Ten goals in two games. Both against New York teams. Yeah, that was a pretty sweet weekend.
Now, Saturday's 5-1 win over the Islanders was a bit deceptive with the score. The Isles actually played the Flyers pretty tough but couldn't find the back of the net thanks to Marty Biron. He stopped 38 freakin shots and looked an awful lot like the Biron who was standing on his head much of the playoffs last season. That was nice to see.
And while Biron was stonewalling the Islanders, the Flyers were capitalizing the way good teams are supposed to. The opener came on an incredible backhand pass by Scottie Upshall to Claude Giroux, who made no mistake, burying the puck. Almost immediately afterward, Aaron Asham beat the piss out of Tim Jackman.
The Flyers never looked back. Hartnell gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead before the first was through, and then, Carle, Asham and Gagne went bang, bang, bang, scoring three goals in 1:07 to ice the game. The highlight was definitely Simon's penalty shot goal, which was a thing of beauty.
Gagne is now a perfect 3-for-3 on penalty shots in his career.
And while a 5-1 win over the Islanders is always nice, it was nothing compared to yesterday. On national television, NBC to be exact, the Flyers finally took on the Rangers again with a chance to redeem the 4-3 loss in October. And boy did they ever do that, up in Madison Square Garden no less.
For the second straight game, Giroux got things going, opening the scoring with assists from Upshall and Darroll Powe. All game long, much like in the Islanders game, this line was the most energetic, most effective line for the Flyers. I hate to make hasty comparisons, but honestly, watching Giroux since he's come up this season, he reminds me of a less physical (and obviously, not nearly as good at this point) Peter Forsberg, as far as his vision on the ice and tremendous passing skills are concerned.
He has been especially impressive the past few games, and the future looks very bright for Giroux.
The first period was actually pretty evenly played, with the Flyers getting a few more scoring chances than New York, but the complexion of the game changed completely thanks to the captain. Mike Richards, quite possibly the most underrated superstar in the NHL, as Pierre McGuire and Mike Milbury pointed out, completely ripped out the Rangers' and their fans' collective hearts with this thing of beauty:
Yeah, that was a 5-on-3 shorthanded goal by Richards, the third time he's scored when his team was down two men in his career, setting the all-time record. Suck on that Lundqvist.
Well, Richards' goal opened the flood gates. A few minutes later, Matt Carle scored his second goal is as many days, and 54 seconds later, Glen Metropolit banked one off Henrik, chasing the guy most Rangers fans think is the best goalie in hockey out of the game in embarrassing fashion. Just for good measure, Knuble scored less than a minute later on some beautiful passing to put the Flyers up 5-0.
Man was it sweet. However, the Rangers didn't roll over and die. In fact, from that point on, they pretty much dominated the Flyers. Two problems though: They went down 5-0 and Marty Biron was fantastic. For the second straight game, Marty stopped 30-plus shots, turning away 35 of 37 offerings. He was especially strong late in the game when the Flyers, up by 4, seemed to run out of gas and energy. However, Marty stood tall and the Flyers came away with a very satisfying 5-2 win, outscoring New York opponents 10-3 over the weekend.
It was pretty awesome, especially seeing Claude Giroux follow up his strong game against the Islanders by being the best player on the ice against the Rangers. Yes, I said Giroux was the best player on the ice in yesterday's game, and I mean it. He had a goal and two assists, and every time he was on the ice, he made things happen for the Flyers. Now, the Fly guys are three points up on the Rangers with two games in hand. Still eight behind the Devils though, but again, two games in hand.