The Philadelphia Flyers came in to Saturday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes riding a three-game point streak. It started on February 2nd with a convincing 5-3 win against the Hurricanes and then a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The team then fell in a shootout to the Florida Panthers but still managed to get a point out of the game. Heading in to their tilt against the Canes, Matt Read was the team’s leading scorer with eight points and was proving his rookie season was no fluke. Wayne Simmonds returned to the lineup for the team after missing three games with an injury. He got slotted right onto the top line alongside Giroux and Daniel Briere. This move speaks to the amount of confidence coach Peter Laviolette has in the pesky forward. The Flyers knew the Hurricanes would be eager for revenge heading into Saturday’s game at the Wells Fargo Center.
It didn’t take long for Carolina to strike against the Philadelphia Flyers. Just 17 seconds into the first period, the red-hot Eric Staal fed the puck to Joe Corvo at the point who blasted a on Ilya Bryzgalov. The goaltender used his pad to make the save, but the rebound got directed straight to Jiri Tlusty who put the puck into the open net. Eric Staal was riding a seven-game point streak heading into the game and it didn’t take long for him to extend that to eight. Things took a physical turn later on when Tim Wallace dished out a questionable hit on rookie Tye Mcginn. Wallace got a five-minute major for boarding as well as a game misconduct as he seemed to hit Mcginn high from behind into the boards. The youngster went down on the play and drew a penalty that was balanced to an extent by a two-minute roughing call to Flyers Braydon Coburn in response to the hit. When a Hurricane player took another penalty, the team was given a 5-on-3 opportunity. They failed to capitalize but looked deadly as newly signed Kimmo Timonen and captain Claude Giroux both rang shots off the post. The Flyers would get involved on the scoreboard by the end of the period as Bradyen Schenn redirected a Kimmo Timonen point shot past Canes goaltender Cam Ward. Jakub Voracek would get the second assist on the play as he fed the puck to Timonen for the shot. The men in orange outshot the Hurricanes 14-9 after a decently played first period.
Then sniper Matt Read would tally early in the second period to put the Flyers in the lead. Mike Knuble forced a turnover on Eric Staal and the puck went straight to Read who put a lethal wrist shot by Cam Ward. It was the youngster’s fifth goal on the year and gave him nine points on the season. Jeff Skinner would respond later in the period for the Hurricanes as he came off the bench flying with speed. He would curl behind the net and then come out and catch Bryzgalov cheating off the post. Skinner put a wrist shot by Bryzgalov on the short side which tied the game. The goal scoring would continue just 15 seconds later as Philly went on a rush into the Hurricanes zone. Brayden Schenn carried the puck over the blue line and then centered to Jakub Voracek who would put the puck over the shoulder of Cam Ward. It was a perfect pass by Schenn but an even nicer play by Voracek to out muscle the defenseman who was trying to tie him up.
The third period began with the Flyers in the lead but it took eight minutes for the Hurricanes to tie the game up. Joe Corvo blasted a shot from the point that somehow found a way past Bryzgalov. There was a large amount of traffic in front of Bryzgalov as the Hurricanes defenseman notched his second point of the night. The puck seemed to hit a body in front and then bounce over Bryzgalov. Nobody would find the back of the net for the rest of the period. Matt Read had a glorious chance with just seconds remaining in the game but was turned aside by Cam Ward. He took a nice backhand pass from Giroux and came in all alone on the goaltender. He tried to slide a wrist shot under Ward but the goalie got the pad down and forced overtime. The Flyers would be heading into the extra frame for the second straight game. There would be no shootout needed this time, though, as Daniel Briere was able to notch the winner in overtime. After a Hurricanes rush the in the other direction, Briere carried the puck into Carolina’s zone and was able to put a wrist shot by Cam Ward. He went down the sideboards and cut into the middle as he put a shot off the post and in. The Flyers would end up taking the game 4-3 in overtime.
- Matt Read continues to impress for the Flyers. His five goals are tops on the team and his nine points are also leading the club. His lethal wrist shot is becoming one of the most feared shots in the league. This is a great sign for the Flyers as someone was going to need to step up in the absence of Scott Hartnell. With the off-season departures to JVR and Jaromir Jagr, the Flyers knew they would need some of the young guns to make that step to the next level. Read is excelling in his second year and is showing no signs of a sophomore slump
- Mike Knuble has been an excellent fit with the Flyers. He helped generate the Read goal and is providing some solid depth to the Flyers offensive corps. He has notched a respectable four points in eight games so far this season with the club. He is making the right plays and providing some leadership for the younger players. He is averaging 14:16 of ice time per game and has made a smooth transition to the Flyers
- Claude Giroux failed to register a point in the game. The team was able to find a way to win, however, as other players are beginning to step up. We can look back to last season to see how many times Giroux would carry the team to victory. Even though the points aren’t there for Giroux, it may be a good sign that the team can still get the job done. The captain is struggling to get on the scoresheet as often as last year but this is allowing players like Read and Voracek to realize that they have to be major contributors. Heading into the game against the Canes, Claude Giroux was leading the league with 272 faceoffs taken and was operating at a 55.9 percent success rate.
- Voracek extended his point streak to four games with a goal and an assist on Saturday. He found some chemistry with Brayden Schenn and is shooting more often. The results are beginning to show.