I think it’s safe to say that this hasn’t been the season we envisioned and hoped for from JVR. He simply has not produced on the scoresheet. He’s been downright invisible for a lot of games. When he was rumored to be on the trading block, nobody really opposed it. When he got hurt, nobody was too worried about how it would affect the team. However, since coming back to play in the last two games, he’s looked a lot better.
First, in the loss against Pittsburgh, he had a sweet move as he came bearing down alone on a pair of defensemen. He slipped it through his own legs, and the only thing that prevented him from scoring was when he lost balance and couldn’t get any air under his shot. Still, it was the type of play we’ve rarely seen from him this season. He charged the net, and gave himself a great scoring opportunity.
Last night, his assist on the Wayne Simmonds goal that tied the game with 9 seconds left against Winnipeg was a thing of beauty. He collected the puck in the neutral zone, ripped through a check, avoided another way, and as he got low he put a perfect pass to the slot that was banged home. It’s not so much the pass that was special, it was the way he drove through the zone. The Jets had three different players fail to either knock him down or knock the puck away. With the game on the line, he charged through their zone at will and made a clutch play.
It’s too early to tell if he’ll continue to play like this or if it was just another flash in the pan. Still, it’s two straight games where he’s made a great play by driving to the net. He’s a big boy, he needs to keep doing this. His 11 goals in 39 games is obviously nothing special. Can you imagine how much more potent our offense will be if he starts playing at the level we expect from him? He had 7 shots yesterday, with none of them finding the back of the net. But we need him to keep playing like that. We’ve never seen him be much of a playmaker. He was brought here to score goals. And if he’s on the verge of breaking out like he did in last years playoffs, then the Flyers stock will start to rise once again.
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