With the Flyers coming into today as the NHL's lowest-scoring team, facing off with an opponent that is both outstanding defensively and a-bit-less-than-that offensively, a low-scoring game would have surprised no one. And for the most part, that was what we got.
But a higher-paced third period and overtime saw things pick up a bit, before we witnessed an ending very similar to the one we witnessed on Monday against Carolina en route to a 3-2 overtime victory. An overtime winner by the team's exciting rookie defenseman -- along with some great goaltending from Michal Neuvirth and even (gasp!) some even strength scoring -- got the Flyers in the win column for the second time this week.
An excellent opening shift from the top line was undone about as quickly as possble, as FIlip Forsberg put home a shot in the game's second minute. But Michael Del Zotto's first goal of the year -- reminiscient of so many of his goals from last season, as he took a feed from Brayden Schenn on the rush and wired it from the left circle to the top-right corner of the net -- tied things up fairly quickly.
While the game looked like it had the potential to be a barnburner after those first four minutes, things slowed down drastically after that, which shouldn't be too surprising given the aforementioned offensive struggles these two teams have had this year. A couple of chances here and there, including a great shorthanded split-save by Michal Neuvirth on a rush, but not a whole lot of high-quality chances in either direction. Given how things have gone for the Flyers lately, for them to skate right there shift-by-shift with a very solid Nashville team was a welcomed sight.
It was Evgeny Medvedev -- playing in his first game in two-plus weeks after being a healthy scratch -- whose point shot made it through to Pekka Rinne in the third period, and it was Colin McDonald -- in just his second game as a Flyer -- who put the rebound home around Rinne to provide what looked like it would be the game-winner. A number of calm yet crucial saves by Neuvirth in the final frame sealed the game up for the Flyers brought the Flyers close to their first regulation win since November 7.
Unfortunately, the patented Lavy Timeout reared its head in the Wells Fargo Center yet again, and this time the Flyers were on the painful end of it, as a scramble in front was knocked home by Mike Fisher with just 20 seconds left to rob the Flyers of their regulation win.
But for the second time this week, a penalty in overtime -- this one, a fairly silly too many men penalty on Nashville -- gave the Flyers a chance to turn the 3-on-3 into a 4-on-3. And for the second time this week, it was the rookie Shayne Gostisbehere bombing a one-timer home on the power play -- seconds after a timeout by Dave Hakstol himself -- to give the Flyers a win and send the fans home happy.
While by no means a perfect performance for the Flyers, they were able to generate pretty solid offensive pressure and 36 shots on goal against a really, really good defensive team. Needing to shake off a very rough performance on Wednesday night against the Islanders, Dave Hakstol will likely be pleased with his team's efforts today.
Additional observations from the game can be found here.