All season long, the Flyers' rookies have been an integral part of the clubs overall success.
From the day training camp opened, coach Peter Laviolette freely admitted, he knew there would be rookies on the team if for no other reason than the off-season changes that saw veterans replaced by them.
Matt Read, a strong candidate along with Sean Couturier for the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year, led all first-year players with 24 goals this season.
The playoffs seem to be just another extension for all six rookies on the roster.
Three games into this Eastern Conference quarterfinal series, the Flyers rookies have combined for six goals, six assists and 12 points.
Read had two goals in Sundays 8-4 melee win in Game 3.
I thought we all did our jobs out there, Read said of the Flyers rookie play.
We all played well and those little things like keeping your head up and having an extra look when your out there and just making the right plays and not worrying about getting hit or something like that. Just playing hockey and have fun with it.
The 25-year-old had an impact in the game on the score sheet.
Yeah, I guess so, Read said. We have a great rookie bunch in here and everyone plays their role and whose night it doesn't matter. We just make sure the teams winning and I was lucky with a couple goals. I'll move forward and worry about Game 4.
Reads first goal saw he come out of the corner on a turnaround shot in the slot, giving the Flyers a 4-2 lead in the first period.
His second goal came in the middle period on the power play and made it, 5-3.
It's kind of weird playoff hockey, Read said of the Flyers scoring 16 goals in the last two games. You don't really see it to many games where it's plus-10 goals.
It's two high-scoring teams and they are just playing to their systems and scoring. We just need to tighten up a little bit more defensively for us and just keep playing well.
Suffice to say, there will be no defense and little goaltending in this series.
Fellow rookies Brayden Schenn had two assists while 19-year-old Sean Couturier again held the NHLs Art Ross winner, Evgeni Malkin, without a goal.
Malkin has yet to score in the series after scoring 50 in the regular season.
I don't think we will stop talking about them, Max Talbot said of the rookies contributions in the series. Coots again, outstanding job. Maybe he doesn't have a hat trick, but all game long he played solid and he's tough to play against.
You look at a guy like Matt Read stepping up with the goals. They did it all season long and I feel like these guys knew their role all season long and they're a big part of our team so they just keep on doing it and it's a big part of our success right now."
Read thought Game 3 was the most physical of the series. No one would argue that. Which is why there will be three reviews Tuesday morning in the league office regarding likely suspensions to Penguin forwards James Neal and Arron Asham.
Yes, it was probably top of the charts, Read said of Game 3 antics. But like I said these games are fun to play in and you show up and the more you hit the more your into the game. You just enjoy it.
The Penguins clearly crossed the line in Game 3. Asham punching Schenn in the back of the head when he was down on the ice. Neal targeting Couturier up high with a blindside hit.
That doesn't matter, Read said. It's another game out there and you just have to worry about yourself and worry about your teammates and play smart, simple hockey. Just make sure you win that game.
The Flyers were pretty good about retaliation with only Zac Rinaldo taking a couple unnecessary penalties at the end in response to Neals hit on Couturier and also Claude Giroux.
Rinaldo is not under NHL review for anything he did.
You don't want to be stupid out there and get a suspension or a fine or something like that, Read said. You take care of yourself and make sure you do what's right for the team and take a punch or a slash, that doesn't matter in the long run. It's gonna feel good in the end.
E-mail Tim Panaccio at firstname.lastname@example.org