After a letdown last week against the Sabres and Bruins, the Flyers looked to rebound with a pair of games against their longtime rivals, the New Jersey Devils. At times, it looked like it was going to be another loss in a sluggish start for Philadelphia. However, the Flyers came into their own in the 3rd period, outscoring New Jersey 5-1 over the two games. Some players put the team on their back against the Devils, and they led the Flyers to a sweep.
Giroux, There It Is
For the first bit of the season, Claude Giroux was not doing much to get me excited about his gameplay. Sure, he had 4 points over the first two weeks of the season, but that was standard Giroux numbers. For the Flyers to progress forward, he had to improve. And boy, did he do that against the Devils.
In the first game of the doubleheader, out of the 5 Flyers goals, Giroux had 3 assists, including one on the empty netter that effectively iced the game. He had an amazing pass to set up Nolan Patrick’s second goal of the season in the 3rd period that gave the Flyers the lead. He stayed hot on Thursday, too, scoring the first goal of his 2021 campaign. This one gave the Flyers a 2 goal lead, something New Jersey could not recover from.
Over the past 2 games, Giroux has been a combined plus-4, and he is now averaging a point a game thanks to this offensive hot streak. Last week, he only had 1 assist in the shootout loss to Boston. With 4 points in just a pair of games, it seems like the 33 year old is once again finding his stride.
Provorov’s On a Roll
When it comes to Flyers defensemen, Ivan Provorov has been among the best on the team, potentially even the best. This was evident in the first game of the series against the Devils, but he has made his presence felt in all of Philly’s games this season.
Provorov put up 3 points in the Flyers’ victory on Tuesday, one goal and two assists. Even though the goal was an empty netter, he still was able to find James van Riemsdyk for 2 goals early in that game. As impressive as that was, that’s actually not the biggest reason Provorov is one of the Flyers that impressed me this week. Provy was on the ice for 27 minutes and 43 seconds in the victory, which was six minutes longer than any other Flyer, and five minutes longer than the Devils’ PK Subban, their leader in time on ice that game.
Although there were no points in Game 2, Provorov once again was on the ice for over 27 minutes, far and away the leader on the team. He also put up 4 blocks that game, and stopped numerous Devils chances. I’ve been fascinated with Provorov over the course of the whole season, but this week he took his season to another level.
JVR You Ready?
While we’re at it, I might as well talk about the aforementioned James Van Riemsdyk. Late last season, it looked like JVR could find his way back out of Philadelphia sooner rather than later. Upon returning to the Flyers, van Riemsdyk’s point totals fell, and he couldnt seem to stay in the lineup. Now that he is finally healthy and playing every day, he has shown why the Flyers brought him back several years ago.
Out of the two games, van Riemsdyk stepped up in a big way in the first against the Devils. He managed to put up an impressive seven shots on goal, 2 of those finding twine. Both goals he scored were on the power play. Two nights later, the New Jersey native continued his production. Even though he did not record a shot on goal, he assisted on Claude Giroux’s 1st of the season.
JVR is currently producing at a point a game pace, something he has not done over the course of his career. He is one of four Flyers tied for second on the team with eight points this season, Jakub Voracek leads the way with nine. With a new scoring touch, van Riemsdyk may no longer be someone the Flyers expose to Seattle in the summer, but he can be a nice complementary piece to the main attractions.
Nate Finds the Net
I couldn’t have talked about the Flyers this week without bringing up the great story that is Nate Prosser. Before Thursday’s game, Prosser was called up from the taxi squad to play due to injuries on the Flyers defensive unit. It was his first game in nearly two years.
Prosser stepped up in a big way and filled the role really well in his first game with the Orange and Black. He got his first goal in almost three years in the middle of the first period, with some help on the setup from JVR and Erik Gustafsson. The team celebrated around the 34 year old, and it was one of the most feel good moments of the season so far.
It is unknown whether or not Prosser is going to be on the roster long term, or this is just for a handful of games. There’s a possibility that he could be a fill in for someone dealing with injury, or if a Flyers defenseman goes on the Covid list. Either way, it’s a great start to his Flyers career, and Alain Vigenault could not ask for more from Prosser.
Photo Credit on Featured Image: Ed Mulholland/USA Today Sports