Actually, the Flyers’ Jeff had but a lone assist. Still, that headline has a certain ring to it.
A steady night of forechecking and five-man defense, more so than goaltender Martin Biron, gave Philly its 3-0 win. The second and third goals came during 37 seconds of four-on-four play fairly late into the third, at which point, with the game no longer meaningful and Jersey set to play for first-round home ice with the Rangers Sunday, Martin Brodeur (who was fantastic) took a rest (I can promise you those chants of “Marty Marty” mentioned in the AP story were not cheers for Biron, but rather, futile taunts).
Of course by then, myself and every other Flyers fan had switched over the free Center Ice to Raleigh, where the Hurricanes vacated first place in the Southeast Division for the first time since I couldn’t tell ya when. This clinched a playoff spot for Philadelphia and erases Carolina totally – unless Florida can find a way to take down Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals tomorrow without overtime.
Florida is terrible, but they were good enough to beat the Hurricanes at home – and for the first time in six-plus years and 15 games. In and of itself this still might not been a big surprise: if spoilers didn’t spoil, we wouldn’t have a word describing them. But how the Panthers did it was extraordinary: they had 0 power plays to Carolina’s 9, and, largely because of that (as well as Carolina’s late-game desperation), were outshot 46 to 17. They also replaced goaltender Tomas Vokoun (back spasms) with Craig Anderson after the first period, and got a shorty from Radek Dvorak with 12 seconds remaining in the second period – a goal that proved to be the winner.