Giroux, Simmonds, Read and Voracek all have two points as Flyers down Islanders 5-2 for sweep of homestand.
PHILADELPHIA – Matt Read’s parents picked a good week to fly in for a visit.
But, now that things are going so well, the superstitious Read is thinking about some home remodeling.
“I think I’m going to have to clean out the guest room for them so they can move in,” he said.
When you’re scoring two goals a game, you do whatever you have to do to keep it rolling – even if it means having the folks move in.
It’s an arrangement Read would be more than happy to deal with now that the team is on a certified roll following a 5-2 win over the New York Islanders Saturday.
|Vincent Lecavalier celebrates after assisting on Wayne Simmonds goal in the Flyers 5-2 win over the New York Islanders.|
The Flyers swept all three games of the three game home stand, improved to 6-0-1 in the last seven games, and 9-3-2 since starting the year 1-7-0.
The long climb from that woeful start began exactly one month ago. Yet, in most people’s eyes the odds of them turning the season around this quickly, to be back to faux .500 (10-10-2) in 30 days were longer than seeing a unicorn pulling a sleigh full of bubbly sorority sisters eating kabobs in the Gobi Desert.
Yeah, that unrealistic.
At least it was to everyone save the most ardent of diehards, and the team itself.
“It’s been a great effort by the players,” said coach Craig Berube. “They listened, bought in and worked hard. They did all the right things. As a result we’ve won same games and got ourselves into a pretty good spot.”
Read snapped a scoreless tie in the opening minute of the second period when he fired the rebound of a Couturier shot past Kevin Poulin for 1-0.
Read added the empty-netter at the end of the game too, and while that trio was on the ice - and they were on the ice more than any other Flyers line Saturday – the Islanders struggled to find any room to move, let alone generate anything resembling scoring chances.
“The Couturier line has been outstanding the last three or four games,” said Jake Voracek, who had two assists of his own. “They are playing unbelievably. That line is the best line in the NHL right now.”
That’s high praise from a teammate.
And while it’s hard to truly convince others that Voracek’s belief is correct, the fact that they are outplaying the top line of every team the Flyers come across on the schedule, could suggest that even if they aren’t the best, they’re certainly playing in that same, elite, rarified air as the best in the game.
The first goal was an igniter for the Flyers, who ended up pumping in three goals in 3:02 early in the second period.
The power play has registered a tally in six straight games and has been clicking at 32 percent in that time.
Voracek got the secondary assists on Giroux’s goal and picked up another later on the insurance marker by Brayden Schenn. Voracek now has points in six of the last seven games.
The Islanders wouldn’t go away though and rebounded quickly, scoring two even strength goals to get back within one.
It was the first even strength goal allowed by the Flyers in 345 minutes, 39 seconds, the second longest streak in franchise history.
But once again, faced with adversity, the Flyers didn’t wilt.
|Claude Giroux had a goal and an assist and now has eight points in the last seven games.|
“A couple weeks ago when we would have that second goal scored against us we would have just, pardon my language, [messed] the bed. Right now though, we are very calm on the bench. We were able to forecheck and get that fourth goal, which was huge.”
Voracek made it happen with good work along the boards to be able to get the puck on net where Brayden Schenn was there to put in the rebound.
Steve Mason made 36 saves in another brilliant outing in goal and it marked the tenth consecutive game the Flyers allowed three goals or less, something they haven't done since February, 2011 and have only done 23 times in franchise history.
Read rounded it off and the Flyers suddenly find themselves just two points out of a playoff spot with a game in hand on the New York Rangers.
Heck, while they’re being all positive and feeling the mojo working, they’re only eight points out of first place with two games in hand on the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“I think the only way to look is up,” Read said. “You've got to put these last eight or nine games behind you and keep playing Philadelphia Flyers hockey, getting pucks deep, playing smart.
“If we keep playing the way we are it's going to be a hard night for another team to beat us.
“We've just got to keep playing the way we are, take control of games, and keep winning.”
In the meantime Matt, be sure to fluff the pillows in your guest room before you head out on the road.
To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @InsideTheFlyers