Flyers Tie Stars in Free-For-All|
By Ray Van Horn, Jr. Copyright 1999
On a blustery March 14th evening, the Philadelphia faithful packed the Corestates Spectrum for the Flyers/Stars game. What they were treated to in the beginning was Wrestlemania on ice.
Flyers General Manager, Bobby Clarke, delivered an ultimatum to his team for their lifeless play of late. Clarke indicated that many jobs were on the line, and he wanted to see "some more feistiness" out of his players. Flyers owner Ed Snyder cancelled a trip to oversee the game. They were not disappointed--at least in terms of effort--as the Flyers battled the Stars to a 1-1 tie.
At 40 seconds into the game, Eric Lindros, who is not known for starting dukeroos, immediately challenged the current Stars captain (Brett Hull is presently injured) Darrin Hatcher to a haughty draw in what set the tone of the game. Lindros, who stewed off a five minute fighting major, was also joined by Colin Forbes for his follow-up brawl.
45 seconds later, Roman Vopat rendezvoused with his Flyer mates in the box for his scrap with Grant Marshall. All told, each team had three men whistled within the first minute and a half of the game. In response, the hitting picked up on the ice. Checks, dumps and slams ultimately led to a dogpile with 3:10 left in the opening period. The pile-up was instigated by Dallas' Shawn Chambers, who took exception to Keith Jones' upswing in front of the. Jones had unintentionally tagged Stars goaltender, Ed Belfour, in the helmet.
As the fighting settled down, the Stars drew first blood in the second period on a Mike Modano chip shot at 4:56. Modano, who racked his 30th goal on the season, and his 13th in his last16 games, swatted down a rebound off of Philadelphia goalie, John Vanbiesbrouck, and tinked it through.
The Flyers answered later in the period with a Jody Hull score coming at 16:30 of the second. It was Hull's first tally in 25 games, and his 3rd for the year. Rod Brind'Amour, who set the play up on a thwarted wraparound attempt, was given his 40th assist. The Flyers had lost their momentum in the period until the Hull goal, and quickly turned the game back up to its original frenzied pace.
The two teams settled for a tie in overtime, even with Philadelphia having to kill off a Dallas power play. The penalty came against Vanbiesbrouck for a delay of game when he flipped the puck over the plexiglass and into the crowd. Both teams went 0-6 on their respective power play opportunities.
Philly is still winless in 11 games, and Vanbiesbrouck has not won since beating Phoenix on February 16th. Vanbiesbrouck had 22 saves on the evening, while his Dallas counterpart, Belfour, made 26 stops.
Regardless, the Flyers came to play, and overall, performed inspiredly against the number one team in the NHL. It might not be long before they get back on track.
Copyright©1999 The HockeyNut