1,000 Since '67
Flyers players such as Jeff Carter, Kimmo Timonen, Claude Giroux, Danny Briere and Dan Carcillo bucketed the goals in last night's 5 - 2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens to give the Philadelphia franchise its 1,000th home win in its history.
If you didn't know already, the Flyers are the first expansion team since the 1967 expansion era to achieve this glorious stat. Those six teams introduced into the NHL were the Philadelphia Flyers, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Los Angeles Kings, the Minnesota North Stars, the St. Louis Blues, and the California Seals (who were later merged with the North Stars in 1978)
This home win was the topic of discussion rolling into the contest and like robots built and set on a mission, the Flyers skated Tuesday night with determination, speed and control.
Flyers founder, Ed Snider, discussed with the media after the game that "This achievement is a true testament to the many men who have put on the orange and black and proudly wore the Flyers famous logo for nearly 45 years. This milestone is representative of Flyers hockey. We want our home to be a very tough place for our opponents to play."
The Canadiens are no cake walk. This was going to be a tough match up and certainly a game needed winning since it's the last to be played before the All Star break.
Now, the last time the Flyers battled on the ice prior to an extended break in the schedule, they faced and lost to the Florida Panthers, 5 - 0. An absolute embarrassment that left a sour taste in every Bullies fan's mouth over the Christmas Holiday.
This was NOT repeated.
Like some adrenaline junkie set to shut every naysayer up, Nikolay Zherdev bolted and threw his body all over the rink and did so early in the 1st. Nik did not end last night's 60-minutes with a single assist or goal, but we're all aware that this game is won by widespread effort and not all about seeing the puck in net.
All season long Zherdev's faced scrutiny from all ends of the opinionated spectrum. Sure he's dropped a total of 15-goals behind the opposing netminder this season, but it's been his defensive and physical play that has seen the inspecting end of the magnifying glass.
Against the Habs just a handful of hours ago however.....Nikolay played like a wrecking ball and continued to keep others questioning whether scratching or dealing him is really what this team needs.
I hand Zherdev props for his performance and can only hope this flame he's found doesn't burn out. In fact I hope it grows into a forest destroying wild fire.
And speaking of players stepping up, how about that Daniel Carcillo!?!?!?
It's no secret how PhillyReign writer, Tyler Altemose, feels about him and to be quite honest his feelings are shared by many! An army of Orange & Black fans would rather see a parking cone get pushed around the crease than deal with the liabilities Hot Head Carcillo inevitably solicits on the ice.
Now, it's also no secret that I love that man. Reminds me of what kind of player I would be like had I was born with a shred of hockey talent, wasn't 5'Laughable", and a wingspan that troubles me to hit the goddamn snooze button in the morning. But I'm a tough guy with enough heart to fill Cher's wig closet, and Carcillo's the same way.
Recently he's been off the scratch list due to James van Riemsdyk's unfortunate lower body injury. Some were none too pleased to hear his spot's been filled by Carbomb.
I, however, was ready to witness Danny play like he wants the spot back.
Before I go further please note that as soon as JvR is ready to skate and play, by no means do I believe Carcillo should remain in his roster spot. There's no question vanRiemsdyk has more finish and offensive capabilities on his zit covered chin than Carcillo has in his entire body.
Just 23-seconds into the 2nd period, Carcillo made his presense known by backhanding the Flyers third goal of the evening past Montreal's Carey Price. He did so by camping in Price's crease and fighting for the puck after it had bounced back from the boards behind net. Danny really showed a lot of effort and - surprisingly - skill to gain that point.
Most fans reacted like, "At least he did something" while I stood on my couch sporting more wood than a paper mill.
I realize Carcillo's time as a Flyer is limited and he'll be back to tippin' brew in the press box soon enough. I'm just glad to see the kid's got energy and tenacity despite Laviolette's decision to keep him scratched -- which is understandable completely.
The only thing that confused me with Carcillo was how he got a 10-minute game misconduct later in the 3rd period.
By then the Flyers showed no signs of skating on their heels and no intentions in allowing any sort of Montreal comeback. Considering that and seeing as how both of these squads are very competitive and determined to etch their spots in the playoff contentions, the game winding down peacefully was anything but.
PK Subban, that absolute piece of shit young defenceman for the Canadiens, figured he'd start more drama while Carcillo was on the ice. Naturally Danny came calling with about as much hesitation as a spark hit an open barrel of gasoline. A few shoves here, some shared words there, and POOF! News broke out that Carcillo was exited out of the rink and into the locker room with a misconduct call. No punches thrown!
Now, a friend of mine who attended the game alerted me that the scuffle was shown on the jumbo tron and some racist remarks were blatantly seen escaping Carcillo's mouth. PK Subban is, of course, a man from African descent so if this is indeed the truth as to why Dan was excused from the party.....I have no complaints. There shouldn't be any tolerance for garbage like that.
But from where I sat, it seemed Carcillo was ejected from the contest solely for the reasoning that the officials knew he was soon to blow up and start what could potentially become a brawl.
You know me -- that woulda been kickass. But it is what it is.
Danny, you da man! (unless you're a racist bastard)
So aside from Carcillo's energy and Zherdev's *180, the rest of the Flyers played outstanding.
Jeff Carter and Kimmo Timonen got things started with two 5 on 3 man advantage goals late in the 1st. Carter lit the lamp first with backhanding a centered puck through Price's 5-hole, while Timonen gathered a chance from the high slot and sent it packing blockerside high.
2 - 0 on the board, and all at the expense of penalty committing Canadiens Andrei Kostitsyn, Jaroslav Spacek and P.K. Subban.
By the 2nd period the Flyers held the puck in Montreal's zone longer than Christians have been waiting for the second coming. Lines such as the Hartnell-Briere-Leino and Zherdev-Carter-Giroux lines saw to it that the Canadiens tested their on-ice endurance and conditioning.
Claude Giroux proved his All Star worth further by kicking an already dead Montreal penalty killing special team with a PPG deep into the 2nd period, his 19th of the season.
It was Danny Briere's open netter that drove the final nail through the coffin sealing the 5 - 2 win over the Canadiens and sending the Flyers into the All Star break still leading the league in the standings with 33 wins, 12 losses, and 5 OT losses (71-points total).
* * *
I can only imagine the discussions going on over the radio airwaves up in Montreal, Quebec. They bitched and moaned about our captain Mike Richards after his interview about Subban back on November 16th, 2010 when they got into it just before the game horn sounded.
Today? They must be just livid. Destroying their precious les habitants in last year's Eastern Conference Finals set it all off and now this season they are yet just another bug on Philadelphia's windshield. It must be MAYHEM!
In fact, after I publish this article I'm pulling up one of their radio shows via internet and listening in. Last time I did that the disc jockey got me so mad with his ridiculous drivel that I actually called the station and asked to get on the air.
I was denied.
Maybe I'll have better luck this time?
Join the Philadelphia Flyers after they get back from the break in schedule when they faceoff against the Lightning in Tampa Bay, Tuesday, February 1st at 7:00PM.