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Van Riemsdyk sparks Flyers in Game 1

Monday, 04.30.2012 / 5:19 PM ET / News
By Adam Kimelman  - NHL.com
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Van Riemsdyk sparks Flyers in Game 1

PHILADELPHIA -- James van Riemsdyk might have been one of the most dominant players in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, scoring seven goals in 11 games. He was so good, he finished tied for ninth goals without playing past the second round.

After an injury-plagued 2011-12 season, that player finally made his reappearance.

Van Riemsdyk had a goal, was a plus-3, took a team-high five shots on net and set the screen on Danny Briere's overtime goal that allowed the Philadelphia Flyers to take a 1-0 series lead against the New Jersey Devils with a 4-3 victory Sunday in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series.

After his dominant turn in last year's playoffs, van Riemsdyk signed a six-year contract extension in August. However, he missed time early in the season with a lower-body injury, and then missed a month with a concussion suffered Jan. 12. He returned to play six games when he broke his foot blocking a shot March 1. Subsequent surgery kept him out for seven weeks, until Game 5 of the Flyers' first-round series against the Penguins.

Even when he was healthy, however, van Riemsdyk couldn't conjure up last season's success, as he had just 11 goals and 13 assists in 43 games, and saw his name come up in trade rumors.

"It is one of those things that happens," van Riemsdyk said. "Those injuries are a part of the game; trade rumors are a part of the game. I am lucky that I have a good support system that only lets me worry about what I have to do out there on the ice and they block me out from the rest. I am definitely thankful for that and I just go out there and play hockey."

Van Riemsdyk played limited minutes in the two games he played against the Penguins, but that was by design. No player might have benefitted more from the Flyers' week off between the end of the first round and the start of the second.

"I thought getting James back was a real positive for us," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "But he hadn't had at that point a whole lot of competition. … The week really provided an opportunity to push him with his conditioning and his pace and his on-ice play."

The result was a performance that was reminiscent of his star turn last year.

"The way he skated, the way he was so strong … that was great to see," Briere said. "It's a guy that we didn't see in the first round, he only played a little bit the last two games trying to get his game. But he had the whole week to get his legs and his wind. The way he played last year in the playoffs, if he keeps playing the same way that's another huge asset up front for us. What a game he had."

The Flyers continue to lead the League in playoff scoring just under five goals per game, but having another player with van Riemsdyk's offensive gifts is something the team believes it will need in order to reach its ultimate goal.

"We need plays like that," defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. "When he skates really hard, especially when he gets the puck … when he's full speed, he's one of the better skaters in the League when he gets the puck at full speed. As a [defenseman], when you see that happening, it's really hard to play one-on-one against him. We're going to need more from him. That’s the way he has to play. I can't wait to see him more."

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 53 31 16 6 143 118 68
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 TBL 52 29 19 4 138 123 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
8 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
9 NJD 54 26 21 7 120 122 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 51 16 28 -6 44
J. Voracek 51 8 34 -1 42
W. Simmonds 51 18 16 -6 34
B. Schenn 49 14 15 -1 29
S. Gostisbehere 33 9 18 4 27
S. Couturier 40 9 15 9 24
M. Read 50 9 9 -5 18
S. Laughton 51 4 10 -6 14
M. Del Zotto 49 4 9 -9 13
M. Raffl 51 6 6 2 12
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 12 13 7 .916 2.69
M. Neuvirth 11 6 2 .933 2.14
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