Thursday night the Flyers traveled to the windy city to take on the Chicago Blackhawks. This was the second meeting of the season between the two. What is interesting is that since these two teams have met in Prague, they each played six games. Chicago had six home games. The Flyers did not. They had had a brutal west coast travel schedule after playing in Europe. Some Flyers fans may argue that this is more evidence of the NHL’s hatred of the orange and black.
The Flyers went into the “Madhouse on Madison” and came away with a 4-1 victory. It was also their first road victory of the season. They have beaten Chicago in five consecutive games. Here are a few takeaways from Thursday night’s game.
Three Scoring Lines and the Kid Belongs
The Flyers scoring came from the top three lines, with both Claude Giroux and James Van Riemsdyk getting off of the schneid. The dynamic duo of Travis Konecny and Oskar Lindblom started off the scoring. These two have proven themselves to be the best two forwards of the young season. Lindblom buried his team-leading fifth goal on an amazing play form TK. It was TK’s team-leading 11th point and seventh assist.
Claude Giroux scored the second goal of the game, his first of the season. Giroux’s goal came off of a strong shift in the offensive zone and pass by Travis Sanheim. Kevin Hayes scored the third goal of the game. Joel Farabee picked up his first NHL point by getting an assist. JVR completed the scoring with a wonderful steal that he converted to a short break away. JVR also had an assist on the Giroux goal.
The story of the night offensively belongs to Joel Farabee. Farabee was noticeable all night on the ice. He could have had three points (1G/2A.) However, two of the goals were correctly overturned on the offsides call. Late in the game, he stole the puck and went in for a 2-on-1 that was defended perfectly. Farabee showed that he belongs. He has a well-rounded game and scored a point in just his second NHL game. I know it’s early, but Farabee may just be here to stay.
Elliott and the Penalty Kill were Both Really Good
Brian Elliott had another great game. Elliott had 23 saves on 24 shots and could have really shut out the Blackhawks. Elliott played his second game and he was outstanding. He is healthy and is showing that he was a really good pick to mentor Carter Hart.
Elliott was tested early, but not often. He made some really good saves within the first few minutes of the game. Moose was in position and early on I got the feeling that he was on his game. It was one of those feelings that it would take a really bad play to get one by him. And that is exactly how Chicago got their goal. A bad play on the puck left Brandon Saad wide open to score. Elliott, however, shut the door afterward. One observation is that Elliott was calm and cool when under fire.
Another aspect of the game that was really impressive was the penalty kill. The Flyers only committed 4 penalties, but the penalty kill was really good. They were aggressive and had offensive opportunities. Giroux had a short-handed breakaway, and Hayes also had an opportunity while short-handed. The penalty killers also held Chicago’s power play to just one shot all game. That is impressive.
Sloppy Play Needs to be Fixed
It’s hard to be upset with another dominating win by the Flyers, however, they do need to focus on cleaning up the sloppy play. The Flyers were sloppy with the puck. At one point in the first period, three Flyers defender’s whiffed on the puck and failed to clear the zone. There were too many turnovers in the defensive zone. It was the sloppy play that led to the Blackhawks’ lone goal. Shayne Gostisbehere again struggled early but seemed to rebound as the game progressed.
The Flyers dominated the first two periods. The third period was a different story. They looked slow and tired at times. At one point Chicago looked as if they were on the power play with the amount of time spent in the Flyers’ zone. Well, it was 5 on 5, and the Flyers were just struggling to keep up. Luckily, Elliott kept them in it. This is something that they will need to tighten up and play a full 60 minutes. Chicago had all the momentum in a one-goal game. The Hayes goal really settled things down.
Lastly, the Flyers were lucky to not have to worry about two goals that were overturned by offsides calls. This was most likely a case of the players not being familiar with each other. However, this is something that needs to be cleaned up a bit.
Next, the Flyers head home to take on the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday at 7 pm. Columbus is 5-3-2 on the season with 12 points. They lead the Flyers by three points in the Metro Division. Expect Carter Hart to get the start in net.
Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports