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POSTGAME 5: Fountain of Youth

Flyers ride young defense, Neuvirth to shut out Blues, 2-0

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

1. HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED

Michal Neuvirth stopped every shot he saw and the Flyers group of young defensemen shut down the Blues for a 2-0 win at St. Louis on Thursday night.

Brandon Manning scored a goal 38 seconds into the second period and a late empty-netter gave the Flyers a big win on the second of a back-to-back… The Blues pressed all game and Neuvirth was there to make the save each time, including a spectacular glove save on partial breakaway on former Flyer Brayden Schenn… Claude Giroux iced the contest with six seconds left.

All told, Neuvirth stopped 33 shots, while Jake Allen yielded just one goal on 22 shots but it was enough to take the loss. 

2. TURNING POINT

Tonight's turning point was not without controversy… After a scoreless first period, the Flyers broke through 38 seconds into the second period on a goal by Brandon Manning to give the Flyers the opening lead… The goal was originally called "no goal" on the ice by the officials due to goaltender interference, but the Flyers challenged the call. After video review, it was overturned and ruled a goal because the contact with the goaltender was initiated by the Blues, who pushed Jakub Voracek into Allen.Video: PHI@STL: Manning opens the scoring on long wrist shot

3. THREE STARS

1. Michal Neuvirth: Posted his first shutout of the year, 11th in his career as well as his 97th career victory. 

2. Jake Allen: Stopped 21 of 22 shots in the game and has now allowed just two goals or less in his fourth straight game. He also took his first regulation loss since Oct. 14. 

3. Brandon Manning: Recorded the game-winning goal and logged nearly 23 minutes of ice-time (22:56) which is a season high and most since Mar. 28, 2015.

4. STATS & STORYLINES

NEUVY'S NIGHT
Michal Neuvirth returned to the crease for the first time since Oct. 26 at Ottawa and was at the top of his game early.

He made several key saves, including a terrific stop on the Blues power play to rob sniper Vladimir Tarasenko who had an open net staring at him off a pass from below the net… He then robbed former teammate Brayden Schenn on a partial breakaway at 12:42 of the second period. Schenn elected to go high glove and Neuvirth was there with the answer.Video: PHI@STL: Neuvirth denies Schenn to preserve lead

CAN'T KEEP COOTS DOWN
Sean Couturier returned to the ice for the third period after heading to the locker room for half of the second period… He took a hit from former Flyer Brayden Schenn at the 8:21 mark of the second period… Schenn was assessed a two-minute minor for interference on the play.

He returned to record 6:17 of ice time in the third period and another assist on the empty-net goal… Couturier tallied another multi-point night, his sixth of the season, and with 17 points (9g-8a) now leads the Flyers in scoring.

272 NOW 278
The Flyers played four defensemen in the game that had 15 or fewer games of NHL experience prior to the game - Robert Hagg (14), Travis Sanheim (10), Mark Alt (3) and Will O'Neill, who made his NHL debut. It's the first time in franchise history the Flyers have played a game under such circumstances.

Prior to tonight's game the combined number of NHL game experience for the six Flyers defensemen was 272… and now it's at 278… Will O'Neill made his NHL debut at 29 years-old after six seasons in the American Hockey League… O'Neill was paired alongside Mark Alt and Robert Hagg, both of which he had experience with at Lehigh Valley. He logged a total of 9:25 and had three shots on goal.

ANOTHER PROVY MILESTONE
Ivan Provorov blocked 10 shots. That ties a franchise record for the category, which has been kept since 1997; Andrew MacDonald blocked 10 shots at Tampa Bay on March 11, 2016. Provorov's nine blocks through the first two periods are a franchise record since 1997 for the first two periods of a game.
 
The last NHL player to block 10 or more shots in a game was Mark Pysyk, who blocked 12 shots for Florida on November 19, 2016.
 
Provorov was also credited with five hits, which led the club. Provorov played 27:11, surpassing 27 minutes for the fourth consecutive game. 

5. THEY SAID IT

"The pace has been really quick. We knew they were going to be a heavier team than last night and our guys came out ready to play." - Brandon ManningVideo: Manning and Couturier on big win in STLVideo: Neuvirth on shutout in STL

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