Steve Mason (left) and Brayden Schenn congratulate each other after the Flyers' 5-2 win over the Islanders. (USA Today Images)
It was the kind of play you would not have seen back in mid-October with the Flyers clinging to a one-goal lead in the third period while being outplayed.
Jakub Voracek chasing down a puck, outracing an Islander in their zone, going into the back boards, tying it up, then fighting to make a play and getting a pass into the slot.
The pass hits the post, ricochets into the slot where Brayden Schenn buries it for a 4-2 pressure-reliever of a lead.
“We were trying to get a forecheck all game and it didn’t work out for us,” Voracek said. “We said at the second intermission, just stick with it, be patient, it’s gonna come. More chances. That was a big goal for us.
“I was lucky. I tried to pass to Luke Schenn backdoor and I kind of got slashed and it popped to Brayden Schenn. What’s important, it’s a goal.”
It was Brayden Schenn’s first goal in four games.
“Jake tried to feed it and snapped the puck to me," Brayden Schenn said. "It was good work in the corner by [Claude] Giroux and Jake. Good things happen when you go to the net.”
That goal is why the Flyers won Saturday, 5-2, over the Islanders and why they got to .500 (10-10-2) for the first time this season after a 1-7 start (see Instant Replay). It’s the essence of why this club has turned it around.
They no longer cave in the third period, no longer feel they will lose the period or the game. They seize the opportunity.
“No one would believe we were at .500 that quickly as we are right now,” Voracek said. “A couple weeks ago, three weeks ago, when we would have been scored on with that second goal and be up 3-2, pardon my language, we would s--- the bed.
“Right now, we were very calm on the bench. Chief (coach Craig Berube) took the timeout and said, ‘Play smart.’ We got that fourth goal and it was huge.”
Funny thing is, Voracek did not play much in the third period the previous game, but he was the catalyst in this one by winning that footrace and setting up Schenn’s clutch goal to stifle the Isles, who were dominating the Flyers to that point.
“We had confidence,” Voracek said. “We knew that game was ours and we should win it. We kind of calmed down, scored that goal and handled it defensively.”
Berube was pleased. This is what he wants to see: a team makes a push on the Flyers and they push right back. Harder.
“Real good play, strong play,” Berube said. “We were a little bit on our heels, obviously. That sealed it there. Schenner buried it.
“That was a big play by [Voracek] to get in there and do that. That was our mindset tonight. I thought the first few shifts were good in the third, then they got that goal there and we were on our heels there.
“We let them come through the neutral zone too much in the third period uncontested. That’s where problems start. Do that and it’s a rush attack against us or they are dumping in our end.
“We didn’t do a very good job in the neutral zone that period and backed off too much. Gaps aren’t good, your forwards not checking hard enough. You let them come at you too much.”
Still, the Flyers rescued the game and got themselves to .500.