The Flyers beat the Devils 3-0 on April Fools Day in a game that was anything but funny.
Brayden Schenn scored a power play goal early in the first. Colin McDonald, called up from the Phantoms before the game, scored a goal as well and Jordan Weal added another goal to set the scoring up for the game.
However, drama and fear were bigger themes of the game.
First, Steve Mason was pulled from the game late in the afternoon due to an illness and Anthony Stolarz was called up as well to replace him. Stolarz missed warmups as he was stuck in traffic on I-95. Eric Semborski was the backup goalie had Stolarz not arrived. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue, but just 4:38 into the game, Michal Neuvirth, who drew the start with Mason ill collapsed in a scary moment in his goal crease. After being attended to for several minutes, Neuvirth was whisked away on a stretcher to hospital as chants of “Let’s Go Neuvirth” echoed through the Wells Fargo Center. Stolarz entered the game to finish off the shutout, save for a cameo from Semborski with 24 seconds left. Semborski hit the ice, only to be pulled by the referee as he was an emergency goalie and Stolarz finished the game and the shutout.
This wasn’t the only drama, after a clean hit by Radko Gudas, Dalton Prout of the Devils was tossed from the game for delivering a driving head hit. Gudas attempted to finish the game, but was pulled for the third period. Wayne Simmonds fought Prout after the play. Mere seconds later, Dale Weise was also ejected for a late hit on a Devil. It’s possible that both Prout and Weise will be receiving extra discipline from the league. Midway through the third period, Wayne Simmonds and Miles Wood were both tossed for getting too physical as the referees were tasked with maintaining some semblance of order.
The Flyers play the Devils again on April 4, in a game that neither team may have any playoff hopes to play for.