tying goal. Unfortunately for Lecavalier, he lost the puck while trying to shoot it leaving the Lightning shotless as well as goalless on the power play.
The first period ended with a Flyers' 1-0 lead despite Philly being outshot 12-4.
The lead didn't last long in the second period as Dominic Moore scored before the one minute mark. As Andrej Meszaros missed his spot on a cross ice pass in the defensive zone, Moore picked up the puck along the boards and put a shot on net. As the puck deflected off Braydon Coburn, who was standing in the slot, it found it's way past Boucher and into the net to tie the game up at one. The goal was Moore's tenth on the season.
The Lightning looked to work off their recently found momentum and work the power play after Sean O'Donnell went to the box for boarding Steve Downie in the corner. The Flyers' penalty kill kept the Lightning off the board yet again and allowed Philly to go on an advantage of their own after Pavel Kubina tackled Giroux and went to the box for holding.
Making Kubina pay for his risky actions, JVR was able to create on the power play and help give the Flyers another one goal lead.
After holding onto the puck at the top of the circle to Roloson's left, JVR let a shot go on net. Hartnell apparently felt that screening Roloson was not enough so he decided to deflect the puck as well moving it from the top left corner to right top corner. Hartnell's 18th goal on the season gave Philly a 2-1 lead that wouldn't last for long.
Powe rarely finds the score sheet, but when he does it's a usually a thing of beauty. This is because it will either be shorthanded or just a goal that comes as a result of hard work. This goal was a combination of both as Powe earned a penalty shot after hustling down a loose puck that was entering Tampa's defensive zone, broke in alone then was slashed on the hands by Stamkos.
As he picked up the puck at center ice for the penalty shot, Powe moved in on Roloson, faking a shot at the middle of the circles before releasing a shot at the bottom of the circles that nailed the top left corner of the net for Powe's 5th goal of the season. The Flyers' lead was extended to 3-1, but that advantage failed to last long as well.
A little over a minute after Powe's beauty, Lecavalier redeemed himself for his earlier flub by deftly tipping in a Marc-Andre Bergeron shot from the point cutting the Flyers' lead to one halfway through the game. Lecavalier's 13th goal on the season wasn't the Lightning's last strike of the period.
Teddy Purcell knotted the game 3-3, when he ripped a laser top shelf from the bottom of the left circle as Boucher moved left to right in the crease, the Flyers not only saw Tampa's finest goal of the night but they also saw their two-goal lead disappear. Purcell netted his 12th goal on the season just fifty-three seconds after Lecavalier's goal changing the direction of the game very quickly.
The second half of the period didn't see any goals, but was still fast-paced and offensively dominant. Both teams had chances as the period concluded yielding a 3-3 score and a 18-17 shot advantage for the Lightning.
The Flyers were able to apply substantial pressure early resulting in a hooking call against Mattias Ohlund four minutes and fifteen seconds into the final period of play. With their best chance coming on a pass across the crease from Briere to Matt Carle, who just missed putting a stick on it, the Flyers were unable to capitalize on the first man advantage in the final twenty minutes.
Most of the third period was rather uneventful as it seemed both teams were satisfied playing for a tie. A period that didn't see several scoring chances or too much pressure from either team gave a point to each as regulation ended in a tie at three goals apiece.
The extra period started off with quick scoring chances for both teams before the one minute mark arrived. The next four minutes were filled with non-stop end-to-end rushes by both teams somehow resulting in not a single goal extending the game into a shootout. The Flyers' best chance came off a Briere wrist shot from the top of the slot after he danced his way into the zone.
What stood in front of the Flyers and two points on the evening was a shootout. Briere opened the shootout by failing to fake out Roloson as he gloved the shot aimed towards the top right corner. Boucher answered with a glove save of his own on as Victor Hedman had a similar attempt.
Giroux lost control of the puck at the top of the crease missing his opportunity to hand Philly the lead, while Moore scored blocker side on Boucher to give Tampa the 1-0 lead in the shootout.
Mike Richards made the shot to keep the Flyers alive ripping a shot top right corner on Roloson, while Adam Hall failed to win it for Tampa hitting the outside of the right post.
Both new addition Kris Versteeg and Simon Gagne missed in the next round giving Carter a chance to give the Flyers a lead. Carter missed his patented back hand attempt leaving the door open for Lecavalier to win it. He too failed to score sending the shootout into the sixth round.
Ville Leino and Stamkos missed in the sixth round resulting in Timonen taking the ice. Not being the go-to guy for the game winning goal in a shootout, Timonen came through in the clutch for his teammates making a move to get Roloson to go right as he snuck the puck in near the left post and raised his fist in glory. After Martin St.Louis was stopped with a Boucher glove save, the Flyers were awarded their first win of the season against the Lightning.
In his first game with the Flyers, Kris Versteeg didn't register a single point and was a minus-1 on the night. Versteeg also missed a shot in the shootout as Roloson made an awkward tumbling save. His presence wasn't heavily felt tonight, but the addition of Versteeg will undoubtedly benefit the team in the near future.
Van Riemsdyk played one of his stronger games on the season recording a Gordie Howe hat trick (a goal, an assist, and a fighting major). After opening the scoring in the first period, JVR set up Hartnell for a much needed goal in an absurd second period that saw five goals tacked on within the twenty minute span. JVR also sent a message early in the game by standing up for Giroux after Jones put a heavy hip check on him.
Chris Pronger had a strong game as he agitated the crowd and played physical early. Recognizing Tampa's attempt to trap the Flyers as they traveled through the neutral zone, Pronger did what players couldn't figure out 15 years ago, and decided to hold onto the puck for ten to fifteen second intervals multiple times throughout the first period getting a rise out of the crowd early on. He didn't register a point on the night, but Pronger was a plus-1 rating.
Notes: The Flyers improved to 2-3 in shootouts this season...Tampa fell to 5-3 in shootouts...Van Riemsdyk was the only player with two points on the evening...With the addition of JVR's goal tonight, the Flyers now have nine 13-goal scorers on the season...The Flyers went 1-3-0 against Tampa on the season and are now 8-4-1 against the Southeast division on the season (TBL 1-3-0, WSH 2-0-1, CAR 3-0-0, ATL 1-0-0, FLA 1-1-0).
The Flyers learned the hard way on Sunday afternoon that more chances don't always lead to more goals as the Kings beat the Flyers 1-0, behind 40 saves from Jonathan Quick.
Drew Doughty had the only goal of the game scoring before the twenty-second mark of the second period. The Orange and Black outworked and outplayed the Kings the entire game, but their inability to put at least one shot past Quick results in the loss, the fifth time the Eastern leaders have been blanked this year.
Within the first minute of the game, the Flyers were already dictating play. Early pressure from Philly's forwards led to a Chris Pronger slapshot ringing off the inside of the right goal post just before one minute had gone by.
A few minutes later down near Sergei Bobrovsky's net, Daniel Carcillo and Kyle Clifford decided to settle a disagreement by fighting. While neither player landed any serious blows, Carcillo was off-balance from the start and was lucky to have the bout go down as a draw.
The result of the fight gave neither team momentum as the game carried forward. However, the majority of the opening 20 minutes seemed to have taken place in the Flyers' offensive zone. Their whole offensive scheme was to cycle below the net for a while, get a hard shot off from the point, and create chances off those rebounds.
The first of several questionable calls the Flyers received from the refs took place with about four minutes left in the first.
After a surge of offensive pressure from the Flyers, Danny Briere "tripped" Dustin Brown while chasing down a puck near the side boards. The penalty actually resulted in more shots on goal by Philadelphia rather than Los Angeles and the score remained 0-0.
The end of the first period finished without a goal despite twenty-seven shots being placed on net (LAK 12- PHI 15).
Bobrovsky's only lapse of the day came in the opening moments of the second period -- but unfortunately for the home team, it cost them the game.
Anze Kopitar found the puck in the corner after a board battle and turned around giving the puck to Doughty who was moving into the slot. Thanks to a Wayne Simmonds' screen in front, Bob was unable to find the wrist shot -- Doughty's seventh of the season -- as it rocketed past him giving the Kings the only goal they needed.
In an attempt to change the direction of the game, Jody Shelley agitated Kevin Westgarth into a fight. After the whistle was blown, Shelley pushed Westgarth to the ground in front of both benches. Instead of accepting the abuse, Westgarth decided to fight back. Westgarth landed more punches, but Shelley landed the bigger punches and earned a clear decision in the tussle.
The Flyers had several power play opportunities to score as the Kings were hit with a pair of too many men on the ice penalties. Unable to register on either man advantage opportunity, the frustrated home team ended up going into the final period down by a goal.
The final twenty minutes saw the Flyers' offense do everything but score. Outshooting the opposition 15-6, the Flyers didn't deserve the final score of 1-0.
It was Los Angeles' first win in Philadelphia since 2000, its first regulation victory here since 1993, and the first shutout decision over the Flyers in the Quaker City since 1973. The 1-0 score was also the lowest between these clubs in Philly since Fred Shero's team topped LA by the same score on October 10, 1976.
The only thing the Flyers' offense could have improved on was creating better scoring chances. The whole 60 minutes seemed to consist of nothing but offensive chances, but the majority were shots from the point and shots from along the side boards. There weren't many shots on net from the slot, odd-man rushes or flat-out breakaways. That's not to say it wasn't easy on Quick, whose head and body were on a swivel for large portions of the Flyers' offensive thrust.
There were some absolutely unacceptable calls against the Flyers today. Briere's tripping call in the first period wasn't bad, but Pronger's roughing call in the third period was horrible. After Jarret Stoll jumped into Pronger's back from the blind side and pushed him into the boards, Pronger received a roughing call for pushing Stoll once in retaliation.
The fact that there wasn't a charging, roughing, or boarding call on Stoll would have failed to make enough sense, but to turn around and give Pronger a roughing call in response was just absurd.
Notes: Until Sunday, LA had lost four straight in Philadelphia since 2000, only scoring two goals and were blanked three times...The Flyers went 1-1-0 against Los Angeles on the season (7-4 win at Staples Center on 12/30/10)...With the loss to the Kings, Peter Laviolette's club fell to 2-3-1 against the Pacific division on the season (DAL 1-0-0, PHX 0-0-0, SJS 0-0-1, ANA 0-2-0, LAK 1-1-0)...Despite the setback, the Flyers still hold a 42-17-7 here against the Kings since 1967.
Goals by Jeff Carter and Danny Briere led the Flyers to their third straight win. After forty scoreless minutes, both of the Flyers goals along with Tuomo Ruutu's goal for the Hurricanes came in the final period of regulation. The win pushes the Flyers to 36-13-5 on the season.
The game started out just like the Flyers had planned. With Brett Carson going to the box for high-sticking Mike Richards 1:16 into the game, the Flyers powerplay had a chance to score on the league's 23rd ranked penalty kill. The opportunity went to waste as a lone Kimmo Timonen shot was the only thing the Flyers could produce with the man advantage.
After the Flyers applied a good amount of pressure throughout the opening period, the Hurricanes had their chance in the closing minutes of the period. Daniel Carcillo was called for interference with about two minutes left in the period and the 'Canes powerplay was knocking at the doorstep. Several chances resulted in nothing for Carolina, but it did help to kill the momentum Philly had gained earlier in the game.
A slow, boring period worked to the Hurricanes advantage. Playing a team they have had difficulty playing this year, Carolina came out buzzing in the second period. The few minutes of fury by the Hurricanes' offense resulted in nothing more than providing Claude Giroux with a lower body injury benching him for a few minutes. Giroux returned later in the period.
It didn't take the Flyers long to respond as they shifted the offensive tide about five minutes into the period. Good pressure by James van Riemsdyk and Nikolay Zherdev resulted in Ryan Carter taking a roughing penalty on JVR behind the net. The call could have gone either way, but the Flyers received the fortuitous assessment.
Cam Ward kept the game scoreless as he made a save on a Carter shot through traffic on the powerplay. Moments later, Timonen ended the Flyers' powerplay by interfering with Patrick Dwyer after the puck bounced past him at the blue line. The time spent 4-on-4 was uneventful as well as Carolina's shortened powerplay that followed.
Neither team took hold of the second half of the second period, but the Hurricanes did have the opportunity to take the lead with multiple Flyers going to the penalty box. After Richards went to the box for slashing Jeff Skinner, the Canes inept powerplay saw another attempt one minute after Richards returned to the ice. Carolina's man advantage due to a Briere hook on Joe Corvo only lasted a minute before Ruutu went to the sin bin for slashing Timonen.
The second period ended with a Giroux check on Chad LaRose along the boards to the right of Brian Boucher. While carrying the puck between the left circle and side boards, Giroux saw LaRose charging at him and promptly knocked him to the ground. Doesn't sound like a thrilling play, but up to this point in the game it was the play of the night.
With 41 seconds remaining on Ruutu's penalty, the Flyers were able to break the scoreless tie. Picking up a Chris Pronger drop pass, Richards entered the zone over the middle of the blue line before passsing it to Carter who was standing at the top of the right circle. Carter let a wrist shot fly aimed at the top of the net finding its way past the goal line after hitting Cam Ward's glove.
Carter's 26th goal of the season gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead 18 seconds into the final period.
A few minutes later, Braydon Coburn was able to get under Skinner's skin goading him into a charging call. Two shots were registered, but the Flyers were unable to find a goal with the power play. Despite not capitalizing on the man advantage, the Flyers started demonstrating puck possession before the Canes were called for yet another penalty. A Brandon Sutter tripping penalty gave the Flyers another chance to extend their lead.
The second goal in this low scoring affair was scored by Briere halfway through the period. A beautiful passing play led to Briere roofing the puck on Ward as he dropped to his knees before Briere released the shot. Andrej Meszaros passed the puck from the left boards cross ice to Scott Hartnell along the blue line who then passed it to Giroux just inside the top of the left circle. Catching the puck on his backhand, Giroux switched the puck to his forehand and worked his way to the slot where he then dished it to Briere. With only the top part of the net available, Briere was able to find an opening and give Philly the 2-0 lead.
The comfort of a two-goal lead lasted all of forty seconds before Ruutu cut the lead to one.
A bad neutral zone turnover by Blair Betts led to Chad LaRose taking the puck into Carolina's offensive zone. LaRose's rebound led to Ruutu putting in his own rebound as Darroll Powe attempted to push him over at the top of Boucher's crease. Ruutu's 13th goal on the season gave the Hurricanes hope as they only trailed by a goal with a little under eight minutes to play.
The Hurricanes spent the remaining time making a last-ditch effort to tie the game, but they were unsuccessful as Philly held on to win 2-1. In his first game against Carolina this season, Boucher made 31 saves on the 32 shots he saw during the game. The lone goal he allowed on the night could have easily been prevented if he had received a little more help from his defense.
Until Carter's goal opened the last period, the game had been very boring and uneventful. Not only were there no goals, there were also no scoring chances, big hits, big saves, or fights. Nothing memorable occurred in the first forty minutes.
Knowing their opposition's weakness, the Flyers were able to score both of their goals on the night when Carolina had a man in the penalty box. Presented with six openings, Philly's power play found the back of the net twice in the third helping to lead their team to victory.
Notes: Boucher was less than 8 minutes away from getting the Flyers' first shutout on the season...The Flyers are the only team left in the NHL to have not blanked an opponent...In their last 18 games against the Hurricanes, the Flyers are 15-0-3...The last time the Flyers lost to the Hurricanes in regulation was their 2-1 loss on 12/19/06...Philly improved to 3-0-0 against the Hurricanes on the season and 7-4-1 against the Southeast division (TBL 0-3-0, WSH 2-0-1, CAR 3-0-0, ATL 1-0-0, FLA 1-1-0).
With only two games since last Wednesday, the Flyers had the lightest work week of any team in the Atlantic Division. Since both of those games were against Western Conference teams, the schedule didn't feature any intense divisional games as well. Nonetheless Philly went 2-0-0 on the week notching wins against the Nashville Predators on Thursday and Dallas Stars on Saturday.
Ville Leino's first two-goal game in the NHL led the Flyers to victory Thursday beating the Predators 3-2. Both of Leino's goals came in the 3rd period, including a spin-o-rama goal from the slot with about three minutes left in regulation as the game winner.
Goals from Andrej Meszaros and Darroll Powe were unexpected but greatly appreciated on Saturday as Philly beat Dallas 3-1. Powe's game winning tally came early in the second period and came short handed. Brian Boucher played great in net making 30 of 31 saves.
Jeff Carter produced the most for the Flyers this week scoring two goals and two assists. He had a three point game on Thursday scoring Philly's first goal and assisting on both of Leino's goals. Then, on Saturday Carter scored the only goal in the third period to extend the Flyers lead to two.
Despite winning all possible games this week, the Flyers were unable to gain ground on the second place Pittsburgh Penguins. Here's a look at how the rest of the Atlantic Division did this week.
Pittsburgh Penguins: 2-2-0. The Penguins had the most entertaining week out of all teams in the division. The week started off with a 3-0 win over the Islanders, but that wasn't the major story relating to the game. With about twenty seconds left in the third period, Islanders' goalie Rick DiPietro hits the Pens' Matt Cooke as he was skating into the corner. As a scrum occurred in the corner, DiPietro then decided to taunt Penguins' goalie Brent Johnson into a fight, which Johnson surprisingly agreed to take part in. Just as DiPietro started to smile, Johnson landed a left hook knocking DiPietro to the ice. Both goalies left the game meaning Johnson wasn't rewarded the shutout.
This was most likely the last time all week anybody in the Pittsburgh organization was smiling. During their 3-2 come-from-behind victory against the Sabres on Friday, Evgeni Malkin left during the second period with a lower-body injury. The Penguins later found out Malkin had suffered a torn ACL and MCL putting the center out for the season.
The effects of Malkin's injury were felt immediately as the Pens fell to the Capitals on national television losing 3-0 Sunday. A Penguins' team that got dominated by the Caps looked lost without their two star players in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Hope was just around the corner, however, as they were to play the Blue Jackets, a team they beat 7-2 earlier in the season.
The boost of hope expected to come from beating Columbus never came as the Blue Jackets walked into Pittsburgh and cleaned up 4-1 last night. Both Rick Nash and Jakub Voracek registered a goal and an assist as Tyler Kennedy scored Pitt's lone goal on the evening. Kennedy's goal is the only goal scored in the seven periods the Penguins have played since losing Malkin.
Any other week it would be good news for Pittsburgh that they kept up with Philadelphia. However, the news of Malkin's injury has already affected the team negatively. For the Pens sake Crosby will return soon and hopefully restore order.
New York Rangers: 0-3-0. Although they didn't lose a star player for the season, the Rangers had quite the horrible week as well. Losing every game they played this week and not gaining a point in the process gave New York the honor of dropping them to nine points behind the Penguins within the division.
The Rangers were inches away from tying their Thursday game up against the Devils, but New Jersey held on for a 3-2 win. Goals from Ryan Callahan and Vinny Prospal cut the Devils' lead to one with seventeen minutes left in the third period. Unable to put another one past New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur resulted in the Rangers first loss on the week.
Carey Price turned out to be too much for the Rangers on Saturday as Montreal's netminder got the shutout helping his team win 2-0. A Scott Gomez goal late in the second period was all Price needed to beat the Rangers as he saved all 35 shots he saw in the game. Tomas Plekanec put home the empty netter giving the Canadiens a 2-0 victory and the Rangers a bitter taste in their mouth. Despite putting seven more shots on net, the Rangers were unable to register a single goal.
New York's woes continued as they took on the Central Division leading Detroit Red Wings ultimately losing 3-2. The bad breaks for the Rangers kept coming as they were unable to get the win despite putting up 47 shots on net. Pavel Datsyuk and Jiri Hudler both had a goal and an assist as Drew Miller's fourth goal on the season turned out to be the game winning goal for the Red Wings.
The mini losing streak the Rangers are currently enduring is undoubtedly hurting them in the playoff hunt, but they'll most likely get out of this hole. An unlucky break in a frantic finish, facing an unbeatable goalie, and not getting rewarded for almost putting fifty shots on net is a span of three games that couldn't demonstrate unfortunate luck any better.
New Jersey Devils: 3-0-1. The Devils haven't been playing like one of the worst three teams in the league lately and their record as of late is showing that. Registering a point in all four of their games this week, the Devils obtained seven of the possible eight points.
A big week from Ilya Kovalchuk, Dainius Zubrus, and Travis Zajac pushed New Jersey to success. Zajac had two goals and four assists which included his three point game on Sunday against the Canadiens (one goal, two assists). Kovalchuk had two goals and three assists on the week highlighted with his two-goal game against Montreal on Sunday. Zubrus had two goals and an assist in the four-game span registering the Devils' first goal on Sunday against the Canadiens.
After being on the beneficial side of the aforementioned situation with the Rangers on Thursday, the Devils hosted the Panthers on Friday in what ended up being their lone loss within the week. The Panthers' Rostislav Olesz found the back of the net two minutes into overtime giving Florida the additional point. This ended up being the only down point in the week for New Jersey.
Two days later, the Devils handled the same Canadiens' team that shutout the Rangers the day before. Scoring two goals in the first period while adding another in the second period, New Jersey ended up beating Carey Price three times on the evening giving them a 3-1 lead entering the third period. Kovalchuk added an empty netter to make the final score 4-1.
The Hurricanes saw a one goal lead late in the game evaporate as the Devils tied the game up and won it in overtime 3-2 last night. With just under three minutes left in regulation, Nick Palmieri notched his fifth goal of the season tying the game at two. As the game extended past regulation, Mattias Tedenby would score a little over half way through the overtime session. Tedenby's second on the night and seventh on the season made the Devils 3-0-1 within the week.
With the exception of their 4-1 win Sunday, all of New Jersey's games this week were decided by one goal. In those game, the Devils went 2-0-1. Good teams win the close ones and if the Devils keep it up they can possibly make their season reasonable rather than letting it remain horrible.
New York Islanders: 1-2-0. The injury bug keeps hurting the Islanders as two of their goaltenders were injured this week. Both Rick DiPietro and Kevin Poulin were injured and suffered the injuries outside of game situations. DiPietro suffered facial fractures and knee swelling after being knocked out by Brent Johnson while Poulin injured his knee last night in pregame warmups after hitting a rut in the ice. With Nathan Lawson already sitting out due to knee problems, the Islanders forced Mikko Koskinen into his first NHL game ever.
The Islanders only bright spot in the week was their 5-3 win over Ottawa. Rob Schremp scored two goals including the game winner as the Islanders escaped a first period that saw a total of six goals. Kevin Poulin registered the win making twenty of twenty-three saves on the night.
An embarrassing 3-0 loss to Pittsburgh on Wednesday and a 5-3 loss last night with a goalie making his NHL in net, the Islanders had a rough week to say the least.
Goaltending has without a doubt now become just as big an issue for the Islanders as injuries. With the goaltending tandem of Mikko Koskinen and emergency call-up Joel Martin, the Islanders surely can't be confident with the current goalie situation.
Goals from unexpected sources and strong goaltending helped the Flyers beat the visiting Dallas Stars 3-1 on Saturday night, in the first of two meetings this season.
Andrej Meszaros opened the scoring with a late first period goal and Darroll Powe netted a shorthanded goal early in the second period that ended up being the game winning tally.
After a garbage goal by Brenden Morrow later in the period, Jeff Carter scored the lone goal of the third period to put the game away for Philly. The win is the Flyers' second in a row and eighth in 10, and improves them to 35-13-5.
Dallas received a rude invitation from the host Flyers as Philly relentlessly forechecked and aggresively pursued the puck in the opening minutes of the game. The Stars' inability to prevent Philly's cycling in the zone led to Kari Lehtonen's frustration spilling over into violence.
After covering up the puck in the crease, Daniel Carcillo arrived at Lehtonen's doorstep only to be greeted with a punch. A roughing call was assessed to Lehtonen and the Flyers only had a Chris Pronger shot go on net over the next two minutes.
Since the Stars were unable to provide any chances at even strength, one would think their first opportunity of the period was about to happen as they went to a man advantage after a Matt Carle tripping call halfway through the period. Two minutes later, the game remained scoreless after two shots by Brad Richards were denied by Brian Boucher. Most of the remaining time left in the period was spent in the Flyers' offensive zone leading to the first goal of the game.
Ville Leino carried the puck from the left wing all the way around the net and back to the right side, where he found Meszaros. The lanky defenseman danced with the puck from the blue line towards the inside of the left circle. Finding an opening through traffic, Meszaros ripped a shot top right corner that Lehtonen saw too late putting the Flyers up 1-0. The goal was Meszaros' 4th on the season and came with 1:20 left in the first period.
The second period started off with the Flyers shorthanded due to a Nikolay Zherdev holding call late in the first. A situation favoring the Stars to score resulted in quite the opposite outcome.
With about half a minute left in the penalty to Zherdev, Powe and Blair Betts entered the zone 2-on-1. A slight hesitation gesturing a pass to Betts allowed Powe to blast a wrist shot from the right circle over Lehtonen's glove to increase Philly's lead to two. Powe's first shorthanded goal this season was also his 4th overall and first since mid-November.
The two tallies spanned two periods, but were only separated by 1:39 of game clock.
The Flyers' forecheck started to back off in the second period allowing Dallas to create offensive chances. All the chances led to the Stars cutting their deficit to one a little over twelve minutes into the period.
Mike Ribeiro skated from behind the net to the right side of the crease with his back to the blue line and gave a pass to Morrow who was standing right next to the goal line on the left side of the net. Morrow's 23rd on the year gave the Stars a one-goal deficit with plenty of time to get the equalizer.
The Stars' best chances of the game came in the remaining seven minutes of the second period and opening minutes of the third. It took the Flyers only four minutes into the third to start taking over again. The pressure essentially resulted in the demise of Dallas as Mark Fistric was called for holding Danny Briere. The Flyers didn't score on the power play, but it did add on to the strong forecheck Philly produced that period.
All their hard work and effort resulted in the game's final goal with about ten minutes left in regulation.
A hard wrist shot from the bottom of the left circle by Carter leaked it's way through Lehtonen and over the goal line for Philly's third goal on the evening. Carter's 25th on the season put the Flyers up by a pair with too little time for the Stars to come back.
After a half period of the Flyers dumping the puck out of their defensive zone and missing several empty-net chances, the game ended with the Flyers on top 3-1.
Boucher had a strong game making 30 saves on 31 shots keeping the Flyers in the game despite surges from the Dallas' forwards in the second and third periods. Boucher's big save of the night came on a Steve Ott wrist shot from the middle of the left circle that was heading to the top right corner of the net before Boucher gloved it down with a sweeping flourish.
Notes: Boucher improved to 12-6-2 on the year and won his first game since January 16...Carter became the 2nd Flyer this season to reach the 25 goal mark; the other is Danny Briere who currently has 26 goals...The Flyers had an uncharacteristic 2nd period scoring as many goals as the Stars and getting heavily outplayed for a portion of the period...The win over the Stars was the Flyers 2nd win over a Pacific Division team this season (Kings @ LA 7-4 on 12/30/10). The Flyers are 2-2-1 against Pacific Divsion this season (DAL 1-0-0, SJS 0-0-1, ANA 0-2-0, PHX 0-0-0, LAK 1-0-0).