With eight minutes to go in the third period it appeared that Ondrej Pavelec had made a game winning stop for the Winnipeg Jets. Jakub Vorachek had a wide open net, but his backhand attempt was stopped by the glove of a sprawling Pavelec. At one point during the game it looked as if the Flyers had finally chiseled away enough holes in Pavelec’s wall to pull out a win against the Jets, but he was quick to patch them up.
In the 3rd period Pavelec was a flat out monster. He sprawled, dove, and shut down rebounds that appeared to be great chances. He had stopped 45 out of 48 shots as the clock ticked down to 20 seconds left and the Flyers appeared to be all out of chances. Hell they couldn’t even get the puck in the zone with the extra skater on the ice until JVR finally showed us a glimpse of the dominant player that he was last postseason.
As the clock ticked down to under 15 seconds, van Reimsdyk barreled into the Jets zone and found the on fire Wayne Simmonds (9 goals in the last 10 games) in front of the net for the game tying goal. The MTS Centre went from feeling like a college atmosphere to a book club, only the yelling of the orange and black faithful could be heard. I even jumped out my chair and let out a YEAHHH! The Flyers really needed to get at least a point in this game with just how good the Atlantic division is this season.
Fast forward to just over a minute left in overtime, Danny Briere is engaged in a puck battle down low with Johnny Oduya, Briere wins the battle and gets the puck to Jagr who put the biscuit past Pavelec for the 5-4 victory. It was the 55th shot of the game for Philadelphia in an improbable turn of events.
Rewind back to the game tying play, Claude Giroux deserves credit for setting this play up. Philly had circled the puck around quite a bit in this sequence while trying to figure out how to get the puck into the attack zone. Van Reimsdyk gets the puck skates towards the left hand boards and as he is coming up to the blue line, Giroux sets a “pick” on Bryan Little that opens the area for JVR to get the puck in the zone.
It was all van Reimsdyk from there as he burned the defense drawing all of the attention to himself which allowed Simmonds to get inside positioning on Dustin Byfuglien in front of the net where Simmonds is oh so dangerous. THAT was the type of play that JVR has to keep making because his blend of power and speed is just too good for him to play so passive.
One person who should thank JVR the most is Ilya Bryzgalov. He was bailed out by that final play in regulation because he played what was a very sub par game. Every time that there was sustained pressure it seemed that it was a 50-50 chance at best that he was going to make a save. In some ways though I think it makes the offense play with a little more aggression and that isn’t such a bad thing.
Think about it Bryzgalov only faced six combined shots in the 3rd period and four minutes of overtime, where as Pavelec faced 24 shots in the same time frame.
The Flyers got out of dodge with those two desperately needed points, but if that was a taste of what is to come from JVR, then they got something a whole lot more than that last night.
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