Flyers-Blackhawks: Postgame Review
The Flyers threw 35 shots at Corey Crawford last Wednesday and couldn't find the net. In Thursday night's rematch, the Flyers found the net early.
The Flyers built a 3-0 lead and got some strong play from their goaltender to round out a 3-1 win over the Blackhawks, returning from a four-day break in strong fashion.
Here is the Postgame Review.
- The Flyers top line is something to behold. All three members scored goals, Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek had three-point games and the chemistry and execution is through the roof.It's been highlighted already, in fact I looked at how the subtle switch with Giroux and Sean Couturier has worked wonders for both earlier this week. But the way this group is putting up numbers is a sight for sore eyes.These are the players that were so highly criticized for having down years in the previous season and with each passing game, they are putting that talk to bed.
- It's Couturier specifically that has emerged as such a playmaker. His confidence is high and you can tell. Couturier is attempting plays that look like they belong in All-Star Games at this point.His numbers speak for themselves too. Couturier was never a prolific goal scorer, but consistently averaged around 10 to 12 goals a season easily. He scored his 10th on Thursday night in the Flyers' 16th game of the season. It took him until March to reach double-digits last season.
- Shayne Gostisbehere continues to be the player the Flyers saw more of in his rookie season and not last season. Another player who has been letting his confidence show, Gostisbehere made some Flyers history on Thursday night by jumping into the play and assisting on Voracek's first-period goal.The assist was his 100th point of his career, making him the 25th Flyers defenseman to reach the century mark and the fastest to do so.Gostisbehere's offensive game took a bit of a back seat last season and even this season, he's not doing as much of the scoring. But he's creating chances and driving play offensively, which is more suited for his style than the passive approach he took last season.
- Brian Elliott was excellent in Thursday's win, probably his best as a Flyer to this point.Elliott has won games, but not all of them have been smooth wins or gone without blemishes. This one was a 38-save gem where the only goal came off an unfortunate bounce. There wasn't much Elliott could do about it.To follow up a strong game in Chicago where he ended up on the wrong end of the result with an even better win is a good step for Elliott, who has been heavily criticized for a couple of bad games sandwiched between some decent ones.But Thursday's was a standout, and it could earn him the start again later this week.
- The 5-on-3 for Chicago late in the second period was the game-changer. Joel Quenneville said it. Dave Hakstol said it. And the Flyers took a situation where Chicago had all the momentum and got out unscathed.To me, what was most impressive was doing it without Ivan Provorov. Provorov has been solid on the penalty kill and to lose him, along with Radko Gudas, for 1:44 of a 5-on-3 knowing the Blackhawks talent on the power play was going to be a test for some of the other penalty killers.The Flyers passed it with flying colors. Chicago had some chances, but was mostly limited as the Flyers survived and got the game to the third period with a two-goal margin.