Wrap: Flyers Roast Ducks, 6-2
The Philadelphia Flyers entered Saturday afternoon with a prime opportunity to take care of business on home ice against a demoralized Anaheim Ducks that came to town dragging a six-game losing streak and which had only won two games since Dec. 17. Mission accomplished, although it wasn't easy as the lopsided 6-2 final score
would make it seem.
The Flyers exploded for a 4-0 lead in the first period, and outshot the Ducks in all three periods. However, Anaheim got a good cycle game going down low at times in the Philly zone and there were segments where the Flyers' engagement wavered for awhile. Fortunately, Carter Hart was plugged in from start to finish, and the Ducks were their own worst enemies at times even as they gradually cut their deficit in half. Finally, the Flyers struck for two latter-third period goals to restore their four-goal margin.
The red-hot Sean Couturier scored a goal (23rd) and added two assists (24th and 25th) on the afternoon. Fourth line forward Phil Varone chipped in a goal (3rd) and assist (2nd), while linemate Michael Raffl scored a shorthanded goal (4th) and earned the lone assist (7th) on Varone's goal. The Flyers also received a goal apiece from Oskar Lindblom (8th), Nolan Patrick (power play, 11th) and Travis Konecny (15th). Single apples were collected by Robert Hägg (10th), Scott Laughton (13th), Andrew MacDonald (7th), Jakub Voracek (34th), Konecny (18th), Travis Sanheim (14th) and James van Riemsdyk (13th).
Hart stopped 30 of 32 shots. He extended his personal winning streak to eight straight games, tying an NHL record for goaltenders younger than age 21.
The Flyers went 1-for-5 on the power play. The PK had a somewhat off-day at just 2-for-4 but Raffl's shorthanded goal in the first period made the special teams on the day a wash.
Adam Henrique (PP, 10th) and Nick Ritchie (PP, 8th) scored for the Ducks. Ryan Getzlaf, who became the Ducks all-time games played leader, notched two assists. Ritchie and Rickard Rakell had an assist apiece.
Veteran goaltender Chad Johnson got the start for Anaheim, subbing for injured netminder John Gibson. Johnson lasted one period, stopping 10 of 14 shots. Kevin Boyle made his debut in relief, stopping 24 of 26 shots.
The Flyers went right to the attack with a dominating opening shift by the Couturier line. The Ducks were forced to ice the puck. On the next shift, Jakob Silfverberg got a mini-breakaway but Carter Hart denied him with the glove. Hart went on to make several other additional fine saves among his dozen first in the opening period.
Varone was wide open in the slot to take a pass-out from Raffl and bury it for a 1-0 Flyers lead at 2:44. Couturier continued his points binge at 10:24 of the first period as he went off the post and in with a shot from the left slot. Hägg and Varone got the helpers.
At 11:44 of the first period, an opportunistic Raffl took a lead pass from Laughton and, from the left circle, beat Johnson over the glove for a shorthanded goal and a 3-0 lead. The Flyers built a 4-0 lead at 17:46 of the first period as Lindblom crashed the net and got rewarded as a Couturier pass went off his skate and into the net.
A penalty on Hägg in the waning seconds of the first period created a carryover power play for Anaheim, who changed goaltenders to start the second stanza. The Flyers challenged for offside after Adam Henrique scored. It was very close to offside on the keep at the blueline -- at least one angle appeared to show the puck completely over the line -- but the NHL's Situation Room in Toronto ruled the camera angles weren't quite conclusive enough to overrule the initial on-side decision.
After the Henrique goal, the Flyers did a good job for the most part in limiting opportunities for Anaheim while generating 13 shots of their own. Hart did a good job of bouncing right back from a bit of an overplay on the goal sequence that took him out of position to be rock solid the rest of the period. Hart had eight saves in the middle frame.
At 4:57 of the third period, Ritchie took a cross-ice feed from Ryan Getzlaf and fired off an almost unstoppable shot for a power play goal that cut the Anaheim deficit down to 4-2. The Ducks generated some good third period chances -- Hart robbed Silfverberg two more times -- before the Flyers made good on a power play to restore a three-goal lead at 5-2.
Patrick finished it off a broken play from the right side of the net, assisted by Couturier (third point of the game) and Konecny. Patrick also had the initial entry into the attack zone. A Travis Konecny rebound put-in of a Travis Sanheim point shot rebuilt a four-goal lead as a final margin of victory.