A shootout was needed in the exhibition game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Philadelphia Flyers at the John Labatt Centre on Thursday night.
Overtime solved nothing, but Ian White finally ended the game in the eighth shootout round, slipping a shot past Flyers’ goalie Michael Leighton to give Detroit a 4-3 victory.
The preseason contest was a lacklustre affair until Philadelphia’s James van Riemsdyk took over in the second half of the game. The Flyers’ left winger scored two goals and assisted on Wayne Simmonds’ game-tying goal with less than a minute left in regulation time to knot the game at three.
“In the preseason, you’re still trying to work some things out — get back that game form,” van Riemsdyk said. “The key is to get better and better each game you’re out there.”
The pace in the second period quickened considerably.
“Sometimes it takes you a little bit to get going — I think we got better as the game went on,” van Riemsdyk said.
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Down 2-0 in the second, Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux was stopped on a breakaway, but gathered his miss and fed van Riemsdyk in the slot to put Philadelphia on the board.
Detroit thoroughly outplayed the Flyers in the third period as the puck was in Philadelphia’s end for most of the 20 minutes. But the Flyers stormed back with two late goals: a power-play marker by van Riemsdyk and Simmonds’ aforementioned tally with the net empty.
The crowd inside the JLC was rewarded with a furious pace in the dying moments of the third period and a number of back and forth rushes in overtime. They were on their feet during the shootout.
“I’ve played here three years now and every time the crowd’s been pretty good and tonight was no different,” van Riemsdyk said.