So let me get this straight. When we play people like Mathieu Garon, Curtis McElhinney, and Brent Johnson we can’t score more than two goals. Then we face Ryan Miller, possibly the best goalie in the world right now, and we light him up for 5 goals. Whatever; We got the 6-3 win, and looked good throughout most of the game.
In last night’s 6-3 win, we saw a lot of what we’d expected from this team. Briere-Hartnell-Leino cycled at will, moved the puck around to each other, and flat out dominated. Leino should have scored after he danced his way into the slot, yo-yo’ing the puck around a few defensemen. Briere is completely living up to that contract he signed a few years ago. When he’s got the puck, he’s making plays. When he doesn’t have it, he’s showing a hunger we’ve rarely seen from him as he attacks and tries to win it back. He said prior to the season that there were a few off ice distractions last year that hindered his performance, and that he was coming in with a clear mind this year. So far, so good.
Giroux was wreaking havoc all over the ice also. He threw his weight around a few times as the first man in. Both his goal and his assists where some highlight reel material. Both he and Powe gained a step on the two defensemen that were covering them, and as Claude carried the puck towards Miller, it pretty much turned into a short 2 on 0 rush. That play ended with a quick tape to tape pass and and easy tap in for Powe. As for the goal, that was a page out of Mike Richards playbook all the way. Giroux won the faceoff going forward, slipped around the defenseman and sent the puck quickly towards the slot. One lucky bounce later and we have a 4-1 lead, late in the second period, and the game is pretty much over.
Richards and Carterdidn’t really dominate, but they played well. They looked especially good on the powerplay, which was the biggest thing about the win. Finally, the Flyers moved the puck around, kept it in the zone, and got shots on goal. They finished 3 for 5, which doubled their total for the year. They still have room to improve though. Hartnell is the only one who sticks his ass in the goalies face. JVR stands in the middle, but kind of next to the goalie, which doesn’t make for much of a screen. He’s gotta move over a bit. Pronger is getting off good slappers and Timonen is finding lanes to toss the puck through, although neither has directly lead to a goal yet. It will come though, they just need to keep doing it.
- Zherdev’s goal was pretty damn sweet. He went around some traffic cones (aka Sabres defenders) and sent a twisted wrister past Miller. There were a few other times where he showcased his puck handling skills, including a nifty drop pass through his legs that almost lead to another goal. He could challenge Giroux for best hands on the team, if he would control the puck as often.
- Buffalo scored first, and the Flyers didn’t look to good up to that point. We finally got to see what Sean O’Donnell brings to the team when he dropped the gloves and then dropped Cody McCormick to the ice. Perfect timing for that fight (21 seconds after the goal) and the Flyers took off and never looked back. We ripped off 5 straight goals before Buffalo made a late rally.
- We broke it open in the second period with 3 goals, and added an early PP goal in the third for a 5-1 lead. After that, we predictably coasted for the next 15 minutes. Problem is that the Sabres decided to try mounting a comeback and got within 5-3 with about 8 minutes to play. After pulling the goalie late they scored a 4th goal, although it was waived off for being kicked in. I’m sure Lavy will be happy with how the team played most of the game, but not most of the third period.
- Sergei Bobrovsky looked very good in net, again. When the Flyers stopped playing in the third, he made the lead stand up. The 2nd and 3rd goals he gave up were kinda iffy, but he was screened a bit.
- It looks like Lavy sent the team a message by having the 4th line and 3rd d-pair out there for the opening draw. I like that he’s not going to bow down to the top guys when they don’t play with urgency. Looks like the message was well received.
Topics: Broad Street Buzz, Buffalo Sabres, Chris Pronger, Claude Giroux, Danny Briere, Darroll Powe, Jeff Carter, JVR, Kimmo Timonen, Mike Richards, Nikolai Zherdev, Philadelphia Flyers, Ryan Miller, Scott Hartnell, Sean O'Donnel, Sergei Bobrovsky, Ville Leino