The goal that Shayne Gostisbehere scored won’t be on plays of the week, but the guy’s had a rough couple of days. He needs the confidence more than the highlight.
Gostisbehere dusted himself off after being benched and scored his second goal of the season and his first on the power play as the Flyers pulled away from the limping Red Wings, 6-1, on Friday at the Wells Fargo Center
“He had a great game. He was very confident with the puck,” said Jake Voracek, who had three assists, including the primary on Gostisbehere’s goal. “That’s really hard to do when you’re coming off a three-game [benching]. To just get into the game and do what you’re good at sometimes is hard to do when you’ve been out for a while.”
Gostisbehere also drew a penalty, at one point stick-handled through several Detroit defenders to set up another chance, and was efficient for most of the game.
“You’re more into the game a little bit [after you score]," said Gostisbehere, who played nearly 20 minutes. “Obviously, it’s good to see it go in, but defensively, you’ve got your legs a little bit. You’ve got that adrenaline rush.”
» READ MORE: Shayne Gostisbehere reacts to being benched
The Flyers won by five goals, but this was far from a breezy skate on the pond. Detroit is the worst team in the league, hadn’t scored in a week, and is riddled with injuries. And its starting goaltender was in the minor leagues two days ago.
Gostisbehere’s goal came in the final minute of the first period. He had his back to goalie Calvin Pickard but got enough on a backhanded shot that it was able to deflect in.
Sean Couturier’s goal in the final minute of the second period gave the Flyers a 3-1 lead and some breathing room.
James van Riemsdyk closed out the scoring with his first goal in 11 games as the Flyers improved to 16-0-1 at home against Detroit since losing twice here in the 1997 Stanley Cup Final.
“It always feels good to get one when it’s been a few games,” said van Riemsdyk, whose slump has him stuck on the fourth line while he remains on the power play.
He had a chance to get on the board in the second but failed to get his stick on a pass with a wide-open net.
“I kind of lost the puck for a second there and just missed it,” he said. “That’s kind of been the story for the start of my season, but I’m going to stick with it and keep bearing down in those scoring areas. Keep shooting, keep staying aggressive, and ultimately it will even itself out.”
Kevin Hayes and Oskar Lindblom scored 30 seconds apart in the first minute of the third period to give the Flyers a four-goal cushion before JVR ended the scoring. The Flyers, 9-2-4 this month, have one more chance to add to their excellent November when they play at Montreal on Saturday.
Carter Hart had another strong game, stopping 32 shots to improve to 6-1-2 at home. Gostisbehere was the game’s first star, but that nominal honor could just as easily have gone to the Flyers goaltender.
To get Gostisbehere into the lineup, Vigneault benched rookie Phil Myers. The coach needed to juggle his defense even more after Matt Niskanen took a puck to the face and missed the last 12 minutes of the first period. Fortunately, it caromed off his visor (and then off the post), but he still needed 15 stitches.
Niskanen, the team’s steadiest defenseman, assisted on Couturier’s second-period goal.
“I’m numb right now,” he said immediately after the game. “It’s not as bad as it looks -- I’m assuming it looks pretty bad. It’s just a slice, nothing major. ... It’s not as big of a deal as you might think.”
The Flyers close out this recent grind of four games in less than six full days with a visit to Montreal, which has dropped six in a row and has given up 20 goals in its last three games. Carey Price, last seen smashing his goal stick during a loss Thursday night to the Devils, was the goaltender for those last three.
The Flyers beat the Canadiens in overtime in Philadelphia on Nov. 7.
“We’re going to play a team that’s lost a couple of tough games here,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “They’re going to be focused. They’re going to be hungry. We’ve got to find a way and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
Brian Elliott will get the start in goal against Montreal.