For long stretches of tonight's game, it looked like the Flyers were going to lose, and badly at that. However, some late game heroics from unlikely sources forced the game to overtime, where Jake Voracek handily dealt the competition a devastating blow.
The Jets definitely came out looking like the more rested team, but thanks to a flub by the Winnipeg defense, the Flyers got on the board first (more on that later). However, as teams that dominate in possession tend to do, the Jets were able to tie the score shortly thereafter. So much for a Rob Zepp shutout…
And then it kept coming, with Dustin Byfuglien scoring seconds after the Jets' first goal. It seemed like relying on lucky bounces wasn't going to be a winning strategy for the Flyers (imagine that!).
Philadelphia certainly started playing a bit better after that second goal, getting some sustained pressure in the offensive zone. Hell, there were even a few decent scoring chances, namely Jake Voracek alone against Ondrej Pavelec thanks to a nifty pass at the blue line.
Regardless, the Jets ended the first period with a 2-1 lead, and to be honest, they kind of deserved it.
The second period lacked the offensive pop of the first, but even so, the Jets still looked like the better team. After playing like the better team for a while, they finally got on the board after Mathieu Perrault buried a loose puck past Rob Zepp.
Other than the Perrault goal, nothing of real consequence happened during the second period. Well, Zepp did make a pretty decent save on Mark Scheifele at the end of the period to keep the score 3-1. That was nice. Regardless, I was too angry at this point to be happy about that.
Chris VandeVelde almost scored at the beginning of the the third period -- it was so close that is had to go to video review. Alas, the latex magnate wasn't able to get it into net, instead ending up with a "double dinger." Damnit.
Despite that missed chance, the Flyers definitely took hold of the game at the beginning of the third period, which was a nice change of pace. Eventually, that hard work paid off, with Mark Streit blasting a shot past Pavelec. The hard work continued, and Vinny Lecavalier of all people was able to tie the game.
And hey, it went to overtime, but the Flyers won! Because of Jake Voracek! Yay!
Here are some of Al's Extra Hot Takes™:
- This game started out pretty damn insane. Winnipeg immediately gained the offensive zone off the opening draw and stayed there for quite some time. I was starting to think this game was going to be pretty damn bad. However, thanks to an ill-advised pinch made by Dustin Byfuglien, the Flyers found themselves with an odd-man rush. Claude Giroux was able to carry it into the zone and dish a nice pass to Jake Voracek, who scored on the first Flyers shot of the game. Awesome stuff, right there.
- Shortly after the start of the second period, Claude Giroux was visibly injured after Chris Thorburn (maybe accidentally) caught him up high with his stick. Giroux was slow to get up after that hit, but eventually seemed like he was fine. I guess all is well that ends well, but LET'S NOT DEAL WITH THAT KIND OF SCARE ANYMORE, OK?
- Maybe it's just me, but the Flyers seemed sloppy -- extra sloppy -- in their own zone tonight. Even guys that have been pleasant surprises at puck handling seemed like they were off their game. The Jets were able to sustain some decent offensive pressure tonight, and a good chunk of that was due to an inability of the Flyers to exit the defensive zone cleanly.
- With his goal in the first period, Jake Voracek has regained his rightful throne as NHL point leader. Back off, Tyler Seguin.
- Obviously, the focus of tonight for Flyers fans was how Robert Zepp would look in his first NHL start. Well, to be honest, I'm not sure I can say he was definitively one way or the other. The first two goals against him were pretty pure shots that he may or may not have been able to save. I'll put the blame a bit more on him for the third Winnipeg goal, with the caveat that the Flyers defensive pair of Andrew MacDonald and Luke Schenn provided absolutely no help. Still, he didn't exactly put up a decent save percentage tonight, so take that for what you will.
- At one point in the second period, Vincent Lecavalier took Michael Raffl's spot on the top line. Now, that may have been because Raffl was shaken up, but still...what?
- This has to be the dumbest thing that anyone said all night. I'm including everyone on planet earth, here:
After one, Jets 2,1 Flyers 1. Jets outshot Flyers, 16-9. Thought Flyers would throw a D blanket in front of Zepp. Didn't happen.— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) December 22, 2014
- Zac Rinaldo did not play tonight due to an injury. The Flyers won. Hmmmmmmmmm....
- The Flyers power play was absolutely abysmal tonight. They were blessed with two consecutive power plays at one point in the second period (when they were down 3-1), but just couldn't generate any scoring chances. For a team that is so bad at even strength, they need to take advantage of every extra man situation they get, and that just didn't happen tonight.
- Sean Couturier's line had a really rough time tonight, finishing dead last in terms of shot attempt differential for the Flyers. Maybe it's time to reconsider their usage, or maybe it's time to get R.J. Umberger the hell off that line. What do I know?
- Dustin Byfuglien puts this light blue tape on the heel of his stick. I think that is stupid, and maybe he should spend more time trying to figure out how he can get traded to the Flyers for a third round pick or something. Just sayin'.
- I feel like I heard that "Bang Bang" song like six times tonight through the MTS Centre speakers. Stop it. Just. Stop it.