Unassuming and quiet, second-year winger James van Riemsdyk may be the Flyers’ hardest worker. He stays late at practice and is frequently the last person to leave the ice.
That’s one of the reasons he is so well-respected and why his teammates were so excited after JVR finally registered his first goal of the season Monday.
It came at the most opportune time. Van Riemsdyk scored with 12:18 left, snapping a 2-2 tie and lifting the Flyers to a 3-2 comeback win over Montreal at the Wells Fargo Center.
Van Riemsdyk had not scored in his first 17 games this season.
“I think the key is to get him relaxed and have fun,” said goalie Brian Boucher, who has beaten two of the league’s elite teams _ Washington and Montreal _ in the Flyers’ last two games. “There’s a reason he was the second-overall pick” in 2007.
“We’ve got a lot of other good players in this locker room,” Boucher added. “He doesn’t have to feel the pressure to be THE guy. He should just worry about working on his game, showing up every night. Tonight he scored a big goal, so hopefully this is a sign of big things to come for him.”
Claude Giroux, who tied the score at 2-2 with his team-high 12th goal early in the third period, said “every guy on the bench was (happier) than him” when JVR scored.
“Well, maybe not,” he said with a smile.
Prior to taking a pass from Braydon Coburn and scoring what proved to be the winning goal, van Riemsdyk “beat P.K. (Subban) on the battle. That’s his game; anytime he wins the battle he gets pretty dangerous,” Giroux said. “That shift proved that.”
“He’s been working hard in practice, and off the ice,” captain Mike Richards said. “He hit some posts, hit some cross bars. It’s nice to see him get a bounce.”
All the near-misses have been frustrating for the 21-year-old van Riemsdyk.
“I mean, it drives you crazy,” said van Riemsdyk, who has four points in his last three games. “If you ask my parents and brothers, they probably said I wasn’t very fun to be around recently. It feels good to get that one there and I’ve just got to keep building off of it.”
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With the win, the Flyers (14-6-2) are the No. 1 overall seed in the 30-team NHL…..Giroux is now tied for fifth in the NHL with his 12 goals…..The Flyers won 73.8 percent (31 of 42) of their face-offs over the last two periods; Montreal won 63 percent in the first period…..The Flyers will practice in Voorhees at 11 a.m. on Tuesday and play in Minnesota on Wednesday night….The practice nets were used for the game; the NHL wanted to look at the game nets since a puck went through one of them last Thursday.
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