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Flyers show some heart, beat the Hurricanes 4-2 on the road

Saturday night’s win for the Flyers was a total team effort. There was everything: an aggressive penalty kill, a breakaway goal, stellar goaltending, and grit. Lots and lots of grit for the Orange and Black.

The first period was a lot of back and forth, but the Hurricanes managed to pot the first goal roughly fifteen minutes into the game when Jordan Staal tipped one past Alex Lyon. The Flyers got a power play with roughly two minutes left in the period but nothing came of it.

No scoring happened in the second period, but Andrew MacDonald was called for a four minute double minor for high-sticking toward the end of the period. They killed off half of it before the period ended.

The Flyers finished the MacDonald penalty without allowing a goal which was huge for the momentum of the game. They were pressing and eventually Travis Konecny broke the tie. Travis Sanheim collected the puck on the boards, did a little spin, and threw a shot toward the net that TK tipped past Cam Ward.

Almost two minutes later the Hurricanes broke the tie and got another puck past Alex Lyon. Jacob Slavin went top shelf to take the lead.

The Flyers knew they needed points out of this game and didn’t say die. Again, roughly two minutes after the Hurricanes goal, the Flyers second line pushed play and tied the game at two. Oscar Lindblom and Nolan Patrick both got assists on Jake Voracek’s pivotal goal.

Around the 14 minute mark the Flyers put up the game winning goal. Valtteri Filppula got decked by a referee behind the play and was late getting back on defense. This led to a rush for the Hurricanes. The puck was loose and Wayne Simmonds found Filppula around the red line to get a breakaway chance on Cam Ward. The wily veteran made the most of the opportunity and gave the Flyers their first lead of the game.

With about two minutes left the Hurricanes pulled their goalie and Michael Raffl potted the empty netter to put the game on ice. This was a huge two points for the Flyers who currently the third spot in the Metropolitan Division and a one point lead over the Devils.

With four goals, here are four things worth noting after the win.

1. Line Juggle.

Dave Hakstol switched Michael Raffl and Travis Konecny on Saturday afternoon. The lines were Giroux-Couturier-Raffl and Simmonds-Filppula-Konecny.

This was confusing to me (and most fans) because the first line is usually the best thing on the ice for the Orange and Black. The first line only had one goal, the empty netter at the end. This is something to keep an eye on going into the last ten games of the season.

2. Lyon & Mrazek?

Don’t get me wrong, when Mrazek is on he’s an incredible goaltender. He makes some impressive saves and can steal a game (see the Jets game on March 10 or the Canadiens game on February 26). His downfall is that he is volatile.

Lyon is as consistent as they come. He’s looked calm, cool, and collected in net. I like his style and if we’re being honest, I thought he should have been starting since the trade deadline. I wrote about it after he took the net when Michal Neuvirth got hurt against the Rangers.

Much like the line shakeup, this will be something to keep an eye on moving forward. Brian Elliott should return soon, it will be interesting to see who gets more starts in the meantime.

3. Top 6 is pretty deadly.

As I mentioned in the first takeaway, the Flyers usual top line Giroux-Couturier-Konecny is an effective line. The second line, Lindblom-Patrick-Voracek, is looking just as good.

The second line, anchored by NHL assist leader Jake Voracek, has been heating up lately. They were the best line on the ice tonight. Between Lindblom getting his first point on Voracek’s game tying goal and Nolan Patrick flying around the ice generating offense, this line is peaking at the right time.

4. Sunday’s game is huge.

Actually, every game is huge moving forward. Home games, however, are must win situations.

There needs to be a true home-ice advantage. Fans need to bring the noise.

Sunday’s game against the Capitals has direct playoff implications. The Flyers need as many points as they can get. A four point swing in favor of the Orange and Black is the most ideal. If they can’t win they need to force overtime to salvage a point.

Buckle up fans, this is crunch time.

You can follow Anthony Mazziotti on Twitter (@AntMazziotti) and e-mail him at [email protected].

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