After getting beat up pretty bad over the weekend, the Flyers enacted a little payback on unsuspecting Detroit on Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Center with a 5-0 rout over the Red Wings.
They also restored a little bit of normalcy Tuesday night to their infrastructure.
Goalie Steve Mason bounced back from his recent struggles to stop 33 shots in recording his second shutout of the season.
It was a strong offensive game from a number of players, including Scott Hartnell, who had two early goals.
Now comes the real hard part -- a six-day, three-game road trip to California where the Flyers will face the top three clubs in the Pacific Division.
Mason badly needed to have a good game after being yanked twice in his last three starts and he turned in a pretty good one against the Red Wings.
It snapped a six-game streak in which Mason had given up at least three goals in a game.
There was, however, potentially real bad news for the Flyers. Kimmo Timonen, who has had his share of foot injuries as a Flyer, took a shot early in the game, left after the mid-point of the second period, and did not return. Timonen will be reevaluated on Wednesday, but coach Craig Berube said the defenseman should be fine.
Timonen's exit forced Berube to rotate his remaining five defensemen the rest of the night.
Despite a slow start, the Flyers actually scored first and held the lead, even fattening up on it in the second period.
Hartnell, bothered by an aching left foot that isn’t fractured but it still causing him pain, didn’t seem too bothered as he scored twice for the Flyers for a 2-0 lead.
It was 3-0 after two period before Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier really put it away in the third period.
The Flyers, who beat a depleted Red Wings team earlier this season at Joe Louis Arena, got the same break in this one.
Pavel Datsyuk (lower body), Henrik Zetterberg (back) and Johan Franzen (concussion) all missed the game with injuries.
Timonen blocked a shot in the first period and skated gingerly to the bench. He missed the final 8:46 of the second period and did not return. The last thing this club needs is to be missing one of its few defensemen who can move the puck.
The Red Wings came into the game with a stunning 230 man games lost due to injury. Nineteen different players have missed games this season. Only Drew Miller and Kyle Quincey have played in every game for them.
Hartnell and linemates Giroux and Jakub Voracek had a very good game together, combining for three goals and four assists for seven points.
Who would have guessed it came at 6:44? Pretty good given the state of things with the Flyers.
It’s been a huge problem for the Flyers, of late, and might be why they dropped all three forwards back into the zone to help the defense. It didn’t help but only congested things even worse.
Wayne Simmonds had a gift rebound from goalie Jonas Gustavsson early in the game with an open net but the puck appeared to jump past his stick. Matt Read flubbed a pass into the slot on another scoring chance as the Flyers seemed skittish early in the game.
All the talk about eliminating them … the Flyers had three in succession late in the first period, including back to back four-on-four situations.
As bad as the Flyers were in the opening period, they grabbed the lead at 13:42 with a power-play backhand tip from Hartnell for a 1-0 lead. The Flyers were 1 for 2 on the power play in the game, while Detroit was 0 for 4.
Detroit had one late in the opening period and Mason made a terrific glove save on Gustav Nyquist.
Saved by the post
Detroit had a shot hit the left post in the second period that dangled dangerously on the goal line before Mason tied it up for a faceoff.
Adam Hall’s turnaround backhander in the slot with 8:58 left in the second period gave the Flyers a 3-0 and forced Wings coach Mike Babcock to call his timeout. Hall has two goals in January and just three all season. His shot seemed like a curveball the way it wrapped around Gustavsson inside the post.
Mason was sharp in the final seven minutes of the second period with a point blank save on Luke Glendening, then while sitting on his fanny. Now he appeared to block Quincey’s follow shot into the netting above, but replays showed it hit the crossbar first. He had several fine saves in the game and faced 33 shots.
Defensemen Hal Gill and Andrej Meszaros; forward Jay Rosehill. All were healthy. Zac Rinaldo (left ankle sprain) missed his 10th straight game.
VOORHEES, N.J. — They are among the very best – and highest scoring — lines in the NHL this season.
And they’re gunning for the Flyers on Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
Connor McDavid’s unit with Milan Lucic and Leon Draisaitl have a combined 30 goals and 78 points worth of offense.
Among them, the lightning quick McDavid leads the NHL with 36 points. All 11 of his goals are even strength.
He doesn’t have a single power-play goal, but is tied for the league lead with several players, including Claude Giroux, with 10 power-play assists.
You can expect to see Pierre-Edouard Bellemare’s unit with Chris VandeVelde and Dale Weise against this line with defenseman Ivan Provorov drawing McDavid for the first time this season.
“Speed and skill that Edmonton has up front presents a real good challenge for our team,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. “We have to be better with the puck tomorrow.
“We didn’t do enough when we had the puck. Gave it up a little too easily and because of that, you end up playing defense a lot of the night and that’s what happened last night to us.”
Bellemare, who had his share of forward battles with Jaromir Jagr in Tuesday, likes to analyze the matchups against McDavid.
“He’s one of the best players in the world,” Bellemare said of the 19-year-old McDavid. “It’s tough not to be excited when playing against a guy who plays like this. He competes every second he is on the ice. That line is an impressive line.”
The Flyers better have some bad, choppy ice to slow McDavid down. Edmonton has some of the fastest ice in the league and the Oilers use it to their full advantage.
Asked of McDavid’s tendencies, Bellemare said, “Is that a tendency? To be super fast?”
Yes it is.
“When you play against them, he is a kid who is freaky fast right from the start,” Bellemare said. “Against that line, you saw [against Buffalo] that everyone knows how fast he is and he still had two breakaways.”
Which means the Flyers need to watch their turnovers, especially in the neutral zone where McDavid can go 60 feet in a flash.
“Even blue line to the top of the circle, you can’t turn the puck over,” Bellemare said. “Or he’s gone. This is a tendency we have to be careful of. All of the ice, you can’t give him any time or space. The less time you give him, the bigger chance you have to frustrate a player like this.”
Bellemare did some talking with Jagr a couple times in Tuesday’s game. So did Provorov. Bellemare says it helps to add psychology to the mix.
“You try to be in his face,” Bellemare said. “If you can win that battle against that line and our first line can win the battle against their fourth line, then it’s a win-win situation. I was trying to be in [Jagr’s] face.”
Jagr actually got angrier at Provorov and it showed with his hooking calls. But when Bellemare and Jagr went into the corner, Jagr got testy with his stick there as well.
“He was trying to give it to me a little harder,” Bellemare said. “Exactly what I need. If he is less focused on the puck, then maybe I have a chance to win that puck.”
McDavid’s focus will be solely on the puck.
“McDavid has been playing some pretty good hockey,” Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. “They’re a high-tempo team. A smart team. We’ve got to be ready.”
Boyd Gordon came off long term injured reserve onto the active roster to give the Flyers 13 forwards. In doing that, Matt Read (oblique pull) went on injured reserve. … Defenseman Michael Del Zotto will sit against the Oilers while Radko Gudas returns from an illness. Gudas will be paired with Mark Streit, as Ivan Provorov remains with Andrew MacDonald for now. … Steve Mason, who did not practice Wednesday, will start in goal.
VOORHEES, N.J. — Maybe he saw some old video of how Chris Therien did it.
Or maybe Ivan Provorov just shrugged his 19-year-old shoulders and figured he’d do it his way.
Whatever the Flyers' rookie defenseman did, he shut down the ageless Jaromir Jagr during Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime victory against the Florida Panthers.
Just like Therien used to do back in the day.
Provorov frustrated Jagr into taking penalties. And when he wasn’t in the box for hooking the rookie, you could visibly see Jagr’s frustration across his face.
At one point, they were talking to each other on the ice. A Russian and a Czech. What was said?
“It stays in the game,” Provorov said with a smile Wednesday.
Provorov said he didn’t spend time watching a ton of video.
“We did our pre-scout in the morning,” he said. “That was it.”
Provorov, with help from centerman Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, held Jagr to one shot. His teammates were impressed.
“Unbelievable, a 19-year-old kid going against Jaromir Jagr,” Wayne Simmonds said. “I think he did a pretty good job.
“I think he has done a great job all year long and he is only going to get better. If you watch him play, he is getting better and better, not every game but every shift.”
Provorov had an assist and two blocked shots, including a critical block on Reilly Smith that could have been a game-winner in overtime.
“Well we haven’t used him a lot in the 3-on-3 but we felt that it was time,” coach Dave Hakstol said. “Again, coming off of a real solid night where he’s playing against really good players all night long, he continued that right through the OT.
“The impressive thing on that play is the read that he made to make that block … I haven’t looked at it on the replay or on tape yet. But I think that Mase might have been over on it but that play that Provy made was potentially a game saving play right there.”
Provorov doesn’t make flashy plays. He just makes the steady play every time he needs to. At season’s start, he was struggling to get his shot off without being blocked. Now he finds space along the blue to better position himself to get his shot through. He thinks before he reacts.
Behind the net, he is one of the few Flyers defensemen who almost never loses a puck battle. It’s often hard to believe he’s as young as he is.
“He moves so well and makes good reads, he’s a very intelligent player,” Andrew MacDonald said. “He has great poise with the puck, and not just for a 19-year-old, but for any aged player.
“Defensively he always seems to be in the right positions and communicates well. We were fortunate to have some time together in camp, and a few games. I feel like we picked up where we left off the past few games.”
Jagr’s assets are size, strength — especially his lower core — and a skill set of moves without blinding speed.
Thursday will present a new challenge for Provorov: Edmonton’s Connor McDavid, the NHL’s leading scorer with 36 points. McDavid is all about youth and raw speed.
“They’re different players, but it doesn’t matter,” Provorov said. “You take away time and space. Don’t give him time to get a lot of speed.”
This is another learning experience for Provorov. In a different age category. Hakstol credits assistant coach Gord Murphy for bringing Provorov up to speed at the NHL level.
“I think Murph has done a really good job in managing that progression along, most importantly, with Provy, managing it," Hakstol said.
“You can go back to the tell-tale sign of the tough night back in Chicago [third game]. That didn’t shake or rattle Provy in any way. He came back with pretty good determination the next day.
“You have to be an honest evaluator of your own game. I think Provy … whether it’s a real good night or a tough night, that allows you to keep an even keel and an even balance. I think that’s a real strength.”
The Flyers on Wednesday placed left winger Matt Read on injured reserve and activated center Boyd Gordon. Gordon has been out since Nov. 3.