Photo is by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images
It’s all about the little things for the Philadelphia Flyers lately as they continue their hot play and march towards the playoffs with a huge win over the defending Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks on Wednesday night, 3-2. The win catapults the Flyers into the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference if for only a moment as the Detroit Red Wings will be in action on Thursday night. Nevertheless, it was a good outing for the Flyers, who’s schedule is as grueling as it gets from here on out.
The Flyers received goals from Ryan White (9th), Brayden Schenn (24th) and Radko Gudas (3rd) in the win. Sean Couturier recorded two assists in the winning cause and was beast-like on the penalty-kill as the Flyers got themselves in some hot water early in the game when they were forced to kill off a 5 on 3. In games like this, Couturier’s two-way ability is an absolute must if the team is to win so hopefully his detractors can look at this game and realized just how invaluable he is to the Flyers’ fortunes.
Winning goaltender Michal Neuvirth was a rock in this one as he turned away 24 of 26 shots fired his way. Couturier provided the Flyers penalty kill with a boost but Neuvy was by far the team’s best penalty killer in that sequence. It was important following Tuesday’s win over the Red Wings that the Flyers come into Chicago and get a strong effort from their goaltender. Neuvirth, as he has all season, far exceeded expectations in this one.
Here is the game’s notable:
NBC’s Pierre McGuire briefly mentioned during last night’s game about the Flyers rebuilding mode and how games like last night help “forge their identity” as a team in transition. It’s difficult to refute that statement but one thing I would add to it would be that Flyers aren’t necessarily forging a new identity so much as they are reestablishing the one that has made them successful for many years. Strong, aggressive two-way play has always been a hallmark of the Flyers and under Dave Hakstol, this Flyers team very much resembles the teams of old. It’s a good sign considering Philadelphia could be in the playoffs as soon as this April.