BY JAY BOEHMER, Staff Writer
Entering Calgary for the only matchup between these two teams in the 2009-2010 season, the Flyers immediately took control. However, the pace evened out as the period continued with each team exchanging a penalty and seven shots each. Both Ray Emery and Flame’s goalie Miikka Kiprusoff made solid stops for their team.
Starting the period off as slow as the first, it wasn’t until almost halfway through when the Flyers started to get pressure and saw shots find their way to the net. Simon Gagne slapped an errant Daniel Briere pass out of the air, landing right on the stick of Mike Richards, who beat Kiprusoff for a 1-0 lead. The Flyers continued to control the flow of play, out shooting the Flames 8-3 this period for a 15-10 total.
The Flyers picked up right where they left off in the second when Claude Giroux was sprung loose on a breakaway and beat Kiprusoff to go up by 2. All lines, forwards and defense alike, held tight to choke the Flames offense, keeping the shots and chances to a minimum. With 2:16 to play, the Flyers sealed the deal as Simon Gagne fed Mike Richards a juicy rebound that originated from Chris Pronger’s laser shot at the point. This powerplay goal let the Flyers cruise to a well deserved 3-0 win.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
Mike Richards: Flyers captain and center, with two points and a minus 1 in his last five games notched two of Philly’s three goals, including the 100th of his NHL career, to lead his team to a win over Calgary.
Claude Giroux: Giroux made his usual nifty set of plays and reads, including a breakaway deke that beat star Flame’s goalie Miika Kiprusoff and gave the Flyers a more comfortable two goal lead to start the third period.
Lukas Krajicek: Playing in his first NHL game since December 17th as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, recently acquired free agent Krajicek Ole-Kristian Tollefsen. He played solid defense, blocking several shots, as well as putting a few on net of his own while playing over 18 minutes alongside Kimmo Timonen.
Ray Emery: Despite the strong play in front of him that made his night a lot easier, Ray Emery still had a handful of tough saves to make to secure his third shutout and 16th win of the season. Emery stopped all 18 Calgary shots.
Scott Hartnell: “Harts” was seemingly omnipresent, with chances at breakaways, hard fore checking hits, and active defensive zone play. His most direct contribution was his hard drive to the net that saw Miika Kiprusoff flop to look for a call, leaving him out of position as Richards scored the Flyers’ third goal of the night.
Oskars Bartulis: Rookie and Latvian Olympian, Bartulis played a solid game against the Calgary Flames, breaking up man scoring chances with blocked shots and timely poke checks. He also picked up his seventh point of the season with an assist on the breakout that led to Claude Giroux’s breakaway goal.
The Calgary Flames entered this game after having shaken up their roster significantly. They recently traded star defenseman Dion Phaneuf, forward Fredrik Sjostrom, and prospect Keith Aulie to Toronto in exchange for forwards Niklas Hagman, Matt Stajan, and Jamal Mayers, as well as defenseman Ian White.
As an attempt to spark their offense, this trade had no immediate payoff against the Flyers. How much of it is the Flyers’ airtight play or Calgary’s own sloppiness is difficult to say, but it does not seem to have had the desired effect as they were shutout tonight after putting up 6 goals in their last game before the trade.
This win didn’t help the Flyers come up in the Eastern conference ladder as most have recently, but it gave them a couple of points worth of breathing space above division rival New York Rangers. They remain in 6th place with 59 points. The Rangers, in 7th, have 57.