The Philadelphia Flyers ensured that the battle of the turnpike was a successful one by overthrowing the New Jersey Devils in both of their matchups this week. A 3-1 victory was exactly what the Doctor ordered, but it took some help from an unlikely candidate in Nate Prosser.
Prior to yesterday’s game, Alain Vigneault shook up the defense by calling up veteran Nate Prosser. The 34-year-old had signed with the Flyers in July of 2019 but was yet to make his debut for the club. Making this even more of an occasion was the fact that this was to be his first taste of NHL action in over two years, with his last appearance coming for Minnesota on January 19th 2019.
After signing with the Flyers, the 6’2, 201 lbs, defenseman was sent to the Phantoms, where he accounted for 10 points in 59 appearances. A strong training camp saw him do enough to be named to the teams’ taxi squad and with injuries ripping their way through the defense, AV decided to give an opportunity to the hard-working vet. It was a decision that paid huge dividends.
The Devils took an early lead 7:11 into the matchup, but a little over two minutes later, Gustafsson fired a shot in from the point that found its way into a perfect screen by the surging JVR, eventually bouncing back down in a position where Prosser could sneak up and slot it home.
The Flyers would go onto win the game and Prosser’s goal since March 2018 was the catalyst for the comeback. In addition, he also blocked 3 shots in 13 total minutes of ice time, adding a real sense of security on special teams that was previously unfelt.
Prosser becomes the latest Philadelphia underdog to steal the hearts of fans and it’s not hard to see why. He’s played in 354 total NHL games, all but one coming with the Wild, the other with the Blues. He’s spent most of his career as a bottom-pairing defenseman and in a pinch where the Flyers needed some defensive depth, he was able to step up and make an instant impact.
It’s hard not to be excited for Nate Prosser. It’s unclear just how much of a role he’ll play moving forward or how long he’ll remain on the active roster, but this is his moment…and the Hockey world is wholesomely sharing it with him.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre