WINNIPEG, Manitoba – Chemistry is a tantalizing devil sometimes.
There are times when it’s fleeting. There are times when it’s permanent. There are times when it is instant and there are times when it takes time to formulate.
But in hockey, the trick is to seize it while you have it, and try to hang on like a bull-rider as long as you can.
The trio combined for two goals Tuesday, mirror images of each other in so many ways, to help pace the Flyers to a 3-2 win over the Jets at MTS Centre.
Schenn and McGinn each scored on tip-in goals set up by excellent passes by Voracek and the Flyers got another strong effort from Ilya Bryzgalov in goal as they won for just the second time in eight tries on the road.
“We definitely have the good chemistry right now,” said Schenn. “Everyone talks as linemates and we definitely talked before the game. Jake is such a smart player that all you have to do is get him the puck and go to the net. He has great vision, finds lanes and puts passes on the tape.
“Then there’s McGinn, and you see how well he plays and how tough he is out there. He fights, he goes hard to the net and he wins battles.”
And that he did consistently all night. Whether it was digging a puck off the wall, sticking up for Voracek after Winnipeg defenseman Marc Stuart took umbrage with Voracek running into goalie Al Montoya, and scoring goals.
The fight between McGinn and Stuart was a good one, although quick. Stuart landed two shots before McGinn rallied with two big roundhouses that dropped Stuart to the ice.
“He’s been such a nice addition to our lineup,” said coach Peter Laviolette. “He’s big, he’s strong, he finishes his checks – he fights once in awhile. He scores goals. He sticks up for his teammates. These are all things you look for when a player is coming up - positive contributions to our lineup. It’s not just the goals. He gets pucks off the wall. He does a lot of nice little things out there that have made him fit in and certainly we’re comfortable with him.”
The goal, which was basically him crashing the net and Voracek hitting him in stride tape-to-tape with a pass that redirected into the net, was indicative of the chemistry on the line, but one McGinn admits he never saw coming.
“I didn’t even see the puck,” McGinn said. “The defenseman did a great job on me. But Jake is a special player and he can put the puck where he sees your stick… He did an unbelievable job of finding me there.”
With two assists, Voracek now has eight points in his last eight games and now leads the Flyers in scoring with 10 points.
Schenn, who got off to a slow start, is tied for second on the team with nine points and McGinn has five points in 11 games and is a plus-3.
“We’ve been talking a lot – both before the game and out on the ice,” Voracek said. “We have that chemistry going where we know where each other are going to be in the zone and that’s a big advantage. They are both big bodies and I have a little more room out there and a couple goals went in the net.”
“They were unbelievable tonight,” Giroux said. “That was their best game this year. They were flying. They move the puck and skate well. It was fun watching them tonight.”
On the other end it was Bryzgalov coming up big again, despite constant derisive chants by the Winnipeg faithful, who still haven’t let go of comments by Bryzgalov a few years ago when he said he wouldn’t want to live in Winnipeg.
Bryzgalov made 24 saves, but was especially strong early in the first period and throughout the second period when the Jets were buzzing in the Flyers zone.
“He was outstanding,” Voracek said. “He’s been so consistent all season long and he was our best player all season. He made big saves during the game and that’s what it’s all about.”
It was all about getting a win and not going on another losing streak. And although the Flyers are still a game under .500 (6-7-1), they still have accrued points in five of the last six games (4-1-1) and now sit just one point behind the New York Rangers for the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference.
“It’s only one win and we’ve got a lot more to do,” Giroux said. “No matter if we lose or win, it’s a matter of how fast we can put that game behind us and get ready for the next one.”
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