Before the season started the Matt Read train began to gain some momentum. He was picked to win the Calder Memorial trophy (rookie of the year), by TSN senior analyst Bob McKenzie. Well last night he took a big first step to an invitation to the NHL awards show.
Read quickly scored his second goal of the season and the first of seven goals for the Flyers against the Senators. At the 6:20 of the first period Read skated straight down the right side of the rink and flung the puck at an awkward angle over the left shoulder of Alex Auld, who appeared to be stunned at the shot. Under two minutes later Read’s shot bounced off of Auld’s leg pad and slid out to Wayne Simmonds who turned around and snapped the puck at a wide open net for a quick 2-0 lead. Read was down in front of the net and popped up just as the puck came within inches of his face.
After Claude Giroux scored his fourth goal of his season to make the score 3-0, Max Talbot got in on the scoring action with an assist from, you guessed it Matt Read. It was the first time since 2007 that a Flyers rookie had a three point period, Alexandre Picard was the last player to accomplish the feat.
Number 24 finished the night off with another assist on Sean Couturier’s first goal of the season. A four point night, not bad for the 25 year old rookie and not a bad night for the Flyers in general.
The Senators came into this game looking to try and find some type of identity on defense, but on this night the Flyers were not going to let them have that thrill. This was a game that the Flyers needed to dominate and they did just that.
It started off really quickly with the Read goal, after that the Flyers smelled blood in the water.
On a power play from a Zack Smith boarding call, Wayne Simmonds scored his second goal of the year. Later on in the first period the other power play line took another bite out of the net. Fresh on the power play after a Colin Greening double minor for high sticking that caught Danny Briere in the face, Claude Giroux fired a wrister over Chris Phillips’ right shoulder that bent right around Auld. It is clear right now that Giroux is the best offensive weapon that this team has.
Maxime Talbot finished off that fantastic first period with his first goal of the year. Up 4-0 the Flyers only had to cruise the rest of the way, but at times they appeared to hit the breaks instead.
The only goal in the second period was scored by Jason Spezza, but it was yet again the penalties that plagued the orange and black. There were eight minutes that the Flyers had to kill in that period, against a better team the result could have been much different. So far this season this has been the biggest problem for a young squad that appears to have very few.
Just when it looked like the Flyers were beginning to lose momentum they answered back in a thunderous way. Three third period goals led way to a 7-2 victory. James van Reimsdyk, Sean Couturier, and Harrison Zolnierczyk found the back of the net in the final frame. Just who is Harrison Zolnierczyk you may ask? Well he is a rookie that was called up for yesterday’s game to replace Andreas Nodl who was scratched due to injury. He scored on Craig Anderson in the last minute of the game.
It was a night for the rookies as they accounted for three of the seven goals and assisted in six and oh yeah Sergei Bobrovsky didn’t look too bad either. He stopped 21 out of 23 shots and looked dominant at times. The Sens may have been a push over, but we’ll see what the Flyers are made of on Thursday night when they take on the Capitals.
Things I liked:
– Wow Matt Read’s smile almost turned into Sean Couturier’s, instead Simmonds shot tore up the back of the net.
– Speaking of Simmonds, he is one of the most agile skaters in the league. That’s why it was so surprising that his skates went out from underneath him near the boards in the 2nd. Was worried for a second that he might have an injury.
– Scott Hartnell getting back on the score sheet, he needs more of that to get some of his ice time back.
– 3 shots is all the defense allowed in the first period. It was as dominate an effort as you will see this team play all year.
– Pronger might have the C, but the B (for best player) belongs to Giroux. It is clear now that he was one of the reasons that Holmgren decided to get rid of Richards and Carter.
Things I didn’t like:
– Yet again penalties brought the Flyers momentum to a screeching halt.
– I thought this would be the night that Bobs gets that elusive shutout victory.
– Players dropping the stick trying to get a slashing call. It took place in the second period and I thought Bill Clement did a great job saying that players can be notorious for doing that at times. If the stick doesn’t break it shouldn’t be a penalty.
With an early season showdown with the Caps looming, what are your thoughts on the Flyers? Tweet me @scottdargis and tell me what you think of this young team.