Last week was downright painful for Flyers fans. With four dropped games, a lot of people feared that we were about to relive the inconsistency and uninspired play that we saw from the Flyers early this season. Each game something new seemed wrong and nothing was getting fixed.
The short time between games had some announcers blaming a lack of practice for the Flyers many deficiencies. A straw for us to grasp at, but it was convincing if you believed hard enough. With four losses behind them and a trip through California against some of the league leading teams, practice was the least of the Flyers problems. Last night’s home game against the Red Wings was a must win, especially with their top point producers, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, were out of the lineup.
Luck gave the Flyers a couple of advantages, but pure offensive power won the game for Philly. Besides Datsyuk and Zetterberg, Johan Franzen was also out of the lineup and Detroit’s starting goaltender Jimmy Howard rode the bench after coming back from an injury, in favor of Jonas Gustavsson. The Flyers finally broke out of an even strength scoring slump with 4 goals at even strength. All that scoring started after a Scott Hartnell power play goal in the first period.
After that Hartnell doubled his points in the second period with another goal followed by goals from Adam Hall to give the Flyers a 3-0 lead in the second. Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier put the Flyers even further ahead in the third. Hartnell’s return to the top line with Giroux and Voracek got him a 3 point performance with two goals and one assist on the night.
The Flyers play didn’t seem to come completely together until the second period. They again had trouble getting the Red Wings out of their zone, until Hartnell’s goal, but before then, goalie Steve Mason was back to his best keeping the Red Wings off the score board. Mason who has seemed to be struggling with confidence and slipping play lately looked back in form with a 34 save shutout including a save while on his back.
With Tuesday’s win and losses from Carolina and Columbus, the Flyers are back in 3rd place in the Metro for a little while. The playoff race in the Metropolitan is an extremely close one, so to stay in a playoff spot the Flyers will have to step up and pull out wins against three top performing California teams. Thursday the Flyers play the Anaheim Ducks who have a 21-2-2 home record. Saturday they head to LA for a game against the Kings and Monday they wrap up in Cali against the Sharks.