All season, the Philadelphia Flyers have found ways to win. But this time, some unexpected contributions led the way to the team’s 3-1 victory over the Dallas Stars Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
Defenseman Andrej Meszaros notched his fourth goal on the season and Darroll Powe did the same on a brilliant penalty kill. Those two goals would be enough for the team on a night when they didn’t play spectacularly well. But for good measure, Jeff Carter scored the team’s third goal, his 25th of the season.
Regardless of who chips in for the Flyers, the beat goes on for the Eastern Conference’s top team. For a team to be as successful as the Flyers have been this season, everyone must do their job to the utmost of their ability. Needless to say, Meszaros and Powe have done everything asked of them, although sometimes without accolades.
Meszaros’ plus-27 rating this season is tops in the NHL, and when the team needed him to step up and replace Chris Pronger earlier, the team didn’t miss a beat. Although he’s played extremely well, Meszaros has rarely lit the lamp this season.
Saturday night, the Czech defenseman found one of the ever-elusive tallies. He took the puck in the offensive zone and hovered until he could wrist a shot over Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen’s right shoulder.
Obviously, Meszaros wasn’t the only player to give an unexpected contribution to the score sheet.
Heading into the second period, the Flyers needed to kill a power play that carried over from the first stanza. Instead of using only his trademark hits and sound defensive play, the gritty forward fired a rocket past Lehtonen much to the delight of the Flyers’ faithful. But, the spectators in the seats may not have been delighted by the goal as much as the spectators on the bench.
“It is obviously great anytime when guys like that can chip in. It is always good to see and it got the boys all fired up,” Carter said afterwards. “You love to see when guys like that get goals because of how hard they work. It is always nice for them to get rewarded for it.”
Powe has always been revered by fans and players alike for his work ethic and being the consummate teammate. When asked about his game-winning goal, he replied in a way that his identity supersedes.
“Our job is to just create energy and get pucks to the net,” Powe said with humility. “I just have to go out every night and play that role and do whatever is asked of me.”
As much as the unsung heroes of the team helped the Flyers’ cause on Saturday, it was goalie Brian Boucher who made it all possible with 30 saves on the evening. The fans let the goaltender know of their appreciation with chants of ‘Boooosh’ after every great stop.
“It’s nice when you get the support of the fans, that’s what your home building is for,” Boucher acknowledged. “You know that when you go on the road you are not going to get that so when you get home, it’s nice.”
The Flyers won their second consecutive game with big contributions from Meszaros, Powe and Boucher. The victory was the embodiment of what every Stanley Cup contender must have; players that do their job well regardless of accolades. In a season full of success, it was only fitting that some lesser known players stole the show.
Hard working, gritty and determined? Philadelphia wouldn’t have it any other way.