[EDITOR’S NOTE: This was written as a post-game article after covering the Flyers game for WRDV Radio.]
The Flyers played a great first period coming off of a road game against the Capitals the night before, all things considered. Their play was a little sloppy but the sloppiness didn’t result in Carolina getting any real legitimate scoring chances. And any scoring chances they did get, Carter Hart easily handled. More importantly, Alain Vigneault kept rolling all four lines and the
Flyers began to establish their will towards the second half of the first period.
Once they started to push the pace of play, it seemed like that Ivan Provorov goal was just a matter of time. Their good start also set them up for the rest of the night. Not having the play from behind on the second night of a back to back is underrated.
I’m jealous of bandwagon fans and allow me to explain. I’m going to run some names by you: Jori Lehtera, Phil Varone, Justin Bailey, Dale Weise, Corban Knight, Tyrell Goulbourne, Taylor Leier, Roman Lyubimov, Boyd Gordon, Chris Vandevelde, and Mike Vecchione. If you’re unfamiliar with these names, they were all once hockey players for the Flyers. And they were not great. Bandwagon fans have no idea who these players are and their lives are better for it. The reason I’m jealous of them is that the bandwagon fans are watching Flyers hockey games where the bottom six forwards can skate and generate chances. For the first time in a long time, those two things aren’t mutually exclusive.
Speaking of those bottom-six forwards, let’s talk about trade deadline acquisitions Derek Grant and Nate Thompson a little more. Derek Grant has 1 goal and 4 assists in his last 3 games. He’s been kick passing his assists and generally slotting into the lineup pretty well. He’s even been getting time on the powerplay. I hope whoever was upset that Grant replaced Connor Bunnaman has seen the error of their ways. As for Nate Thompson, his line got the nod to start the game against Carolina tonight, he played a solid 12:36 and blocked a couple of shots. All things considered, there’s not a lot to complain about.
Now let’s talk about Joel Farabee. James Van Riemsdyk is out 4-6 weeks with a broken hand. We can be upset about that but there’s no use crying over spilled milk. Especially when, in this case, spilled milk is Joel Farabee. Farabee spent the majority of this year with the Flyers already and has a pretty good grasp on the NHL game. When asked about having to put Farabee back into the lineup, Vigneault said “Joel has been here for most of the season with our team and has been an effective player. I knew he could fit in well with Hayesy and TK.”
While Farabee didn’t put up any points tonight, he still managed to get some prime scoring chances. Vigneault liked Farabee’s play and made sure to point out that “Joel had some unbelievable looks today. Some nights it doesn’t go in and let’s keep it for some other nights and hopefully, that’s what we do.”
The Wells Fargo Center was noticeably loud tonight. The fans were making noise for scoring chances, they were starting “Lets Go Flyers” chants, and the drunk guy who yells “SHOOT” once the Flyers get set up in the offensive zone was back. It’s been a while since you can definitively say the Wells Fargo Center was an exciting place to watch a hockey game. Granted, Fan Appreciation Night and Dollar Dog night definitely drew more people in, if you’ve been an active StubHub buyer this year then you’ve already noticed that ticket prices are creeping up. The Flyers are poised to make a playoff run so you better get on that bandwagon now before Flyers Twitter gate-keeps you off of it.