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ANDREJ THE GIANT

Meszaros returning to form from a few seasons ago to help the Flyers offensively from the blue line
Thursday, 01.16.2014 / 11:54 PM
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out
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Flyers Inside Out
ANDREJ THE GIANT

PHILADELPHIA – To see Andrej Meszaros jump up from center ice into a play, take a pass, fire a shot and score a goal with three seconds left in a period, and then celebrate with a thrusting fist pump was like climbing into a time machine.

It was so 2011.

Meszaros was the Flyers recipient of the Barry Ashbee award in 2010-11 as the team’s Most Outstanding defenseman. He was active offensively that season, jumping into the play, creating offensive chances and scoring goals.

Since then, he’s been riddled with injuries, lost some confidence, become a bit over-cautious physically, and has been yanked from the lineup.

Healthy all season, Meszaros has now played in only 28 games, sitting the other 20 as a healthy scratch. And yet, his offense is coming around. After scoring a goal in the 4-3 shootout loss to Nashville Thursday and assisting on another, Meszaros now has two goals and 10 assists for 12 points and looks a lot better than earlier in the season.

“He’s confident,” coach Craig Berube said. “He’s confident with the puck, he’s doing good things at the blue line with it, jumping up on the play like he did on that goal. He’s got confidence.”

That, and he’s tired of sitting out.

When Erik Gustafsson went down with a knee injury in December, Meszaros knew he would be seeing significantly more time than he had when he was alternating with Gus.

It’s almost as if that was the turnaround he needed in his game mentally.

“It’s what I want,” said Meszaros who has a goal and six assists for seven points in his last five games. “I want to stay in the line up all the time obviously, that’s the key and you play more games obviously you feel more comfortable.”

And it shows. He still makes some mistakes in the defensive end because his physical game isn’t there or he turns the puck over under pressure, but he’s not as toxic with the puck as he was in the beginning of the season.

As a matter of fact, his pairing with Luke Schenn, a target of ridicule by social media hockey experts aplenty, has quietly been pretty good for the Flyers in the past couple weeks.

“Yeah, he’s playing good,” said Claude Giroux. “He’s really good offensively. You can see that he can score goals and move the puck. He’s got a great shot and he’s playing very well right now.”

Frankly, it’s what the Flyers need on the blue line more than anything, because if they can get Meszaros back to form on a game-in, game-out basis, the concerns about the defense will definitely dissipate some.

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NOTES: The Flyers played their 22nd one-goal game out of 48 this season. They are 12-5-5 in such games… Wayne Simmonds had a goal and two assists, giving him his second consecutive multi-point game and his seventh of the season. He now has 11 goals and nine assists for 20 points in his last 15 games. He has scored at least one goal in eight of those 15 games… The Flyers fell to 3-4 in shootouts this season… The Flyers have scored at least one power play goal in four straight games and six of seven… Up next is a home-and-home series with the New York Islanders.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 82 28 58 7 86
J. Voracek 82 23 39 11 62
W. Simmonds 82 29 31 -4 60
S. Hartnell 78 20 32 11 52
M. Streit 82 10 34 3 44
B. Schenn 82 20 21 0 41
M. Read 75 22 18 -4 40
S. Couturier 82 13 26 1 39
V. Lecavalier 69 20 17 -16 37
K. Timonen 77 6 29 5 35
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 33 18 7 .917 2.50
R. Emery 9 12 2 .903 2.96
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