After Tuesday’s contest against the Bruins, one in which the most frequent frustrating game narrative of the Flyers’ season (play well for most of the game, have some bad defensive breakdowns/penalty-killing/poor goaltending, lose) was flipped on its head (team plays terribly for most of the game, is bailed out by its goaltending, wins in shootout), it was only fitting to expect that the Flyers may have a bit of a letdown tonight more reminiscent of some of their early-season losses this year. If only because, y’know, we’re Flyers fans who aren’t really allowed to have good things continue to happen to us for extended periods of time.
And through about 35 minutes of this game, it looked like we were going to get just that. Thanks to a power play goal off of some great offensive zone passing and a point shot that bounced off of Mark Streit right onto Ryan Dzingel’s stick, the Flyers looked poised to cough up another game that they largely controlled.
But then a funny thing happened: the Flyers won. Again.
Yes, two goals a minute apart late in the second period tied the score at 2 apiece, and after a scoreless third period bereft of much action or suspense, a fantastic sequence between the team’s two top forwards created the game-winner less than a minute into overtime, giving the Flyers a 3-2 road win over the Ottawa Senators for their second three-game winning streak of the season.
It’s easy to pick the hero in this one, as Claude Giroux — fresh off of a somewhat important Real Life Achievement last night — scored two goals tonight, one of which opened up the Flyers’ scoring and one of which ended the game in overtime. (Guess this is what happens when he’s trying to impress the people in the stands when he’s playing nearby to his home of Hearst, Ontario.) Jakub Voracek also gets a shoutout, as he set up both of those goals in fairly impressive fashion.
But there was a lot to like across the board tonight! The Shayne Gostisbehere - Andrew MacDonald pairing actually played very well, on both sides of the pair, and for the second game in a row they were unquestionably the Flyers’ best pairing on defense. The Travis Konecny/Wayne Simmonds line looked a bit more active, particularly in the offensive zone, with Brayden Schenn playing center. And the Flyers as a whole out-shot Ottawa 32-21 and out-attempted them handily as well — 79-51 overall, 63-43 at 5-on-5. (Also, the Flyers miiiiiiiight have caught a break on not being called offsides before their first goal. Shhh.)
As always, not all was perfect. Special teams didn’t swing the Flyers’ way tonight, as they were immediately gashed on one of the two penalty kills they had and they couldn’t cash in on any of four attempts of their own. And the team definitely let up on the gas a bit in the third period, maybe playing for overtime a bit more than you’d like to see.
All in all, though, it’s just nice to see good things happening, still spend most of the night expecting the worst (because, well, it’s us), only to be pleasantly surprised to pick up two points when all is said and done. The win puts the Flyers within one win of actual-.500 (in other words, as many wins as losses) for the first time since November 5. Exciting times!
Chicago on Saturday afternoon back in South Philly. Four ... wins in a row? It’d be cool. Go Flyers. Observations in the morning. Here are your highlights.
Just taking this time to remind you the Cleveland Indians blew a 3-1 lead in the World Series pic.twitter.com/7qu89lAz2W— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) December 2, 2016
Fun Fact: Ryan Dzingel was drafted with a 7th rounder, acquired for Alexei Kovalev— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) December 2, 2016
Not Fun Fact: Steve Mason let in this goal pic.twitter.com/EMj7hFQMw4
Getting married, scoring goals. Claude Giroux has a lot going for him right now. pic.twitter.com/j1qEwq2VME— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) December 2, 2016