After dropping their last two at home, the Philadelphia Flyers found their way back into the win column, defeating the Detroit Red Wings 5-0. Although the offensive flurry stole the show, it was the upgrade on defense that helped to get Philadelphia back on track. Giving up 14 goals in their last three games, all losses, the Flyers got back to work, taking care of the puck, clearing the zone consistently and defending as a group, helping Steve Mason re-solidify himself after the past few shaky outings. Mason posted just his second shutout of the season, looking stellar for the better part of the night.
Although the change in defensive production was key, getting on the scoreboard first didn’t hurt either. While they’ve been making things difficult on themselves of late by getting behind early, a goal from Scott Hartnell, who would later add a second, gave Philadelphia the jump from the beginning. It was a true team effort in the end, though, with each of the four lines contributing to the scoreline.
With a huge west coast road trip ahead for Philadelphia, the win gives the team some much needed confidence, along with the captain, Claude Giroux, who produced a three-point night and had a hand in each of the first three goals. The leader in the room, Giroux, knowing the team needed a big game before the trip, produced his best performance of the season.
On a sour note, the Flyers lost counted-on defenseman Kimmo Timonen in the second period to injury. His outlook for the upcoming road trip will definitely have an effect, but regardless, Philadelphia will need to be at their best, preparing to play the top three teams in the Pacific Division consecutively. The win helped to move the Flyers up in the division race, but continuing to build on their outstanding performance will be important as they attempt to make a push prior to the Olympic break.