The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-5 Wednesday in one of the craziest games all season.
The game had playoff hockey written all over it as the Flyers fought to keep their season alive. With a win, Philadelphia would be tied for 8th in the standings, yet with a loss they would be in 10th, and 3 games below a .500 record. Pittsburgh knew this and wanted to put a huge damper on the Flyers season.
And just like last year's playoff series between these two teams, it was a nasty, yet high-scoring affair: 11 goals, 64 shots, 48 penalty minutes, 13 power plays, two 2-goal comebacks, 2 disallowed goals, a hat trick, a Gordie Howe hat trick, and 21 players who registered at least 1 point.
The Flyers battled all game as they had to overcome a 2-goal deficit, a lengthy 5-on-3 penalty, and a late-game comeback by the Penguins. And when the final horn sounded, Philadelphia emerged victorious after 60 brutal minutes.
Jake Voracek came up huge for the Flyers, scoring his first career hat trick, while Wayne Simmonds got the Gordie, as he notched 2 goals, an assist and a fight.
.500 Road Trip
The Flyers turned what started out as a brutal 6 game road trip in which they dropped 3 of their first 4 games, into an even record of 3-3. This turnaround happened after they lost two ugly games in a row to New Jersey and Montreal. Following the lackluster game against Montreal, Flyers captain Claude Giroux had enough.
Giroux publicly called out his team, Comcast Sportsnet reported:
We weren't competing and we're not winning the battles. We are just going through the motions. It's just frustrating to see, and I know I have to be better, but we have 20 guys and we need everybody to step up.
Giroux also held a private meeting to address their (and his) lack of effort and drive to win. So on Monday, Giroux and the Flyers had something to prove as they came into New York to face the Islanders for game 5 of the 6 game trip.
And all they did was hand the Islanders their worst home shutout loss ever: 7-0. Giroux got the team going, scoring 26 seconds into the game. The rest of the team would follow suit as they played their best complete hockey game of the season.
Philadelphia tied its season high, scoring 7 goals while registering its first shutout; the team also went a solid 2-for-4 on the man-advantage and a posted a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill. Giroux ended the game with 2 goals and an assist, while 10 other Flyers registered at least 1 point.
But the Flyers had to prove they could do it against a top-rated team. So they traveled into Pittsburgh two nights later on a mission to turn their season around. And the Flyers emerged victorious as they did it with flair, with the whole nation watching on Rivalry Night on the NBC Sports Network.
- The Flyers scored 13 goals in 2 games since Giroux's message while winning back to back games; they had scored 13 goals in their previous 5 games combined.
- The Flyers ended their 6 game road trip with an even 3-3 record and an 8-9-1 season record. They have 17 points and currently sit tied for 8th place in the Eastern Conference.
After an arduous road trip, the Flyers return for a 5-game homestand to the Wells Fargo Center, where the team is 4-1-1. Of the 5 teams Philadelphia will host, 3 are currently below .500 (Florida, Winnipeg and Washington).
When the NHL Network asked the Flyers captain about finally coming home, Giroux responded, "We're excited to play in front of our fans again and hopefully we can stay on fire."
- Tonight Feb 21st @ 7 PM
- vs Florida Panthers (4-7-4, 12 points)
- Saturday Feb 23rd @ 1 PM
- vs Winnipeg Jets (6-8-1, 13 points)
- Monday Feb 25th 7 PM
- vs Toronto Maple Leafs (10-7, 20 points)
- Wednesday Feb 27th 7:30 PM
- vs Washington Capitals (5-9-1, 11 points)
- Saturday March 2nd @ 12:00 PM
- vs Ottawa Senators (9-6-2, 20 points)
Scott Hartnell, who has been out of the lineup with a broken bone in his foot, since January 22, has been cleared to practice with the team. After visiting with his doctor yesterday, the Flyers reported that Hartnell will be out only 7-10 more days.
Andrej Meszaros (shoulder) has been skating with the team in a 'no contact' jersey for about a week. Meszaros will have another visit with his doctor tomorrow to see if he can be cleared for contact. He has been out since January 24 and is a little behind the initial 4-week estimate.
Matt Read left yesterday's game versus Pittsburgh in the 1st period and didn't return. The Flyers are only saying it is an 'upper body injury.' More will be known later today.
News Around the NHL
The Chicago Blackhawks have tied Anaheim for the longest point streak to start a season. During the first 16 games of the year, the Blackhawks are an incredible 13-0-3,undefeated in regulation. Chicago will attempt to break the record Friday night against the San Jose Sharks.
For regular updates: Keep checking out Drop the Puck!