The Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers battled for the first time this year tonight in Philadelphia. Matt Read tallied two points tonight to help the Flyers beat rookie Cam Talbot and the Rangers. It was Talbot's NHL debut, but it was not good enough to keep the Flyers from walking away with a crucial two points. Steve Mason played very well in net for the Flyers, tallying 29 saves on 30 shots in a spectacular effort to continue his success this season. Vinny Lecavalier also returned to the lineup after being injured early last week.
Halfway through the period, the Flyers found themselves in a short handed situation due to a hooking call against Tye McGinn. That didn't seem to matter to Matt Read, who picked off a pass, and found himself on a breakaway, where he would beat Cam Talbot through the five hole to put the Flyers up 1-0. The Flyers played a relatively strong period, but tailed off in the closing minutes. With just over a minute to go in the frame, Brad Richards beat Steve Mason for his fifth goal of the year. This would knot the game up at one and shift the momentum in the Rangers' favor.
The second period would have gone down as an uneventful frame if it hadn't been for a Wayne Simmonds-Brandon Mashinter fight, and more notably, a brutal boarding call that Maxim Talbot took the brunt of. He was boarded by Benoit Pouliot, who received a 5-minute major and a 10-minute game misconduct for a hit that took Talbot into the boards face-first. Talbot would leave the game, but was able to return in the third period. And despite the ensuing power play time, the Flyers were not able to put anything on the board.
The Flyers didn't waste much time taking the lead back once the third period started. Matt Read made a heads-up play deep in the zone to get the puck out to the point where Braydon Coburn blasted it past Cam Talbot, who was screened by Wayne Simmonds. This is all the Flyers would need, as they shut the door against an uninspired Rangers offense despite a few chances late to pick up their second win of the year and an extremely crucial two points in tonight's Metropolitan Division matchup.
After a week off, and plenty of time to think about an atrocious 1-6-0 start, the Flyers came out hungry for a win tonight and got it. They only scored two goals, and still haven't scored more than two in a game this season, which is rather worrisome. However, two would be good enough tonight, as Steve Mason continued his impressive play for the team. The clear number one option for Craig Berube right now, Mason came into tonight's game with a very good .923 save percentage and 2.37 goals allowed average, both of which will drop even further after tonight's outstanding performance.
The offense still has yet to break out, however. One can only wonder how the game would have turned out if it were not for Matt Read's two-point night. The big scorers for the Flyers are still not lighting the lamp – Claude Giroux, for instance, is still looking for his first goal to go with a paltry three assists. Having said that, tonight's win should instill some encouragement in Flyer fans, although it was over a Rangers team that has been struggling almost as much as the Flyers so far this season. But at this stage, already playing catch-up here in the early going, two points is two points.
Philadelphia – 9:07: Matt Read (1), Shorthanded. Assists: None
New York – 18:56: Brad Richards (5), Assisted by Chris Kreider (1) and John Moore (1)
Philadelphia – 3:33: Braydon Coburn (2), Assisted by Matt Read (1)
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