Postgame Perspective: Total domination in complete game from Flyers


For so much of the previous two seasons, so many of the Flyers players have talked about the things that need to get better, the things they need to do to be the playoff team they believe they are. On Saturday, they let their play do the talking.

It was total domination for the Flyers in their most complete game to date this season in a 4-0 win over the Islanders

It's been a good week for the Flyers to say the least. After completing another excellent effort against the New York Islanders, three straight wins has the Flyers recent road trip in the distant past.

But Saturday's game was different for two reasons.

For one, they spent much of the past 36 hours wondering what the status of Shayne Gostisbehere would be. The news was good on Saturday morning, when Gostisbehere was listed as day-to-day, indicating that the injury is minor. Then, the Flyers played what is arguably their best game of the season without him in the lineup.

Afternoon games have been a struggle for the Flyers in the past. They have seldom come out with the jump necessary to get off to a good start and typically end up playing from behind, always an uphill battle, especially against tough teams like the Islanders.

For the remainder of the month and into the beginning of February, the Flyers will get to show how well they stack up against the Eastern Conference. Starting with Saturday's 4-0 win over the Islanders, the Flyers will play 10 straight games against Eastern Conference teams. Saturday was as good a start as you could ask for.

A scoreless first period saw the Flyers dominate in the shot column, 11-2. They jumped out with two early goals in the second as a penalty-filled period saw several opportunities for both sides.

Strangely enough, the one area where the Flyers struggled was the power play. The Flyers were 0-for-5 on the man-advantage and struggled with entry and set-up without Gostisbehere. The Flyers did get a goal at 4-on-4 from Evgeny Medvedev just shy of a Flyers power play and Mark Streit hit the post with a powerful shot on a brief 5-on-3.

But otherwise, the list of players who had strong games only grew as the game went on. Matt Read had three points, his first multi-point game of the season. The Flyers second line of Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn and Michael Raffl got the Flyers on the board first and seemed to have a scoring chance on every shift.

It was the top line that really set the tone. From the start, a nearly 90-second shift for Claude Giroux, Jake Voracek and Wayne Simmonds to open the game featured sustained pressure all the way through. The rest of the lines followed suit.

Defensively, the Flyers played well in that department. The Flyers killed off all three Islanders power plays and nullified chances at even strength. It was a particularly strong game for Brandon Manning, who was back in the lineup for Gostisbehere and certainly filled the void nicely.

Steve Mason's third shutout of the season, making 20 saves, was the icing on the cake.

It all topped off a nearly perfect game from the Flyers, who totally dominated the Islanders in game without their best defenseman of the last 23 games.

It was as complete a game as the Flyers have played all season, possibly in the past couple of seasons. It couldn't have come at a better time.

As a result, the Flyers, who are about to get into the heart and the demanding workload of that schedule against Eastern Conference foes, have won three straight and are starting to make a case again for being a potential playoff team. The next month, and these 10 games, will say so much about where this team stands right now.

Many games this season, the Flyers have had to weather the storm. Entering Saturday's game, eight of the Flyers 17 wins had come in overtime. Others were by slim margins, having to hold off late charges from the opposition. There were few that had featured the total control or the safety of a multi-goal advantage. The four-goal victory was the Flyers largest this season.

The Flyers true statement will come over the course of the 10 games, not just one. But they opened that stretch with a bang, and it will now set the tone for the rest of the month.

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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