Keeping in mind their 5-0 loss to Florida back in December, the Flyers avenged their embarrassing game with a 3-2 victory of their own tonight. James van Riemsdyk netted the game winning goal while Danny Briere had a goal and two assists on the night.
The game started off with both teams being assessed a minor penalty within the first three minutes. Nineteen seconds before the two minute mark, Daniel Carcillo was handed a holding penalty giving the Panthers the first powerplay of the game. Florida didn’t take advantage of the situation losing the man advantage a minute and eight seconds later after Mike Santorelli went to the box for slashing. The Flyers didn’t find the back of the net either on their shortened powerplay.
About five minutes after the teams exchanged powerplays, Mike Richards gave Philly the first lead of the game. Carcillo won a puck battle in the corner to Tomas Vokoun’s left and handed the puck to Kris Versteeg, who turned his body towards the net acting as though he was lining up a shot before giving Richards the puck in the slot. He’d put it home through some traffic in front for his 18th goal on the season and a 1-0 Flyers’ lead.
Inspired by his captain breaking a ten-game goalless streak, Andreas Nodl decided to break his nineteen-game goalless streak by depositing the puck in Tomas Vokoun’s net on a nicely set up play. Sixty-five seconds after the opening goal, Scott Hartnell stood at the left point just inside the blue line sliding the puck over to Danny Briere who was near the faceoff circle to Vokoun’s left. Briere saw Nodl’s stick, which was placed on the ice at Vokoun’s goalmouth, and made a spot-on pass leading to Philly’s second goal. Nodl’s tenth goal on the season gave Philly an early two-goal lead.
As if a two-goal lead ten minutes into the game wasn’t dominant enough, Philly dictated the rest of the period resulting in two more Florida penalties (boarding on Darcy Hordichuk and holding on Stephen Weiss) and an 18-5 shot count in their favor.
Coming out with a stronger effort in the opening minutes of the middle period, the Panthers had several offensive scrums occur near Bob’s crease. Unfortunately for Florida, a counter attack by Philly extended their deficit to three goals. Danny Briere took advantage of his one-on-one with Dennis Wideman as he entered the Panthers’ defensive zone by deking Wideman out of position. After gaining ground on the beaten defender, Briere moved the puck to the bottom of the circle to Vokoun’s left and took a shot that caused the goalie to drop to his knees. While sliding on the ice after making the initial save, Vokoun was moving away from the net as James van Riesmdyk put the rebound home on an open net. JVR’s 14th goal on the season gave the Flyers a stranglehold on the game with a 3-0 lead.
Florida was handed the first powerplay of the second period after Braydon Coburn went to the box for high sticking about halfway through the period. Despite Wideman hitting the post on the powerplay and the need for Bobrovsky to make a sprawling save just after the powerplay ended, the Panthers still had not found the back of the net.
The Panthers closest chance to scoring in the second period came on a Bobrovsky flub. After dropping an attempt to catch the puck, Bob covered up the puck on the goal line. Unsure of whether or not the puck completely crossed the goal line, the refs spent several minutes reviewing the play and ultimately decided the puck never did completely cross the goal line.
Mike Santorelli was called for interference with a little less than two minutes left in the second period to put Florida a man down entering the final period of play.
After killing off the remainder of Santorelli’s penalty, the Panthers finally scored twenty seconds before the two minute mark of the third period. Marty Reasoner won a faceoff in the circle to Bob’s left to Jason Garrison, who then moved a little to his right before ripping a shot from the point. Standing in front of Bobrovsky, Rostislav Olesz turned his body while successfully tipping the puck preventing Bob from catching it. After the puck hit Bob’s glove, it went to the left side of the crease where Olesz put it in for his sixth goal of the season. Olesz’s goal came on the powerplay as Chris Pronger sat in the box for interference.
The Panthers weren’t calling it quits yet as David Booth took advantage of a broken play just inside Philly’s blue line to score his 16th goal of the season. An unassisted goal dwindled Philly’s lead from two to one with less than eight minutes to play in the final period.
After a frantic few minutes of absolute pressure from Florida, the Flyers were able to put the game away with a Briere empty net goal. Taking the puck in on the empty net from center ice gave Briere his 28th goal on the season and the Flyers a 4-2 lead they’d hold onto until the final whistle.
A strong start didn’t carry throughout the whole game for the Flyers as they were heavily outplayed in the third period. Energy and effort allowed Philly to come out with a 3-0 lead after two periods, but an absence in urgency in the final stanza almost allowed Florida to overcome a three-goal deficit.
Sergei Bobrovsky wasn’t called on often tonight, but he made key saves all night long. A couple of mishandled glove plays seemed to be Bob’s only problem on the evening. A dropped puck in the second almost lead to a goal, while a dropped shot that was deflected led to Florida’s first goal on the night.
Kris Versteeg was able to register his first point in a Flyers’ uniform tonight as he set up Mike Richards for the first goal of the game.
Notes: The win was the Flyers’ 1700th win in franchise history. The Flyers are now 2-1-0 against the Panthers on the season and are now 9-4-1 against the Southeast division on the season (TBL 1-3-0, WSH 2-0-1, CAR 3-0-0, ATL 1-0-0, FLA 2-1-0).