Good teams take their game to the next level when it’s on the line.
That was what the Anaheim Ducks did to the Flyers in the third period of Tuesday’s 3-2 Ducks win.
Anaheim, the fourth seed in the Western Conference, is easily the best team the Flyers have faced thus far.
Kyle Palmieri scored two goals -- both off Flyer turnovers -- as Bruce Boudreau's club turned a one-goal deficit that period into a victory.
The Ducks made a strong push late in third period, and the Flyers failed miserably in trying to answer. They were outskated and outworked the entire stanza, while goalie Steve Mason faced numerous breakdowns.
The killer goal was Palmieri’s first, stealing the puck from Vinny Lecavalier during the first minute of the third period. He went on a breakaway with a nifty backhander, beating Mason to make it a 2-2 game.
The Ducks got a goal late in the second, plus another early in the third period. Palmieri’s second goal late in the game off another turnover was the ultimate difference.
Matt Read has a three-game goal streak. Last Thursday, the 27-year-old winger recorded a goal and added an assist on home ice to help the Flyers defeat the Rangers.
Read then followed up Saturday night at Uniondale, N.Y. with another goal against the Isles.
His scoring streak continued in this game with a goal early against Jonas Hiller. It took him two shots after collecting a pass from Wayne Simmonds behind the net, then having to shoot twice on Hiller at the left post before scoring.
Anaheim left wing Teemu Selanne suffered an injury late in the third period and did not return. Selanne took an accidental stick from Flyer defenseman Luke Schenn during a puck battle.
For the 11th time in as many games, the Flyers were either tied, ahead by one goal or trailing by one goal when the third period began.
Can’t even remember seeing this at a Flyers game that I have covered over these many years: Two right-handed catching goalies going head-to-head. Mason for the Flyers and Hiller for the Ducks.
Mathieu Perreault returned to the Ducks’ lineup after missing one game with a wrist sprained and had a goal wiped out late in the first period. Anaheim was trailing 1-0 when Perreault tipped a shot from Selanne that went past Mason. It was denied on the ice as a high-stick and went to video review where it was upheld.
Lecavalier picked up his third power-play goal of the season, while the Flyers now have scored a power-play marker in three of their last four games. Lecavalier has five total goals this season, even though he missed two games injured. Nice goal, too, as Claude Giroux passed the puck from the left to right circle for Lecavalier’s blast.
“It was all G. He had the puck for 10-15 seconds and was drawing everybody toward him,” Lecavalier said. “He had a no-look pass, I mean, there aren't too many guys in this league who can do that. It was a great play by him. I just had to get the puck on net.”
Giroux, working a puck behind the Anaheim goal in the second period, was called for diving into the backboards after being lightly cross-checked by Perreault. Given the way things are in the NHL right now with board hits and concussions, why would a player deliberately dive into the backboards and risk a neck/head injury?
Through two periods, Sean Couturier had won 67 percent of his faceoff draws. His line with Read and Simmonds had to go up against Ryan Getzlaf’s unit with Corey Perry and Pat Maroon.
Andrew Cogliano’s goal late in the second period came off a weird carom. Getzlaf’s shot high between the circles came off the backboards over Mason directly to Cogliano, who buried the rebound. That said, the goal never should have happened. Flyers defenseman Nick Grossmann fed the puck directly to Getzlaf at the blue line as if he were an outlet man in a Flyer uniform.
Forward Adam Hall remained scratched. On defense, Erik Gustafsson joined Hal Gill. All are healthy.