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Joel Farabee: Herr's Foods Fire on Ice March Flyer

March was a rough month for the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team as a whole, but there were some strong individual performances interspersed along the way.

by Bill Meltzer @billmeltzer /

March was a rough month for the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team as a whole, but there were some strong individual performances interspersed along the way.

Via a Twitter fan poll with 4,476 participating voters, Flyers fans have selected second-year winger Joel Farabee as the Herr's Foods Fire on Ice Flyer of the month for March. The 21-year-old was fifth on the team in scoring, with six goals and 10 points in 16 games. He missed one game while in COVID-19 protocol.

Tweet from @NHLFlyers: Which Flyer should be named the @herrfoods Fire on Ice Player of the Month for March? #AnytimeAnywhere

The bulk of Farabee's production in March came in the first half of the month, as he posted seven points (4g, 3a) over the first seven games. Most notably, Farabee accounted for both Flyers goals in a 5-2 loss in Pittsburgh on March 2,  

On March 15 at Madison Square Garden, Farabee notched a power play goal on a perfectly placed shot to the top left corner, tying the game at 3-3 late in the second period. The Flyers eventually beat the New York Rangers in overtime, 5-4.

Tweet from @NHLFlyers: Young Beezer's in the cut and picking corners.#AnytimeAnywhere | #PHIvsNYR

As with most of the team, the latter half of March was not as productive for Farabee. Overall, though, the 2020-21 season has been a breakthrough year for Farabee in his second NHL campaign. He added some muscle during the offseason and has also been more assertive in making plays. Statistically, he has 14 goals and 27 points in 34 games played.

 "I feel like in my game I'm holding on [to the puck] more, waiting for plays to open up, and it's really helping me," Farabee said on March 4. "I've gotten to play with JVR [James van Riemsdyk] and Coots [Sean Couturier] for a lot of the season and, obviously, that helps, too. They are great players."

Flyers team captain Claude Giroux and top-line center Couturier finished second and third, respectively, in the fan voting for the March winner of the Herr's Fire on Ice Flyer of the month.

Whomever plays with Couturier typically sees a bump in their production. With the Flyers struggling for wins in March and needing to fix their collective 200-foot game, head coach Alain Vigneault changed up his line combinations looking to find a spark.

Couturier did his part, bringing pretty much the same type of game every night. From an offensive standpoint, he was the only Flyer to average a point-per-game or more during the month. He posted 16 points (5g, 11a) in 16 games and closed out the month with a five-game point streak (4g, 4a). 

The defending Selke Trophy winner missed one game in March with a hip flexor. An MRI revealed the discomfort stemmed from scar tissue related to an old injury. He took treatment and returned to the lineup to skate 18:57 of ice time in a 2-1 overtime loss to the New York Islanders.

For his part, Giroux led the Flyers with 8 goals in 17 games in March and was tied for third on the team with 13 points overall. Among the six games the Flyers managed to win in March, Giroux was a catalyst in most of them. He also moved back and forth from left wing to center, as needed. 

Most notably, during the Flyers' successful comeback from a 3-0 deficit in Pittsburgh on March 4, Giroux was the driving force in the Flyers' eventual 4-3 win in regulation. 

Playing center on a line with Oskar Lindblom (two assists) and Nicolas Aube-Kubel (two assists), Giroux scored the second period goal that narrowed the deficit to 2-1, then assisted on the game-tying goal in the third period.

Closely spaced goals by Kris Letang (5th goal of the season), ex-Flyer Mark Friedman (1st NHL goal) and Jared McCann (4th) built a 3-0 lead for Pittsburgh before the game was even four-minutes old. At 11:32 of the first period, Couturier (6th) got one back on the power play.

The Flyers had numerous good chances over the second period but trailed 3-2 entering the third period after Giroux (2nd) scored a rebound goal with 13:11 remaining in the frame. In the third period, a Giroux shot that went in off Scott Laughton (6th) tied the game at 13:37 and then Giroux finished off the comeback with 2:08 left.

As a singular standout March moment, Samuel Morin's first NHL goal (a game-winner against the New York Rangers) after missing most of the previous three seasons was arguably the most memorable. Teammates were even happier for Morin himself than they were for themselves in a desperately needed win.

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