Flyers- 4- Panthers- 1- Post-Game Recap

November 7th, 2014 by Kyle Lutz | Filed under Flyers, General, Hockey.
SHOTS BY PERIOD
PERIOD FLA PHI
1st 6 10
2nd 17 9
3rd 12 11
Total 35 30

TEAM STATS
CATEGORY FLA PHI
Power Plays 1/4 0/2
Hits 35 35
Faceoff Wins 39 36
Giveaways 4 6
Takeaways 4 3
Blocked Shots 14 18
Penalty Minutes 8 12

 

(Flyers’ captain Claude Giroux/Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Flyers continued their home stretch, and home winning streak, on Thursday night with a solid effort, good forechecking, and most importantly, a victory. They beat Florida 4-1, who they lost to five-days ago in the Sunshine State, 2-1. Steve Mason started both games. It was also their second-straight 4-1 victory, after beating Edmonton two-nights ago at home.

Speaking of Mason, he had another great game tonight, stopping 34/35 Panthers’ shots. The lone Florida goal, scored by center Nick Bjugstad almost halfway through the game, was a tough one for Mason, as right-winger Jimmy Hayes came flying through the neutral and offensive zone, faked a pass, shot it on goal, where Bjugstad, uncontested, put in the rebound, to make it a 3-1 game. Almost half of Florida’s total shots on the night came in the second period, when they out-shot Philadelphia 17-9. As for Panthers’ netminder Roberto Luongo, although he didn’t have a good game, giving up four goals, his defense got severely outplayed by the Flyers’ forecheckers on the night; a positive sign going forward for the Flyers. A good amount of the Flyers’ chances were due to Florida’s face-off struggles, despite their overall success, in their defensive zone, as the Flyers won 11 offensive-zone draws out of 19.

Another big component of the game was physicality and blocked shots. Although there weren’t any fights (even though Zac Rinaldo almost got into one), the two teams combined for almost 35 blocked shots; Philadelphia had 18, to Florida’s 14. Additionally, there were a ton of scrums and fighting for the puck in both corners of each zone, most of the time of which the Flyers came out with the puck. One of those instances occurred almost three minutes into the second, when Panthers’ defenseman Dmitry Kulikov turned over the puck to Carlo Colaiacovo, who in turn — from the left side — passed it (although, it was more of a fanned pass) to Pierre-Edouard Bellemare in the slot, as he wristed it home, for his third goal of the year.

Impressively, left-winger Jake Voracek continued his point streak, with a second-period, even-strength goal on a two on one with Claude Giroux. Giroux made the perfect pass to Voracek, through Florida blueliner Willie Mitchell’s legs and past Luongo, for a 4-1 lead, which proved to be the final goal of the game for both teams.

The Flyers’ checking line — consisting of Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier and Matt Read — was fantastic, perhaps their best line of the night, as they not only — as a unit — had solid backchecking and defensive play but combined for five points on the night; Schenn and Couturier had two a piece. Overall, the line also combined for six shots, a +6 rating, a hit and two takeaways, as they not only scored but played solid defense (which set up a couple of the goals); providing the Flyers with three Swiss-Army knives. Couturier lit the lamp first, when he gave the team an early 1-0 lead, after Schenn stole the puck in the offensive zone and shot it on Luongo, to which Couturier tipped home; it was his fourth goal of the year.

It was the first time Brayden Schenn had two or more assists in a game since almost a year ago, on New Years’ Eve 2013 at Calgary. If he plays like that more often, the Schenn/Simmonds trade from Los Angeles to Philadelphia three and a half years ago will be even sweeter. The former fifth-overall pick (2009) has a ton of potential, and although he’s still very young (23), it just depends on if he can put together a solid effort — like tonight’s — on a regular basis. Whether that proves to be true, at least this season, remains to be seen, but it’s a positive sign nonetheless. Maybe switching up the lines a bit, and putting Schenn on the checking line with Couturier and Matt Read, was a smart move, at least for Schenn’s sake, for Flyers’ head coach Craig Berube.

With the win, the Flyers have won four straight home games, and are undefeated at home this season in their past six games; going 4-0-2 in those games. Their only regulation loss at home on the year is vs. New Jersey. In the past five seasons at home (including tonight) vs. Florida, Philadelphia’s 4-3-1.

Defenseman Michael Del Zotto had another solid game. He scored his first goal of the year (and his first as a Flyer) just six minutes into the first, after a perfect cross-ice pass in the offensive zone from Brayden Schenn. After the pass, Del Zotto stormed up towards Luongo’s right side, maneuvering past the referee and putting it into the back of the net. Del Zotto also had three shots on goal, two hits and four blocked shots in little over 23 minutes of ice time (23:18, to be exact); which led the team.

(Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

The refereeing in this game, at times, was questionable. In the first period, a cross check from Aaron Ekblad to Wayne Simmonds in the back-left corner went without a call. It looked as if Simmonds was hurt on the play, but thankfully he returned, and joined Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek on the top line.

Additionally, to the right of Steve Mason, Tomas Kopecky got away with multiple slashes on Carlo Colaiacovo, after the puck was positioned under the latter. Not only was Kopecky not penalized on the play but they called Colaiacovo for cross checking Kopecky as the play continued. Florida scored their lone goal of the night on the man advantage, going 1/4 for the night, while the Flyers went 0/2 on theirs. It was a very physical game, too, as the two teams combined for a total of 70 hits; 35 each.

In his third-game back, Flyers’ second-line center Vincent Lecavalier had a fairly-bad night, as he didn’t register a point on the night, had two penalties/four penalty minutes, and was only 5-14 on face-offs; 1/5 in defensive-zone face-offs. He only played in, little over, 12 minutes, as head coach Craig Berube is easing Lecavalier back into the lineup after a month-long injury not that long ago.

Hopefully the Flyers can continue their recent hot streak as much as possible going forward, because after Saturday-night’s game vs. Colorado they have a six-day layoff, which could potentially screw up and put a wrench into their chemistry built over the last-several games/wins. That especially bodes true for Jake Voracek, who not only continued his point streak to seven games but has 12 points in those span of games (4 goals and 8 assists). With his goal tonight, Voracek tied Sidney Crosby for the league lead in points, with 19. After Saturday’s game, the next time the Flyers will play will be vs. Columbus, and former Flyers Scott Hartnell and Sergei Bobrovsky, on November 14th.

Three Stars

-Sean Couturier- 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points, +2, 2 SOG,
-Michael Del Zotto- 1 goal, 1 point, +1, 3 SOG, 2 hits
-Jake Voracek- 1 goal, 1 point, +1, 2 SOG, 1 hit

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