It was old-time hockey back in Philadelphia, you know, like Eddie Shore. The only thing missing from the Flyers games versus the Senators Thursday Night was Reggie Dunlap sending in the Hanson brothers, oh, and Ned Braden doing his strip tease to end the game handing the Charlestown Chiefs the championship.
The game of hockey has changed dramatically since the days of when the Broad Street Bullies terrorized the NHL and Russians, winning two Stanley Cups in the mid ‘70s.
When push comes to shove for this new group of scrappy, hard-nosed Flyers, they certainly are not afraid to drop their gloves and stand skate-to-skate with any team in the NHL.
Now Ottawa, not quit the Syracuse Bulldogs, whose top line included the likes of Tim “Dr. Hook” McCracken and Ogie Ogilthorpe, came to Philly looking for a fight and they got one.
The Flyers and Senators combined for a total of 126 penalty minutes on the night. But that really doesn’t tell the story of the game and unlike the melees that started from the drop of the puck in the classic film, “Slap Shot,” the two teams did play a hockey game, a good one for 40 minutes.
The game was a close, a hard fought match, sorry no pun intended, after 2 periods with the Flyers clinging to a one goal lead heading into the third period. Both the Philly’s and Ottawa’s defenses and their respected goalies kept the score low as each team allowed only 35 shots between the two squads.
It wasn’t until Philadelphia took a commanding lead mid-way through the third period that Ottawa turned the game into a boxing match. The Flyers once again started strong taking a two goal lead after the first period and finished even stronger, with three in the final period.
All night long you could sense the Flyers were playing with a little extra pep in their step welcoming the return of their star defense-man Chris Pronger, out since December 15th with a foot injury.
Pronger presence on the blue-line makes the Flyers even more explosive offensively and defensively. The 6-6 defense-man is always tops in the NHL in ice time every year and Pronger certainly makes every one around him better.
In his first game back after a month lay-off Pronger played just over 20 minutes, picking up two assist in his 27 shifts. He also help the Flyers struggling power-play netting his first point of the night assisting on captain Mike Richards second period power-play goal, ending the teams four game drought with a man advantage.
Philly went 2-4 on the power-play, the two tallies on special teams in the same game was a first since late December. The Flyers also have picked up their penalty kill efforts as well, for the third straight game the Flyers defensive specialist did not allow their opponent to score when down a man. Philadelphia has surrendered only two goals in their last eight games while on the penalty kill.