(Photo: Kate Frese)
By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor
For so many games this season, it was about the offense not providing support for the Flyers. In this game, there was as much offense as the team has seen all season.
Behind big efforts from three forwards that have not performed as hoped this season, the Flyers made a statement with a win over the Wild that they will not roll over easily, despite what the standings show.
More in our Postgame Review.
JVR's game isn't complex. He goes to the net and will score by being a presence there. His first two goals were exactly that, a deflection in front and a shot that hit off his leg.
To see JVR finally starting to get things going on a line with Claude Giroux and Travis Konecny is a very welcome sight. JVR was struggling to be a fit on this team early in the season. Perhaps that had a lot to do with his injury suffered in the second game of the season, but whatever has happened, he's sure starting to fit in as part of this offense now.
Entering this game, Patrick had just 11 points in 38 games this season. There were some questions about his mentality, if the struggles of a season personally and collectively were taking their toll. Perhaps some time in the AHL could help him get his head right.
But lately, Patrick's had the energy, just not the finish. He was plenty dangerous and finished on two chances in this game.
Patrick's first goal was a great display of hand-eye coordination, whacking a perfect saucer pass from Scott Laughton out of the air and along the ice past Devan Dubnyk. His second was a right place, right time goal with some flare. Patrick got a perfect bounce and then went between his legs for the goal.
Perhaps that was showing off just a bit, but hey, whatever helps get your confidence back. Patrick played like a confident player in this game, and that's a big step for him. There may be changes coming to the roster that one 7-4 win won't change, but Patrick's name, especially as a 20-year-old, is not going to be part of those discussions.
Still, to see him get a couple of goals in vintage fashion, going hard to the net and finishing on a breakaway for his pair, is a welcome sight. This is the player that teams look at and see value for a contender. This is who they want. The more Simmonds does that, the better it will be for the Flyers when the deadline starts to roll around.
From there, though, Hart calmed down and played a much better game. This was far from his best. He appeared to be fighting the puck a lot early. He gave up four goals for just the second time in his career. But what was impressive was how he stayed with the game. He took what he had and made the best of it.
By game's end, Hart had made 34 saves, another outstanding effort, even if the scoreboard showed four goals. It was a perfect night for Hart to not have his best and his teammates to be there to pick him up. He's deserved better in games where he allowed two or three goals and he got the help this time around.
Laughton's one of those players who will not light up the scoresheet, but he does make an impact by doing a lot of the little things. He did quite a few in this win, even if they don't all show up on the scoresheet.
By the Numbers
After having the edge with a 51.61 CF% at 5-on-5 in the first period, the Flyers were on the losing end of that battle in the final two periods. In the second, the Flyers had a 35.48 CF%. In the third, they had a 29.63 CF%. In those two periods, the Flyers scored five goals.
Stat of the Game
Radko Gudas is an unsung hero of this game. He had a pair of assists offensively, but stayed physical with five hits to lead the team, two shots, two blocked shots and a plus-1 in 16:42 of ice time.