Flyers travel to Columbus to meet up with former Flyer R.J. Umberger and his Columbus Blue Jackets tonight before heading to Buffalo tomorrow. These back-to-back games should be a good for our team who is coming off of a solid win after a long layoff between games last week. The 5-2 win with the Leafs visiting on Saturday was a dominating performance with the Flyers controlling both ends of the ice pretty much the whole game. Being in the crowd, the seats weren’t as packed as usual with the Phillies playing down the street, but it was still a good turnout nonetheless and the Flyers showed some improvement in playing a full 60 minutes.
Mike Richards had been criticized for much of the early goings of the season, but he managed to show up on Saturday and take the game’s first goal, along with a pair of assists and a great game overall. He wasn’t the only one who scored, Ville Leino got a nice little dirty goal down low and Betts, Hartnell, and Briere all contributed as well to the scoresheet. Boosh got the start and he made some nice saves and kept the Flyers in it, stopping 12 of 14 shots he faced. Flyers also killed all of their penalties and finally got a powerplay goal. Their puck movement on the man advantage definitely looked improved, but let’s see what they can do tonight and tomorrow. One game does not rectify all of your previous shortcomings. Consistency is they key in this league.
Part of the reason for the Flyers’ success on Saturday night to me is definitely the line shake-ups. With the exception of our checking line and the Leino-Briere-Hartnell line, our lines were not producing like we thought. Richards skated with Powe and Giroux while Carter skated with JVR and Zherdev. These lines did not take over the game, but still looked better than before. Carcillo took his place back in the line-up and was effective on the 4th line with Betts and Shelley. Especially when he dropped the gloves with Brown in the first period to get the crowd and his team pumped up. We’ll see what happens tonight, but I expect the same line-up and Boosh should get the start again. The Flyers are going to have to contain Umberger and Nash, arguably their two best forwards on both ends of the ice.