The stage was set for this Saturday night matchup. Flyers’ fans watched the Washington Capitals defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier in the afternoon, making this game a must-win to stay tied for first place in the Metro.
The hottest team in the NHL stays rewarded, still sitting atop the Metropolitan Division. As the entire arena was filled with screaming Flyers’ fans, the players responded well. The game was full of high energy, and Claude Giroux showing out with his family in the crowd. Extending Jack Eichel’s point drought to seven games was cool, but the Flyers winning their ninth straight 3-1 is even cooler.
Never Giving Up
There’s one common theme among all of the Flyers’ nine straight wins. In each game, the Flyers are scoring goals almost at will. The best part, though?
These goals are becoming response goals.
Thursday night against the Hurricanes, the Flyers may not have trailed, however, momentum shifted as the ‘Canes made it 2-1. The perfect way to get back on track? Score goals, which is what they did as Nic Aube-Kubel and Couts retaliated with goals of their own. This same theme continued Saturday night. The Sabres were simply dominating the Flyers. Thanks to Carter Hart doing Carter Hart things, Philly didn’t get down early into this game.
Claude Giroux backhanded one home to take the momentum back momentarily, giving the Flyers a 1-0 lead. This was quickly taken back by Buffalo, as they maintained control overall. However, Alain Vigneault and the Flyers simply did not give up on the game. After losing the lead and the Buffalo leading in shots by nearly 15 at one point, it would have been easy to start playing lazy. The Flyers just kept playing their game, which makes this game, and their entire season, so special.
First Star: Carter Hart
Where can we start with this kid? He’s truly something special between the pipes. Hart saved 38 of the 39 shots that came his way, with the only goal coming on a backdoor shot after a smooth passing play by Buffalo. He’s only lost one game since the All-Star break and has been a key part in Philly’s push for the top of the Metro. His stats do not actually grasp how well he played in this one.
Cahtah Haht also made history Saturday night:
Second Star: Claude Giroux
As the rest of the team started this game off slow, the captain kept his head high. Knowing the Flyers needed a win in this one, Claude Giroux put the team on his back. Fans knew this one was going to be special as soon Heather Barry shared this special moment pregame:
With his family in attendance, G found the back of the net twice. His strong presence was felt every time he was on the ice, and the team fed off his energy. Just when we thought Giroux was having a “down year,” by his standards, the captain has 18 points in the last 13 and is heating up when it matters most. Kudos to his ability to rally his troops, as well:
Third Star: Jake Voracek
This last spot was a bit of a toss-up between a few guys. Joel Farabee was finally rewarded for his constant two-way play with a funny goal to put this game away, and the likings of Myers and Hagg played stellar defensively. However, Jake deserved this spot.
Aside from his assists on both of Giroux’s goals, Voracek played one of his best defensive games all season. Without going into the super analytical metrics too much, Jake was impactful on both ends of the ice. And besides the numbers, he was giving Ristolainen a mouth full after a dirty hit on Justin Braun. The teammate we all need:
The Flyers get a well deserved few days off. They’ll have the next couple days to relax at home and get back at it with the best team in the NHL, the Boston Bruins, Tuesday night. Coverage begins at 6:30 on NBC Sports Philadelphia with puck drop slated for 7.
Mandatory Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Slocum