What a finish! On a Halloween themed night at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, it was only fitting that the orange and black would skate away with a victory. The Philadelphia Flyers halt a 6 game winning streak by “Flyers West”; better known as the defending Stanley Cup champion L.A. Kings.
In breaking one streak, the Flyers now have a streak of their own winning three consecutive games and four of their last five. This puts the Flyers above the .500 mark for the first time all season and they now climb to fourth place in the Metropolitan division. The Flyers played with the momentum for most of the game and many key players were contributing factors, but none more than Ray Emery.
Emery, who if you looked at the Flyers depth chart, is listed as their backup goaltender but has played every bit like a starter winning all four of the Flyers’ games this season while regular starter Steve Mason has been sitting on the bench.
Emery was outstanding once again tonight stopping 38 of the King’s 40 shots on goal. When asked about his recent strong play, this is what he had to say:
“It feels good, but you take things game by game, and I enjoy being in there so it’s nice to contribute and get some points as well,” Emery said. “It helps when the boys are playing like they are and when things are going well, it’s always a bit easier in there. I thought it was a good home stretch for us and now we gotta go on the road and get a couple.”
The game winning goal came two and a half minutes into overtime as former King, Brayden Schenn scored a breakaway goal on Jonathan Quick. The goal was initially waived off and had to be reviewed as it was thought that Schenn had run into Quick after he had possession of the puck. The goal stood and the Wells Fargo Center erupted.
Schenn, scoring his third goal on the season, was asked how it felt to score the game winning goal against the team that traded him away:
“It was the end of the shift for me and I’m just trying to… from blue line to blue line bury my head and get my feet moving as fast as possible and with the fresh ice there, it pushed the goalie into the net.”
The Flyers also had strong play by Jake Voracek who is having the best start of any season in his career. Voracek now has 13 points through nine games and tacked on two more assists tonight.
Flyers’ captain Claude Giroux added another assist to his total giving him nine in nine games, and 11 points overall.
Michael Raffl and Chris VandeVelde also scored for the Flyers.
Former Flyer, Mike Richards scored his first goal of the season early in the third period to tie the game for the Kings and force overtime.
The man behind the recent success of the L.A. Kings, Ron Hextall, is now running the show in Philadelphia as the team’s general manager. Hextall is, of course, a Flyers great and played with the team for 11 of his 13 years as an NHL net minder. Hextall was recently asked about his time in L.A. and how it differs than his time as the general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers:
“In Philly, things have always been fairly stable. In L.A. we turned over the whole infrastructure of the organization, from trainers to coaches to scouts. I’d never been through a process like that before. I think one of the most valuable things I learned was hiring people and how important it was to hire the right people.”
“Things happen that you don’t expect and you’ve got to adjust, but you’ve got to have a plan and believe in it and stick to it,” he said. “Everybody here has been very supportive of the way I want to do things.”
Hextall was the mastermind behind the trades which sent Mike Richards and ultimately Jeff Carter to the Kings from the Flyers back in 2011 which orchestrated two Stanley Cup championships in three years (2012, 2014).
Bringing Hextall back to Philadelphia can only mean good things for the team moving forward. After a slow start to this season losing their first four games, the Flyers are now 4-3-2 overall and have defeated some tough teams in the process. If strong play from the Flyers’ regulars continue, this season could turn out to be a promising one.
The Flyers now head to Tampa to face the Lightning on Thursday night. The puck drops at 7:30pm.