Sestito Plays Hero in Tight Win Against TampaBREAKING NEWS, Flyers, News, NHL Wednesday, February 6th, 2013
Coming off a 7-1 blowout against the Florida Panthers, the defense and special teams faltered in front of shaky goaltending from back-up goaltender Michael Leighton.
In their second of three match-ups, though, the Flyers bounced back with a solid 2-1 win owed to the efforts of Ilya Bryzgalov and Tom Sestito.
The top line, featuring rookie Tye McGinn and Danny Briere centered by Claude Giroux, opened up the first period with a great shift that ended in two shots from McGinn. McGinn and Briere finished the game with seven shots between them, but couldn’t solve Lightning netminder Anders Lindback.
One concern moving forward is that none of the top six were able to bury the puck in such a tightly contested game. It would be naïve to think they would be able to run up the score on a nightly basis, but in a shortened season where there is already little room for error, the team is going to need to rely on regularly contributions from all four lines.
The fact that the team’s 58 shots (including blocked and missed shots) were not all taken from the perimeter or the blueline was at least a step in the right direction.
Sestito’s efforts to drive to the net are the reason that the Flyers didn’t leave the rink without two points and should inspire some of his snakebitten teammates to follow suit.
Sestito made a timely line change with Zac Rinaldo early in the second period and collected a beautiful cross-ice pass from Jake Voracek at the boards.
Two quick moves and a chip through the five-hole later, Sestito finally scored his first goal as a Flyer.
The sequence that led to his second goal of the night began with a good clearing attempt by Sestito out of the defensive zone when there was a scramble in front of the crease. Sestito bee-lined straight to the net and telegraphed the same shot that beat Lindback before.
Sestito wasn’t the only plug with a decent game, either.
Rinaldo only took one shot while skating on the third line, but his biggest contribution was a throw down with enforcer B.J. Crombeen that knocked him out of the game. Crombeen was initially (and inexplicably) cleared to return, but was held out during the second period for precautionary reasons.
Rinaldo also stayed out of the penalty box while delivering a team high four hits.
There were ultimately four keys to the Flyers winning this game.
- The defense did not take many low-risk chances in the offensive zone and were only credited with four giveaways all game. The Lightning have a strong core of snipers and puckhandlers that can be very dangerous, and the team did not give them much, if any, rope in the defensive zone.
- The work along the boards and crease crashing was excellent between Sestito, McGinn, Jake Voracek and Matt Read.
- The Lightning entered the game ranked 2nd on the powerplay, but aside from some stupidity from Braydon Coburn and Mike Knuble, the Flyers limited them to just four chances.
- Finally, Ilya Bryzgalov was phenomenal. He received multiple standing ovations from the fans throughout the evening and each was well deserved. The lone goal from the Lightning came after Bruno Gervais left Benoit Pouliot all alone in front of the net to do as he pleased.
It wasn’t the best effort that this team should be capable of providing, but it was the best one given all season. If the team can build on the positives from the win and gain confidence in each other, the “Seth Jones Watch” may not be on after all.
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