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November 23 Philadelphia Daily News:
“Peter Laviolette has a nice problem. His club is sitting in a tie atop the Eastern Conference standings and he has two goaltenders who are playing well.
When the Russian wave that carried the Flyers eventually crested, Laviolette turned to Brian Boucher and the veteran has come up aces.
“That’s what my job is, when I get tapped on the shoulder to play, I try to do my best and give my team a chance,” Boucher said after helping the Flyers beat the Canadiens, 3-2. “Tonight they stayed with it and we got the two points.”
Boucher stopped 29 shots in all and came up particularly big in the first period as Montreal had early jump in their skates and scored twice.
“The saves that he made in the first period were incredible,” Laviolette said. “Two-on-ones, breakaways, point-blank chances. I mean he was sharp . . . It could have been 4-0, he was just tremendous.”
The first goal Boucher gave up was a softie. He was screened by defenseman Sean O’Donnell, but Maxim Lapierre’s knuckleball shot was still about 60 feet away and should have been turned aside. The other goal was another flicker by Lapierre that was deflected in by Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros.
A short memory is vital for a goaltender and Boucher survived similar chances especially late in the game; one came off the stick of Jaroslav Spacek, another off Brian Gionta.
“Yeah, there were some deflections in the third,” he said. “I think my last two shots were deflected pretty good. We caught some good breaks there; obviously the second goal went off Mez’ stick, which is a bad break, kind of on a nothing shot. But we caught some breaks at the end and held them off to get the win.””
November 23 Camden Courier-Post:
“It’s probably fair to say that James van Riemsdyk has never gone six weeks without scoring a goal.
So, to say a seasonlong scoring drought has weighed heavily on the 21-year-old Middletown native would be an understatement.
“It drives you crazy,” van Riemsdyk said. “If you asked my parents and brother, they’d probably tell you I haven’t been fun to be around recently.”
Today, van Riemsdyk can smile again. He scored the game-winning goal with 7 minutes, 42 seconds gone in the final period of the Flyers‘ 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens.
“Sometimes,” van Riemsdyk said, “you forget how great it feels to score a goal.”
The goal was van Riemsdyk’s first since Game 7 in Boston — the one that ignited a four-goal comeback in one of the most memorable playoff games in Flyers‘ history.
It came off a nice centering pass from defenseman Braydon Coburn, and completed a three-goal comeback for the Flyers, who vaulted past the Washington Capitals and into first place overall atop the NHL standings with 30 points. The Capitals also have 30 points, but the Flyers hold an edge with a better goal differential, at plus-23.
“We put a lot of emphasis on this game, and they went out there and played a terrific 40 minutes — and I mean terrific,” Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. “They never stopped playing and believing they could win.”
Ville Leino and Claude Giroux also scored for the Flyers, who stubbed their toes in the first period, falling behind on a pair of goals by Maxim Lapierre.
For all the harsh words Mike Richards had for Canadiens’ rookie P.K. Subban last week, the game was relatively quiet for both players, who went without any real altercations.
November 23 Philadelphia Daily News:
“IT TOOK THE FLYERS 68 shots to solve Montreal goalie Carey Price this season.
But breaking that drought last night wasn’t nearly as satisfying as James van Riemsdyk’s game-winner that ended 17 games of frustration and prompted an exalted fist pump.
“If you ask my parents and my brother, I probably wasn’t a very happy person to be around over the last few weeks,” van Riemsdyk said. “Sometimes, you forget how good it feels to score a goal. It drives you crazy.”
Van Riemsdyk’s first regular-season goal since April 1 capped off a come-from-behind, 3-2 win over the Northeast Division-leading Canadiens, and added a new name atop the NHL’s leaguewide standings for the first time this season.
It is the first time that the Flyers have led the NHL more than 20 games into a season since Jan. 14, 2006.
Once the puck dropped, the much ballyhooed chatter between Mike Richards and Montreal’s P.K. Subban, Maxim Lapierre’s alleged strangling of the Flyers‘ Scott Hartnell and the beer that was poured on the Flyers‘ Sean O’Donnell just 6 days earlier in Montreal were all thrown out the window.
Oftentimes, the physical and emotional vendettas get wiped away in the face of two points.
“I can tell you that there wasn’t one mention of it today in our locker room,” Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said.
Instead, the 19,753 in the Wells Fargo Center – who booed Subban each time he touched the puck – were treated to maybe the Flyers‘ worst period of the season. The Flyers were outshot, 9-2, and trailed, 2-0, before they could even figure out who just ran them over.
November 23 Philadelphia Daily News:
“After making the trek from Norfolk, Va., to Philadelphia on Sunday, Eric Wellwood texted a few of his Flyers teammates to find out the latest injury scoop.
Wellwood, who was reassigned to the Phantoms on Nov. 8, knew the Flyers were skating with just 12 forwards, the bare minimum, after Dan Carcillo went down last week with an MCL sprain in his left knee.
Still, he said he wasn’t expecting to be called up yesterday.
“I was surprised,” Wellwood said before the Flyers beat the visiting Montreal Canadiens, 3-2, last night at the Wells Fargo Center. “I knew that Carcillo was hurt. But I wanted to see if someone else was injured, or what’s going on. I guess they just wanted to have me around.”
After a nearly flawless three-game run with the Flyers earlier this month, Wellwood is a good guy to have around.
Wellwood originally thought he would be in the Flyers‘ lineup last night after skating with Blair Betts and Jody Shelley in the morning skate. Instead, Nik Zherdev and James van Riemsdyk remained in the lineup. Coach Peter Laviolette said Wellwood would likely be a part of the Flyers‘ lineup decisions later this week as they complete a stretch of four games in 6 days.
“The schedule is really busy coming up here, so I think it’s good to have a 13th forward here,” Laviolette said.
With his speed and willingness to dig out loose pucks in the corners, Wellwood seemed to earn the trust of Laviolette – even though he lost out to an eventual numbers game.
“I was pretty excited,” Wellwood said. “It shows that they have confidence in me. I think they liked the first three games that I had and they are confident that I could still play.””
November 23 Philadelphia Inquirer:
“Nik Zherdev did not sign a $2 million free-agent contract in the off-season to be a fourth-line player.
But that’s just where the Flyers‘ explosive right winger found himself at the start of Monday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.
In the Flyers‘ previous game, a 5-4 win over Washington on Saturday, coach Peter Laviolette replaced Zherdev with James van Riemsdyk on Mike Richards’ line. Van Riemsdyk played well in that game, and he remained on Richards’ line when Monday’s game began.
Entering the game, Zherdev was fifth on the Flyers with seven goals and was on a 27-goal pace.
It’s no secret the Flyers want Zherdev to be more defensively responsible, and they are probably hoping some of the defensive habits of fourth-liners Blair Betts and Jody Shelley rub off on him.
That said, Betts was intrigued to have a player with Zherdev’s offensive talents on his line.
“Jody and I were talking today, saying he’ll kind of be a breath of fresh air in the offensive zone,” Betts said before the game. “He’s a guy you can give the puck to, and he’s someone who’s able to make plays and handle the puck a little more.””
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