Pyorala Finishes Off Blues; Flyers Win Fourth Straight

Vince FrenchContributor INovember 8, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 10:  Mika Pyorala #27 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates during the game against the Anaheim Ducks at the Wachovia Center on October 10, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Former Swedish Elite League forward Mika Pyorala certainly picked a fine time to score his first NHL goal. Even though it won't show up in his statistics, his tally gave the Flyers a 2-1 shootout win over the St. Louis Blues. The Flyers have won four in a row.

Each side had scored one goal through the first six shooters, leading to sudden-death shootout.  Pyorala skated in on Chris Mason, who was phenomenal on the night with 35 saves, and beat him high on the glove side.

All Ray Emery had to do was stop David Backes for the win, and he did by closing the five-hole and remaining square to the shooter.

The only other skater to score for the Flyers in the shootout was Claude Giroux, who completely undressed Chris Mason with a few nifty dekes before going backhand on the stick side. Brad Boyes answered for the Blues by hitting the top shelf over Emery's glove.

Emery, who has started all but one of the Flyers' 14 games, was very sharp in making 30 saves for the victory. He was also sharp in Friday night's victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Over the Flyers' current four-game winning streak, Emery has a 1.50 GAA and a .953 save percentage.

Philadelphia, who is 9-2-1 when scoring first, drew first blood on a beautiful power play goal at 12:15 of the second period. With Cam Janssen off for goaltender interference, Giroux threaded a saucer pass from the half-wall near the St. Louis blue line right to a streaking Scott Hartnell for an easy tap-in. That was Hartnell's fifth goal on the season, and eighth point in the last five games.

The Flyers entered the game tied with the Atlanta Thrashers for the league's best power play at 27.1 percent.

St. Louis answered in the third period on a rather strange play. T.J. Oshie and Ole-Kristian Tollefsen went into the corner for a loose puck, and Tollefsen fell awkwardly into the boards.  As he was lying prone and writhing in obvious pain, the Blues maintained possession of the puck, and Oshie managed to put himself in position for a shot from the top of the faceoff circle that beat Emery, knotting the game at one apiece. Tollefsen suffered a concussion on the play.

The save of the game belonged to Mason. Hartnell was sent in all alone in overtime, and made a great move back to his forehand. Somehow, Mason managed to stop the puck with his outstretched pad even though his body was going the other way.

James van Riemsdyk, who was having another strong performance, left the game with a badly cut - and possibly broken - finger. If he misses any time, it will be another blow to an already-depleted Flyers squad. Danny Briere, Simon Gagne, and Ryan Parent are all out of the lineup with groin-related injuries.

Halfway through the first period, Arron Asham and Janssen dropped the gloves in an effort to motivate their respective teams. Janssen had the early advantage, twice knocking Asham to the ice, but the tenacious Flyer just got back up and made it a fight. Let's call it a draw.

Daniel Carcillo, who played 13:32, picked up right where he left off after the Buffalo game. He was hitting, skating hard, making smart plays, and, along with his linemates Blair Betts and Ian Laperriere, sustained pressure in the Buffalo zone on a regular basis. They were the best line for the Flyers once again.

Jeff Carter, on the other hand, was invisible and looked completely disinterested. He needs to show that he can dominate and control the play by himself if he wants to cement his status as a star player in this league. He played 18:53 and was -1.

The Flyers will now get a much-needed four day break to heal the wounded and rest the ill. On November 12, They will host an Ottawa Senators club who is 4-4-2 in its last ten.


- At one point, the Flyers were 11 points behind the conference-leading Penguins. If the Flyers were to win their three games in hand on Pittsburgh, they would lead the conference by one point.

- If the playoffs started today, all five Atlantic division teams would make the cut. The Northeast division would have Buffalo as its sole representative.

- Since Stevens has split up the defensive pairing of Braydon Coburn and Kimmo Timonen, things have improved for both of them. Coburn is +5 in his last four games, while Timonen is +6 over the same stretch.