Flyers Blank Red Wings
Good breaks favor the victors. The Philadelphia Flyers capitalized twice in the second period leading to a 5-0 shutout win over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night, snapping a four-game losing streak.
Scott Hartnell added two goals while dealing with a sore foot to lead the way. Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Adam Hall also scored for the Flyers.
Hartnell had just moved to the top forward line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, and Michael Raffl slotted on the wing on the fourth line.
The swap worked perfectly for all parties involved.
"I think we were quick, our breakouts were great," Hartnell said of the team's play. "We came [up the ice] together. There were a lot of good rush chances."
Four of five Flyers goals came off the rush on this night.
After scoring just one goal against the Boston Bruins, offense was a necessity before heading on the road for a gamut of difficult Pacific Division opponents. Goaltender Steve Mason also needed a kick in the right direction after having struggled in his last several efforts.
Mason's best work came in the second period, when he sprawled out to stop a charging Luke Glendening on the doorstep. While on his back, Mason waved at a rebound chance from defenseman Kyle Quincey, but the puck grazed off the crossbar, flying out of play.
Mason saw his fair share of favorable breaks in this game, as several scoring chances squirted just wide, including a power play opportunity from Red Wings forward Riley Sheahan clanging off the post and sailing wide.
Even with those breaks, he showed off his glove hand with several snares in the third period, leading to "MA-SON!" chants from Flyers fans; night and day from his last stretch of starts.
"These games are building blocks," Mason said. "It's a small step in the bigger picture."
Head coach Craig Berube added his vote of confidence on Mason, brushing off an assertion of better defensive effort in front of him led to this victory.
Many would say the Flyers had to win this game—after all, the Red Wings played without their captain, Henrik Zetterberg, Selke candidate Pavel Datsyuk, and a valuable forward in Johan Franzen due to assorted injuries.
In a word, the Flyers were opportunistic on this night.
Hartnell applied a behind-the-back tip on a Kimmo Timonen shot on the Flyers' first power play opportunity. He also took a pinpoint feed from Claude Giroux on a 3-on-1 break to complete his two goal night. Not a bad return from a busted foot.
Hall cashed in on a backhand shot in a scrum of humanity in front of Red Wings starter Jonas Gustavsson to net his third goal of the season.
Giroux and Couturier both added exclamation points with third period goals to put the Red Wings away for certain.
Everything that went wrong suddenly went right in this game. Mistakes were absolved by Mason's 33 saves. Offensive chances found the net. Giroux and Hartnell both notched three point games after being reunited on the top forward line.
Before players pack up for Sochi, one challenge remains. The best teams in the NHL await the Flyers, waiting to see what they have learned since shutting out an opponent for the first time since November 12.
The Anaheim Ducks are next, who have only lost on home ice just three times this season, only once in regulation.