Philadelphia Flyers vs. Dallas Stars 11/24/2008
First intermission. Dallas 1 – Flyers 2.
Bill Clement, filling in for Keith Jones who is covering the Versus game tonight, listed “Hyenas on Hamburger” as his first key to the game. Apparently the Philadelphia Flyers heard the message because they are playing some of the grittiest hockey I’ve seen from them since last year’s playoffs. The Dallas Stars continue striving to send pucks towards Marty Biron, but they’re struggling to get anything over the Flyers’ blueline.
That hyena mentality Clement referred to created both Flyer goals. Scottie Upshall came flying through the zone, landed a large hit on a Dallas player, and then drove towards the net to pick up a deflection on Joffrey Lupul’s perfect pass. Mike Knuble made a beeline for Marty Turco while Simon Gagne patiently held the puck, waiting for the right moment to thread the needle.
The Stars aren’t quite dead yet, though. The Brad Richards line threatened on several occasions in the first period, regardless of whether they faced the checking abilities of Mike Richards or Jeff Carter. Mike Modano may be older, but he is still dangerous whenever he’s on the ice. And as the Flyers already saw on Dallas’s first goal, the rookies are equally unpredictable. The Flyers have to continue building on the energy and intensity they introduced in the first period.
Second intermission. Dallas 3 – Flyers 3.
I hate when I’m right. The Stars have the capacity to burn you at any moment, and the Flyers just learned that the hard way. Modano showed exactly why he leads in goals scored all-time among American-born NHL players with his two goals in that period. He knows where to stand, when to stand there, and how to shoot the puck.
It’s up to the Flyers now what happens in the rest of the game. There’s room to increase the volume on their game, taking Dallas out of this. Or the Flyers could crumble under the pressure and allow Dallas to steal victory from the jaws of defeat. Ultimately, it’s up to the team now.
Final. Dallas 3 – Flyers 4.
The Flyers manage to find ways to add a touch of drama to every victory. Tonight they kept allowing Dallas back into the game and then had to kill off a penalty to Braydon Coburn with 1:16 remaining and only a one goal lead. Richards and Carter did an excellent job blocking all shooting lanes with their sticks and bodies, leaving the Stars without a single shot during the 6-on-4 advantage.
Mike Knuble will get all the press tomorrow morning, but Scottie Upshall deserves a great deal of praise for his play this evening and this season. He and Metropolit created offensive chances for themselves throughout the game and maintained strong defensive coverage. Upshall makes every second he’s on the ice count for something by checking, moving his feet, getting sticks in the passing lanes, and shooting the puck. It was nice to see him rewarded for all that effort with a goal.