Red Wings @ Flyers – December 18, 2018
25 James van Riemsdyk – 28 Claude Giroux – 11 Travis Konecny
17 Wayne Simmonds – 14 Sean Couturier- 93 Jakub Voracek
21 Scott Laughton – 19 Nolan Patrick – 12 Michael Raffl
23 Oskar Lindblom – 44 Phil Varone – 22 Dale Weise
9 Ivan Provorov – 6 Travis Sanheim
53 Shayne Gostisbehere – 8 Robert Hägg
47 Andrew MacDonald – 3 Radko Gudas
79 Carter Hart
[30 Michal Neuvirth]
Scratches: 15 Jori Lehterä (healthy), 40 Jordan Weal (healthy), 26 Christian Folin (healthy), 41 Anthony Stolarz (IR, lower body), 37 Brian Elliott (IR, lower body), 10 Corban Knight (IR, collarbone), 5 Sam Morin (ACL surgery).
DETROIT RED WINGS
14 Gustav Nyquist – 71 Dylan Larkin – 8 Justin Abdelkader
72 Andreas Athanasiou – 51 Frans Nielsen – 70 Christoffer Ehn
59 Tyler Bertuzzi – 41 Luke Glendening – 27 Michael Rasmussen
26 Thomas Vanek – 61 Jacob De La Rose – 42 Martin Frk
21 Dennis Cholowski – 83 Trevor Daley
55 Niklas Kronwall – 3 Nick Jensen
52 Jonathan Ericsson – 17 Filip Hronek
45 Jonathan Bernier
[35 Jimmy Howard]
The Detroit Red Wings come into town with the Philadelphia Flyers reeling after a series of miserable losses. However, with the a new face behind the bench and young star goaltender in net, positivity is in the air. From the very beginning of the game the crowd was cheering for Carter Hart louder than the cheers for the entire starting lineup combined. The city of Philadelphia is hungry for a starting goalie and they’re willing to be extra nice to Hart until he shows otherwise.
The Flyers came into the night with their previous lineup combinations, but a late change by Scott Gordon to shift Claude Giroux back to Center was made right before puck drop. The Flyers were coming off a miserable road trip that saw their head coach fired by the end of it. In that span the team went 1-3-1 and were outscored 22-14 and they were regularly playing from behind. But now that is all behind them and new era of Flyers hockey begins. Whether it be Scott Gordon or another coach brought in at some point, this team was clearly looking to move on.
In the first period the Flyers came out skating. With solid movement on the Powerplay the original unit of Giroux, Simmonds, Couturier, Voracek, and Ghost back together and were working the puck well. However, Flyers still look like the team that gives up early goals. The Flyers managed to not crumble early and stabilized quickly. Even with a slew of penalties called early on, the Flyers never lost rhythm. James Van Riemsdyk finally buried a goal at the end of the 1st period. After having two minor penalties in the first period, JVR makes up for it early on. The play was made by Claude Giroux from the point. It’s clear that this team still lives and dies by Claude Giroux’s game.
The second period was more of the same from the Flyers and the team came out ready to shoot. However, when Oskar Lindblom took a penalty early in the period, the Flyers lost momentum and went on to give up a power play. Carter Hart gave up his first career goal, but it was one he had very little chance at saving. Overall, he showed a lot of poise as the game went on and with the crowd rooting for him, it seemed to give him confidence to make saves. It was nice to see Laughton and Raffl act like gophers all night. If the puck was going into the corner, they were coming out with it. They really do well digging in the corners and on the forecheck. They actually make for some nice complementary wingers on the 3rd line. I’m not sure Nolan Patrick should be their center, but there is definitely something interesting with them working together. It should not be that surprising since Raffl and Laughton were able to do this last season for long stretches as well. Later on Ghost scored on a nice pass from Nolan Patrick on the rush. The line of Patrick, Raffl, and Laughton were buzzing all night long, not surprising that they finally scored a goal looking like a team. They were being very aggressive on this night and it was paying off. Carter Hart made some big saves at the end of the period, but for the most part his team made the second period easy for him. After the 1st goal, the Flyers limited any opposition opportunities. It was a refreshing site.
In the third period the Flyers continued to find their shooting lanes and did not hesitate to shoot. It seems like that might have been a message from Gordon. The team played with noticeably less tension and created skilled plays. However, just two minutes into the third period and the Flyers gave up a goal in tight and Hart wasn’t able to come up with the save. It was a tough break for a team that was carrying the play. Like so often this season, the Flyers lose momentum off of a bad break. The third period would prove to be a big test for a team that has not been able to hold onto leads very long. With giving up the a goal early in the third period, they had a much tighter game on their hands. All in all the Flyers controlled much of the period and had a large advantage in shots, but the score was still close till the end. It seems like that’s the theme of the season for this Flyers team and it was time to get past it. In the end they came away with a big win and will look to bring a similar effort against their next opponent. The Nashville Predators come into Philadelphia on Thursday night. The Preds will be much tougher competition than the Red Wings. The Flyers will have a lot of work to do, but it’s a good start in the Scott Gordon era. The real proof will be if the team can be more consistent moving forward.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports