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Flyers at Ducks recap: New year, same result as Flyers lose wild game in a shootout

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A frustrating game in which the Flyers dominated play but didn’t gain two points.

Philadelphia Flyers v Anaheim Ducks

Goals, hats and a shirtless Wayne Simmonds -- yes, really -- were all on display as the Flyers and Ducks took center ice on New Year’s Day.

In an east meets west game, it was the Ducks that came out on top by way of shootout as the Flyers were on the wrong end of the 4-3 score. The Flyers picked up a point in the standings after dropping three straight.

The evening kicked off with some fireworks just a few minutes in as Simmonds dropped the gloves with 35-year-old Kevin Bieksa. After a few blows to Bieksa, Simmonds found himself undressed (literally) as his jersey and pads were lifted up over him, resulting in a few shirtless punches thrown before the refs stepped in.

Following the brief Magic Mike-esque moment, the Ducks found themselves on the man advantage about a minute later. It was on that power play when Sami Vatanen rung one off the post as he blasted one over Steve Mason’s shoulder. No harm, no foul… until the Ducks struck first at the 12:05 mark when a defensive breakdown saw Jake Voracek having to defend the crease, opting to play the pass and seeing the puck go between his legs to an unmarked Ryan Kesler for the score.

It only took the Flyers, who were shut out in their previous game, 19 seconds to respond as recently-scratched Travis Konecny followed up his initial shot by sliding the rebound past a sprawling John Gibson to even the score and end his 22-game goalless drought. Simmonds picked up his 15th assist of the season on the play.

Philadelphia controlled play for much of the remaining time, but were unable to find paydirt during a brief onslaught of shots. They nearly had a power play when Josh Manson sent Konecny face first into the boards. The refs, though, saw things a bit differently, determining the 19-year-old had embellished the hit, resulting in a 4-on-4 situation as opposed to the Flyers having two minutes with a leg up. Shortly after, it was Kesler once again that beat Mason to take a 2-1 lead for Anaheim before the intermission. Like his first goal, Kesler was unopposed down low.

The night was only beginning for Kesler, however. He found himself alone and behind the Flyers defense on the breakout as he wristed one past Mason for the hat trick and a 3-1 lead a little over one minute into the second period. It was one that Mason should have had.

Like his first goal, though, the Flyers responded rather quickly as Sean Couturier corralled the rebound and lifted it over Gibson 37 seconds later. Their response didn’t end there, though. The Flyers went to the power play as a result of a Hampus Lindholm holding. That was when Brayden Schenn saw a shot go off Gibson’s pad right onto his stick and fired back into the net to even the score. That appeared to be the end of Gibson’s night as Jonathan Bernier entered the game but two stoppages later, the Ducks decided to have him re-enter the game. OK, then.

The score by Schenn erased a multi-goal deficit -- it was the 11th time the Flyers have done that this season.

While the scoreboard suggested even play, it was anything but as the Flyers dominated possession through the first two periods despite the 3-3 deadlock going into the third. Entering the final 20 minutes, the Flyers held an impressive 38-13 advantage in shots on net. This coming after they had totaled just 41 shots over the previous two games. Per Elias Sports Bureau, that was the most shots by the Flyers through 40 minutes since Oct. 13, 2001 versus Florida.

The strong play carried over into the start of the third period. At the 17:45 mark, the Flyers’ best opportunity of the night was presented to them in the form of a four-minute man-advantage courtesy of a Logan Shaw high-sticking double-minor.

There were a few good looks from the Flyers through the first two minutes, including a pair of Giroux shots that needed lunging saves from Gibson to cut them down. That would be about all they could muster over the four minutes, though, as Anaheim actually wound up with a dangerous 2-on-1 at one point that saw Mason snuff out a Jakob Silfverberg backhander. In total, the Flyers put five shots on net during the four minute span.

Missed opportunity behind them, the Flyers continued to pepper Gibson with rubber. Unfortunately for them, the once-pulled-from-the-game goalie went from scapegoat to savior as he pulled off some highlight reel saves to keep his team alive.

Over the final two minutes, the Ducks displayed some push back, even controlling play for a bit, but Mason was up for the task, including one save on a Corey Perry wraparound.

Despite holding a 52-23 shots advantage after 60 minutes, the Flyers couldn’t pick up their first regulation win since Dec. 14.

Simmonds had the first real opportunity in overtime as Brayden Schenn delivered a drop pass between the dots in the offensive zone in which Simmonds carried the puck to the left of Gibson, who was able to cut off the angle. Schenn then made a brutal turnover in the Ducks’ zone that led to a breakaway for Rickard Rakell. Mason was up for the task once again, eventually stopping an ensuing shot about five seconds later.

Ivan Provorov used some nifty stick work to go left and right around a defender for a point blank shot that went into the chest of Gibson with about two and a half minutes to go in the extra period. Shayne Gostisbehere later found himself alone in front with his shot redirecting over Gibson and just wide off the net.

The flurry didn’t die there as Michael Del Zotto, who had played a pretty sub-par game up to this point, ripped one on net that knocked the mask off of Gibson and stopped play. That would be the final shot of overtime, setting up the infamous shootout.

The shootout results:

Anaheim

  1. Rakell - Goal
  2. Kase - Save
  3. Fowler - Save
  4. Silfverberg - Save
  5. Perry - Goal

Philadelphia

  1. Gostisbehere - Save
  2. Giroux - Save
  3. Voracek - Goal
  4. Simmonds - Save
  5. Couturier - Save

Notes to know:

  • Couturier, in his third game back from injury, scored his first goal since Nov. 17.
  • The Flyers have an eight-game losing streak to Anaheim. Their last win against the Ducks was Dec. 2, 2011.
  • The 24 shots by the Flyers in the 2nd period was the most they have had in a single period all season. The previous high was 22.
  • Sticking with the theme of shots, the Flyers’ 55 shots were the most Anaheim has given up to a team in any game this season. It also was the most the Flyers have had in any game, as well.
  • Brandon Manning was the only Flyer to not record a shot on net. Schenn fired seven shots.