You’ve probably seen the scores by now, but here are my thoughts on the Flyers’ impressive weekend.
The Philadelphia Flyers won not once, but twice this weekend as they went on a mini intradivision road trip to Columbus on Friday and to MSG Sunday afternoon. The Flyers entered the trip winless in both arenas for quite some time with the winless streak at CBJ going back to December 2007.
On Friday, the Flyers edged the Blue Jackets 2-1 in OT on this Sean Couturier goal:
An overall solid team effort was led by Michael Neuvirth’s stellar goaltending blocking 35 of 36 Columbus shots. Travis Konecny didn’t snipe but did make that incredible play to set Cout’s winner. TK has been making serious strides of growth since the calendar flipped to 2018 and he’s been a catalyst for the Flyers’ run into the top 3 in the Metropolitan Division–more on TK in a minute.
On Sunday afternoon, the Flyers took care of the New York Rangers 7-4 in one of the more wild games I’ve watched all season. A back-and-forth first period that ended with a 3-3 tie and a Neuvirth injury. Alex Lyon, the rookie goalie from Yale, stepped into the net to start the second period after returning to the NHL level earlier in the week when Brian Elliott went back on the IR.
Lyon stood on his head stopping 25 of 26 Ranger shots in the second and third periods. At first, it seemed the high-scoring back-and-forth would continue as the score was quickly 4-4 in the first five minutes of the second, but Lyon and the rest of the team regroup to shut down an injured NYR squad. TK netted his 15th goal towards the end of the second and it was all Flyers from there.
In the third, the Fly Guys would score two more times including Claude Giroux’s 200th career goal:
Coincidentally enough, 10 years ago today (2/19/2008) was Giroux’s NHL debut–20 goals per year ain’t too shabby.
With the win, the Flyers sit in third in the Metropolitan Division–four points behind Pittsburgh, who has overtaken Washington–but tied with New Jersey. The Flyers will need a lot more of these team wins in order to maintain their playoff hopes.
Neuvirth’s injury adds a level of complication to Ron Hextall’s job that he was hoping to avoid–trading for another goalie. With Brian Elliott out for almost the remainder of the year, the question on everyone’s mind was if Hextall would need to make a move. With Neuvirth out, he’ll need to. Lyon played incredibly yesterday but his other three appearances hadn’t been nearly as sharp. Regardless, the Flyers will need to find another goalie to fill in the gap left in Elliott and Neuvirth’s injuries. Hextall has been a fairly conservative decision maker when came to trading, especially at the deadline, so now we’ll see what he comes up with. Other teams will try to exploit the Flyers’ need but Hexty’s a smart enough man to not get fleeced.
The Flyers return home Tuesday night to host the Montreal Canadiens.Follow @geordo9