It took a little longer than expected, but the Philadelphia Flyers extended their winning streak to three games tonight with a thrilling 3-2 overtime win against the Washington Capitals.
Jeff Carter would score early, Claude Giroux would score late in the second, and Andrej Meszaros tallied in overtime to get the win for Philly. Sergei Bobrovsky made 23 saves on the night and register his second win on the year against the Caps.
Just hours after seeing general manager Paul Holmgren's contract extended for another three seasons, the Orange and Black became the first team in the NHL to reach the 30-win plateau.
In just their 2nd home game of 2011, the Flyers would commit the same mistake they did against the Rangers by letting Washington back into the game late. After losing a 2-0 lead on a pair of quick goals by the visitors midway through the third period, the Flyers still came out on top despite making the game harder on themselves than it had to be.
Similar to the Rangers game on Sunday, the Flyers jumped out to the early lead with a Carter goal 1:30 into the game.
Jason Chimera overskated the puck at the Flyers' blue line which lead to Carter taking the puck down the ice. While driving to the net, he worked to the outside of young defender John Carlson and skated behind the net before banking the puck off an out-of-position Michal Neuvirth.
Shortly afterwards, DJ King tried to get his team going by dropping the gloves with Jody Shelley. The fight didn't initially motivate his team, but the Caps did start to dictate play during the middle of the period. Washington would cause turnovers in the offensive zone and generate numerous and close scoring chances. Despite the mid-period surge, the Flyers would ultimately gain a power play with 5 minutes left in the period. The home team failed to convert on the opportunity and the rest of the period would go scoreless as the Flyers would lead 1-0 after one.
The Flyers introduced Semyon Varlamov into the game by almost scoring in the first minute of the 2nd period. Mike Richards drove to the net and was able to get Varlamov on his back, but he was unable to score on the goalie in desperation save mode.
On the ensuing shifts the Caps would hit the post twice. After the Flyers gained momentum again, they'd capitalize on their chances and increase their lead. As Carter was skating behind the net and into the corner, he turned around and passed it to Giroux who was moving into the slot. Claude kicked it to his skate and put a move on Varlamov leading to a slam-dunk into an open net for his 18th goal of the year.
"Bob" then came up big near the end of the period as he would make a save on Chimera who was on the doorstep trying to deposit a cross-ice feed. The period therefore ended 2-0 in favor of Philadelphia.
The third period saw the Flyers trying to unsuccessfully nurse that two-goal edge, and the Capitals made them pay for their misplaced patience on scores within 40 seconds of each other. Mike Knuble struck against his former club on a loose puck in the crease, then Alex Ovechkin was cleared of gloving the puck in via replay for a 2-2 tie.
The Flyers almost got a lucky bounce when a shot went off Mike Green and came within inches of crossing the goal line before Varlamov covered up the puck with about 5 minutes left. As the final frantic minutes in the game passed, neither team could break the deadlock.
The overtime period wouldn't last long as Meszaros ripped a shot past Varlamov from the bottom of the circles with 1:09 played in the extra session.
All told, the Eastern Conference leaders would outshoot Washington 30-25, including a narrow 13-12 margin in the 3rd period and overtime.
The Flyers ran into the same problem they ran into against the Rangers, namely, vainly trying to check away a lead without trying to extend it in the third period.
On Sunday, the Flyers also allowed two 3rd period goals to win 3-2 after being up by 3-0 at the end of the 2nd. Tonight, they went into the 3rd up 2-0 and allowed the next two goals. It's a problem that may be caused by Chris Pronger's absence. The emotional leader on the team, Pronger is the one who is capable of calming the team down and waking the team up at the right times. An appropriate time for a team to wake up would be when they're getting outworked in the 3rd period.
Notes: The Flyers had also beaten the Capitals, 2-0, on January 9, 1986 when they became the first team in the NHL to reach the 30-win mark that season...Bobrovsky is now 1-0-1 against Washington on the year. The Flyers hadn't won in regulation against Washington since a 4-2 win in DC on February 24, 2009 (3-4-1)... The Flyers improved to 2-0-1 against Washington on the year and upped their mark to 6-3-1 against the Southeast division (Tampa Bay 0-2-0, Atlanta 1-0-0, Carolina 2-0-0, Florida 1-1-0).
The Flyers won 3-2 against the Rangers tonight, but it didn't end gracefully.
After going up 3-0 less than five minutes into the second period, the Flyers wouldn't score for the remainder of the game. It seemed as though the Flyers would skate out the clock after a couple minutes were played in the third, but the Rangers had different plans. Brian Boucher allowed a soft Wojtek Wolski goal and a hungry Rangers team capitalized on the momentum scoring less than 3 minutes later to make it a one-goal game.
Thanks to Boucher's overall play, though, Philly hung on to win despite the Rangers dominating the last 10 minutes of the game.
The game started off sloppy for the Flyers as they missed an early opportunity on the power play and weren't connecting on several passes. Despite the early rust, the Flyers got on the board first, roughly 6 1/2 minutes in.
Ville Leino would have the puck behind the net and sent it back to Matt Carle on a beautiful and unexpected spin-o-rama pass. Carle then wound up and his slapper was redirected by Carter in front of the crease slipping the puck by Rangers goalie Martin Biron.
Shortly after gaining the 1-0 lead, James van Riemsdyk would go to the box for goaltender interference. The Rangers had several chances on the advantage and created pressure after the man advantage but failed to convert.
That wasn't the case for the visitors, who would score shortly after their second power-play opportunity ran out.
While several Flyers were crashing the net, Leino would receive a pass from Carle and put it past Biron after kicking it to his skate. The Flyers would get one more great chance later in the period as JVR hustled to recover a puck in the New York zone and went in solo on Biron, who'd make the original save and block Carter who tried putting a rebound top corner.
The second period started with early chances by both teams. After a good chance by renowned pest Sean Avery coming down the wing and creating a rebound for his teammates, Claude Giroux would go up ice and set up Matt Walker for a shot from the slot that Biron saved. The Rangers would go on a powerplay 2 1/2 minutes into the period on a tripping call against Andrej Meszaros, but ended up increasing their deficit instead.
Thanks to a New York turnover in Philly's defensive zone, Giroux carried the puck down the right wing with Mike Richards on a 2-on-1. Giroux would flip the puck to Richards at the last second, and the captain lifted the puck over Biron for a shorthanded goal and a 3-0 lead.
The Rangers' frustration showed through in the next few shifts as a scrum broke out in front of Boucher and a line brawl took place to the Rangers' advantage. Kris Newbury would check Walker from behind, Brandon Prust scrapped with Darroll Powe, and Avery naturally took on Philly's toughest player in Carle. As expected, the calls would even out as it seemed the refs wanted to keep the Blueshirts in it for just a little longer. Being the resilient team they are, the Flyers would come down the ice and put pressure on for the next few minutes before a brief surge by New York. After New York's minute of pressure, the Flyers picked up their defensive pressure in the neutral zone and started causing turnovers that led to more offensive chances.
With about 4 minutes left in the period Avery would start trash talking Philly enforcer and former teammate Jody Shelley and of course didn't back up his word; he also threw a couple choice phrases at Richards before being taken off the ice when Rangers head coach Tortorella realized his uselessness. The period ended with the Rangers getting their best opportunities so far in the game but still behind three goals.
The final period started with the Flyers going on the power play due to a Prust hooking call a minute in. That was cut short as Meszaros would get called for hooking with 35 seconds remaining on the man advantage. It wouldn't make a difference as the Rangers still couldn't solve Boucher on the shortened power play.
The game seemed out of reach for the home team until Wolski ended Boucher's chance at a shutout with a bad angle shot halfway through the period. As he was gliding past the goal line, Wolski let go of a shot that hit off Boucher's leg pad and into the net. Rookie forward Derek Stepan would cut the lead to 3-2 with just under 8 1/2 minutes left as he was set up for an open net by former Norwegian Olympian Mats Zuccarello.
The Rangers would start buzzing shortly after with several scoring chances as the Flyers looked as though they may give up another three-goal lead in the 3rd period. However, after 8 minutes of frantic pace and unlimited offensive chances by New York, the Flyers escaped with a one-goal triumph despite being outshot 10-3 in the 3rd period.
Carle helped the Flyers get the early lead as he got assists on both first-period goals. He created a shot that Carter could easily deflect in front and gave the puck to an open Leino in front of the net. Leino also helped the Flyers jump out to the 2-0 lead after 1 period with a goal and assist. Giroux created several chances on the night, but only one resulted in a goal -- which happened to be the game-winning score.
After not allowing a goal for 49:13 of the game action, Boucher ended up allowing two goals in a 2:24 span midway through the 3rd period, but still picked up the win after saving 34 of 36 shots on the night.
Both of these traditional rivals never fail to bring the violent aspect of the game to the forefront when they meet up and Sunday was no exception.
After a first period that involved JVR running over Biron, the second period showed a cheesed-off Rangers team attempting to get back into the game through fighting. Thanks to Avery, two mismatches ensued on the ice as Avery dropped the gloves with Carle and Shelley talked with Brandon Dubinsky. To nobody's surprise, Avery demolished Carle and then talked trash to the Flyers' bench.
Rangers fans will most likely point out last year's incident of Marian Gaborik forced to hold on desperately while fighting Dan Carcillo being similar to this incident between Avery and Carle.
The two scrapes are different for several reasons. Last year, Gaborik initiated the whole situation and was the first one to drop his gloves while tonight's fight was clearly instigated by Avery. Another difference was in last year's fight Carcillo stopped once Gaborik went down to the ice (like one is supposed to) while in the Avery/Carle fight Avery kept swinging away at Carle while he was already prone on the ice.
Notes: This game was the first start for both Boucher and Biron in the season series...The Flyers have won four straight against the Rangers dating back to last year's season finale...Richards scored his third shorthanded goal tonight tying him for top spot in the league with Carolina's Matt Cullen, Frans Nielsen of the New York Islanders, Giroux, Brad Marchand of Boston, and Prust...Giroux's assist on Richards' score gives him 5 shorthanded points on the season tying him with Prust and Matt Cooke for most in the league...The Flyers are now 12-1-1 against divisional rivals this season (Pittsburgh 3-1-0; Rangers 3-0-0; Islanders 3-0-0; Devils
The Flyers came to Atlanta looking to put the memory of Thursday's bad third-period behind them.
It took a little while longer than expected, but the Atlantic Division leaders came through with a 5-2 victory thanks to a three-goal burst in the final 20 minutes.
As the period grew older, the time spent in Philly's offensive zone grew larger. Strong forechecking and pressuring each Thrasher with the puck allowed the Flyers to stay in Atlanta's defensive zone and recover several bad neutral zone passes.
With just over seven minutes left in the game, the Flyers finally capitalized.
Scott Hartnell worked hard along the boards to gain control of the puck and slap it towards the net as he was gliding out of the zone. Atlanta goaler Ondrej Pavelec had the save lined up until Ville Leino deflected the shot into his leg pad creating a rebound that went directly to Danny Briere.
Philly's leading goal scorer would put the shot home for his 24th on the year and a 3-2 Flyers' lead.
The Thrashers weren't subdued yet. A couple big slap shots from Dustin Byfuglien created scoring chances and Rich Peverley missed the net as Sergei Bobrovsky was on his stomach after a rebound.
As the clock ticked under three minutes to play, Claude Giroux gathered a Matt Carle pass on the left wing, skated towards the slot and placed a shot just under the crossbar through traffic increasing the Philly lead 4-2.
That goal put the game away as Atlanta would show no fight for the rest of the game. A Jeff Carter empty netter with 40 seconds left would make the final score 5-2.
The first period looked as though it would be done within 25 minutes after there had only been two whistles within the first 10 minutes. Both teams applied decent pressure within the first ten minutes, but there weren't any real good scoring chances.
Philly provided several takeaways and good keeps in Atlanta's defensive zone to keep pressure on Pavelec, whose biggest save was on a Carter slapshot (where he made the original save and covered the rebound up quickly before Giroux could get a stick on it).
The majority of the action in the opening period occurred within the last 5 minutes. After Atlanta was assessed a bench penalty for too many men on the ice (served by Anthony Stewart), the Flyers peppered Pavelec with 3 shots on net in the two-minute span. Despite being on the power play, the closest thing to a goal was a Bobrovsky turnover.
While stopping the puck behind the net, Bob had the puck stolen from him by Evander Kane. Kane attempted a wraparound at the right post where he mishandled the shot and saw the puck moved into the corner after Carter slid into the crease and knocked the puck out of harm's way.
Kane also provided another chance for Atlanta later in the period when he tried going five-hole on Bob while on a 2-on-1 rush with Bryan Little. Bob didn't back down, making the save and covering the puck.
The second period started with the Flyers on the advantage due to Nik Antropov's interference on Blair Betts with one minute left in the first.
The Flyers failed to convert on this chance and on another power play 1:13 later due to Tobias Enstrom's trip on Darroll Powe. Unlike the first period, there were several scoring chances and goals for both teams.
Briere created several chances near the Thrashers' net and Giroux missed a walk-in chance from the slot getting robbed by Pavelec's glove. Another chance for a goal was muffed when Leino led a 3-on-1 with Briere and Hartnell. Instead of shooting or passing, Leino slowed up and had the puck poke-checked away from him.
After several chances and minutes of pressure applied by Philly, Atlanta spent time in the Philadelphia zone and took the lead due to another unfortunate bounce.
Andrew Ladd found the back of the net with 3:23 to play in the second after receiving an attempted centering pass from Niclas Bergfors which hit a refs' skate and then a Flyers player.
As in their 7-5 loss 24 hours earlier, instead of sulking, the Flyers answered back quickly.
Jody Shelley (yeah, Jody Shelley) bravely blocked a Byfuglien shot from the right point, chased down the puck at center ice and ripped a slap shot home from the left circle. The puck could not have been placed any better as it hit the inside of the intersection between the crossbar and right post.
Not even half a minute later, the Flyers took advantage of a stunned Atlanta squad when Kimmo Timonen held the puck at the top of the circles and put a shot passed a screened Pavelec.
Timonen unfortunately would go to the box later in the period for hooking Kane and Peverley scored on a rebound created by a Bergfors shot with just 3 seconds left in the period.
The 3rd period was only 1:19 old before Andrej Meszaros got called on a very, very questionable interference call. Atlanta's power play consisted of another set up for Byfuglien to tee up from the blue line and Kane getting laid out by Sean O'Donnell.
As Kane was protecting the puck from Carle, O'Donnell glided into Kane who had his head down. Play stopped as Kane needed time to get back to the bench after absorbing a hard but legal check from the wily veteran.
As it has many times before during the first half of the schedule, the Briere line came through for this team. There may have been only 3 points among the line tonight (Briere goal, Leino and Hartnell 1 assist each), but each of their points came on the most crucial shift of the game. Neither team had dominated the game up to that point in time, but Briere's putback allowed Philly to pressure Atlanta for the rest of the game on their way to another victory. The line also created several scoring chances throughout the game as Briere also provided some nice and uncharacteristic back-checking in a handful of shifts during the second period.
Two players who aren't expected to do much came through for Philly this evening. Shelley played more shifts than usual in the first two periods, and capped off his play with the Flyers' critical initial goal; a tally that came seconds after the Thrashers broke the scoreless tie late in the second period.
O'Donnell also had a big night. He had a good check along the boards in the first period and had the beautiful hit on the young Kane in the third. O'Donnell also played reasonably well defensively tonight.
Both goaltenders played great tonight as the game was scoreless closing in on the end of the 2nd period. Pavelec made some great saves throughout stoning both James van Riemsdyk and Giroux on different occasions. Pavelec also stopped Hartnell in the crease near the middle of regulation which would have given the Flyers a 1-0 lead; he made 31 saves on the evening.
Bobrovsky performed strongly yet again tonight. He was able to see the puck through traffic and he didn't allow Byfuglien's feared slap shot past him once this evening. The Thrashers' opening goal against was a tough shot from the slot while the second was the result of a bad rebound. However, he performed well making 27 saves on the night.
Apparently the Thrashers aren't used to the physical brand of hockey that has been instilled in Flyers' hockey for years now. Multiple occasions throughout the game indicated how much tougher the Flyers were than the Thrashers. Kane was hit hard by both Meszaros and O'Donnell in the third period while Coburn pushed Little to the ice after a whistle in the 1st and Meszaros roughed Little up near the boards in the second. The physicality allowed the Flyers to apply so much forechecking pressure and also led to several Atlanta turnovers.
After falling behind by two goals, the Flyers scored five straight to extend their winning streak to 4 games since January 2nd with a 5-2 decision over the Sabres.
Sergei Bobrovsky would tie a career-best by stopping 38 of Buffalo's 40 shots on net keeping the Sabres off the scoreboard for the last 2 periods. It was Bob's 2nd win against Buffalo in as many tries.
Danny Briere shook off an All-Star snub to score the tying goal for the Flyers in the 2nd period and add 2 more assists in the 3rd as the Flyers outscored Buffalo 4-0 in the last 40 minutes.
In addition to the win in Detroit and the sweep of the home and home against New Jersey, the Flyers are atop the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference by three points heading to Boston on Thursday.
Buffalo ended its two-game winning streak tonight and looks forward to their Thursday game hosting the Hurricanes.
The beginning of the 1st period was uneventful until Paul Gaustad scored his 4th of the year on his 2nd rebound attempt. After making the original save, Bobrovsky was looking for help from his defenders for a clear or body contact on Sabres near the crease. Unfortunately neither happened and Buffalo took the lead 5 minutes into the game.
Halfway through the 1st, Nathan Gerbe would circle around the net to the top of the circles and send a shot wide of the net off the endboards. It was from here that Cody McCormick took a shot from behind the goal line and put it in off Bobrovsky's back for a 2-0 Sabres lead.
On the next shift, the line of Briere-Hartnell-Leino hustled and created several solid scoring chances briefly shifting the momentum to the Flyers. After a Mike Weber interference call on Claude Giroux in the corner due to the Flyers' new found surge, the visitors made quick work on the power play.
Briere would set up a Kimmo Timonen slap shot from the point that Scott Hartnell would deflect in front of Miller while screening him at the same time. With the use of only 15 seconds on the power play, the Flyers had cut the lead to 2-1.
The 2nd period started out much like the 1st as the first couple minutes were quite uneventful. It would take a little bit of Flyers' forechecking before the 1st penalty of the period was called.
After a few chances, Braydon Coburn ended up with the puck near the blue line and ripped a shot on net. Ryan Miller made the first stop, and the rebound bounced to his right near James van Riemsdyk, but Buffalo defenseman Jordan Leopold saved a goal for Buffalo by hooking JVR.
The Flyers generated 3 shots on the extra man opportunity, but no goals. Several minutes later (after a few Flyers confronted Gaustad), Timonen received a legitimate holding call on Tyler Ennis, who also received 2 for diving. Despite being a call that displeased many fans, this would be the Flyers' biggest break of the evening.
At the end of the two-minute 4-on-4 battle, Timonen found the puck past the Sabres' defense which started a 2-on-1 with Briere. Timonen saw his pass to Briere slowed in the slot, but Danny would put the shot top shelf to tie up the game with just under 2 minutes left in the 2nd period.
The Flyers were unable to gain any momentum going into the 3rd due to another legitimate holding call on Coburn. After killing off the final 1:13 of Coburn's penalty, the Flyers fired up what turned out to be an explosive 3rd period.
About 2 minutes in, Briere and Leino started a 2-on-1 into the Buffalo zone. Briere's shot was kicked away by Miller, but the puck would bank in off Ville Leino's skate. The goal was called good on the ice and after a very brief call to Toronto, the call stood, giving the Flyers a 3-2 lead.
Leino never displayed a kicking motion, but rather a stopping motion as he began to be hooked while approaching the crease for a rebound.
It was from here on in the Flyers would dictate the play as they created very many scoring chances within the next few shifts. Both JVR and Jeff Carter would hit the post shortly after the Flyers' go-ahead goal. The lead would later be extended to 4-2 on a great individual play by captain Mike Richards.
From a failed Andrej Sekera pass attempt, Richards intercepted the puck and broke away. Shortly after undressing Miller, Richards made his signature move to the backhand inside the right post for a two-goal margin with 8 1/2 minutes left to play.
Hartnell would add on the empty netter with just under 2 minutes remaining and Philadelphia took away a 5-2 triumph.
Bobrovsky was phenomenal tonight as he outplayed the goalie opposite of him in Miller. He was dented for 2 first period goals, but neither were his fault.
The first was the defense's inability to help him out and the second was just a lucky bounce. "Bob" would save all 29 of the shots he saw in the final 2 periods. A strong 2nd period in which Bobrovsky allowed no goals on 15 shots through traffic and physical contact set up the Flyers comeback. This was Bob's 1st win since his December 15th 5-3 victory in Montreal -- which originally set his career high with 38 stops.
Briere, Hartnell, and Leino all played amazingly yet again. Briere registered 1 goal and 3 assists, Hartnell had 2 goals and 1 assist, and Leino had a goal. Briere had the crucial goal in the 2nd period against his former team to tie up and set up Philly's 3rd period dominance. Hartnell stood up for Giroux by fighting Gaustad after he had looked to lay out Claude earlier in the game. This was the line's 2nd impressive performance in a 3 game span; Thursday's 4-2 win was due to 4 goals from this line.
Timonen had an eventful night as he set up Philly's 1st 2 goals. Richards ended up with 4 blocked shots on the night and a big hit in the 1st that helped set up Hartnell's 1st goal on the night.
JVR didn't play as awesome as he did on Saturday, but he did impress none the less. Carter would receive multiple chances throughout the game, but was unable to put them home as he was robbed multiple times by Miller.
The biggest headache of the night for Philly was Gaustad. It's true McCormick would have a hell of a game, but Gaustad agitated the Flyers throughout. In the middle of the 2nd period, Gaustad and Giroux would engage in a shoving match after Gaustad missed laying Giroux out. Minutes later, Gaustad would fight Hartnell after Hartnell started things up after the whistle (and unfortunately during the commercial break). Then, in the 3rd period, Gaustad hit Sean O'Donnell away from the puck which started O'Donnell's abuse on him for the ensuing play. All in all, Gaustad would ultimately not affect the Flyers as they stuck to their game plan and won.
Notes: This was Philly's first win in Buffalo since 11/6/09. Flyers are 7-2-1 against Buffalo since the beginning of the '08-09 season. Miller has never recorded a regular season shutout against the Flyers. Sabres still haven't had a 3 game winning streak on the year (if they had won tonight, they would have had their first). Bobrovsky is 2-0-0 against Buffalo in his career with a 2.50 GAA.
In what seemed to be the exact opposite of Thursday, the Flyers completed the sweep of their home and home with the Devils today with a 2-1 win. Instead of starting slow and finishing strong, the Flyers came out strong and slowed down towards the end of the game. With 3 times as many chances as the Devils in the 1st period, the Flyers were able to gain a 2-0 lead that they would hold onto for a close one goal win. Combined with Thursday's 4-2 victory, the Flyers were able to outscore New Jersey in the home and home 6-3. The win extends the Flyers' win streak to 3 and extends the Devils' losing streak to 4.
The 1st period was all Flyers. Despite being outshot 12-11 in the first 20 minutes, the Flyers would out chance the Devils 9-3 and outscore them 2-0. The first goal of the game was caused by a great individual effort from JVR and a weak play by Hedberg. Skating into the zone from center ice, JVR would drive to the net protecting the puck to his left side and just put the puck on net which is where Hedberg decided to let the puck go in between his legs making it 1-0. Later on in the period, Giroux would penetrate the box on the powerplay and give the puck to Briere who was on the side of the net. Briere would then bank the shot off the back of Hedberg's shoulder and into the net for a powerplay goal; Philly was 1 for 4 on the powerplay in the 1st period. Hedberg was then pulled with 5:19 left in the 1st period making 8 saves on 10 shots. Brodeur would save the lone shot he saw in the 1st period.
The 2nd period would be a different story as yet another lucky bounce taking place in a game between these 2 teams would shift momentum. Thursday, it was the lively boards at the Prudential Center that got Philly started. Today, it was Ville Leino's skate that got Jersey going. An Andy Greene shot would hit Leino's skate, loop over a jumping Timonen, and over an unsuspecting Boucher resulting in the Devils' only goal on the day. The Devils would use the break to their advantage by almost tying it up with a Kovalchuk chance in the crease on their 2nd powerplay opportunity within the period. Boucher would snuff out Kovy's chance with a great leg save. The Devils relentless pressure throughout the period looked to have come to an end with van Riemsdyk drawing a holding call on Tallinder. However, a penalty kill that saw the Devils get more chances than the Flyers gave New Jersey the momentum back just before the end of the period.
Unfortunately for the Devils, the momentum would not carry over as the 3rd period was played fairly even. New Jersey would take control at the end of the period when they were in complete desperation mode. Big saves by Boucher on great chances from Zharkov and Zubrus let the Flyers ultimately hold on for the win. The last 40 minutes saw strong play from the last place Devils, but undisciplined play and missed opportunities (a summary of there season) caused the Devils to not extend the game to overtime.
Yet another stronger performance by Boucher today extended the Flyers win streak over the Devils to 3. Along with providing 34 saves on 35 shots, Boucher made some key saves when the Flyers' defense broke down. In addition to the aforementioned kick save on Kovalchuk, Boosh made a great save on an Arnott opportunity off a Meszaros turnover and the saves late in the 3rd period to keep the Flyers on top. The Devils' only goal today, one could argue, would be a tough save for most goalies. Boucher didn't see the puck after it hit Leino's skate until it was in the back of the net. Today's one goal game was Boucher's 6th one goal game on the year. The win makes his record 2-0-1 against New Jersey this year and 10-4-2 on the season.
James van Riemsdyk grabbed 1st star of the game honors as he deserved. After putting the Flyers up, he drew a penalty late in the 2nd period that seemed to kill New Jersey's momentum along with creating another scoring chance in the beginning of the 3rd period. van Riemsdyk's goal was his 10th on the year and his 2nd on the season against the Devils.
A stretch of bad goaltending and undisciplined play hurt the Devils today. Hedberg started strong making his first 8 saves, but then quickly fell apart allowing goals on back to back shots. In a relief appearance, Brodeur would make 19 saves and allow no goals against. The Devils would take 6 penalties on the day, which were only 2 more than the Flyers but were costly none the less. Both the incidents which Tallinder got called for a penalty (double minor on Shelley for high-sticking and holding on JVR) could have been easily avoided. He was in the box for JVR's goal and killed his team's momentum in the 2nd period with the holding call. In addition to Tallinder's penalty, the Devils got called for a too many men on the ice penalty 3 minutes into the 3rd. When a team gets one of those calls, it's a sign that nobody is paying attention or focusing (including the coaches).
The next time these two teams play is January 22nd in Philly, where the Flyers will be looking to beat New Jersey for the 3rd and final time at home this season.
Briere scored on the powerplay in the first period making Philly 1 for 6 on the day; they're 2 for 15 on the year against New Jersey. JVR's goal makes him the 7th Flyer with at least 10 goals on the year; Leino and Nodl both have 9. Meszaros led all Flyers in ice time with 24:20; Andy Greene had a game high 24:38. The Flyers are now 3-0-1 against New Jersey on the year, 12-2-1 against New Jersey since the beginning of the 2009-2010 season (including playoffs), and have won 13 of 16 games between the two clubs dating back to the final 2008-2009 regular season match up. The Flyers are at the halfway point of their regular season with a 26-10-5 record; they're on pace for a 52-20-10 record and 114 points.