ZHERDEV TO STAY IN THE LINEUP?
So read the saga of Nik Zherdev.
The guy so angered coach Peter Laviolette with his lazy play in one half of the ice that it didn't matter how offensively gifted he was, damn it he wasn't going to be in the lineup come hell or high water.
Well, the high water never came, but the offensive drought sure did. And it was that scoring famine that pushed Laviolette to grit his teeth and dress Zherdev for a game for the first time since March 6.
He played on a line with Jeff Carter and Claude Giroux, and it was the Flyers best offensive line for the entire 4-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils.
Laviolette even mustered up enough will power to say something nice about Zherdev.
"I put Nik back in because he's been working hard and I wanted to give him that opportunity," Laviolette said. "I thought he responded as maybe one of our top forwards tonight."
Zherdev still left a little to be desired defensively, but hey, you can't ask for the world.
He did assist on the Carter goal and it was his first point in a game since January 23.
"I work hard and keep practicing and I played good," Zherdev said.
And until the Flyers figure out their offensive woes, it's a good bet Zherdev will be in the lineup.
Some interesting notes:
- The Flyers were credited with just one giveaway in the entire game (seems like the official scorers weren't paying attention but anyway...) if it is true, it matches a season low. They only had one giveaway in Columbus back in October.
- The Flyers blocked only four shots in the game - a season low.
- The Flyers are 33-8-5 when scoring the first goal. They finished the season series 3-2-1 against the Devils.
- And from the AHL: the Phantoms defeated Albany Friday 9-5. The nine goals matched a franchise record done three times previously, but not since Dec., 1999 at the Spectrum. Mike Testwuide had a hat trick and Michael Ryan had a five-point night (two goals, three assists).