Monday, October 24, 2011

Jagr, Hartnell break out of slumps but Pronger suffers eye injury as Flyers down Leafs

Two players facing criticism for two different reasons led the charge in Monday's 4-2 Flyers victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Jaromir Jagr broke his seven-game scoreless string to open his Philadelphia career by scoring a pair of breakaway goals and Scott Hartnell also tallied twice, but the victory was undercut by a potentially-serious injury to a key player.

Team captain Chris Pronger was felled early in the contest when he was struck flush in the right eye by the follow-through of a shot by Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovsky.

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said after the game that Pronger will be on complete bed rest for the next three days and will be further evaluated. He will be out of the lineup roughly 2-to-3 weeks. Upon his return, Holmgren stated that the team will require him to wear a face shield.

Pronger now joins the gruesome brotherhood in Orange and Black, one which includes Barry Ashbee, Bernie Parent, Brian Propp and Ian Laperriere.

In the wake of the unexpected setback, the 39-year-old Jagr put together his best game here, while Hartnell -- for one game at least -- shook off the swirl of criticism which all but had him traded.

Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 24-of-26 shots and outduelled his counterpart Jonas Gustavsson, who let in all four scores on 30 shots after being pressed into service due to an injury to normal starter James Reimer.

After Phil Kessel opened the scoring with his NHL-best ninth goal of the year at the 6:11 mark, the Jagr of old -- the one which tortured this city during his Penguins tenure -- appeared.

Taking a Claude Giroux dish up the middle, the slinky Czech slid by a defender inside the Toronto zone and stuck a shot far side on Gustavsson with 3:38 to play in the opening period.

Hartnell put the Flyers ahead to stay with 4:14 left in the second when he dug around the Leafs crease for the rebound of a Danny Briere shot.

Giroux and Hartnell paired up once more for a two-goal Philly cushion in the third period, when the formerly shaggy-haired winger chipped a pass over Gustavsson short-side to make it 3-1 at the 8:34 mark.

Though David Steckel cut Toronto's deficit to one when he managed to legally fight off a rebound and muscle it into the net from the right side of the crease three minutes later, Jagr again flashed his trademark flair.

This time, Hartnell's long lead pass from inside his defensive zone hit Jagr in stride and he
cruised in alone, scoring in the same manner and in the same location as his first tally.

Notes: Hartnell posted his 200th and 201st points in a Flyers uniform...Jagr notched his 114th multi-goal effort, most among active players...Briere recorded his 600th NHL point...Brothers Luke (TOR) and Brayden (PHI) Schenn faced each other for the first time in a regular-season contest, marking the first time since November 29, 2006 (Jussi and Kimmo Timonen/Predators-Flyers) that it occurred in Flyers history.

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