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The Philadelphia Flyers were able to roll four lines in a very orderly fashion against the Minnesota Wild, resulting in one of the neatest Corsi charts all year. In a game with few penalties, the Flyers possession was above average all night, but they had to stay on their toes due to the Wild quick counter-attacks leading to some very good scoring opportunities.
It was a game that could've gone either way, and in which the Flyers ultimately prevailed largely thanks to some big stops from Michal Neuvirth, more on that below.
The top line, featuring Sean Couturier, pressed the Wild all night. Their possession was fantastic and led to good shooting opportunities. It was a different niche for Couturier playing with Jakub Voracek, and it turned him into the triggerman on shooting opportunities. He got off some good shots, although it's not the role in which he's played so well earlier this season.
While the Couturier line had great possession against the Mikko Koivu line, the Brayden Schenn line played the Nino Niederreiter line evenly. Schenn and Sam Gagner continued to show a bit of chemistry and Gagner scored the Flyers first goal on the kind of play Wayne Simmonds usually makes.
Looking towards the bottom-six, it was a role reversal for the Pierre-Edouard Bellemare line and the Nick Cousins line. The Cousins line didn't keep up their momentum from the last few games since this particular trio was put together and their ice time was reduced. The Bellemare line got back above 10 minutes of ice time, their norm for the last few months, and had a very good game with big possession and a brave game-winning goal by Bellemare.
Moving on to defense, the conversation must begin and end with Neuvirth's performance. It wasn't a big night by volume of saves, but quality. He had several key stops against high-quality looks by the Wild, but then he pulled one of the saves of the season with an incredible goal line stick save with two seconds left. Is this the moment Flyers fans scream goalie controversy?
As for actual defenders, it is also remarkable what is going on there. It's the stretch drive of the season, and the Flyers top pair is two guys who started the season in the AHL. Shayne Gostisbehere and Andrew MacDonald did everything asked of them last night, each playing over 20 minutes at even strength while finishing positive on goal differential. MacDonald led the team in penalty kill time as well and came up with an assist on one of Neuvirth's key third period saves with about five minutes remaining in regulation.
Mark Streit and Nick Schultz also had a decent night. They had good possession numbers and Streit finally got a goal to pay off for all the chances he's been earning recently. He was complemented by Schultz doing his thing, staying home and blocking four shots.
Trailing behind was the pair of Radko Gudas and Brandon Manning. Manning held on to his spot over Evgeny Medvedev, but this combination never puts up as good a shot differential as Gudas and Medvedev. Gudas was busy with five shots instead of making big hits tonight, but he and Manning finished minus-1.
Marc Naples is a contributor to Flyerdelphia and Sports Talk Philly. Follow him on Twitter@SuperScrub47.