(Photo Cred: Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)
In arguably their best sixty minute effort of the season, the Philadelphia Flyers shutout the New York Islanders on Sunday by a score of 4-0 at the Wells Fargo Center. An excellent three zone clinic saw Philadelphia capitalize on a low energy effort from New York today as multiple Flyers’ players contributed to the victory.
The Flyers received goals from Michael Raffl (6th), Evgeny Medvedev (3rd), Matt Read (6th), and Sean Couturier (9th). Matt Read, in particular, had a stellar afternoon as he added two assists to his day, including a tally on the Michael Raffl goal. This also marks the third straight game that Philadelphia has received that ever-elusive, secondary scoring as offensive catalysts Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek were left off the scoresheet today.
Winning goaltender Steve Mason was solid in goal as he turned away twenty shots on as many attempts. The win gave Mason his 9th of the 2015-2016 season. Here are your game notes:
- The puck seemed to follow Flyers’ forward Matt Read today. After a scoreless first period where Philadelphia dictated both tempo and play, the Flyers added two goals in a penalty-filled second stanza. Roughly two minutes into the period, defensemen Michael Del Zotto hit Sean Couturier with a nice breakout pass to kickstart a Flyers’ rush. Couturier then finessed a right-wing feed to Read, who went right back to Couturier upon entering the zone for a give-and-go. Both Islander defenders dropped back to defend Couturier and Read on the play as both players skated below the hash marks, leaving an uncontested Raffl in the slot for the goal.
Later that period, Read and Del Zotto would link up again on Medvedev’s goal. Upon working the puck free, it was Read again who created offensive opportunity for the Flyers. Read and Del Zotto this time involved Medvedev on a seamless passing play around the blueline that left the Russian defensemen in all alone on Isles’ goaltender Jaro Halak. Medvedev finished the play, beating the goaltender five-hole.
- The trio of Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn, and Michael Raffl continue their brilliance today, accounting for four points in the win. In recent post-game pressers, all three players emphasized how easy it is to play with one another, suggesting that they are all straight line players that like to create fore-checking pressure. Today, they’ve never looked more in sync as their precise passing was opening up the Islanders in the offensive zone and creating scoring chances.
Over the last few seasons, it has been evident that the Flyers needed Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn to take that next step offensively in order for the Flyers to take that next step in becoming a better team. As it turns out, all they may have needed was the opportunity to play with one another.
As of this writing, the Flyers are just two points out of the final wildcard spot in the east. Could the Flyers be the only team to make the playoffs in Philadelphia this year? Only time will tell, but as of today—with all this team’s limitations—they’ll give themselves a fighting chance.