Jan 21, 2010, 11:45 PM EDT
Hard to ask much more from a night in South Philly. The Flyers played solid hockey for 60 minutes, netting two goals on Henrik Lundqvist while Ray Emery stopping everything that came his way.
The Rangers had scored 14 goals in their previous two games, but they struggled to get anything going offensively in the first period, and didn't have much better luck as the game moved on. The Flyers D was fantastic, keeping the puck along the boards and breaking up rushes all night. Emery was sharp, but facing only 24 shots played a big part in his shutout, and his D kept the slot clear for him. Lundqvist was solid for the Rangers too, but a first period goal on a long pass from Prong Daddy set JVR on a course for what would prove to be the game-winner.
Sick pass from behind the blue line to JVR as he passed center ice. The kid did a great job to fend off whichever Staal that was and stay behind his shot and knock in the rebound. He's now just one point behind John Tavares and and three back of for the rookie lead, and he's played in fewer games.
A few minutes into the second period, my ladyfriend, who was at her first Flyers game, jokingly asked when they'd start fighting. I said it was a pretty tight game, some good hitting right from the first faceoff, but clean overall with no penalties or dirty work. There probably wouldn't be much fighting without a few more goals first, or some kind of incident. Right about then, the gloves started to fly. Three fights in the second period alone, followed by another in the third. And there were some good ones. Videos ATJ.
First up was something I never would have predicted—Marian Gaborik dropped the gloves to take on Dan Carcillo. That amounts to the Rangers' best scorer (29-32-61) and the fifth highest goal scorer in the league going at it with a guy who was in the first ever Winter Classic fight, who also has the fifth highest penalty minute total.
Pretty sure you can guess how that went.
Rags coach John Tortorella was whining afterward as usual, but it was Gaborik who engaged Carcillo, perhaps mistaking him for someone who gave a damn about his goal totals. Also, in the above video clip, you can hear the Rangers' announcers calling out Carcillo for his role in the fight, but all he did to start it was pull Gabby away from being a barnacle on another tussle, then Gabby started jabbing at his face. No free passes, Marian. Keep your hands away from the toothless man and you won't get snapped like a pretzel rod. After the game, Frank Seravelli quoted Carcillo as saying, "I was pretty much licking my chops," when he saw that Gaborik wanted to go.
The craziest part of that fight though was how NO ONE from the Rangers came to help Gaborik, and there was very little in the way of retaliation. But instead of yelling at his own players, Torts yelled at the Flyers bench. More on the fight and the post-game aftermath here.
The Rangers' announcers were right about one thing though—this was only the beginning. Next on the Asses to Kick list was Sean Avery, who, in the words of Walklett, got Snookied by Scott Hartnell.
Couldn't have happened to a bigger jagoff. Avery would get just a little face back when he and Carcillo fought to essentially a draw, with a slight edge to Avery. He landed some rabbit punches and pulled Chico down by his helmet. The wild second period closed out with a goal by Mike Richards with three seconds left. Kimmo Timonen made a great effort to keep the puck in the zone, particularly considering that the period was just about to end, and Richie threw it on net with Danny Briere on the doorstep, but it looked like it bounced off a Rangers defender and past Lundqvist.
Fittingly, three seconds into the the third, there was another fight; this time Arron Asham and Aaron Voros battled in the final round, and that was pretty much the end of this one, aside from a strong finish by the Flyers in the final 20 minutes.
Two huge points in the standings, and two wins to start the homestand.
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