Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Don't Look Now …

With the World Series 1/3 of game postponed yet another day, I was able to turn my attention over the Flyers last night, and it didn't take long for the action to get started.

Just 1:20 into the game, Joffrey Lupul stole the puck from Tobias Enstrom and snapped one right past Kari Lehtonen.

The rest of the period was pretty uneventful and evenly played, with the Flyers registering just four shots to the Thrashers' six. Niittymaki certainly looked sharp, but the game was up for grabs. For a while anyway.

Just a few minutes into the second, Knuble put the Flyers up 2, and from there the Flyers took over. Gagne added a back-breaking shorthanded goal before the second period ended, and Niitty was on top of his game. The Flyers took control in the second and never gave it back.

At least, that's what I saw. The announcer on Versus, whoever the hell it was, said that despite the score being at that time 4-0—after Knuble, who had a great game, scored his second goal just a minute into the third, this time on the power play—the game was more evenly played than that. Um, no it wasn't. The Thrashers were good early on, but about midway through the second, the Flyers simply took control of the game.

Lupul added another power play goal, and Gagne also tallied another to give the Flyers three players with two goals. And they weren't the only ones to get in on the action in this 7-0 blowout. Glen Metropolit, who I have not been overly impressed with, had a very strong game, scoring a goal and adding two assits. Gagne led everyone with 4 points, and pretty much every player had a strong game for the Flyers.

Continuing the trend from the weekend sweep of the Devils, the much maligned defense stepped it up, holding Atlanta to just 24 shots, none of which got by Antero. Virtually everyone played well. It was really nice to see Luca Sbisa continue to shine, and for the first time this season, Ossi Vaananen and Steve Eminger looked confident to me back on the blue line. I've been particularly impressed with Eminger's offensive skill joining the rush and his tremendous shot, but last night, he actually looked like a real defenseman as well. It was nice to see.

It was certainly nice to see a team that has struggled so much early on gain its footing in the last three games, especially on the defensive end. If the Flyers can keep up this defensive play, they'll be right back in the thick of things in no time because this team will certainly continue to score all year long.


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