In not the most glamorous of matchups, the Philadelphia Flyers held on to beat the Edmonton Oilers today, 4-2, at the Wells Fargo Center. Both teams came into today dead last in their respective divisions. The win was especially a huge relief for Flyers captain Claude Giroux, who finally scored his first goal of the season after missing scoring chances early on in the game – including a wide open net that went wide.
The goal came 11 minutes into the 3rd period as Giroux took the puck from his own zone, went coast to coast, made one move, and snapped a wrister stick side on Oilers’ goalie Devan Dubnyk to give the Flyers a 3-1 lead. It was as if a 300 lb monkey was lifted off of his back. To make the moment that much sweeter, Giroux’s goal came just 3 and a half minutes after Oilers’ Anton Belov earned a match penalty for a hit that targeted Giroux’s head.
After being shut out by the New Jersey Devils 3-0 on Thursday night, Giroux did not talk to the media following the game. He was heavily criticized and as the team captain, the criticism was probably deserved. But today was a different story. As Giroux entered the locker room after today’s win, he was all smiles. Flyers Chairman and owner Ed Snider greeted Giroux with a big hug and congratulated him on finally breaking his scoreless streak.
Although today will mostly be remembered because of Giroux’s first goal of the season and first goal since April 15, dating back to last season, this win was truly a team effort. Four Flyers players tacked on a goal including Jay Rosehill, Scott Hartnell, and Vincent Lecavalier to go along with Giroux. Goalie Steve Mason also played well stopping 24 of 26 shots on goal.
This was a game the Flyers needed to win. Not only are they trying to climb out of the cellar in the Metropolitan division, the Oilers came into the game giving up the most goals allowed of any team in the NHL with 66…make that 70 after today.
On a side note, the Oilers have agreed to terms with former Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to a 1-year contract yesterday. The Oilers are among the worst teams in the league and can use as much help as they can get. Time will tell if the signing of Bryz will pay off. Flyers fans can speak from experience saying that it probably won’t. It’s just too bad the signing didn’t come a few days ago so Flyers fans could have welcomed him back the same way the Sixers fans welcomed back Andrew Bynum last night.
It can be said that today’s win was a confidence booster the team desperately needed after owner Ed Snider called Thursday night’s performance against the Devils “pathetic.” However, it wasn’t a perfectly played game by any stretch. They were still 0-4 on the power play and made a few bonehead passes in their own zone that could have led to more Oilers goals. Still, a win in the NHL is always hard to come by even against one of its weaker teams.
The Flyers head to Ottawa to face the Senators Tuesday night. Hopefully the momentum of today’s win will carry over into their next game as they make a visit to our neighbors up north.