The Flyers, pending the result of Tampa Bay’s late game in Los Angeles, took over the lead in the Eastern Conference with their 4-1 spanking of the New York Rangers Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center.
For the Flyers, there were a lot of positives: Claude Giroux had a pair of assists _ one on a ridiculously good backhanded pass. Jeff Carter won 73 percent of his face-offs and set a screen on Chris Pronger’s power-play goal, and Blair Betts and Mike Richards scored goals to aid a balanced attack.
More positives: Nik Zherdev scored his third goal and had one of his best games, and the PP went 2 for 5 and is 9 for 28 (32.1 percent) in the team’s current five-game winning streak.
Oh, and rookie goalie Sergei “Bob” Bobrovsky continued to excel…and continued to make everyone wonder why in the world he was never drafted.
Peter Laviolette, naturally, was pleased with his team’s performance.
“We need to keep going; I don’t know where everybody else is tonight, but it’s a chance to be first in the conference, and that’s where you want to be,” he said. “I like the way we're playing. I think the guys played really hard to get to this point.”
The Flyers are 8-4-1
“We went through a little bit of a funk for three games, and from that we came out and played some really good hockey and put some wins together,” Laviolette said. “It’s early, but the objective is to win games and get to the top spot in the Eastern Conference and that’s what we’re working for right now.”
The one negative Thursday: There is a chance Dan Carcillo could be suspended.
Carcillo appeared to elbow Ruslan Fedotenko to the jaw as the Ranger was falling to the ice in the third period. No penalty was called.
"It was a shot to the head," said Fedotenko, a former Flyer. "I'm sure the NHL will review it and see if it's a clear shot to the head or not. I'm sure it will be addressed."
Fedotenko said he tried to get an explanation from the referee.
“He said I shouldn’t try to avoid the hit. I mean, I was looking for the puck and trying to shoot it so I didn’t even see him coming until the last second. ‘Don’t duck’ was his explanation.”
In other words, if he didn’t duck, he wouldn’t have been hit in the head.
The league will undoubtedly review the video.
John Tortorella, the Rangers’ hot-headed coach, was asked if he had a problem with Carcillo’s hit.
“Sure, why wouldn’t I?” he replied. “What do we talk about? We get these tapes (on what is permitted) sent to us during the summer and the beginning of the year. Why send them? It’s a waste.”
Breakaways. Andrej Meszaros and Sean O’Donnell were each plus-2 to lead the Flyers…Kimmo Timonen blocked four shots…..The Flyers, who play in Long Island Saturday against the Islanders, won 52 percent of the face-offs....Danny Briere sat out the second game of his three-game suspension.