With the Flyers taking a 6-3 victory at home in the last meeting with the Stars, the boys in the black and orange were looking to repeat these results in Dallas, where they held a record of 0-4-2 before last night.
It was Brian Boucher’s first start since December, stepping in to take to reigns in place of the injured Michael Leighton, whose 8-10 week injury will see him sidelined for the remainder of the season. He needed to step in and play solid, not spectacular, and give the team in front of him a chance to generate a win. He did just that. And they did their part.
Boucher kept out 27 of the 29 Stars shots, including a few real testers, and the Flyers played a fairly consistent sixty minute game – something they’ve been missing for a little while now.
This showed up in their ability to come from behind. For much of the season, they’ve been a team who could only really pull out a win if they were leading early on and continued to lead throughout. Lately, they’ve been behind or tied in the final periods of games and still managed to manufacture wins. It’s not a habit that you want a team to get into, but it’s great that they have the confidence and composure to keep getting it done no matter the situation.
After being down for the majority of the first period, Simon Gagne crashed the net and crammed a puck in to tie the game at 1. Unfortunately, Steve Ott netted his second of the game to retake the lead before the first twenty minutes had come to a close.
Mike Richards put in the lone second period goal to tie the game at 2 going into the third. With a shift full of pressure, the line of Carter, Briere, and Hartnell cashed in when Hartnell deflected a Jeff Carter slapshot past goalie Kari Lehtonen for the 3-2 lead, which the Flyers were able to hold despite a late game surge by the Stars.
With Ottawa losing to the Atlanta Thrashers, and the 6th place Canadiens not playing last night, the Flyers were able to leap frog a couple of spots and move from 7th into 5th, even with the Senators but holding the tie breaker.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
Brian Boucher: With questions surrounding the Flyers’ goaltending situation for much of the season and Michael Leighton out of the picture, Boucher had to come up big and gain confidence both for himself and the rest of the team. He did that by keeping the Stars to two goals in this important win.
Mike Richards: Captain teamed up with linemate Simon Gagne for a goal and an assist each on the Flyers’ first two goals of the night.
Steve Ott: Stars tough guy, Ott scored a pair of goals in his team’s 6-3 loss last time they faced the Flyers, and he found the back of the net twice last night as well.
Scott Hartnell: Hartnell was given credit on a goal he deflected in off a Jeff Carter shot, but his play is vastly improved as the players around him catch fire. His line of Carter, Briere, and Hartnell has been dominant in the past couple of games, and are worth keeping an eye on going forward.