ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Through more than 40 minutes of play at Xcel Energy Center, almost nothing of consequence happened.
“That’s their game plan -- limit chances against,” goalie Ray Emery said. “It’s a New Jersey type of game where you have to stay patient with them and not give them anything.”
And when you least expect it, bam! Something happens to startle the building and it becomes an instant turning point.
Two Wild goals 57 seconds apart in the final period was all it took (see story) and it began with a spectacular play from Mikko Koivu, who threw a blind pass into the slot for Jason Pominville to finish.
“I thought it was by design,” Emery admitted. “But I talked to him and it was one of those things where [the puck] hit the side of the net and it took me a second to realize it got over there because it hit that funny angle.”
Said Koivu, “I got the puck and I had good speed down the wall. I wasn't sure if it was Pommer or Zach [Parise] in front, so I just tried to get it on tape and I did.
“Great shot going up high and buried. It was pretty tight for him, too. Good shot.”
That made it 1-0 at 3:52 and then Charlie Coyle killed the Flyers off right after to ice it, at 2-0.
“Frustrating that they get two quick ones in the third,” Emery said. “We played well after that to get back from it. But that’s all it takes for a team like that, which is so defensive.”
Flyers coach Craig Berube said he had no problem matching the Wild’s defensive slant on the game and admitted he sensed all it would take was one big play -- like Koivu’s -- to change the game.
“Definitely, they’re a tight team. We played good defense, checked hard. They got the play there and got the goal.”
If you’re keeping score, that’s 21 of 27 games for the Flyers in which they scored two goals or fewer.
This was the first shutout to the Wild since February 2003, when they blanked the Flyers in two games -- Feb. 10 and Feb. 12 of that year.
• Claude Giroux was 15 for 23 (68 percent) on faceoffs, including a perfect 8 for 8 in the first period.
• Adam Hall was 83 percent in the circle, winning 5 of 6.
• Scott Hartnell -- not Zac Rinaldo -- led the team with five hits. Rinaldo had two.
• The Wild are now 9-3-2 against the Eastern Conference.
• This was first game in St. Paul between these two clubs since Nov. 24, 2010 -- a span of 1,104 days.
• The Flyers are 3-4-1 against the Western Conference. They are 2-1-1 against the Central Division.
After skating to their best record in four years, the Philadelphia Flyers quelled the notion that they would show the growing pains of a rebuilding franchise in 2016. A playoff berth in Dave Hakstol’s first year as head coach brought about the emergence of a new noisemaker in the crowded Metropolitan division, one that stretched the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Washington Capitals to six games in the Quarterfinals.
The Flyers will look to build on the success of last season by relying more on budding players Shane Gostisbehere and Ivan Provanov while veterans Claude Giroux, Mark Streit and Boyd Gordon all look to lead the team back to another postseason. And while excitement continues to build in Philadelphia, fans can find comfort in the fact that Flyers tickets on the secondary market are the least expensive they’ve been this decade.
On TicketIQ, a leading online aggregator that pools both primary and secondary market listings to give consumers the most transparent buying experience, Flyers tickets are averaging $108.32 across all 41 home games at Wells Fargo Center this season. That marks a 12.4 percent drop from the $123.64 average at the beginning of last season. It is the cheapest home average the Flyers have posted since 2010, when TicketIQ began tracking resale ticket data.
While Thursday’s home opener served as one of the NHL’s most expensive games this week, a March 15 matchup with the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins will be the most expensive Flyers home game this season. That game currently owns a $183.16 average, 69 percent over the season average, and the cheapest available tickets are priced for $73 each. Other top-priced games at Wells Fargo Center this season include January 4 against the New York Rangers ($163.62 avg./$57 get-in) and October 29 against the Penguins ($156.36 avg./$90 get-in).
For those looking for tickets to the cheapest Flyers games this season, an October 27 matchup with the Arizona Coyotes is the least expensive home game to attend. Tickets are averaging just $63.50, 41 percent below season average, and the get-in price is $16. Back-to-back games against the Ottawa Senators and Winnipeg Jets on November 15 and 17 follow, with tickets starting from just $20 each at both contests.
For the best deals on Flyers tickets this season, make sure to download the TicketIQ app. Fans can save up to 10 percent on all IQ Certified listings in the only engagement-based loyalty program in the marketplace. Download the TicketIQ app and start saving today!
Another Flyers player has been suspended by the NHL Department of Player Safety.
This time, it's right winger Dale Weise, who on Friday was banned three games for an illegal check to the head of Ducks defenseman Korbinian Holzer during the Flyers' 3-2 home-opening loss Thursday night.
As Holzer was attempting to chip the puck out of his own zone in the second period, Weise lowered his right shoulder and made a high hit to the blueliner.
The NHL Department of Player Safety explained that Weise made the head the main point of contact on a hit where such head contact was avoidable and unnecessary. Weise is a repeat offender, as he lost three preseason games for a hit while playing with the Canucks ahead of the 2013-14 regular season.
With Weise's suspension, rookie Roman Lyubimov, the Flyers' lone remaining healthy scratch, will enter the lineup.
The Flyers have been suspended an NHL-most 12 games. Forward Brayden Schenn served a three-game suspension to start the season for a hit in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, while defenseman Radko Gudas is currrently serving a six-gamer for a check during the preseason.
Weise, who the Flyers signed in the offseason to a four-year, $9.4 million deal, has not registered a point in four games playing on the team's third line.