Road Trip Part 3: Flyers Get By Vancouver, Lose Gagne

Chris DiFrancescoAnalyst IDecember 31, 2008

The Flyers came into last nights game against Vancouver with the a 9-0-4 record in the last 13 games. That's the best record in the NHL for a team in an opponents arena.

Now the record stands at 10-0-4, after the Flyers defeated the Canucks 3-2 last night to win their first game of this six-game road trip.

The win came with a price though. Simon Gagne got hurt 15 seconds into the game after taking what looked like a cheap shot from Vancouver's Kevin Bieska. Gagne left the game with an "upper body" injury.

It looked as if he had an issue with his arm or shoulder with the way he left the ice. After the game, Gagne updated his condition and if he can play for the teams next game against Anaheim.

"We will see," he said. "Hopefully tomorrow it will be a little bit better. Jimmy (McCrossin) and the doctor think that it may be something that gets better every day," Gagne said after the game. 

"Right now it is a little bit sore. I think tomorrow it should feel a little bit better.  We will see what is going to happen for the next couple of days."

After the Gagne hit, captain Mike Richards took it upon himself to protect his line-mate and go after Bieksa. The two dropped the gloves and it definitely sparked momentum for both clubs.

"He (Bieksa) hit Gagne, I kind of saw it out of the corner of my eye. I felt it was kind of a cheap hit, a late hit and from behind," Richards said. "So I felt I had to do something about it.

"I thought it was a hit that should have been a penalty, and there wasn't a call. So I think you kind of have to address it in a way that you don't want to, but you have to."

That is why he the captain folks, what made it even better is that they won the game. 15 seconds into this thing and fists were flying and at the end the Flyers were the ones with their hands raised.

The Flyers have already been playing without forwards Danny Briere and Scottie Upshall. If Gagne happens to miss a significant amount of time, then that's three important forwards out of the lineup.

"That's the story of the year with our team. When guys go down other people step up," said Richards. "We have some important guys out right now but we also have some young players who see that as an opportunity and have been able to step in and contribute."

Jeff Carter got the scoring started with a wrist shot in the first period, his 27th goal of the season, still tops in the NHL. Claude Giroux set-up this goal with a pretty play to take the puck up the ice, dishing it to Matt Carle that led to Carter's goal.

Scott Hartnell fired a slap-shot from the right circle to put the Flyers ahead 2-1. Hartnell is playing his second game since breaking his toe.  

A highlight of the game came when John Kalinski scored his first NHL goal in the second period. Josh Gratton went over the net after the goal, picked up the puck and gave it to Kalinski.

"It's indescribable, I guess," Kalinski said. "As soon as I got it I thought, 'Wow, I just scored a goal. I hope I get a couple more." Congrats John, you worked hard, its about time.

Marty Biron who missed five games with a flu and had a bad return start in the 5-1 loss to the Blackhawks, had a strong game to get the win last night. Biron was most effective in the third period where Vancouver had a big push to try and tie the game.

The hit on Gagne to me was a clear penalty, and as usual when it comes to the Flyers the refs missed it. Gagne seems to have a left shoulder injury but thats not 100 percent certain at this time.

We will know more when the team arrives in Anaheim and get a chance to practice. I would think Gagne will play against the Ducks for the teams fourth game on this road trip.

The Flyers are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games and should run the table in the last half of this road trip if they work hard, and get a practice in. PRACTICE



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