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.
Despite playing the first two periods of Thursday night’s 3-2 victory against the New York Islanders like a virtuoso, Bobrovsky lost his shutout only 22 seconds into the final period.
After stopping 22 consecutive shots that had him sprawling across the crease for two periods, it merely took a tap from Kyle Okoposo to end his perfect night. Then to pile it on, the Islanders snuck a second goal by him with only 15 seconds remaining in regulation.
Not that it mattered at that point, but it distorts what otherwise was a phenomenal night from the 23-year old goaltender.
That’s the most important point to take away from Thursday night. It doesn’t matter that Bobrovsky wasn’t flawless, what matters is that he looked exceptionally good.
When the Flyers decided the direction of the franchise was one that wasn’t going to be influenced by Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, outcry and uproar ensued.
The core of the team that made it within two games of hoisting the Stanley Cup and a second-place finish in the Eastern Conference the next year was sent packing.
Obviously, Carter and Richards were the biggest shoes to drop. The captain and his close friend were supposed to be the faces of the team for years to come. Not so much.
Ville Leino wasn’t re-signed and few had issue with it. Most could see that his deal in Buffalo was baseless and far too big.
Blair Betts and Darroll Powe were waived and traded respectively, and that was a sticking point with some. The two soldier-like penalty killers were given away and some feared the franchise couldn’t find anyone to replace their strong play.
Kris Versteeg? Traded. Dan Carcillo? See ya. Nikolay Zherdev? Of course he was free to go.
It’s a standard that Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette holds all of his players to; the security of your play, not your contract, will determine how much playing time you will receive.
While Ilya Bryzgalov has more than enough security in his lucrative nine-year contract, he will (in all likelihood) be viewing tonight’s game against the New York Islanders from the bench rather than the goal crease.