The Detroit Red Wings came to Philadelphia on Tuesday night to play the Flyers, and the injury-ridden visitors were a sight for the Flyers' sore eyes. The Red Wings, who were missing top scorers Henrik Zetterburg, Johan Frazen and Pavel Datsyuk, never got it going offensively and were blanked by excellent play from Steve Mason. The Flyers' goaltender recorded his second shutout of the year, after performing so badly that he had to be pulled in two of his last three starts. Scott Hartnell and Claude Giroux each had three points as the Flyers offense flourished.
Scott Hartnell got the first two goals for the Flyers, with one coming in each of the first two periods. The first goal, which came on the power play, was a redirection off of a Kimmo Timonen shot which Hartnell tapped past Red Wings' goalie Jonas Gustavsson to open the scoring. Hartnell struck again halfway through the second on a blistering wrist shot as the Flyers moved up in a 3 on 2 rush. Giroux found Hartnell with a cross ice pass, and the Flyers took a 2-0 lead.
Minutes later, Adam Hall made it 3-0 on a rebound off a deflected slapshot from the point. It was Hall's third goal of the season, and it was a smooth backhand that sailed over the shoulder of Gustavsson to extend the Flyers' lead.
The Flyers added two more goals in the third period to put the icing on the cake. Claude Giroux scored his 16th of the year on a pounding wrist shot that deflected off of Gustavsson's glove. Sean Couturier added one more in the closing minutes on a dazzling wrap-around that made it 5-0, which would end up being the final score.
It was a good night for the Flyers all around. The offense put up five goals, Steve Mason stopped all 33 shots that came his way, and the Flyers spent all but the first 14 minutes of the game leading. Granted, the Red Wings were missing most of their core of offensive firepower, but the Flyers were able to consistently penetrate the Detroit defense and cause Jonas Gustavsson to have a bit of a tough night.
The win is just what the Flyers needed after losing their last four games. It gets them back on the winning side and helps them keep pace in a very tight Metropolitan Division race. The Olympic break is nearing, and the Flyers have just five games remaining before having 19 days off. However, the next three games are incredibly tough contests, as they begin a west coast swing in Anaheim Thursday night against the Ducks. Anaheim has the best record in the league and is 21-2-2 at home. The Flyers will stay in the Los Angeles area to play the Kings on Saturday, and then play the San Jose Sharks on Monday in northern California before returning home for the final two games before the break.
The Flyers move to 26-22-6 with their win Tuesday night against Detroit, and will certainly be tested on the three game road trip against three of the top six teams in the Western Conference.
3rd Period:Adam Hall, Claude Giroux, Detroit Red Wings, Hockey, Jonas Gustavsson, NHL, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Flyers, Scott Hartnell, Sean Couturier, Steve Mason