What we learned as the Flyers punish the penguins
Alex Lyon takes his first victory and Jakub Voracek takes another step as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins, 7-2.
It’s amazing what happens when the Philadelphia Flyers carry the puck into the attacking zone instead of chasing them regularly. Most of the seven goals scored against the Pittsburgh Penguins in tonight’s 7-2 win started with smooth passing passes in transition. As Alex Lyon claimed his first win of the season, Philadelphia apparently played some of their best hockey games.
Three Flyers finished with as many points tonight. Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek continued to produce, but Joel Farabee found his way. These players finished with three points, but the way Giroux got his stood out the most. Along with scoring two goals, his ability to produce in any scenario helped Philadelphia win. Giroux scored a goal into an empty net, a tie-in goal and a power-play assist.
Voracek entered the Flyers’ all-time top ten points. By securing his 602nd point when Robert Hagg scored, this season’s top scorer continues to prove the critics wrong. He and Giroux remain essential in Philadelphia as they age like wine. Rarely does a franchise have two top franchise point scorers active in the same lineup.
Tonight we saw a glimpse of how the Flyers look at their optimum. Seven goals against a Penguins team in the playoffs feel good.
Where was that energy in four games against the New Jersey Devils a week ago?
The king of lyon
In four starts, Alex Lyon improved to 1-3-0 after tonight. With the win, he becomes the third Philadelphia Flyers goaltender to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins this season. Without a doubt, the Flyers were the better head-to-head team (the better of the two in Pennsylvania).
Early in the first period, Lyon potentially made the best save for Philadelphia this season. For my money, it’s still a bit better than Shayne Gostisbehere’s effort a few minutes later. Lyon saved 94.6% of the shots they faced. It is the first time this season that he has equalized or eclipsed at 90%.
“Everyone was happy with their level of combat and competition.”
Alain Vigneault; 5/3/21
We would have to go back to 2017-18 to find the last time he saved more than 94.6%. He accomplished this on the road against the New York Rangers in his first NHL victory.
“If I just do the things I know I can do, I can play here.”
Alex Lyon; 5/3/21
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Lyon have played behind the worst defensive staff they have had in their career. He played one of his best games despite this. After Brian Elliott wraps up his NHL career, the Flyers face a critical goalie rotation decision. Who will support Carter Hart? Will Lyon receive the call, or is Philadelphia turning to free agency?
If Lyon can do it consistently at the end of the season, maybe it deserves a closer look.
Business as usual
In post-match press conferences, Jakub Voracek shoots from the hip. Tonight he treated his career like any other game. His demeanor is the mark of a veteran who has been there before. Scoring points is the wait. Voracek treats him as such.
Getting his 602nd point in the NHL puts him ahead of Rod Brind’Amour. In sole possession of the all-time tenth place in the Philadelphia Flyers rankings, Voracek sees it as a testament to the franchise’s lifespan.
“I’ve been playing here for a long time, especially ten years in Philadelphia. I don’t do much with it.
Jakub Voracek; 5/3/21
Team play takes priority over personal milestones for Voracek. He seemed more rested when he admitted to having taken the lead quickly. The Flyers must have played from behind too many times this season.
“It was good to have a lead to be honest.”
Jakub Voracek; 5/3/21
Yes it was, especially from the viewer’s point of view.
Photo credit: Alex McIntyre