Flyers Escape with 2-2 Tie; Lose Roenick to Two-Game Suspension
Wednesday, December 18, 2002
By David W. Unkle
The story behind the story was the theme last night as the Flyers came from behind with two, third period power-play goals to tie the Dallas Stars 2-2. First off, it was Flyers' Head Coach Ken Hitchcock's 51st birthday and the scheduling gods slotted him to face the team that fired him last winter.
Hitchcock classified the game as bizarre and you certainly could understand why. The game featured a battle between the two teams that lead the league in shots on goal per game.
The Flyers lead the league with 32.4 shots on goal, with the Stars a close second at 31.9. The teams finished the night with 42 and 36, respectively.
The Flyers went 2 for 9 on the power play while Dallas was 1 for 4; in all seventeen penalties were called on the night. It felt like both teams were on the power play the whole game, said Hitchcock, after his team finally clicked on the power play after being shutout in their last twenty attempts with the man advantage.
As the fans were settling in their seats, Mike Modano put the Stars up 1-0 just twenty-nine seconds into the game. Roenick had Modano marked in the slot and had the chance to keep him out of the play but opted to stick check his man.
A freak bounce on a pass from behind the Flyers net went out to Modano who easily put the puck behind Roman Cechmanek.
Jason Arnott gave Dallas the 2-0 lead at 10:59 of the first just after the Flyers had killed Roenick's five-minute major. Dallas had the five-on three advantage following Kim Johnsson's penalty for closing the hand on the puck.
Sergei Zubov's rebound came right out to Arnott who, like Modano earlier was ill-attended by a Flyer while in the slot. This time it was Eric Weinrich, who failed to get his stick on the ice easily allowing Arnott to score.
With the Stars' Rob Di Maio off for slashing, Primeau snuck in behind Derian Hatcher and Niko Kapanen as the Flyers crept within one. Fifty-nine seconds later and back on the power play following Bill Guerin off for interference, the combination of Primeau, Recchi, and Marty Murray clicked again knotting the score at 2-2.
By that time, the momentum swung to the Flyers and both teams were satisfied with the point.
It's a good moral victory against a team that is tops in the league and solid defensively. When the have a lead they don't relinquish very much, said Primeau.
Five on five, (Dallas) is a tough team, especially after you get two down against them, said Recchi. To get those two power play goals when you power play has been fighting it is very important for our hockey club…to come back and get that point was big.
The lingering story on the night is the hit on Mike Modano by Jeremy Roenick.
Roenick, fresh off a match penalty Thursday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs, was hit with a five-minute major for boarding the Stars’ Mike Modano early in the first period. Modano would not return to the ice following the hit and today the National Hockey League suspended Roenick for two games, without pay.
I’m not a dirty player, said Roenick. I play hard and finish my checks and sometimes you’re going to get caught in that situation, in a split second, things happen. I wasn’t the same after that…I really lost a lot of focus in the game.
After the game, reports were that while Modano may have suffered a closed head injury, it was not considered serious and Modano was not expected to miss the Stars’ next game.
Under terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Roenick will forfeit $83,333.34. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.
Roenick will be eligible to play in the Flyers December 23rd game in Ottawa.
Everything happens so fast...it’s unfortunate that it’s one of my buddies…I hope he understands that…it’s not something that I’m proud of, said Roenick.
The Flyers are two points ahead of last year’s pace (38 points to 36). The Flyers 2001-02 record after 30 games: 15-9-5-1. Their record this season is 15-7-7-1.
The Flyers are second in the NHL in goals-against-average and have allowed two goals or less in 23 of 30 games this season.
The Flyers have only allowed three even-strength goals in the first period over their first 17 home games and six even-strength goals overall in the first period (home/road combined).
The Flyers broke their scoreless streak on the power play (20 consecutive opportunities) with third period goals by Primeau and Recchi.
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