League-leading Flyers pay visit to Wild
Wednesday, 11.24.2010 / 7:00 PM
Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing EditorFLYERS (14-6-2) at WILD (10-7-2)
TV -- TCN-PH (HD), KSTC (HD)
Last 10 --
Philadelphia 7-2-1; Minnesota 6-4-0
Season series --
This is the teams' only meeting this season. The Wild won both games last season, both by one goal, including a 2-1 win Feb. 6 at Xcel Energy Center.
Big Story --
With seven wins in their last 10 games, the Flyers have climbed to the top spot in the League standings. The Wild have been good recently, too, with three wins in their last four games.
Philadelphia hadn't won a game this season when trailing after two periods prior to Monday's 3-2 win against the Canadiens. The Flyers trailed 2-1 after 40 minutes, but got goals from Claude Giroux
and James van Riemsdyk
for the come-from-behind victory.
Some credit has to go to coach Peter Laviolette, who let the players know exactly how they were doing after one period, when they trailed 2-0.
"We didn't play the way we know we're capable of," van Riemsdyk said. "We really wanted to get out there in the second and rip the door off the hinges."
After being outshot 15-9 in the first period, the Flyers outshot the Habs 36-16 over the final two periods.
Patrick O'Sullivan was expected to make a major impact in Minnesota. Five years later, he'll finally get the chance.
The Wild, who drafted O'Sullivan in the second round of the 2003 Entry Draft, claimed the forward on waivers from the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday. O'Sullivan had scored 47 goals and 93 points in his only AHL season, 2004-05 with the Houston Aeros, and was expected to play a major role with the Wild in 2005-06, but was traded to the Kings that summer in exchange for Pavol Demitra. Since then, O'Sullivan has bounced from the Kings to the Oilers to the Coyotes to the Hurricanes, where he had 1 goal in 10 games this season.
"For sure, I'm excited," O'Sullivan told the Wild's website. "It's a good opportunity for me. Just speaking to (GM Chuck Fletcher), they know the type of player I am and the situations they want me to play in there. It's a good chance and hopefully I can take advantage of it."
"He's a skilled hockey player," Fletcher said of O'Sullivan. "He's scored goals everywhere he's played from Mississauga (OHL), the Under-17 program in Ann Arbor. Houston, he had a terrific season there. He scored goals in Edmonton. He's a player that's still young. He can skate. He can handle the puck. He can shoot the puck. Right now, it seems like a real logical fit for our team."
Who's Hot --
Giroux has goals in two-straight games for the Flyers, giving him a team-best 12, and also leads all write-in forwards in All-Star Game voting, ranking 11th overall. … Wild forward Martin Havlat has a five-game scoring streak, during which he's totaled 2 goals and 6 assists.
Injury Report --
Flyers forward Daniel Carcillo is expected to miss at least another week with a sprained ligament in his left knee. Goaltender Michael Leighton
(back) and defenseman Matt Walker
(hip) continue to work their way back from injuries that have sidelined them all season. … The Wild will be without forward Guillaume Latendresse
for a while as he'll have two surgeries Wednesday -- one to repair a torn labrum in his hip, and another to fix a bilateral sports hernia. Fletcher said he hopes Latendresse will play again this season. Forward Chuck Kobasew also is on injured reserve, with a groin injury.
Stat Pack --
The Wild entered Tuesday's game tied for second in the League with 20 power-play goals, but just 27th in the League in total goals, with 46.
Puck Drop --
Monday's game-winning goal for van Riemsdyk was his first regular-season goal in 22 games, dating to April 1. He had just 4 assists in his first 13 games this season, then spent four games as a healthy scratch. He's looked better in the five games he's been back, but he had just 3 assists to show for it prior to Monday's goal.
"It's a huge relief, the weight of the world is off your shoulders," he told reporters. "You’re not scarred for life, but you forget how good it feels and it just feels great to score a goal there and help the team win."