The Flyers closed out their West Coast run tonight in Anaheim. The Ducks had won the last eight meetings between these two teams, but the Flyers broke that streak with an exciting 3-2 overtime win.
Brian Elliott, despite his less than exemplary career record against the Ducks, showed early strength. Fending off a number of high danger shots, he held steady and kept the Flyers in the race against and active Anaheim team. Elliott proved consistent through the duration of the game, even as he allowed two goals, keeping cool under the heavy pressure faced.
One of the greatest advantage-challenge balances faced in this game was that of odd man rushes. Especially in the first period, we saw a real back and forth with this, as one team would develop an odd man rush and put some heavy pressure on the opposing goaltender, only to turn around and allow another to develop for the other side.
The Flyers brought the pressure early in the game, as Couturier nearly capitalized on an odd man rush in the first minute of the game, followed shortly by Nolan Patrick very nearly tallying his first NHL goal just 1:17 in. The Ducks got rolling soon after and rushed into the Flyers’ zone for a shot on goal. With eight shots on goal in the first five minutes of the game, the tone was set for the game.
The fourth line brought some early pressure in Anaheim’s zone, controlling on a three-on-two opportunity. Leier’s shot was shut down, but Sanheim was able to keep play going, bring the puck back in and putting a shot of his own on goal.
The first penalty of the game came with 13:42 to go, as Antoine Vermette was sent to the box on a roughing penalty, and the Flyers went on the power play. It started a little shaky, as the Flyers allowed a Ducks breakout and odd man rush, but they immediately rallied back to put a number of shots on goal, all to be somehow saved by a rolling Gibson. But he couldn’t maintain that composure, as just a second after the power play ended, Ivan Provorov scored from the circles on a feed from Patrick just below the net, giving Provorov his first goal of the season, and Patrick his first NHL point.
It wouldn’t be long before the Flyers got another chance to snag the elusive power play goal. After just over two minutes of 5-on-5, Giroux drew a holding penalty on Anaheim’s Dennis Rasmussen. After Simmonds nearly tipped the puck in on goal, the Flyers’ man advantage would come to an early end, as a bouncing puck would get away from Gostisbehere, and he would take a slashing penalty, trying to retrieve it. The four on four would prove active, as a turnover on the boards in the Flyers’ defensive zone would lead to a Vermette goal on Elliott.
First scrum as Gudas was sent into the boards by Bieksa, and the two would both go to the box with roughing penalties. The four on four would be short lived, as Giroux would draw his third penalty of the night-- a slash by Cogliano-- that would send the Flyers on a four on three. They brought some pressure early, but were unable to capitalize.
AFTER ONE: Tied 1-1
The game saw no decrease in speed in the second period, as both teams set into a real run and gun, but generated far fewer shots in the early part of the period. Both sides were kept tied up, bringing movement but few scoring opportunities.
And with 15:24 to go, and the Flyers headed to the power play again. It proved unproductive as, after an early shot by Gostisbehere, the power play fell apart. DIsjointed and riddled with turnovers, Anaheim killed off the penalty with relative ease.
The game fell into a bit of a lull at this point, with a fair bit of back and forth, a lot of time spent in the neutral zone, but little else. The intensity would be ratcheted up as a Simmonds penalty would send Anaheim to the power play. Elliott faced a dangerous shot early, but it would go off the knee of Corey Perry, who would go to the locker room to walk it off. Anaheim would then allow a Flyers breakout and a shot by Laughton, and the Flyers would kill of the remaining penalty.
This would jumpstart the Flyers’ offense, as shortly thereafter the Flyers would again take the lead. Voracek would pick up a long pass from Giroux and, pushing the puck up close on the net and feed to Couturier, who collected the goal.
The speed would be maintained through the rest of the period, with a subsequent uptick in shots, but there were no more points where it matters, and the teams headed off for the second intermission.
AFTER TWO: Flyers 2 - Ducks 1
Down by one, the Ducks went right on the offensive off the first faceoff with a shot on goal that caused a bit of mayhem, but the Flyers would take the puck down to the Duck’s zone for a shot of their own, and we were back to moving at a first period clip.
After a shot by Sanheim, Weal went to collect the rebound and take a slash from Vermette. On the power play, the Flyers coughed up the puck and allowed for Fowler to breakout, gaining speed to put up a shot to beat Elliott and tie the game 2-2. The Flyers, with about a minute and a half left on their power play, couldn’t convert from there.
This held as the theme of the middle of the period, as the Flyers, heavily outshooting the Ducks, just couldn’t seem to get a puck past Gibson. They lost a bit of this momentum with around three minutes left in the period, as the Ducks kept them pinned in their own zone, putting pressure on Elliott but failing to convert, themselves.
The Flyers moved into the final two minutes of regulation, driving into Anaheim’s zone for a last push at gaining the league. Controlling well, they directed a number of high danger shots at Gibson, but all to no avail. They would spend the last thirty seconds or so stuck in their own zone, but were able to keep the Ducks tied up. And off to overtime we went.
AFTER THREE: Tied 2 - 2
Overtime was not a long time. Just forty five seconds in, Couturier, controlling the zone entry and getting pinned on the boards stayed patient, and sent the puck over to Simmonds who sent it in low on and past Gibson for the game winning goal.
FINAL: Flyers 3 - Ducks 2
Now off to bed, everybody.