Flyers honor Howe with throwback performance

Flyers honor Howe with throwback performance
March 7, 2012, 7:18 am
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Jake Voracek took a shot to the head from Niklas Kronwall that left the Flyer winger quivering on the ice. Jaromir Jagr couldnt answer the bell for the third period. And with Chris Pronger, Kimmo Timonen, Andrej Meszaros and James van Riemsdyk already out of the lineup for Mark Howe Night, it was appropriately May 1987 again.
Those Flyers finished off the Islanders without Dave Poulin and Murray Craven, never got Tim Kerr back all the way through Game 7 in Edmonton, still rallied for Finals wins from 3-0, 3-1, and 2-0 deficits to almost swipe the Cup from the most loaded single offensive team in NHL history.
Pretty cool, that video, I felt fortunate to be part of the ceremonies and Ill be able to say I was there on the bench, said Danny Briere magnanimously, even if Ron Hextall stoned the team of Brieres youth, the Canadiens, in the 1987 conference finals.
Indeed, the 2011-12 Flyers, who all wore No. 2 during the warmups, were properly reverential watching it go to the rafters, even if they couldnt possibly understand just how deeply they honored the teams of the honoree with a throwback performance.
Claude Giroux, close to being a game-time scratch after taking a slash on the wrist or hand in Washington, made two plays at the Flyers line that he turned into the goal and assist that won the contest. Ilya Bryzgalov made the kind of game-saving stop on Valtteri Filppula with 51 seconds left that Hextall made repeatedly 25 years ago.
Rookie Sean Couturier got three standoffs against Henrik Zetterberg on defensive zone draws in the final minute, and the Flyers hung for the grittiest of 3-2 victories over the debilitated but equally-determined Red Wings.
When Johan Franzen cut the lead to one with a long 8:47 to go, the Flyers didnt have No. 2 in his prime to wheel the puck out, but without their three best defensemen they got the job done anyway, looking increasingly like a team making a commitment that can transcend the lack of a No. 1 seed in the postseason.
When Bryzgalov plays like that, he makes us all better, said Briere.
When the Flyers all play like that, their sum is better than their parts, pretty much the history of the franchise, one of the better chapters remembered Tuesday night when they flattered Mark Howe and his teams both before the game and during it.
Jay Greenberg covered the Flyers for 14 years for the Daily News and Evening Bulletin. His history of the Flyers, Full Spectrum, was published in 1996. He can be reached

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