Friday, October 29, 2010

Flyers continue to own CONSOL Energy Center

Talk about a home away from home.

The Flyers are making themselves feel right at home at the Penguins new building, winning for the second time this season at the CONSOL Energy Center on Friday night. While both wins ended with the same 3-2 score, the season opening game and the game tonight started off on completely different notes.

From the drop of the puck, this one was ugly as the two rivals went after each other right away, with Mike Richards and Matt Cooke fighting just 6 seconds into the game. Things only escalated from there, as Jody Shelley and Deryk Engelland also dropped the gloves 17 seconds later and the two teams met for another scrum just a minute and a half into the game. All told, there were 9 penalties for 30 minutes in the first 2:35 of the game.

Things settled down from there as there were just a few scattered penalties by each team from that point forward. With all the penalties early on, the Penguins had several long stretches of power play time, but the Flyers shut them down, finishing the game a perfect 6 for 6 on the penalty kill.

The player of the game for the Flyers was Claude Giroux, who continued his breakout season by scoring two goals, one of them a shorthanded tally, his third of the season. With 6 goals in 10 games this season, the 22 year old Giroux is making himself quite a highlight reel and is on pace for nearly 50 goals this season.

The other Flyers goal was scored on a deflection by Dan Carcillo, who played in place of Nikolay Zherdev, who was a surprise scratch. Zherdev had recently been demoted to the 4th line in practice for his poor defensive play and Peter Laviolette seems to be sending a message to the young, enigmatic winger. Let's hope Zherdev responds and doesn't go into a funk like he did with the Blue Jackets a few years back.

While they are still trying to find a consistent mix, the win over the Penguins was the Flyers second straight and it did push them to the top of the Atlantic Division standings. The game against the very beatable Islanders tomorrow should tell us a lot about whether this team has turned a corner or whether they are going to be complacent once again against a team they should be able to handle.

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