As if losing a two-goal lead in Monday’s Winter Classic wasn’t enough, the Philadelphia Flyers also lost one of their top scorers for at least the near future.
On Tuesday afternoon, general manager Paul Holmgren announced that Jaromir Jagr will be out 7-10 days with a groin strain. Jagr appeared to aggravate the injury during the second period of Monday’s game when he aggressively drove to the New York goal.
With Jagr out, several scenarios begin to surface. Not only will the team need to fill the opening left by the star forward on the top line, but it also opens up the opportunity for other players to earn some extra ice time with elevated play.
As Claude Giroux’s beautiful backhanded flip went over the shoulder of Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, Philadelphia’s Winter Classic seemed like it would be a total success. The Flyers had taken a 2-0 lead on Giroux’s team-high 18th goal in front of their home fans. In Citizens Bank Park, the majority of almost 47,000 people were ecstatic.
With just 5:39 remaining in the second period, the Flyers were in the driver’s seat to victory.
Instead, they let the Rangers sit behind the wheel for the last 35 minutes en route to a 3-2 New York victory.
Mike Rupp scored his second goal of the season just 30 seconds after Giroux’s pretty tally which brought New York within a goal after two periods. A little under three minutes into the third period, Rupp doubled his season goal total and tied the game at 2-2.
The Philadelphia Flyers hit the ice in Denver Monday night seeking another win streak after Saturday’s 6-0 thrashing by the Boston Bruins. Instead, they snuck out of the Pepsi Center with a point in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche.
Philadelphia (20-8-4) struck first when Scott Hartnell scored with 1:29 remaining in the first period. On the power play goal, Jaromir Jagr saved the puck from leaving the offensive zone and quickly fired it near the net. Jakub Voracek, who has played spectacularly lately, shuffled a pass across the goal-mouth for Hartnell.
The tally was Hartnell’s 16th goal of the season, tying him with Claude Giroux as the highest goal scorer on the Flyers this season. It was also his seventh power play goal on the year.
Colorado (16-17-1) took the game’s momentum in the second period with strong contributions from their young core.
Nothing is going to stop this Flyers team it seems.
With their captain and leading scorer on the shelf for an extended period of time, the Flyers persevered another big challenge.
The Canadiens had an answer for the Flyers first three goals. But it was the final tally early in the third period that Montreal couldn't respond to and the Flyers went on to win, 4-3, Thursday night in Montreal.
It was the seventh straight win for the Flyers, who are rolling despite finding out their leader Chris Pronger will miss the rest of the season with severe post-concussion syndrome. They improved to 12-4-1 on the season without their captain, an impressive feat when looking at his impact when on the ice.
This is the big chance Sean Couturier has been waiting for.
Granted the 19-year-old wasn't in favor of it coming at the cost of Claude Giroux's noodle, Couturier is looking forward to shedding Zac Rinaldo and Harry Zolnierczyk as line mates in favor of a future Hall of Famer and one of the best goal-scoring pests in the NHL.
Couturier will see a promotion to the first scoring line with Jaromir Jagr and Scott Hartnell tomorrow night in Washington.
In the second period of the Flyers 5-2 win over Tampa Bay, Giroux suffered a freak head injury. While down, forward Wayne Simmonds tried to avoid Giroux but caught him in the back of the head with his knee.
For the Philadelphia Flyers and their fans, much of the 2011-12 season will be focused on the New York Rangers. Because of this year’s Winter Classic matchup, players and fans should expect to be inundated with questions, information and banter about the hatred between the Broad Street Bullies and the Broadway Blueshirts.
However, there is still one rivalry that has been overshadowed thus far. That rivalry includes the team on the other side of the Keystone State, the Pittsburgh Penguins.