Saturday night’s 4-1 victory over the Nashville Predators was the exact type of performance the Flyers need in order to be successful during the final stretch of the season and into the playoffs And it all boiled down to getting above average goaltending.
Marty Biron confidently stopped 31 of 32 shots faced, including a dynamic recovering stick save at the goal line, that is sure to be a staple of every Flyers’ highlight reel from now till the end of the season. And despite Joffrey Lupul’s two-goal performance, Biron was clearly the Flyers’ MVP of the game.
“It’s the best I’ve felt in a bit, moving laterally and seeing the puck,” Biron said. “Fighting the puck, fighting for
Courtesy Getty Imagesrebounds. The way my legs felt, it was good.”
Unlike many previous outings this season, Biron gobbled up the majority of shots he faced, not allowing rebounds. With many Predators standing on the doorstep for tap-in goals, Biron held strong.
“He was aggressive, he was square, confident and he held onto pucks,” said Flyers’ coach John Stevens. “It looks like it is a confident Marty that we are used to seeing.”
Steady, with the occasional big save, is exactly what the Flyers need by their goaltenders to go deep in the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs. If not, it could be one series and out for the Flyers.
“I hate to say this, but this is what we need from our goalies,” said Kimmo Timonen, about big performances from the back stops. “Be really good every night. That’s hard to say but that is what we’re hoping for. If they play like that, we’ll win. He had some timely saves there that were huge for us. Hopefully, he can continue to play like that.”
Biron is currently ranked 21st in the NHL in goals against average with .912% and is second to last in the league in goals against average with 2.79, only ahead of backup Vancouver goalie Jason Labarbera. For a Stanley Cup contender, those numbers will not cut it once the competition strengthens.
“You have to have great goaltending this time of year,” said Flyers’ veteran Mike Knuble. “Johnny (Stevens) mixed them (Biron and Antero Niittymaki) up. They seem to go back and forth and I don’t know if he’ll ever stick with one goalie.”
If Biron can repeat his Nashville performance with one equally as impressive against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday, the Flyers, as well as Stevens’ job may get a lot easier down the stretch.