Ruthless Defensive Play Lifts Philadelphia Flyers

By Steven Smith
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Last night’s decapitation of the Detroit Red Wings had Philadelphia Flyers fans on their feet from start to finish. Everything the Flyers had been doing wrong over the past nine games, a stretch where they went 2-5-2, was laid to rest last night. They played smart, strategic hockey and kept the trash talk down to a minimum. They finally grabbed a first period goal and an early lead.  Steve Mason was superb in net. Everything fell into place, and even a sluggish defensive unit got in on some of the action.

Now I know Detroit was without three of its offensive masterminds, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen, but the strong outing from Philadelphia’s defense is just the confidence boost they need heading out on their next road trip. With the combination of Braydon Coburn, Luke Schenn, Erik Gustafsson, Mark Streit and Kimmo Timonen, Philly’s fabulous five combined for a plus minus of plus-eight with four assists.

Despite giving up 33 shots, Philly brought the pain in a big way, clobbering the Wings with 36 hits. Of those 36 hits, 16 of them came from Philly’s defensive unit, the most Philadelphia’s defense has recorded in its last 23 games. The last time the Flyers’ defense recorded that many hits was Dec. 11, 2013 against the Chicago Blackhawks (17).

A brief scare occurred when Timonen went down in the second period but according to‘s, Sarah Baicker, Timonen is, “OK and will travel with the team to California.” There’s no clear-cut word on whether Timonen will actually play in tomorrow’s contest against the Anaheim Ducks, but him tagging along with the rest of the team for the trip is a very good sign.

Steven Smith is a Philadelphia Flyers writer for  Follow him on Twitter and “Like” him on Facebook.   

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