Flyers-Wild: Postgame Review
For so many games this season, it was about the offense not providing support for the Flyers. In this game, there was as much offense as the team has seen all season.
Behind big efforts from three forwards that have not performed as hoped this season, the Flyers made a statement with a win over the Wild that they will not roll over easily.
More in our Postgame Review.
- James van Riemsdyk - The Flyers big free agent signing of the offseason is starting to look like the guy the Flyers expected him to be. In his last three games, JVR has five goals and two assists for seven points after scoring just 14 points in his first 27 games this season.JVR's game isn't complex. He goes to the net and will score by being a presence there. His first two goals were exactly that, a deflection in front and a shot that hit off his leg.
To see JVR finally starting to get things going on a line with Claude Giroux and Travis Konecny is a very welcome sight. JVR was struggling to be a fit on this team early in the season. Perhaps that had a lot to do with his injury suffered in the second game of the season, but whatever has happened, he's sure starting to fit in as part of this offense now.
- Nolan Patrick - For the first time in 25 games, Nolan Patrick scored a goal. And then he scored another. And then he added two more assists for good measure.Entering this game, Patrick had just 11 points in 38 games this season. There were some questions about his mentality, if the struggles of a season personally and collectively were taking their toll. Perhaps some time in the AHL could help him get his head right.
But lately, Patrick's had the energy, just not the finish. He was plenty dangerous and finished on two chances in this game.
Patrick's first goal was a great display of hand-eye coordination, whacking a perfect saucer pass from Scott Laughton out of the air and along the ice past Devan Dubnyk. His second was a right place, right time goal with some flare. Patrick got a perfect bounce and then went between his legs for the goal.
Perhaps that was showing off just a bit, but hey, whatever helps get your confidence back. Patrick played like a confident player in this game, and that's a big step for him. There may be changes coming to the roster that one 7-4 win won't change, but Patrick's name, especially as a 20-year-old, is not going to be part of those discussions.
- Wayne Simmonds - You hate to look at it this way, but Simmonds game certainly helps his trade value. Let's face it, the Flyers season is still not going anywhere, and Simmonds will be one of the players who doesn't make it to the end.Still, to see him get a couple of goals in vintage fashion, going hard to the net and finishing on a breakaway for his pair, is a welcome sight. This is the player that teams look at and see value for a contender. This is who they want. The more Simmonds does that, the better it will be for the Flyers when the deadline starts to roll around.
- Carter Hart - As the first few minutes of the game passed, this started to feel like the Carolina game all over again. Hart let the first goal leak through, then had the second go off his arm after a deflection in front, not really one on him, but it didn't look good live either.From there, though, Hart calmed down and played a much better game. This was far from his best. He appeared to be fighting the puck a lot early. He gave up four goals for just the second time in his career. But what was impressive was how he stayed with the game. He took what he had and made the best of it.
By game's end, Hart had made 34 saves, another outstanding effort, even if the scoreboard showed four goals. It was a perfect night for Hart to not have his best and his teammates to be there to pick him up. He's deserved better in games where he allowed two or three goals and he got the help this time around.
- Scott Laughton - Laughton didn't score a goal, but he was as present as ever. With three assists, and nice ones at that, Laughton was a force in this game, providing hard checking, puck pursuit, energy and playing in all situations. All this after he missed his first two shifts with what was certainly an equipment issue.Laughton's one of those players who will not light up the scoresheet, but he does make an impact by doing a lot of the little things. He did quite a few in this win, even if they don't all show up on the scoresheet.
By the Numbers
After having the edge with a 51.61 CF% at 5-on-5 in the first period, the Flyers were on the losing end of that battle in the final two periods. In the second, the Flyers had a 35.48 CF%. In the third, they had a 29.63 CF%. In those two periods, the Flyers scored five goals.
Stat of the Game
Radko Gudas is an unsung hero of this game. He had a pair of assists offensively, but stayed physical with five hits to lead the team, two shots, two blocked shots and a plus-1 in 16:42 of ice time.
Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN and Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.