Recognizing the chance to turn things around with a break in their schedule, the Flyers had a dominating start ultimately leading to their 3-1 victory over the visiting Edmonton Oilers. Jeff Carter scored twice while Danny Briere had a goal and an assist as Philly embarrassed the Oilers in the opening period keeping them to a single shot. The win ends a four game losing streak and improves Philly’s record to 41-19-6.
Looking to take the early lead, the Flyers were briefly halted when Chris Pronger went to the box for hooking. For the minute and thirty-seven seconds the Flyers were shorthanded, they generated enough offensive pressure to force the Oilers into a penalty of their own.
Linus Omark sat in the sin bin for interfering with Darroll Powe. Philly was unable to net a goal with the eighty-three seconds of man advantage they experienced.
As Philly looked for a way to get through the neutral zone, Ville Leino dumped the puck back to Matt Carle in the defensive zone. Noticing Briere’s position, Carle launched a pass from the top of the circles to Briere who caught the pass between a pair of Oilers’ defenders on the Oilers’ blue line. Going in alone on Devan Dubnyk, Briere placed a shot top right over the netminder’s glove for his twenty-ninth goal and a 1-0 Flyers’ lead.
A big break came for the Flyers thirteen minutes into the period. As Ladislav Smid went to the box for boarding Darroll Powe, the orange and black experienced a five minute powerplay since the penalty was a major.
Nearly wasting the opportunity, Carter tipped in a pass from Briere, who was standing in the corner to Dubnyk’s right, with little time left on the man advantage. With Dubnyk unable to move right to left quickly enough, Carter scored his twenty-ninth goal with seventeen seconds left on the powerplay to make the Flyers lead two.
As Smid exited the sin bin, Sean O’Donnell decided to make a visit himself just twenty-eight seconds later. Given a minute and twenty-five seconds worth of a powerplay before the end of the period, the Oilers were able to take their first shot of the game with one minute and fourteen seconds remaining in the first.
Sergei Bobrovsky kept the Oilers from scoring on the powerplay for the rest of the first period as the Flyers entered the middle stanza with a 2-0 lead. More impressive than the score was the Flyers dominance in the shot differential. After twenty minutes, the Flyers out shot Edmonton 17-1.
Seven minutes into the second period, Carter became the first thirty goal scorer for the Flyers this season. Claude Giroux won a faceoff to Dubnyk’s left, where James van Riemsdyk handled the faceoff win and passed it cross ice to a pinching Kimmo Timonen. Dubnyk moved to the right post in synch with Timonen allowing the Philly defender to pass it back to the slot, where Carter was waiting to dunk home his thirtieth goal on the year. Carter’s goal extended the Flyers’ lead to three with just over seven minutes gone in the second period.
Unwilling to dominate the game all the way through, the Oilers found their way onto the scoreboard fifty-five seconds later. Jean-Francois Jacques tipped a Smid shot from the point moving the puck from Bobrovsky’s glove side to blocker side. Bob couldn’t get a piece of the shot as it went in short side giving Jacques his fourth goal on the season and the Oilers a two-goal deficit.
A powerplay opportunity for each team, elbowing on Steve MacIntyre and interference on Kimmo Timonen, didn’t result in a goal for either side as the rest of the second period went scoreless. Entering the final twenty minutes in regulation, the Flyers only had to hold onto a two-goal lead to end their four game losing streak.
Blair Betts added an empty net goal with forty-two seconds left in the game. Betts’ fifth goal on the year made the final score 4-1. Bobrovsky made twenty-three out of a possible twenty-four saves in the win.
Missing two of the last three games, Carter rose to the occassion tonight scoring a pair for the orange and black. His game-winning goal in the first period as well as his goal in the second were both results of crashing the net. Carter’s tally in the second period makes him the first thirty-goal scorer for the Flyers this season.
The Flyers’ urgency was displayed early in the game when Philly had the first sixteen shots of the game. Unfortunately, their pure domination resulted in only a two-goal lead although it could have easily been three or four. The Oilers aren’t the toughest team in the league, but a win will surely give the Flyers a lot of confidence heading into their busy stretch of games during the month of March.
Notes: This is the Flyers first win against Edmonton since a 4-2 win on 3/19/01 in Edmonton; their last win in Philly was a 2-0 win on 11/9/00. This was Jeff Carter’s first two-goal game since 1/23 (a 4-1 win in Chicago). Carter’s 30th goal came against the Maple Leafs last year on 3/7/10. Tonight was Bobrovsky’s first one-goal game since his 1-0 loss to the Kings on 2/13; Bob’s last one-goal game that resulted in a win was 1/23 against the Blackhawks. The Flyers went 1-0-0 against the Oilers in the 2010-2011 season and are now 3-1-1 against the Northwest division (VAN 0-1-0, CAL 0-0-1, MIN 1-0-0, COL 1-0-0, EDM 1-0-0).