This team needed a fire to be lit. This team needed to be challenged by something other than coaches and line changes. This team needed to be exposed by something other than headlines. This team needed a leader, someone to call out the room in its entirety, to make it clear that what was happening was not acceptable. This team needed leadership. This team needed their captain.
Less than a half minute into the game on Long Island, that’s exactly what they got. Flyers captain Claude Giroux wasted no time backing up every single word he clearly stated Saturday night in Montreal. Giroux took the rebound of a Matt Read pass of an Islander skate and buried it into the net to give the Flyers an early lead and showed his teammates he wasn’t just talk, he was action.
By games end, Giroux, along with Danny Briere, had tallied two goals and an assist in a 7-0 shellacking of the New York Islanders(6-8-1, 13pts). The win was a much needed boost for a Flyers(7-9-1, 15pts) team that was reeling on a six road trip, losers of three of their last four.
Matt Read started the second like Giroux started the game, scoring just 15 seconds in, in what would be a three goal period that would turn this game into a much needed laugher.
Brayden Schenn , off a Jakub Voracek pass, scored the Flyers third goal on the power play. Despite the struggles of this team to score, Schenn and Voracek have been developing chemistry over the last few weeks and have become very effective on the second line. Voracek assisted on each of the Flyers first four goals and led the day with four points and leads the team with 15 points on the season.
Giroux capped the second period scoring with his second goal of the game with some nifty stick work at the side of the net and then pure strength to muscle the puck into the net.
Danny Briere added two goals of his own, including one on the power play, to give the Flyers the touchdown and the extra point.
The Flyers power play was 2-4 on the day. I repeat, the Flyers scored two power play goals on the road. They had six power play goals in ten road games leading up to this game.
The penalty kill was strong again today, killing a full two minute 5-3 in the first period and shutting out the Isles for the day on five opportunities. The Flyers penalty kill has been one aspect of the game that has been good away from home, as they have now killed 40 of 47 penalties on the road.
Lost in Giroux’s big start, Briere and Voracek’s big days, and a strong special teams play is that goalie Ilya Bryzgalov notched the 30th shutout of his career. Bryzgalov is another guy on this team who needed a big day, and while he was not tested often, he was strong when it was needed.
Today’s win has to be a turning point in the season. The team responded from a rock bottom loss in Montreal and beat an Islanders team that had been coming off wins against the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils. It was a game they had to have and it was a moment they needed to dominate.
While there have been a lot of discussions about how good this team really is and what may need to be done to fix it, we saw today that maybe they just need to find a groove. Today was a step that needed to be taken but the real test will come Wednesday when the Flyers wrap up the road trip in Pittsburgh. I will be watching the first shift and captain Claude Giroux, because he will need to continue to set the tone for this team be successful.Tags: Brayden Schenn, Claude Giroux, Danny Briere, Jakub Voracek, Matt Read, New York Islanders, NHL, Philadelphia Flyers, win