Written By: Mark “The Hard Hitter” Ritter
On most nights, knowing you have to play in Buffalo is enough to make NHL players sick. For the Philadelphia Flyers, the situation was made worse as the Flyers have more than half the roster suffering from the flu.
To further complicate matters, Simon Gagne, Daniel Briere, and Ryan Parent were all out with injuries, so it was imperative that the Flyers got some help from their depth players.
The Flyers got a boost from an unexpected player when hired muscle Daniel Carcillo scored two goals in the Flyers' 5-2 win over Buffalo.
Carcillo, who had not scored in his first 12 games of the season, played an inspired game, managing seven shots in just over 13 minutes of ice time.
Coming into the game, the Flyers had to be worried about besting Buffalo’s tough defense, which was ranked No. 1 coming into last night’s match.
Another obstacle for the Flyers was finding a way to beat Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, who has some very solid numbers, posting a 9-1-1 record through 11 starts with a 5-0 record at home this season.
Somehow, amidst all the illness and adversity, the Flyers were able to dig deep and gut out the win, registering 37 shots, 14 of which came in the second period.
Flyers goaltender Ray Emery was flawless five-on-five, but he was unable to stop the Sabres on the power play, giving up two goals in five opportunities.
Emery now sits at an impressive 8-3-1 on the season, with a 2.31 GAA and a .918 SV%. Clearly, the Flyers have their man in net.
Two players who had solid games were defensemen Chris Pronger and Matt Carle. Pronger had a goal and an assist, registered four shots on net and was a +3 on the evening. Carle registered two shots on net and was also a +3 on the night.
Pronger and Carle now have the best plus/minus ratings on the team, Pronger sits at +11 and Carle +14, which is very impressive.
The Flyers have now scored 17 goals in their past three games, further bolstering their vaunted offense, which at 3.77 goals per game, ranks first in the NHL.
Defensively, the Flyers are giving up 2.69 goals per game, which ranks them 11th overall. Clearly, the Flyers can do it all and seemingly have found their groove.
Up next? The Flyers will host the struggling St. Louis Blues this evening, a team that is struggling to light the lamp.
Coming into tonight's tilt, the Blues have scored just 30 goals in 13 games, which averages out to just 2.31 goals per game, ranking them 26th overall.
For the Flyers, tonight’s game will feel like a marathon. The Blues are a hard-working team and, given the Flyers lineup is riddled with the flu, it will be tough for them to compete at their top level facing back-to-back games.
Hopefully, the Flyers can continue to get offensive contributions from their third and fourth lines. A total team effort will likely be needed if the Flyers are to be successful.
Until next time,