The Philadelphia Flyers put an end to their four-game losing streak last night with a 4-2 win over the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets. Much could have been made of the second starts in Philadelphia of former Flyers LW Scott Hartnell and G Sergei Bobrovsky, but the night belonged to the Flyers that are currently on the roster. That is especially true of Jake Vorachek, who is putting together quite an incredible season for himself, as he picked up two more assists last night and continues to lead the league in points. He has now scored at least one point in every game this year except for the two games in which the Flyers were shut out. The Flyers received a stellar effort at the face-off dot from Claude Giroux, who won 23 of 28 faceoff attempts. The Flyers captain also garnered two assists on the night, leading his team to the W side of the standings ledger. Brayden Schenn, Mark Streit, Wayne Simmonds, and Braydon Coburn scored the Flyers goals.
While Philadelphia fans have long seen their team yield goals within five minutes of their team having scored, the Flyers last night did not allow that one occurrence to rob them of victory. The Blue Jackets’ Boone Jenner potted his first goal on the power play two minutes after Schenn had opened the scoring. The Flyers shot 16 pucks at the Columbus net (4 reaching the goal) from there to the Blue Jackets’ 7 (4 reaching the goal). The 16th Flyers shot was both on net and in the net as Streit put his own rebound past Bobrovsky for his 4th goal of the season. He has now scored in consecutive games. The Flyers took the 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
The Flyers scored the only goal of the second period as Wayne Simmonds put away a power play goal, catching the puck in midair, dropping it to the ice and then slamming it home before the Blue Jackets’ goalie could stop his shot. The goal was the first for Simmonds since their last win, the November 8 victory over Colorado.
In the third period, Columbus scored two minutes in as Matt Calvert put away his second goal of the season. The Flyers did not allow Columbus closing to within one goal rattle them. Instead, they responded just a minute later with their fourth goal. The Flyers took advantage of Bobrovsky having lost his stick and Coburn scored his first goal of the season.
All in all, the Flyers put forth a solid effort and should gain more points in the standings if they model their future games after it and less like the game they played on Wednesday in New York.
QUESTIONING THE FLYERS
- So, where do the Flyers go from here?The easy answer is “the road,” as seven of their next eight games will be away from the Wells Fargo Center. What is hoped is that with the losing streak snapped, the Flyers can put together a winning streak now and gain ground on the division-leading Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders. It’s still early, but the Flyers are currently six points out of the second wild-card seeding, with two games in hand on the Toronto Maple Leafs. If they can muster the same effort nightly that they have shown the last two games (last night’s win and Thursday’s loss to the Minnesota Wild), maybe they can get themselves into a playoff position by January 1.
- Will coach Craig Berube continue to ice seven defensemen tomorrow night?
He did that last night since he had a healthy roster of blue liners. Carlo Colaiacovo was scratched with the return of Michael Del Zotto to the lineup. Chances are that Berube will not play seven defensemen, instead playing 12 forwards instead of 11. According to reports from Voorhees this morning, it sounds like Luke Schenn and Colaiacovo will be the defensive scratches in the next Flyers game, which both means that Jason Akeson will return to the forwards corps and that the six defensemen will be Coburn, Del Zotto, Nicklas Grossmann, MacDonald, Nick Schultz, and Streit.
- Is Craig Berube going to be the Flyers head coach the rest of this season?
That remains to be seen. While GM Ron Hextall was not the person responsible for hiring Berube, there has been no indication (endorsement or a lack thereof) what Hextall thinks of his team’s coach. Of course, that can be said of Hextall’s coaching staff in Lehigh Valley, the assistant coaches and assistant general managers. It *is* known that Hextall was decidedly unhappy with the team’s lack of effort in New York City on Wednesday night, but whether or not Berube bore any of the ire or blame is unknown. The team’s fortunes and Berube’s are most probably closely intertwined. It was thought that the season-starting slump would spell the end of Berube’s time as coach, but the Flyers’ winning of 4 of 5 games in mid- to late October changed that. Of course, this is all speculation but only a year after the prior coach (Peter Laviolete) was replaced 3 games into the season, no prediction regarding the Flyers and their coach seems too silly.