Flyers Bury Avalanche, 5-2
Special teams key as Flyers win fifth straight
(Philadelphia, PA) – After dropping a 5-2 decision earlier in the season to the Avalanche, the Flyers exacted a little revenge and returned the favor with a 5-2 victory of their own against Colorado on Tuesday night at the Wachovia Center.
The Flyers earned their fifth consecutive victory and are now unbeaten in regulation on home ice in their last 10 games, going 8-0-2 during that stretch.
The victory also improves Philadelphia’s record to 17-7-6 for 40 points, four points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and just two points behind the Atlantic Division leading New York Rangers, who were in Anaheim on Tuesday night.
“At the beginning of the year we weren’t doing a whole lot of things right,” said Flyers captain Mike Richards
of the team’s current hot-streak. “We were trying to push offense too much. To tell you the truth, I think we thought it was going to be too easy after last year’s playoff run. We were just getting outworked. Now we are starting to work a little bit harder and we are getting some bounces and the wins are coming.”
After falling 1-0 midway through the first period, the Flyers rattled off four consecutive goals beginning with Mike Knuble, who, sitting on the Colorado doorstep, took a feed from Richards and slipped it through goaltender Peter Dubaj.
“We had a bouncing puck out there. Everybody started getting out of position and started circling around and that is when a power play can be dangerous,” said Knuble, who recorded his 100th goal as a Flyer. “[Richards] acted like he was going to shoot and the guy goes down and Richie kind of sweeps around him. He is hunkered down right at the top of the crease. I kept my stick on the ice and Richie snapped an incredibly hard pass right on my tape and all I had to do was shovel it toward the net.”
With 1:48 remaining in the opening period, Jeff Carter
gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead as he and Simon Gagne broke out on a shorthanded two-on-one. Carter tallied his 22nd goal of the year, while Gagne recorded a three-point night with two assists and a power-play goal later in the third period.
The Flyers increased their lead in the second period, when coming down the right wing, Joffrey Lupul spun around and found himself with a clear shot, firing it top shelf over Budaj’s shoulder with Scott Hartnell
providing the screen in front.
Playing a big role in the team’s success in the last month, the Flyers’ special teams earned three of the five goals in tonight’s contest. Philadelphia has scored eight goals on the power play in the last three games and has gone 14-for-33 (42.4 percent) on the man advantage in the month of December.
“Different nights, different units are capable creating scoring opportunities,” commented Flyers Head Coach John Stevens on the success of the power-play all season long. “The problem with the power play is that if you don’t score it’s looked at as a failure. We look at it differently. I think both our power play and our penalty killing have given us a lot of momentum this year."
Richards, who recorded his second consecutive three-point game, gave the Flyers an even bigger cushion with his 13th goal of the year, when he flipped the puck at the net with Knuble and a couple Avalanche players crowding in front as the puck seemed to bounce past Budaj, to give the Flyers a 4-1 lead.
“I’ve always been a believer in the harder you work the more bounces you get,” said Stevens. “We have had some good bounces lately and then you can go back a little bit in the beginning of the year, I thought the first six games we had some unfortunate bounces. They have a way of evening themselves out.
"I was a little frustrated with that second goal that they got, it seemed like a harmless play but you have to look at the goal we got in the second period too was a little bit of a fortunate bounce for us. It has a way of evening itself out if you work hard.”
The Flyers capped their four-game homestand with a perfect 4-0-0 record and have not lost in regulation in the month of December, going 6-0-1. The Flyers will play two of their next three games on the road as they travel to Montreal next to meet the Canadiens on Thursday, Dec. 18 (7 p.m. ET, CSN).
The Flyers won their first game at home against the Avalanche since Oct. 28, 1999… The Flyers also earned their first win against an opponent from the Northwest Division this season, they were previously 0-2-0 on the year… Martin Biron was scratched from the lineup with the flu… The Flyers lead the NHL with 12 short-handed goals, one less than their 2007-08 total... The Flyers recalled goaltender Scott Munroe from the Philadelphia Phantoms, their American Hockey League affiliate… Philadelphia leads the NHL with 41 second-period goals… Mike Richards
tied his career-high point-scoring streak at eight games… Richards has now posted 15 points (7G,8A), including five multiple-point games during that streak… The Flyers have scored 21 goals in their last four games, averaging 5.25 goals-per-game in that span…. The Flyers are the only team in the NHL to have six players who have recorded 10 or more goals so far this season.
|Three star selections