The Philadelphia Flyers earned a wire-to-wire win Tuesday night against the Minnesota Wild largely on the basis of their special teams. The Flyers scored twice on the power play and once more while shorthanded to contribute to a dominant 5-1 victory.
Afterward, Scott Hartnell and Peter Laviolette spoke about the importance of special teams.
"We wanted to come out with an attitude on the power play. You have to be able to outwork the other team's penalty kill and we were able to get on pucks, win faceoffs, get it set up and get pucks to the net. It was definitely a turning factor, a couple power play goals for us," said Scott Hartnell.
"The penalty kill is really about structure, and I thought the guys did a good job. Specialty teams -- if you can win that battle, on most nights you're going to win the game," said coach Peter Laviolette. (via CSN Philly)
The Philadelphia Flyers used special teams play to celebrate their return to the Wells Fargo Center following a four-game road trip, scoring twice with the power play and another while shorthanded to dismantle the Minnesota Wild by a 5-1 score Tuesday night. After playing 20 of the previous 29 contests on the road, the Flyers returned to South Philly to win their third consecutive home game, and have now won three of their last four overall.
While Minnesota was shorthanded six times, Philadelphia played a disciplined game and committed just one minor penalty all evening, and scored while killing off that infraction.
With Minnesota's Matt Cullen in the penalty box, Claude Giroux sent a pass back to Kimmo Timonen at the blue line. The defenseman let a slap shot go that beat Josh Harding, who never saw it because of a Wayne Simmonds screen directly in front of the Wild crease. Timonen's second goal of the season gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead just 2:56 into the contest.
The assist was the 50th point of the season for Giroux, and the 200th point of his NHL career.
Philadelphia added to the lead midway through the second period, scoring again with a player in the sin bin, but this time it was one of their own, defenseman Andrej Meszaros. Rookie forwards Sean Couturier and Matt Read would combine on a shorthanded tally, working a give and go to perfection with Couturier finishing off the sequence for his 10th goal of the year to make it a 2-0 Flyers advantage. It was the fifth consecutive game in which the 19-year-old has lit the lamp, which ties the season high streak for any freshman skater this year, one of which being Read.
Couturier also became the ninth Flyer to hit the 10-goal mark for the season.
Just over a minute later, former-Flyer Darroll Powe got Minnesota on the board, blasting a slap shot past Ilya Bryzgalov from the outside edge of the left circle for his fourth goal of the season to cut the deficit to 2-1. It was Powe's first goal in the last 14 contests, and a shot that the struggling Philadelphia netminder would definitely like to have back. It appeared as if Bryzgalov dropped his glove and left shoulder, allowing the puck to skip off his jersey and deflect up under the crossbar.
Any hopes for any extended period of Wild momentum was derailed shortly thereafter, however, as Braydon Coburn netted his second goal of the year at 12:47 to restore the two goal Flyers' lead at 3-1.
With Philadelphia on another man advantage late in the middle frame, Scott Hartnell became the first Flyer to hit the 20-goal mark this season. Hartnell also leads the team in power play markers with nine on the year.
Jakub Voracek closed out the scoring at the 11:58 mark of the third period, ripping a one-timer past Harding off a beautiful cross ice feed from Maxime Tabot for his seventh goal of the year to make it a 5-1 score.
Philadelphia used the lopsided amount of time with the extra skater to outshoot Minnesota by a 34-26 count. Bryzgalov made 25 saves in halting a two-game losing skid, improving his record to 17-10-3 for the season.
Following the long long time away from home, the Flyers will enjoy home cooking in 10 of the next 14 contests with a chance to make a move in the standings.
"No matter how good you are, you are going to go through this," Jaromir Jagr said. "I was pretty good and went through it. When you are not the top [scorer], nobody really cares about it. You don't score for 10 games? Nobody knows that.
"But when you're a top guy, they expect you to score every day. I don't worry about it. Nobody should worry about it. The good thing about this team is when our line doesn't score, we're still winning." (via CSN Philly)
"Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said the coaching staff has talked to Giroux about trying to relax through this slump. Players often shoot more to get out of slumps. Giroux had five shots and logged 25 minutes ice time against Nashville."