In some ways, today’s game was a lot like a number of other Flyers games so far this year — lots of goals for both teams (thanks in no small part to questionable goaltending), crazy second periods, and a comeback of sorts for the team wearing orange.
In other ways, today’s game was almost nothing like most of the Flyers’ games to date this season. A fairly strong start (and an early lead!), success on the penalty kill, and the team in orange actually finding itself with a lead instead of chasing one in the game’s final minutes.
But however they would get there, the Flyers were able to snap their two-game skid and bounce back from a tough loss on Saturday night with a 4-3 win over the division rival Carolina Hurricanes, thanks to a third-period short-handed goal and some scoring from unlikely (and likely) sources.
Outside of a few scattered but strong shifts from Carolina (including one in which the Flyers’ fourth line was hemmed in for what appeared to be more than a full minute), the Flyers did a solid job in the first period managing the game and getting chances. They’d finally cash in on a chance late in the frame, as a Shayne Gostisbehere wrister on the power play would find its way past Cam Ward, who very much would probably like another chance at stopping that shot.
That was the only score of the period, as the Flyers would go to the first intermission up 1-0. In a reversal from how things have gone so far this year, it was the first game of the season for the Flyers in which they held a lead at the end of the first period.
Of course, as has been a trend in games this year, the second period was where things started to get particularly exciting. While the Flyers would control the general flow of the period (they nearly doubled the ‘Canes in 5-on-5 shot attempts in the period), that didn’t stop them from allowing the home team its fair share of offense.
The Flyers’ good vibes from leading after a period for the first time all year did not last particularly long, as Carolina needed just 61 seconds to tie things up once the second period began. Like Gostisbehere’s game-opening goal before it, Justin Faulk’s game-tying goal came on a shot from the point, one on which Michal Neuvirth appeared to be screened by both Lee Stempniak and, unfortunately, Ivan Provorov.
But the recurring trend of the night so far — goals scored on long point shots — would swing back in the Flyers’ favor, as Radko Gudas would let one go from just inside the blue line only to see it slip past Ward for a 2-1 lead. A bit of a screen in front of Ward, but again, a goal he’d probably like to have back.
Carolina, though, would not only knot things up but take the lead quickly in a pretty short timeframe later in the period. Carolina would score two goals in 1:45, and both of them — a Jeff Skinner shot from just outside the blue paint on a delayed penalty, and a Viktor Stalberg partial breakaway that came after Provorov mishandled the puck in the neutral zone — were ones that slipped through the five-hole on Neuvirth and are ones that you admittedly would like to see him stop.
However, the last big swing of the period would go the Flyers’ way. An incredible no-look pass from Simmonds, who won the race to the puck on the forecheck and made said pass inches away from the boards, went right onto the stick of Claude Giroux, who would one-time it home for his second goal of the season. The goal extended his ongoing point streak to nine games, because he is good at hockey. (People forget this.)
The third period was a bit of a bumpy ride, with some good pressure from Carolina forcing Neuvirth to make a few of his better saves of the evening. And after a good shift from the home team forced the Flyers to the penalty kill after a hook by Provorov, things looked dire for the Flyers as they hoped to avoid falling behind and staring their third straight loss in the face.
Instead, they’d flip that penalty on its head and take the lead themselves. Some great play by Pierre-Edouard Bellemare in the defensive zone got the puck out, and from the neutral zone he’d find Brandon Manning streaking up the center of the ice. Manning would let a shot rip from the top of the left circle, from which it was ticketed for the top-right corner where Ward couldn’t quite reach it.
The Flyers, who have clearly grown a bit too accustomed to playing from behind in the third period instead of with a lead, continued to play perhaps a bit too defensively, as Carolina had almost all of the pressure the rest of the way (the Flyers didn’t register a shot on goal in the 12 minutes after the go-ahead goal, which is, arguably, bad, and not good).
But a few stoppages in the final minute gave Philadelphia a chance to reset, and they’d close the door and pick up a key divisional win.
Comment of the Evening:
Maybe he stole ghost’s powers like those aliens in spacejam… except he tricked him into touching his puck
Back at it on Wednesday at home against Detroit. We’ve got some things to talk about between now and then, but a win is a win. Go Eagles. And, also, go Flyers.