Who are these guys and what have they done to the old Philadelphia Flyers?! Actually, don’t answer that question. The Flyers we saw last night can stay.
Wednesday night the Flyers completely shut down the Pittsburgh Penguins, and it was glorious. The orange and black weathered the first ten minutes of the game and managed to take a 1-0 lead into the first intermission thanks to a beautiful set of plays from Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn. Ray Emery rebounded from a few bad starts and made 30 saves out of 31 shots, and Craig Berube did a masterful job matching up his lines. This team is brimming with confidence. Here are a few takeaways from last night’s contest:
-Many little things happen during the game that do not appear on the score sheet. Kimmo Timonen’s defense during the final minute was clutch. He prevented Evgeni Malkin from taking the puck around the net and forced him to look for other options. Timonen – who logged 24:37 TOI – looked like his old self last night.
-Nicklas Grossmann was a man possessed Wednesday night. He was a freight train that would not be stopped. I stood and clapped when he tied up Malkin in the corner, which allowed Braydon Coburn the clear the puck.
-Speaking of the devil, Coburn has been the man to hate on since Matt Carle left town, but Coburn has put together solid stretch of games. Last night, he led the team in ice time with 28:31.
-If Wednesday night’s audience anticipated an offensive shootout, they were disappointed, but any hockey fan was entertained by Sean Couturier’s defensive game. Once again, he got under Malkin’s skin. I loved every second of it.
-Brayden Schenn has been on my list all year. I have said he cannot finish a play. He shut me up with two goals. His awareness on the second goal stunned me. The poise he showed was refreshing to see.
-I was a bit skeptical with Berube going with Emery, but Razor stood on his head. His stop on Crosby in the second period was huge. If Crosby scores on that play, the game takes a new meaning in the third period.
-The Couturier line looked in sync again. This Downie trade is looking better and better each game. Downie has two points since his return from a concussion.
-Zac Rinaldo played some big minutes on the penalty kill last night. Berube showed a ton of faith in Rinaldo at a pivotal point during the game.
-Giroux, Lecavalier and Adam Hall won the majority of their face offs. Giroux won 50 percent. Lecavalier won 77 percent. Hall won 88 percent.
-Since the closed door meeting, the Flyers are 3-0, have outscored their opponents 11-3, and Claude Giroux has three points.