James van Riemsdyk’s Two Point Night Leads Flyers Passed Blackhawks

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 24: The Philadelphia Flyers celebrate, including James van Riemsdyk #25 and Travis Sanheim #6, after defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 at the United Center on October 24, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 24: The Philadelphia Flyers celebrate, including James van Riemsdyk #25 and Travis Sanheim #6, after defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 at the United Center on October 24, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Philadelphia Flyers rounded out their season series with the Chicago Blackhawks in a matchup at the United Center.

Hoping to spark a two-game winning streak, the Philadelphia Flyers traveled to Chicago to take on the Blackhawks in their final meeting of the 2019-20 campaign. The Flyers beat this Blackhawks team 4-3 in their season-opener in Prague and looked to do the same this time around. Brian Elliott received the start from Alain Vigneault, opposing Robin Lehner in-net for Chicago. Lehner picked up right where he left off in 2018-19, posting a 1.93 Goals Against Average with a .943 save percentage in three games on the year and Philadelphia had to bring their A-game on offense if they wanted any chance at defeating the Blackhawks for the fourth time in a row dating back to last season.

The Blackhawks tested Elliott in the first few minutes, generating a couple of dangerous chances on the rush, but the veteran goaltender had none of it to keep the game scoreless. Following some back-and-forth hockey and a failed Chicago power-play, Oskar Lindblom gifted the Flyers with a 1-0 lead on a shot during a 2-on-1 break. Travis Konecny assisted on Lindblom’s fifth tally of the year, extending his point streak to three in the process. Though both sides had their opportunities, neither netminder allowed another goal as the first period came to a close, and the score stayed 1-0 heading into the second.

Claude Giroux doubled the Flyers lead less than a minute into the frame, deflecting a puck past Lehner for his first goal of the year. James van Riemsdyk also received his first point of 2019-20 with an assist on the play, finally getting on the scoresheet after riding a seven-game pointless drought. Philadelphia went on to dominate the stanza, letting Chicago generate just one, yes, one (1) lone shot-on-goal compared to their 13 as they carried their two-goal lead into the final period of regulation.

Brandon Saad would get the Blackhawks on the board early in the third, deking Elliott out of his pads on a breakaway to cut Philadelphia’s lead in half. I would strongly advise the Flyers never to have that Baad (I’m not sorry) of a defensive breakdown again, as nobody decided to cover Saad as he skated into the defensive zone. Kevin Hayes regained the two-goal advantage for the Orange and Black soon after on a breakaway of his own, going top-shelf on Lehner for his third tally on the season. Scott Laughton made a nice pass to spring the 6’5 centerman while Joel Farabee notched his first career NHL point with a secondary assist on the goal.

The Blackhawks applied tons of pressure in the Flyers zone for a solid chunk of the frame, but JvR shut the door on any potential comeback, stripping a Blackhawk defender of the puck and absolutely undressing Lehner on a partial break to give his team a 4-1 victory. I don’t have a whole lot of negative to say about this contest, as nearly every player performed well on the ice tonight. If there is one thing I ask of the hockey gods, it’s to let Farabee score some points without there being an offsides call, as he had a tally and an assist taken away due to Hayes entering the zone before the puck.

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The Flyers are now 4-3-1 on the season. Next game is Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.