Thursday, March 10, 2011
Posted: 9:36 p.m. Updated: 11:13 p.m.By Tim Panaccio
TORONTO At a time when the Flyers need to find some secondary scoring even primary would work Claude Girouxs unit took center ice Thursday night at Air Canada Centre.
His line with James van Riemsdyk and Jeff Carter contributed a goal, three assists and 13 shots as the Flyers survived the Maple Leafs, 3-2. They also had a goal and an assist in Tuesdays 4-1 win over Edmonton, as well.
That line can really get humming offensively, said Coach Peter Laviolette. Theyre fast, theyre smart, theyre skilled and that makes them dangerous.
Theyve been together three of the past four games and sporadically before that, at times, this season.
When you play with the same guys a couple games you get more comfortable, Giroux said. I think we have a little chemistry going. Me, Cartsy and Reemer are having fun together.
Along with the fun, the Flyers played a more complete game than against the Oilers, despite some hairy moments in the third period when Joffrey Lupul made it a one-goal affair with a give-and-go with Mike Brown, who turned defenseman Sean ODonnell around.
Last month we havent played as we should have, but tonight we played a 60-minute game and guys were playing together, the puck was moving and we had fun doing it, too, Giroux said.
The challenge was playing without Chris Pronger (right hand) as Nick Boynton took his spot in the lineup and was paired with Matt Carle.
We made good plays with the puck, we blocked shots, we had good communication back there, said goalie Brian Boucher of the Prongerless-effort.
I thought we showed good poise back there in a one-goal game. We made some good plays and we battled. One play, a scramble in front of the net, Car Bomb Dan Carcillo stopped it with his face. Guys were battling.
The impact of Zdeno Charas devastating hit on Montreals Max Pacioretty was felt in the opening minutes when Toronto defenseman Mike Komisarek boarded Carcillo.
Carcillo squirmed in pain on the ice while Komisarek got a deserved five-minute major plus a surprising game misconduct.
If the Chara hit wasnt being bandied about all over Canada with the Prime Minister, among millions of others, decrying the violence in the NHL, Komisarek doesnt get tossed.
The Flyers scored twice on the power play. Except only Andrej Meszaros goal counted. A second by Carter was waved off because of a quick whistle.
Meszaros goal was a rocket shot at the blue line that beat goalie James Reimer cleanly. Reimer was outstanding during the power play, facing seven shots and twice stopping Carter after his wave-off.
We had good movement on the power play, Meszaros said. G Claude Giroux and Danny Briere were cycling the puck there. G found me and I shot it. Cartsy had a great screen on the goal and the puck found its way in.
Carcillo went to the dressing room with a stinger but quickly returned.
I checked my shoulder, I knew Komisarek was there, Carcillo said. I made a play on the puck and felt him cross-check me into the lower back and went into the boards. It stung pretty good.
Carcillo didnt want Komisarek to get throw out.
I kind of would have liked to see him stay on the ice, he said. I could do something about it. I have to wait till next year. Ill take a stinger all day to trade off for a power-play goal.
Much like the opening period against Edmonton, the Flyers poured a lot of energy into it on the offensive side, though they had just that lone goal to show for it.
Although the Flyers had a 4-on-3 power play in the second period which they failed to score on, once it expired, Darroll Powe notched his sixth goal by merely exercising the philosophy of shoot the puck and anything can happen.
His wrister at 9:36 from behind the goal line, to the left of Reimer, brought groans from the crowd as the Leafs trailed 2-0.
It was a good offensive shift by our line there with Bettsy Blair Betts and Shellsy Jody Shelley working Hard, Powe said.
At the end they threw the puck through the middle. Matty made a good read and took a shot on net. I just jumped on the rebound and threw it on net and somehow the puck found its way in.
Less than two minutes later, however, Toronto got an equally-ugly goal when Dion Phaneufs point shot clanged off the head of Mikhail Grabovski past Boucher, who was protesting wildly. Boucher thought it was a high-stick. Instead, it was a high-head.
Boucher played well with 27 saves, including a key one that period on Colby Armstrong.
Thats the way we want to play, Boucher said. If theyre going to get into our zone and get chances, theyre going to have to earn it and make good plays. For the most part, that was the case tonight.
Laviolette used his timeout after the Grabovski goal. He has a knack for calling them at the right time, then having the Flyers come out and score.
I had liked the way we were playing and it just got away from us for a few minutes there, Laviolette said of the timeout. You just want to make sure we get back on track. I thought the players were playing a really strong game. It was just a couple shifts where they started to press a bit.
Following the time, Giroux made it 3-1 at 14:40 with his first goal in seven games off a JVR pass in the slot.
I dont know if he meant to do it, but if he did, it was right at my wheelhouse, Giroux said of the pass. I kind of wacked at it.
Giroux has 22 goals and leads the club with 63 points.
He brings a little bit of everything, JVR said of Giroux. Hes a really complete player maybe the most-skilled guy in the whole league. Theres not enough you can say about him.
Giroux tangled with Carl Gunnarsson late in the game, drawing a roughing call, too.
Just me and him like to go at it, Giroux said. Thats hockey. No hard feelings. Its always fun to have those little scrums.
E-mail Tim Panaccio at firstname.lastname@example.org
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