Here's the scene: It’s game four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Philadelphia Flyers and the New Jersey Devils. The Devils have frustrated the Flyers for two and a half games now, stifling the high flying attack that dismissed the favored Penguins in six games.
New Jersey leads this seven game series two games to one.
As the seconds ticked off the clock in the second period, the Flyers trailed 3-1 to the Penguins in Game 1.
It was a seemingly insurmountable deficit with the way Pittsburgh controlled the play through the first two periods with their physical bullying style of play.
The Flyers needed someone to step up and stand up to the bull and Brayden Schenn did just that, both metaphorically and literally.
Schenn was charged by Penguins forward Craig Adams with only seconds remaining on the clock. Schenn turned around and absorbed all of the hit, knocking Adams on his rear-end as Schenn stood over him and smiled.
Schenn then got in the face of Adams, goading a shove to the face that wasn’t called and skated away with a smirk on his face after the referees separated the two.
That could have been the turning point for the Flyers, who came back from a 3-0 deficit to win 4-3 in overtime.
Making Ilya Bryzgalov the story for every game has become tiresome to the fans, the front office and Bryzgalov himself.
But when he does something as special as he's done the past couple of weeks, it's hard to just take all the focus away from the Russian netminder, nicknamed the $51 Million Man.
The Flyers have been winning, and they have been playing a brand of hockey many expected them to play down the stretch. Scoring, defense and goaltending - those are the three things that win championships.
So why does the focus all come back to Bryzgalov? Because of the franchise shutout streak that he just broke that stood tall for 13 years midway through the second period.
A little after 7 p.m. on Monday night, the NHL announced that Philadelphia Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo has been suspended two games for an illegal hit in Sunday night’s 4-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings.
Brendan Shanahan, the head of the NHL’s department of player safety announced via video that Rinaldo was being suspended for two reasons:
He illegally launched himself into another player in addition to leaving his feet
Had been fined twice just five games earlier
The one-trick pony enforcer is dying in today's NHL.
No longer is it worth having a guy on the team who only fights and skates five minutes of ice time per game. Instead, the guys who are willing to drop the gloves also have a clue as to what to do with a hockey stick and when the puck is on it.
That leaves Jody Shelley and Tom Sestito practically irrelevant on the Flyers and their pursuit of a successful season.
On and off, the two have been in the line up for the Flyers. And in the rarest, and most unfortunate occasions, the two goons were in the line up together for five times this season. In those five times, the Flyers are 1-3-1.
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.