Mar 6, 2012, 9:39 PM EST
Any semblance of the sportsmanship and mutual respect the Flyers and Red Wings might have had lingering after the ceremony to honor Mark Howe before Tuesday night’s game were certainly gone in the second period. It wasn’t hard to pinpoint the moment that all good will left the ice.
With 12:30 left in the second period, Jake Voracek was trying to gather the puck near his own blue line and turning to head up ice. Unfortunately, his head was not up, and Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall was poised to deliver a huge hit. Video and comments on its impact on the game below.
If Voracek doesn’t have a concussion, then they truly are mysterious injuries.
The hit was square, and Kronwall didn’t lead with his elbow or leave his skates. It could be argued that he head-hunted, as Voracek’s face was the primary point of contact, but despite the dangerous result, we’d all probably be defending any Flyer who delivered the same one.
Certainly, Bill Clement had a good point in wondering how there was no whistle with a clearly injured player laying on the ice. Particularly scary was the rigid way in which Voracek’s arms rose up after he hit the ice, a motion that looked almost involuntary. He was able to skate off under his own power, but would not return.
His teammates quickly took exception and started looking for a battle, but the Red Wings tried to avoid answering the call. Zac Rinaldo drew a weak penalty, and Scott Hartnell later got one as well, though the Flyers would score while on the penalty kill as Claude Giroux forced a turnover, skated up and got a shot on Joey MacDonald, and Max Talbot popped home the rebound for the eventual game-winner.
It was terrible to see Voracek taken out like that, and there’s reason to worry the effects of the hit will linger. But the silver lining was that his team rallied around the hit, from the simple act of trying to get the Red Wings to answer for it, to the much harder task of controlling the game and getting the best revenge.
Giroux put in a great effort despite a hand injury that saw Scott Hartnell taking faceoffs. G’s breakaway goal on the Flyers’ second tally was a thing of beauty.
Ilya Bryzgalov turned in another stellar performance despite again giving up a goal in the first five minutes of the game. it was a pretty damn good backhand by Henrik Zetterberg, but one you’d kinda like to see him in better position for. However, Bryz was the biggest reason the Flyers left the ice with a win. He continues to see the puck well even in traffic and on rebounds, and late in the game, he was locked in as the Red Wings through shots on him.
To add to the Flyers injury woes though, which already include James van Riemsdyk, Kimmo Timonen, and Andrej Meszaros, Jaromir Jagr is hurt as well, leaving the game with a lower-body injury.
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