After only five minutes into the second period, it looked like it was going to be a long night.
Losers of three consecutive games against three division opponents and being held scoreless for over 98 minutes, the Philadelphia Flyers managed to lose two separate leads almost as quickly as they had gained them.
Facing a formidable Toronto Maple Leafs club that could pull within three points of the Flyers in the Eastern Conference standings with a win, Thursday night was a chance for a struggling team to turn the ship around.
While the first five minutes of the second was disappointing, it was the final five minutes that proved to be the game.
Following a goal by Claude Giroux to take the lead, it was Brayden Schenn who scored around the five-minute mark to give the Flyers enough to hold on for a 4-3 win.
Before the season started, people doubted whether or not Zac Rinaldo would make the 23-man roster.
Now, Rinaldo has earned his way onto the third line.
Though it may be temporary, Rinaldo made a huge impact in Thursday’s 4-1 win over the Predators playing on the third line and it may have been the game that gives the 21-year-old a true crack at more ice time.
Before Thursday’s game, Rinaldo was averaging a little over six minutes of ice time, was a minus-7 and had only four points. But in that game, Rinaldo eclipsed the 10-minute mark for only the third time all season in his 36 games, skating a season hight 11:11.
Due to the unfortunate injury to right-winger Jaromir Jagr, rookie Brayden Schenn is getting the chance to play on the top line alongside Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell.
Although he has struggled with injuries and consistent play this season, Coach Peter Laviolette had the confidence in Schenn to gave him the opportunity to play on the team’s top line. He doesn't usually play on the wing, but he fit in quite nicely at the position.
Saturday's game against the Devils was his first chance to play on the line. It was the perfect circumstance for the 20-year-old to catch a break and finally get his game going.
In a time where the Flyers' top right-winger got hurt in the early stages, Schenn stepped up and did what he had to do for the remainder of the game. He met Laviolette’s expectations and played just how the coach hoped he would.
After the 4-1 victory, it was reported that Jagr would be out indefinitely. There wasn't any doubt as to who would play on that line in place of him. Schenn would continue to fill the role as best he could. A good test for the kid, as the next opponents would be the physical Boston Bruins.
Imagine what would happen if Couturier had a chance to center Simmonds and Read on the third line.
In the last five games, the Flyers have scored a total of 13 goals. In that span, Couturier, Read and Simmonds have scored seven, which makes up over half of the production. In total, the group has a combined 15 points in their last five games.
There is much discussion about how Couturier deserves more minutes. A move to the third line would allow for that. Not to mention that he and Read are starting to develop a chemistry of their own when paired on the penalty kill.
With so much emphasis placed on the production of the first line, it often gets lost at how talented the Flyers subsequent lines are. Although the first line will most likely continue to be the team’s most productive line, it doesn’t mean that the other lines won’t sprinkle in production when need to be.