When most hockey players are just hitting the ice for their respective morning skates, the Flyers and Jets were playing a meaningful, morning matinee. Coming off two straight losses, in which the bad habits that plagued this seasons’ start returned, Philadelphia desperately needed to pick up some points against an inconsistent Winnipeg squad. And they did just that, in somewhat dominating fashion. After controlling the first period (13-2 shot advantage), the Jets pushed back in the third and the tilt came down to the wire; fortunately, Steve Mason was one save better than Ondrej Pavelec, and the game ended 2-1.
Here are some highlights:
- Sean Couturier may have had his best game of the season. He was key in killing off six Winnipeg power-plays, while also potting a short-handed, game-winning tally (and coming oh so close on another). The kid is a talent.
- Steve Mason handled 25 of 26 shots to continue his spectacular campaign.
- Scott Hartnell finally got a lucky bounce as the puck found his stick immediately as he exited the bench and he potted it in wide-open net to open the scoring.
- Zac Rinaldo’s speed is becoming a nice asset on the Penalty Kill, as he’s able to pressure the opposing squad and make it back to the defensive zone easily. His development had to contribute to Holmgren’s decision to move fan favorite Max Talbot in favor of Steve Downie.
- Andrej Meszaros replaced Erik Gustafsson in the linueup but wasn’t any more effective. Both have their faults but I personally believe Gus brings far more upside and has shown more in his limited appearances this season.
- One of the biggest issues holding the Philadelphia Flyers back from contention is their apparent inability to be selfish. There have been far too many examples this season of a player having an opportunity to shoot, and instead passing up the chance in an attempt to setup a teammate. Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek have especially been guilty of this selflessness. Both have elite play-making skills, but sometimes what’s best for the team is to just throw the puck on net.
- It’s good that the Flyers got these two points as over the next few weeks they take on the likes of Nashville (Saturday), Minnesota, Detroit, Chicago, Montreal, and Washington (twice).
Tune in Saturday night at 8 p.m. to see the Flyers (11-12-2) take on the the Predators (13-11-2) in Nashville. However, the Preds come in to the game without the services of Shea Weber, Pekka Rinne, Kevin Klein, Filip Forsberg, and Patric Hornqvist- all out. Unfortunately, this team, still desperate for points, can’t underestimate their short-handed competition.