Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Mason leads the way, as Flyers beat Blackhawks 4-1

Image courtesy Amy Irvin -
by: Hal Greenblatt
Phanatic Hockey Writer

Philadelphia, Pa -- Ryan White potted the game-winning goal midway through the second period, as he redirected a shot passed Chicago goalie Corey Crawford, to give the Flyers a 4-1 win Wednesday night.

Wayne Simmonds, Claude Giroux and Michael Raffl also scored for the Flyers. Matt Read and Michael Del Zotto each notched a pair of assists, while Nick Schultz, Carlo Colaiacovo, Nicklas Grossmann, and Jakub Vorack all chipped in with one a piece. Steve Mason was stellar in net for the Flyers, stopping 31/32 shots. With the win, the Flyers snapped a four-game losing streak.

Andrew Shaw was the lone goal scorer for Chicago. Duncan Keith and Brandon Saad recorded assists on Shaw’s power play goal. Corey Crawford was the star of the night for Chicago, as he made several highlight reel saves despite allowing 4 goals on 36 shots. The Blackhawks loss was only their third of the month, as they battle for the playoffs.

On a night that was set to honor a former Flyer legend, it was the current Flyers that put on a show. Kimmo Timonen returned to Philadelphia for the first time since being traded at the deadline, and the adoring fans showered the Finnish defenseman with love throughout the entirety of the game. During the first television time out, the Flyers played a tribute to veteran defenseman who donned the Orange and Black for seven memorable years.

"I was thinking about it," Timonen said after the game referencing the reception he received from the fans. "I've gone through a lot of games throughout my career. Won a lot of medals, all star games, but that's one of the coolest things as a player to experience. I just want to say thanks to the fans. That was awesome."

The defenseman also mentioned that he needed a moment after watching the video tribute that was shown on the jumbotron during the first timeout.

Despite honoring Timonen, the Flyers had a game to play, and play they did. In perhaps the teams strongest outing all season, it was the good guys who struck first, and then continued to attack.

The Flyers first tally came 7:20 into the period, shortly after the Timonen video, as Wayne Simmonds took a feed at the right circle from Matt Read, and beat Crawford with a quick slap shot. Simmonds holds the teams lead with 28 goals.

Despite holding a lead in the second period, the Flyers refused to sit back, with Ryan White camped out in front of the net, he notched his 5th goal of the season on a beautiful redirection off a Carlo Colaiacovo point blast.

Not to be outdone, the magnificent duo of Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux teamed up to provide perhaps the most impressive goal of the season. Voracek skated into the zone on the right side and throw the puck towards the net. A speeding Giroux came down the middle and redirected the puck top shelf, to beat Crawford, who had little chance to make the save.

"Sure, at times he's tried to do too much," Head coach Craig Berube said referring to Giroux's first home even strength goal. "His frustration level has been pretty good, I think. He's a good leader. He wants to win. He doesn't worry about the goals so much, he obviously has to produce for us, and it's mind boggling at times that he only had one goal five-on-five at home."

The Flyers would head into the locker room holding a 3-0 lead.

"Our productions been way off," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said regarding the lack of offense from his team. "We had some good looks tonight, but we didn't get shots through. You got to get to the front of the net, you got to get greasy goals, they got a couple of those tips that went their way because they got inside."

Despite the Flyers entering the third period with a 15-0-3 record, the Blackhawks refused to go away, as Andrew Shaw quickly scored on the power play, just 14 seconds into the man advantage, and only 2:24 into the third period.

As expected, the Flyers and Blackhawks did exchange fisticuffs, courtesy of former Flyer Dan Carcillo and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. Despite Bellemare participating in just his second career fight, he held his own against the veteran Carcillo.

"Belle's got character," said Berube. "He's a feisty player. He's a competitor out there. He's done very well for us in a lot of different situations."

With a possible swing in momentum heading towards Chicago, the Flyers were back on their heels, but it was Michael Raffl who would make sure that Philadelphia would not lose the lead or the game, as he tacked on a power play goal with just over four minutes remaining, to give Philadelphia a 4-1 victory over the playoff bound Blackhawks.

We got a chance to get closer to Nashville, and we let it slip away tonight. Not much else to say about it," a dejected Corey Crawford said following the game.

Game Notes: Giroux’s goal was his first even strength goal at home...Voracek's assist helped him regain a tie for the league lead in scoring…Simmonds is one goal away from tying a career high…The Flyers improved to 16-0-3 when leading after 2 periods…Timonen record 17:25 time on ice…Flyers announced following the game that Simmonds (lower body) and Andrew MacDonald (upper body) would both miss the rest of the season with injuries.

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