The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 on Thursday night, earning a season-sweep against the Blackhawks, while also tallying their first road victory of the year.
The win is the Flyers’ second in a row, bumping their record up to 4-3-1 on the season. Let’s check out five takeaways from Thursday night’s three-goal victory.
Giroux, van Riemsdyk Get Off the Schneid
It was only a matter of time, and apparently that time was Thursday night. After seven games, neither captain Claude Giroux nor James van Riemsdyk had lit the lamp for the Flyers this season. That all changed in Chicago as both tallied goals on the scoring sheet. Also, each goal was an important one for the Flyers.
With the Flyers holding a slim 1-0 advantage in the second period, Giroux found the back of the net for his first of the season to double Philly’s lead. Oddly enough, Giroux’s goal was helped a bit by van Riemsdyk. Defenseman Travis Sanheim threw a pass toward the front of the Chicago net, one JVR leaped over, allowing Giroux to deflect the puck by Robin Lehner.
Meanwhile, van Riemsdyk’s goal sealed the win for the team. With the Flyers up 3-1 late in the third, van Riemsdyk forced a turnover just inside Chicago’s end, skating virtually uncontested in on Lehner for a pretty backhand-to-forehand goal.
Entering the game with zero points in seven games, van Riemsdyk broke that streak earlier in the game, earning an assist on Giroux’s second-period tally.
Lindblom Continues to Bloom
Oskar Lindblom continued his torrid goal-scoring pace to start the season, potting his team-leading fifth goal of the campaign Thursday night.
Lindblom opened the scoring against Chicago in the first period, knocking one home top-shelf off a two-on-one break with Travis Konecny. For Konecny, the assist was his 7th on the year, adding to his team-leading 11 points.
Lindblom has not only showed a lot of skill and maturity for a young player since coming up to the Flyers but going back to last year, Lindblom has nine goals over his last 14 games.
Elliott’s Strong Play Continues
For the second-straight game, Brian Elliott was strong between the pipes for the Flyers, earning his second victory in a row.
While Elliott wasn’t as busy against Chicago as he was Monday against the Vegas Golden Knights, where he stopped 33 of 35 shots fired his way, Moose came up big in this one for the Flyers. Elliott faced just 24 shots on Thursday night but turned away 23 of them, including several big saves along the way.
The Flyers dominated most of the puck possession in the first and second periods, holding the Blackhawks to just eight total shots heading into the third period. After seeing just one shot against in the second period, Elliott denied Chicago’s third-period push, stopping 15 of 16 shots. The only goal against, off the stick of Brandon Saad, came on a huge defensive blunder by the Flyers, basically hanging Elliott out to dry.
The goaltender has been dependable so far this season when called upon, which has picked up the Flyers in a major way while youngster Carter Hart gets his game together.
Farabee Foiled, Twice
After scoring three goals and adding an assist in four games for the American Hockey League’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the Flyers called up 19-year-old prospect Joel Farabee. With a dynamic scoring touch and high hockey I.Q., Farabee stands to be a major part of the Flyers’ future.
Thursday night’s win against Chicago could have been his coming-out party, as Farabee appeared to earn his first NHL point on an assist before tallying his first career NHL goal later in the game. However, he and the Flyers were thwarted twice when both goals were overturned after successful Chicago challenges. Each time it was determined the Flyers were offside, removing two goals from the scoreboard.
In the first, Farabee would have earned an assist on a Kevin Hayes goal, but Hayes was ruled offside. Later in the game, Farabee forced a turnover, splitting the defense before knocking home his own rebound for a goal. Though, Hayes was once again the culprit after yet another review showed he was offside.
Both Farabee and Hayes would get a measure of retribution, however. In the third, Hayes would score again (this one counted) with Farabee earning an assist for his actual first point in the NHL.
Flyers Defense Strong Again, for the Most Part
One thing that has been consistent early on this season for the Flyers has been their defensive effort. Many times this season they’ve tilted the ice against their opponent, offering little, if anything, to opposing teams in the way of offensive chances.
While Thursday night’s defensive performance wasn’t perfect, it was still a great showing for the Flyers on the road. There were some breakdowns, several in front of Elliott, but for the most part, the Flyers kept the Blackhawks in check.
The Flyers were outshot 7-5 in the opening period, but clamped down in the second, holding Chicago to just one shot on goal. The two Flyers’ goals taken off the scoreboard after successful challenges changed the game, and the Blackhawks pressed hard heading into the third period, perhaps feeling lucky to be down only 2-0 opposed to 4-0.
The Blackhawks scored early in the third to cut the deficit to just a goal. Chicago peppered the Flyers’ net with 16 shots on goal in the period, but a good amount of those chances came later after the Flyers regained a two-goal advantage and even later when they went up by three.