Shayne Gostisbehere is going to haunt the nightmares of the Carolina Hurricanes for a long time.
On November 14th, he assisted on the game-tying goal against the Hurricanes. Two weeks later, he ended an overtime against Carolina with a power play tally. And tonight, Gostisbehere proved the closer once again, beating Carolina goalie Eddie Lack two minutes into the overtime session to give the Flyers a 4-3 victory.
Jakub Voracek had his most productive game of the season, finishing with three points, including a primary assist on Gostisbehere's game winner. Sean Couturier added a goal and an assist of his own, and goaltender Michal Neuvirth made 29 saves.
Carolina took the lead early. Brandon Manning stepped up in the neutral zone to cut off a pass but failed to do so, which allowed Jeff Skinner to enter the offensive zone with control of the puck. He changed direction at the right faceoff circle, using Shayne Gostisbehere as a screen to help him beat Neuvirth through the five-hole - a goal reminiscent of Keith Primeau's legendary game-winner in 5OT against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Tight play in the middle of the ice was the story of the remainder of the period, as both teams struggled to generate much in the way of end-to-end rushes. However, as the period came to a close, the Flyers could not seem to get out of their own zone, allowing for the Hurricanes to rack up shots on Neuvirth via the cycle game and regain possession of the puck due to an aggressive forecheck. Still, the 1-0 score held through the end of the first.
Philadelphia came out flying in the second period. Newly bumped up to the team's second line alongside Sean Couturier and Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek scored his second goal of the year to tie the game at one, redirecting a Radko Gudas slap pass by Eddie Lack. The Flyers were temporarily halted, however, by a weak Scott Laughton interference penalty that sent Carolina to the power play. The Hurricanes would take full advantage, as Skinner potted his second of the night, directing a midair puck past Neuvirth to put Carolina back in front.
The Flyers were not fazed. After Gostisbehere halted a potential Carolina rush in the neutral zone, Michael Raffl was able to find Brayden Schenn in the slot and he did not fail to capitalize. Schenn ripped a high wrist shot past Lack to again tie the contest, this time at 2-2.
Yet again, penalties threatened to slow the Flyers. Brad Malone delivered a low hit to Michael Raffl in the neutral zone, drawing an obvious penalty. But Wayne Simmonds felt the need to defend his teammate, and absolutely pummeled Malone in an ensuing fight. The referees were not amused, punishing Simmonds with a total of 17 penalty minutes, including a two-minute instigator that nullified the upcoming power play and a ten-minute misconduct that sent him to the dressing room.
It may have been a blessing in disguise. With Simmonds off the ice, Flyers coach Dave Hakstol was forced to temporarily promote Matt Read back to the second line, this time with Couturier and Voracek. On their first shift together, the line blasted through the neutral zone led by Couturier, who flipped a shot on goal with the aim of creating a rebound for his speeding teammate Gostisbehere. Instead, it bounced off Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin and into the net, giving Philadelphia their first lead of the game. They would hold that lead through the end of the period.
The third period started strong for the Flyers, as they killed an Evgeny Medvedev penalty and continued to create consistent pressure in the offensive zone despite holding a one-goal lead. But Jeff Skinner simply would not be denied on this night. With about eleven minutes remaining, Phillip Di Giuseppe created a controlled zone entry by sending a pass right by Claude Giroux, and Skinner did the rest. He maneuvered around Medvedev, and then took advantage of a screen from Michael Del Zotto to flip a knuckler by Neuvirth to tie the score yet again. The remainder of the third period would see back-and-forth action but no goals, setting up the exciting overtime session and yet another Gostisbehere game winner.
Comment of the Night:
Wtf, on a side note: is it just me or does Laughton always looks angry/annoyed?