Happy holidays from the Philly Sports Network family to yours! If you are a Philadelphia Flyers fan, you have a lot to be merry about as you spread holiday cheer. Now the winners of four straight games, the Flyers have found their way into third place in the Metropolitan Division. Thanks to the Toronto Maple Leafs defeating the Carolina Hurricanes, Philadelphia’s win over the New York Rangers has the Flyers two points away from sharing second place with the New York Islanders. Philadelphia is playing quality hockey and that’s exactly what is at the top of my Christmas list.
In the first period, the Philadelphia Flyers controlled the tempo of the game and had early scoring opportunities. The only issue was that Henrik Lundqvist was the goaltender for the New York Rangers. “King” Henrik has a history of making the Flyers earn every single win. The first period was a stalemate between the two Metropolitan Division rivals. Joel Farabee and James van Riemsdyk had quality chances to score, but the first period would end without any scoring.
A red hot powerplay was put on ice by the New York Rangers through two periods. The Rangers would score first when Jesper Fast was able to score a shorthanded goal after Ivan Provorov lost the handle of the puck in the offensive zone. Carter Hart made a great save, but a rebound bounced directly to Brady Skjei and the puck was centered to Fast for the goal. The Philadelphia Flyers didn’t let up, keeping the pressure on Henrik Lundqvist. Finally, with about two seconds left in the second period, Travis Sanheim scored his first goal of the game off an assist from Justin Braun and Travis Konecny.
Travis Sanheim’s first goal of the game set the tone for the Philadelphia Flyers the rest of the night. The Flyers would score five unanswered goals to boost themselves into third place in the Metropolitan Division. The game-winning goal came off of the stick of Kevin Hayes in the third period. Sanheim and Hayes would score another goal each before Nicolas Aube-Kubel scored his first career NHL goal. Aube-Kubel’s goal was a powerplay goal, putting Philadelphia’s powerplay at 16.6% on the night en route to a 5-1 victory.
Haysey Shines Against His Former Team
A storyline headed into this game was that Kevin Hayes and Alain Vigneault were facing their former team, the New York Rangers, for the first time this season as a part of the Philadelphia Flyers organization. Under Alain Vigneault, the Flyers propelled themselves into sole possession of the third place in the Metropolitan Division. With Hayes’ effort, the final nail in the coffin was driven with a goal in the third period. A two-goal night, “Haysey” was the catalyst in Philadelphia’s victory against their division rivals. Sweet victory is even sweeter this holiday season with the taste of revenge.
Tonight’s victory against the New York Rangers is another game added to the limited experience Nicolas Aube-Kubel has in the NHL. With the injuries that have stockpiled against the Philadelphia Flyers as of late, Aube-Kubel may be a fixture in Alain Vigneault’s Flyers. He plays with confidence as Vigneault stated after the victory against the Buffalo Sabres. Each game, NAK has been able to build upon that confidence in every shift he plays. Confidence and skill met against the Rangers when Aube-Kubel scored his first career NHL goal.
A Goaltenders Duel
In the preview to this game, it was worth mentioning that this was ultimately going to be a battle of goaltenders. Carter Hart versus Henrik Lundqvist is the marquee. That is the selling point that gets the people in the door. Hart was the second star tonight, saving 34 of 35 shots (97.1%). The New York Rangers had a five-on-three powerplay at one point, but the Philadelphia Flyers penalty kill played a perfect game, which is equally credited to the saves that Hart made.
Next, the Philadelphia Flyers are at the SAP Center in San Jose, California to visit the San Jose Sharks. This game takes place on Saturday, December 28th at 10:30 pm. Be sure to give a follow for more Flyers coverage at EricReesePSN and PhiladelphiaSN on Twitter!
Mandatory Credit – © Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports