The Flyers played a pretty even game tonight, on the road, against a Columbus Blue Jackets team that is a few days removed from the end of a 16-game winning streak. They lost said game by a score of 2-1 thanks to an overtime goal by the home team, completing a close-fought but still tough-to-swallow loss to a division rival.
For the Flyers, this one will go down as a game of just-missed chances and tough breaks, chief among them a pair of challenges that both ended up going in the Blue Jackets’ favor.
Just under two minutes into the game, Andrew MacDonald let a shot rip from near the blue line, and it would go bar-down past Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. The officials instantly called a goal, and it wasn’t until John Tortorella would call a challenge that the officials would go back and waive said goal off, deeming that Michael Raffl pushed Columbus defenseman Ryan Murray into Bobrovsky and thus rendering him unable to make the save.
Flyers goal called back for goaltender interference pic.twitter.com/bKtlSrjfb3— GIF Grand Maester (@myregularface) January 8, 2017
The other particularly important call later in the game that didn’t swing the Flyers’ way was a second-period shot from David Savard that would find its way past Mason. Dave Hakstol would ultimately decide to challenge this one for goaltender interference, and after some time to review, the league would turn down his challenge, deeming that Columbus forward Josh Anderson didn’t interfere with Mason in such a way that prevented him from making the save.
Pardon? You want to tell me that Anderson’s left skate here doesn’t clearly impede Mason’s attempt to move across the crease?
Clear skate to skate interference, but it's a good goal. pic.twitter.com/rmEIkr7tVU— Sons of Penn (@SonsofPenn) January 9, 2017
Now, it’s true: we’re all homers, different people will see these two calls in different ways, and we should look at the two separately, as the refs’ priority is to get the calls on the ice right rather than play both sides of the game evenly. But for about 59 minutes of the game, this was the story of the night for the Flyers, because it’s really tough to see two similar calls like that on opposite ends of the ice both go towards the other team.
With that said, this was also the story of the game for most of the night because honestly not a whole lot else happened in this one. The Flyers only had one power play in the game. Brayden Schenn whiffed on two golden chances right at point-blank range, including one not long after Savard’s goal where he skied a puck above the crossbar from about six feet away despite staring at an empty net.
But it was Schenn who would redeem himself for those missed chances in the final minute of regulation, as he’d put the puck past Bobrovsky with the extra attacker to put the Flyers on the board and tie the game up.
That would give the Flyers a point that looked unlikely for much of the evening, but it’d be the only one they’d get, as a pass into traffic by Jakub Voracek would give Columbus a 3-on-2 in overtime that would turn into the game-winning goal by Nick Foligno.
The Flyers are back at it on Tuesday night against Buffalo, and they’ll play four games in the next seven days before they take their five-day bye week. Go Flyers.