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Phillies take note: Flyers’ youth being served in NHL resurgence

I have to give credit to the Philadelphia Flyers and general manager Paul Holmgren.

A year after making the Stanley Cup finals, they lost in the second round to the Boston Bruins, the eventual Stanley Cup champion. (Hey, the championship, all of them, except the Sixers, come through Philly).

Did Holmgren stand pat?

Nope.

He traded away not-so-old veterans Jeff Carter and Mike Richards in separate deals.

In the process, along with signing goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, the Flyers got a whole lot younger.

Gone were Richards and Carter.

In came Jakub Voracek, Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds.

Has it hurt?

Not yet.

The Flyers are in second place in the Atlantic Division, a point behind Pittsburgh, and in fourth place in the Eastern Division.

In a game I attended on Black Friday, the Flyers beat the Montreal Canadiens, 3-1 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Flyers game Nov. 25 199

One of the youngsters, Voracek, had a goal and an assist in the game.

The real star was Claude Giroux, who had two goals. Giroux

Giroux’s second goal was the nail on the coffin, coming with eight seconds left in the second period.

Giroux’s second was on at an odd angle, just outside the circle, to the right of the goalie Carey Price.

Voracek’s goal was the most impressive to me, burying the puck from 10 feet in front of the net. A rocket.

While Richards, the team captain, and Carter, a good goal scorer, but injury prone last season, could have contributed, youthful legs were evident when looking at shots on goal.

The Flyers outshot the Canadiens, 36-24.

After the first period, however, the Flyers were behind, 1-0.

Coach Peter Laviolette talked to the team after the first period.

"I think it was just too many turnovers; we were giving the puck, we weren't strong enough, and we didn't play with the intent that we needed, especially in our building," Laviolette said. "We talked about home ice, making it a difficult place to play."

To me, the Flyers started shooting at the net more often, then trying to find the right pass, leaving the puck open for a turnover.

Flyers game Nov. 25 197

With Giroux’s star rising, he is second in both points and scoring in the NHL, and young legs, the experience in the season will help towards the upcoming playoffs.

A second-round loss this year would not feel as bad.

A conference finals would not be unexpected.

 

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