As the seconds ticked away on 3-on-3 overtime, it seemed likely that the Philadelphia Flyers would be forced to earn a much-needed victory in the dreaded shootout. Claude Giroux and Shayne Gostisbehere had other ideas.
Gostisbehere recovered an errand pass with a diving play in the offensive zone and fed a wide-open Giroux, who slipped a shot past goaltender Ondrej Pavelec with 13.6 seconds remaining to give the Flyers 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Mark Streit and Wayne Simmonds also scored for the Flyers, who failed to protect a 2-1 lead in the third period, which necessitated Giroux's heroics. Steve Mason made 26 saves in the victory, while Pavelec stopped 29 for Winnipeg.
The Flyers stormed out of the gate looking like a team with their eyes on the playoffs. They took the first seven shots of the game, and just seconds after Winnipeg finally tested Mason for the first (and second) time, Philadelphia found themselves on the man advantage. But the Flyers' recent power play struggles continued, and they were unable to muster even a single shot.
Following the successful kill, the Jets began to assert their authority led by their top line of Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers. Repeatedly pinning Philadelphia's shutdown line centered by Sean Couturier deep in their own zone, Winnipeg created their fair share of chances, even if they too could not find a way to put a goal up on the scoreboard in the first period.
The second line had no intentions of repeating its underwhelming first period. On their opening shift of the period, Couturier found a pinching Mark Streit with a cross-ice pass which the defenseman promptly buried to give Philadelphia a 1-0 lead. Soon after, the Flyers would extend their advantage to two as Wayne Simmonds ripped a wrister from the high slot that fooled Pavelec.
Unfortunately, a Jakub Voracek offensive zone turnover quieted the Wells Fargo Center crowd just over a minute later. With the Flyers buzzing, Voracek tried to slip an ill-advised pass by Mark Scheifele and instead allowed the Jets forward to jump out on a breakaway, which he quickly turned into the first Winnipeg goal of the game. From then through the end of the period, the game became a back-and-forth affair, with each side getting its fair share of chances but neither able to light the lamp again.
It took only two minutes and 35 seconds of the third period for the Jets to make Philadelphia's lead disappear. This time, it was Blake Wheeler beating Mason to even the score at 2-2. Spurred on by the loss of their advantage, the Flyers pushed the play through the remainder of the period but could not find an answer for Pavelec, who stopped all nine Philadelphia shots. That set up a frantic overtime that concluded with the heroics of Giroux and Gostisbehere.
Questions to Answer:
- The Flyers' last game was chippy, physical, and more than a bit frustrating. Any carry-over from that game for the orange and black tonight? Not much in the way of chippy play. There were only four penalties called, as the Flyers spent most of the game avoiding Jets hits rather than dishing out punishment.
- Speaking of which, how's Claude Giroux look after his scary incident on Saturday? Oh captain, my captain.
- Can the Flyers get their forecheck going and establish themselves against a big Jets defense that has a size advantage over them? Surprisingly yes. The bottom-six especially had a number of strong forechecking shifts in the offensive zone, while skilled forwards used high-difficulty passes (Couturier) and slick moves on the rush (Simmonds) to create their chances.
- Power play goal? Maybe? Not this time. The top power play unit had their best shift in about a week on a second period opportunity, though. Baby steps.
- Six in a row for Steve Mason. Does he eventually just disintegrate mid-game on the ice? And if not, how does he look tonight? Mason wasn't one of the stars of the game, but 26 saves on 28 shots (0.929 save percentage) will be enough for this Flyers team to win on almost every night.
Comment of the Night:
Usually when i get this stoned they win. Good vibes i guess.
-- South Philly JC