Flyers-7 Red Wings- 2- Post-Game Recap

March 15th, 2015 by Kyle Lutz | Filed under Flyers, Hockey.
1st 4 15
2nd 18 6
3rd 11 15
Total 33 36

Power Plays 1/3 3/4
Hits 19 39
Faceoff Wins 35 27
Giveaways 7 8
Takeaways 3 4
Blocked Shots 22 18
Penalty Minutes 8 16

(Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

Continuing their recent stretch of playing solid vs. playoff-caliber teams, the Flyers came away with a solid, consistent 7-2 win today over Detroit, who’s currently third in points (85) in the Atlantic Division. As of late, Detroit’s been about average, with a 4-5-1 record in their last-10 games, while the Flyers are about the same in that stretch, at 3-4-3. Surprisingly, this was the third occasion this year that the Flyers scored seven goals, and the first time that’s happened since January 12th vs. Tampa Bay. Shockingly, they scored more goals today (7-5) than their previous-four games (they were only 0-2-2 in that span) combined, with a scoring drought coming into today of 123:47.

You would have never thought that the Flyers had a huge scoring drought, as they played one of their best games of the year, if not their best. All over the board, they were solid. Although Detroit vastly outshot them in the second period, the Flyers bounced back in the third with a flurry of shots, to pester Wings’ goalie Jimmy Howard.

Through two periods, in terms of shots and chances, it was a tale of two periods. The opening period, the Flyers got off to a hot start, putting a ton of pressure on Jimmy Howard, getting a ton of shots on net, and keeping a solid forecheck going. In that opening stanza, they outshot Detroit 15-4, and had two power plays.

Wayne Simmonds started the scoring, with a screen in front of Howard and a redirection off his foot, on the man advantage, with helpers from Brayden Schenn and Mark Streit, who put the puck on net from the blue line. It was Simmonds’ 27th goal of the year and 14th power-play goal of the year. This year, Simmonds ranks third in the NHL in power-play goals, behind only Joe Pavelski (17) and Alex Ovechkin (21). With his assist on Brayden Schenn’s power-play goal (and first goal of the game), captain Claude Giroux continued his dominance on the man advantage, and expanded his lead over Ovechkin in NHL power-play scoring, 34-30. Jake Voracek ranks seventh in that category.

Surprisingly, Nick Grossmann, who rarely ever scores, netted the Flyers’/game’s second goal of the game and his fifth goal of the season- his first since February 24th at Carolina. The play started when Andrew MacDonald and Simmonds were fighting for the puck in the far corner of the Red Wings’ zone, with Sean Couturier behind them. After Simmonds had the puck, instead of playing the puck, Red Wings’ sniping left-winger Henrik Zetterberg got caught behind and checked Simmonds, then unsurprisingly got beat on a breakaway by Grossmann, while he was trying to get back into the play. The mistake by Zetterberg was a pivotal one, as the Flyers were only up one, 1-0, at that point. Grossmann was a +2 on the day, with five hits and one blocked shot- he tied Zac Rinaldo, surprisingly, for the team lead in plus-minus rating.

Voracek and Giroux combined for three points today, with — in the process — Giroux breaking his three-game scoring drought. Prior to today, the two had combined for only five points in their previous-seven games. Coming into today’s game, Voracek had only two points in his last-13 periods, and the Flyers are 6-13-5 this year when Voracek’s held scoreless.

In addition to his two assists/points, Giroux won 12/21 face-offs (57%), including 5/6 on the man advantage, and had two shots on goal/giveaways, and a blocked shot. As for Voracek, he had an assist, a +1 rating, five shots, and one hit. It was a relatively-quiet game for Voracek, minus a couple plays here and there, including his assist on Schenn’s second goal of the game.

To my surprise, Brayden Schenn had a fantastic game today, and his best game of the year. He almost had a hat trick, too, before the first Flyers’ goal was changed from Schenn’s to Simmonds’ (although there were still a few Flyers’ fans’ hats that made their way onto the ice afterwards). On the day, the younger Schenn had two goals, three points, a +1 rating, three shots on goal, five hits, and three blocked shots- in just over 17 minutes of ice time on the top line.

Schenn’s first goal occurred 37 seconds into the Flyers’ third power-play. After some crafty perimeter passes by the team, from the left face-off circle, Giroux wristed a shot on net, which led to Wayne Simmonds chopping away at it a couple times in front of Howard, then Schenn grabbed the rebound. His second goal came just 11 seconds into the third period, when Voracek’s wrist shot went wide of the net, and he, as he was trailing the play, picked up the rebound and fired it glove side past Howard, to make it 4-1.

(Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

Eight-minutes later, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare made it 5-1. Bellemare’s goal was a byproduct of strong forechecking by the Flyers, who never gave up on the play. Detroit center Joakim Andersson carelessly turned it over in the slot to Bellemare, then the puck bounced over to center Vincent Lecavalier, who fed it in front to Zac Rinaldo, who, to the right of Howard, backhanded it to Bellemare for the goal.

The Flyers are now undefeated at home vs. the Red Wings in their last-10 games (10-0-0). Surprisingly, the last time the Red Wings have beaten the Flyers in Philadelphia was in Game 2 of the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals, in which they won 4-2. As for the last regular-season win for Detroit in Philadelphia, the last time that occurred was only five-months prior to the Game 2 loss, on January 25th, 1997, when they won 4-1. In that span, the Flyers have outscored Detroit 39-16.

They had good defensive pressure today on the penalty kill too, on three Detroit man advantages, especially center Sean Couturier. They outsmarted Detroit in those scenarios, anticipating passes, backchecking, and blocking shots in front of Mason. On those three man advantages, Detroit accounted for seven shots, the only power-play goal was an Erik Cole deflection midway through the third. Detroit’s other goal in the game was an even-strength one four-minutes into the second, when left-winger Justin Abdelkader was left wide open and went five hole on Steve Mason, to cut the lead in half and make it a 2-1 game. Thankfully, that goal didn’t swing the momentum in Detroit’s favor and lead to any more goals for them.

Detroit was very shaky all-game long in their own zone, with poor passes that were behind the other player, several lost puck battles in the corner, and being very sloppy overall.

They came back with a very-solid second period, outshooting the Flyers by a crazy margin, 18-6, and winning 14/23 face-offs (61%). Through two periods, they won 7/10 neutral-zone face-offs, too. In the third period, Philadelphia blew it wide open, outscoring Detroit 4-1 and outshooting them 15-11.

With seven-minutes left, Simmonds got a slashing penalty, which was served by Jake Voracek, and a 10-minute misconduct, which removed him from the game, after he roughed up Justin Abdelkader, after, away from the play, the latter roughed up and held Flyers’ defenseman Nick Schultz. Although it led to a Detroit power play, it was a nice gesture there by Simmonds, standing up for his teammate, after what should have been a penalty call on Detroit but wasn’t.

(Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

As a testament to his hard work as of recent, Flyers’ head coach Craig Berube gave Ryan White some time on the Flyers’ power play, on the first unit, after Wayne Simmonds was thrown out of the game minutes prior. On the day, White had an assist (on Zac Rinaldo’s goal), a +1 rating, one shot, and three hits- in just over 16 minute of ice time. White’s been very solid as of late, and has been an asset and a real-hard worker for the team.

On that same power play, the Flyers got their sixth goal of the day, with a perfect cross-ice pass from Andrew MacDonald to Matt Read, who was cutting to the net, who tipped it home for his seventh goal of the year. Just 38-seconds later, Zac Rinaldo wristed it home, for his first goal of the season. Rinaldo had a decent game, with several nice hits, as he managed to stay out of the penalty box, too.

Rinaldo’s goal started when Red Wings’ defenseman Brendan Smith turned it over to Michael Raffl in the neutral zone. Raffl raced through the neutral zone and the high slot with the puck, led it to MacDonald, who was to the right of him, who found Rinaldo from there. It was also Rinaldo’s first multi-point game of the year, his first point since January 19th at the Islanders, and his first multi-point game since March 7th, 2013 vs. Pittsburgh.

Five-and-a-half minutes into the second, Steve Mason made a brilliant save on a snapshot by Tomas Tatar, flashing the glove, after Detroit won the neutral-zone face-off and took the puck into the Flyers’ zone. Mason played well in net, stopping 31-33 Red Wings’ shots on the day, including 24 of 25 even-strength shots. On the flip side, Jimmy Howard only stopped 29/36 shots, including just 4/7 on the penalty kill, and surprisingly stayed in net the whole game, with Wings’ head coach Mike Babcock electing not to pull him in favor of backup Petr Mrazek (who replaced normal backup Jonas Gustavsson, who’s out with a concussion).

Detroit center Pavel Datsyuk, as usual, had a very-solid game, with an assist, three shots/hits, two takeaways, and 10 face-off wins.

From here, the Flyers will head out on a four-game Canadian road trip, starting in Ottawa tomorrow night, with whom they’re chasing in the wild-card standings. Around the league, the Bruins shutout Pittsburgh today 2-0, the latter of which were without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Good news for the Flyers, with the win today and Washington’s 4-2 loss vs. Dallas, they gained two points on the Capitals, who are 10-points ahead of Philadelphia for the final wild-card spot in the East (Boston used to be, but recently leapfrogged Washington for the second wild-card spot), with a game in hand (70-69) Thankfully, Washington is at home tomorrow night vs. Boston, so hopefully Philadelphia can gain some more ground with a win and a Washington loss tomorrow, too.

Ottawa (as mentioned above) and Florida are also vying for that final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference: Ottawa has 75 points, Florida has 74, and Philadelphia now has 72, with the two former teams having three games on hand on Philadelphia. Florida is playing today too, as they’re facing off at Carolina.

Three Stars

-Brayden Schenn
-Claude Giroux
-Carlo Colaiacovo

News and Notes

-This year, Claude Giroux is still without a home even-strength goal, in 35 games
-Coming into today’s game, since November 1st, Steve Mason ranks second to Montreal’s Carey Price in even-strength save percentage
-Today was only the second time in the last 20 games that the Flyers scored 4+ goals in a game
-Flyers’ center R.J. Umberger was scratched again, as he will undergo surgery on his hip and abdominal muscles and will miss the remainder of the year. He had missed the previous-two games; Vincent Lecavalier has filled in for him since then
-Good news: defenseman Michael Del Zotto, who’s still day-to-day with an upper-body injury, skated for 15 minutes on Friday, although, according to Flyers’ insider Tim Panaccio, he seemed to be in discomfort while doing it

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