The Flyers picked up a really good win on Thursday night with a 5-2 decision over the Winnipeg Jets at the Wells Fargo Center after letting one slip through their fingertips on Tuesday night (see Instant Replay).
Let’s get into the action with 10 observations:
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1. Strong response by the Flyers. The Jets came to town with the NHL’s top goal scorer (Patrik Laine), No. 1 point getter (Mark Scheifele) and four wins in their last five games, a span in which they outscored opponents 20-9. But the orange and black, for once, put it all together with good offensive and defensive play backed by strong goaltending.
2. An underrated performance by Steve Mason. Neither of two goals allowed were bad. The one was just a product of beautiful passing by the Jets. Mason made some quality saves and difficult stops against an offense that was rolling. He finished with 30 saves after calling himself out the game prior.
3. Mark Streit made up for the absence of Shayne Gostisbehere and his mighty shot by lacing a slap shot home in the second period to extend the Flyers’ lead to 3-1. Gostisbehere was sitting up in the press box wearing a suit. He was pretty emotionless, as expected after being healthy-scratched by head coach Dave Hakstol. Streit leads all Flyers defenseman in goals (four) and points (11). Trade bait when the deadline comes?
4. You can’t fault Matt Read’s drive. He works his tail off and that’s why he’s hung on to his job and spot in the lineup after underwhelming the past two seasons. General manager Ron Hextall and head coach Dave Hakstol extolled the 30-year-old prior to training camp for his work ethic. So far this season, it’s paid off. His hustle set up the Flyers’ second goal in the first period. Read won a foot race to the puck by full-out diving and whacking a pass to Michael Raffl all alone for a breakaway tally.
5. Sean Couturier scored three goals in the first three games of the season. Since then, he went a bit quiet goal-wise. He started the game’s scoring with a nice shot top shelf to give him just his second goal in 15 games since the opening three.
6. Claude Giroux registered an assist, giving him 364 in his career. He’s now three away from passing Rod Brind’Amour (366) for seventh on the Flyers’ all-time list, and six from passing Rick MacLeish and Eric Lindros for fifth. Giroux has quietly put up at least one point in 14 of the Flyers’ 18 games.
7. Nick Cousins is a scrappy guy and unafraid to stand up for himself against the big boys. The 5-foot-10, 188-pound forward mixed it up with 6-foot-3, 219-pound defenseman Ben Chiarot. At one point, Chiarot had a firm grip of Cousins’ face as the two were pressed up against the glass following a whistle.
8. Flyers prospect Pascal Laberge was in the press box with the healthy scratches as he continues to recover from a concussion suffered on this vicious hit. The 18-year-old has not played for his junior club Victoriaville since Oct. 15, the day of the hit. Laberge, drafted by the Flyers in the second round this June, is a kid that’s been through quite a bit.
9. This was just the second time the Flyers scored four or more goals and allowed two or fewer in the same game this season.
10. It was Tough Guys Night at the Wells Fargo Center as part of the season-long celebration of the Flyers’ 50th anniversary. Throughout the game, the Flyers honored some of the organization’s toughest players with video tributes and arena-vision interviews.