Erik Gustafsson And Rest Of Defense Help Propel Philadelphia Flyers In Big Win

By Steven Smith
Erik Gustafsson
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Flyers were able to pick up their 15th win of the season with a 5-2 victory over the Washington Capitals Tuesday night.  The offense may have been the most recognized factor on the ice, but it was the strong defensive play that earned them the victory over Washington.

The Caps came into the Wells Fargo Center ranked as one of the highest scoring teams in the NHL.  The big men on the Flyers’ defense held them to just two goals on 26 shots.  With great play from Erik Gustafsson, Mark Streit, Braydon Coburn and Kimmo Timonen, the foursome combined for five points.  While the defense continues to work together, Gustafsson is the one stealing the show.

With an assist on the ice last night, Gustaffson brought his season point total to six.  He may have only played 18 games this season, but you better believe he’s making the most of his time on the ice.  You could even argue he’s been the only “true” defenseman for the Flyers this season.  The 25-year-old from Sweden leads the Flyers in the plus/minus category (+5).  In 14 of his 18 games he’s posted even or better.

The Flyers’ roster isn’t exactly loaded with spring chickens, especially on the defense.  With Hal Gill and Timonen both pushing 40, age is catching up to the defense.  Gustafsson will have plenty of opportunities to boost his role if his excellent play continues.

The Flyers’ next game should be a gimme when they go head-to-head with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night in Philadelphia.  With a win over Columbus, the Flyers can get over the .500 mark for the first time this season.

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