Wow, did all the storylines play out in this one or what? The Flyers pulled out the 4-3 victory in overtime tonight after losing a two-goal, 3-1 lead in the third period. This is a win the Flyers really can hang their hat on tonight, as they had absolutely everything thrown at them (and by them) from all directions, but were still improbably able to walk away with the W.
It started off right before gametime, when we found out Matt Carle wouldn't be playing against his former team. Reports said he suffered an upper body injury during warmups... love those vague injury descriptions. Stevens during his postgame presser:
Yeah he just uh, I'm not sure what we're calling that, but he had something to come up late... an upper body injury that just didn't allow him to play... I don't think he'll be long term, hopefully he'll be ready as early as Thursday.
A little sketchy if you ask me, but whatever. The Flyers were down a forward before the game even started, and it didn't get much better. With 2:33 left in the first, Scottie Upshall charged Evgeni Artyukhin along the boards, and while it certainly warrented a boarding or a charging minor penalty, what he got was ridiculous... a five minute boarding major and a game misconduct. Completely ridiculous. Love the unbiased officiating, NHL. Keep it up. For video of the hit, watch the 20 second mark of this video.
A Jeff Carter goal on the power play and a Mark Recchi PP tally made the score 1-1 after 1, and the second period would go scoreless as well.
After the second period, Danny Briere left the ice with a groin strain... the same injury he just missed two weeks for. HELLO, FLYERS... MAKE SURE GUYS ARE READY TO COME BACK BEFORE CLEARING THEM TO PLAY! Jesus, this shit happens all the time. LEARN YOUR LESSON! Christ. And poor Danny, really. In his pregame interview you could tell how excited he was to get back into game action, but clearly his body wasn't ready. He'll miss four to five weeks this time.
The third period was just beyond wacky. Tied at 1 and shorthanded , Mike Richards poked the puck past Steve Eminger along the boards and raced into the Tampa end on a two-on-one. He made a beautiful little toe-drag move to get around the Tampa defenseman, and then fired one past Mike Smith to give the Flyers the lead. It was Richie's 9th of the season and the Flyers bazillionth shorthanded goal on the season.
A few minutes later, Carter found himself amid traffic in the crease. He banged the loose puck past Smith to put the Flyers up 3-1, his 18th of the season (leads the league). But Tampa came charging back. Vaclav Prospal scored a really weird, ugly goal on the power play... it was a shot that bounced off Marty, went straight up, and somehow found its way into the net. 3-2.
And then, in the waning minutes of the period, Steve Downie. Biron gave up a nasty rebound, and our old friend was there to bang in the game-tying goal. It looked like we'd be going to OT, when:
I think this post from HFBoards sums up the rest of the game better than I could ever do, so here it is, without further comment.