The Flyers celebrate after their 2-1 victory over the Rangers. (USA Today Images)
Talk about consistency, the Flyers, if nothing else, have been consistent about one thing through all nine games this season.
Every one of those games has been within a goal, one way or the other, in the third period.
This time, however, the Flyers actually won, 2-1, over the Rangers at Wells Fargo Center after losing four straight in which the score was 2-1 when the final period began (see Instant Replay).
You wonder if this will give the Flyers some third-period confidence to produce wins hereafter.
“I do believe that,” coach Craig Berube said. “I thought we stopped playing in the third period at times. Just with the puck. Playing too cautious. Then we kind of picked it up again. It will definitely give the team some confidence.”
Team captain Claude Giroux feels that way, as well.
“Finally, going into the third, tied, then come out with a win, it’s huge for the team’s confidence,” Giroux said. “I think we played really good in the third.”
They had six days to prep for the Rangers after losing to Pittsburgh last week. Berube said he thought the club was a bit rusty at times. Too many icings, too many shots blocked -- 12 -- and they should have been more aggressive in shots.
“We don’t put enough consistent pressure on the other team,” Berube said. “We get in, get some chances, but we need to have more fight with the puck, win some battles and keep some more zone time.”
And they don’t know what to do with a gift, either.
In the final two minutes of play, the Rangers were making a strong push before turning it over and allowing the Flyers a three-on-one at goalie Cam Talbot, who was making his NHL debut.
Instead of firing a shot, the Flyers overpassed with Kimmo Timonen having one lined up in the slot and passing it across to Giroux.
He was probably trying to get Giroux his first goal of the season. Instead, the pass was blocked by Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi.
It was a decisive moment in the game, especially if the Rangers had come back to tie it again.
“I don’t think it’s because Kimmo wanted to get me a goal,” Giroux said. “Kimmo is a smart player. Usually, three-on-ones you try to make plays. I love Kimmo shooting from there against any goalie.
“[Girardi] did a good job keeping his stick there and reading the play. If that pass goes through, I got an open net. It’s a good play, I think. In the third period like that, I think he wanted to shoot it, but we got the win, so it’s all good.”
They got the win because they finally had traffic at the net with a point shot that snuck through. Braydon Coburn’s drive just 3:33 into the third stanza saw Wayne Simmonds screening in front of Talbot, allowing the puck to go undetected.
Coburn’s goal -- his second this season -- broke the tie for the game-winner.
“We want to try to put as many pucks as we can at the net,” Coburn said. “We’ve got guys like Wayne screening the goalie and causing havoc in there, so you know as long as you can get the pucks through, things can happen.”