The Flyers went into Wednesday night’s game against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks looking to build on the success of their home opener. The story against the Panthers was incredible goaltending from Michal Neuvirth and the story again on Wednesday was Michal Neuvirth’s stellar performance.
Neuvirth became only the second goaltender in Flyers history to record two shutouts in his first two starts. With regular number one, Steve Mason out dealing with personal family matters, it’s comforting to know that we have such a competent netminder backing him up.
There were plenty of other storylines that filled this Rivalry Night game; Kimmo Timonen was honored before the game and in between periods, Patrick Kane was met with constant boos and some controversial chants, but Neuvirth’s play earned them a win in the end.
Kimmo Timonen night pic.twitter.com/FRJBBnb7N7
— Jon Johnson (@jonjohnsonwip) October 15, 2015
The Flyers dominated possession of the puck through the first period getting a number of prime scoring chances. The first chance was a second line setup for Sean Couturier who just missed the puck letting it wobble into Crawford’s pads. The second was a one-timer from Claude Giroux that made it to the net before Crawford could even lift his glove to think about saving it, unfortunately, it deflected off the post and off to the boards.
The Flyers weren’t able to capitalize until around 6 minutes into the 2nd period, on a power play, when Sam Gagner put a wrist shot over Crawford’s shoulder through a heavy screen; Gagner’s first goal as a Flyer. A few minutes later the Blackhawks had their best chance to turn the momentum in their favor. Marian Hossa was all alone on a shorthanded breakaway when Neuvirth shut him down to keep the Flyers ahead by one.
“You know you have the wall behind you,” Bellemare told reporters when asked about the goaltending “Neuvy’s making the saves we need to have him make.”
The Flyers next goal would come from Captain clutch backhanding a rebound over Crawford’s pads. Giroux avoided the slump speculation that he went through last season when he struggled to get his first even strength goal. with 11 points in 8 previous games against the Blackhawks, it was a safe bet that Giroux would put up at least a point.
“Let’s f**king go” – Claude Giroux pic.twitter.com/bTdw0BCash
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) October 15, 2015
The third period started out a bit brutal with the Flyers being outplayed by the blackhawks for a few minutes. Overall the Flyers seemed to be putting a bit less pressure on the Blackhawks. The Flyers third goal was poked in by Matt Read after a shot from Wayne Simmonds stunned Crawford just long enough for Read to swoop in.
- The Flyers honored Kimmo Timonen before the game and showed some videos from former teammates (including Scott Hartnell) in between periods.
- The fourth line of Pierre-Edouard Bellamre, Ryan White, and Chris VandeVelde were given the most ice time and had the best Corsi For% while the third line(now including Sam Gagner) was given very little ice time and absolutely no offensive zone starts.
- Patrick Kane was met with constant boos every time he touched the puck. After a while, there were also chants of “She said no.” whenever Kane was involved in a faceoff or on the ice. I won’t comment on the chants or on Kane’s situation. What I will do is show you this awesome hit on Kane by Radko Gudas: