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Avalanche 5, Flyers 4: Why do shootouts still exist?

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Flyers dominate, but can’t come away with the two points.

In which we all are Brandon Manning
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

This game was annoying, then fun, then annoying again, then fun again and ... I think you get the idea.

1st Period

The Flyers and Avs played about as even a first period as two teams can ... until there were 1.6 seconds left on the clock. At the end of one, they were tied in team 5v5 CF% at 50 and this was shown throughout. No one team could really grab command, and even when Colorado scored, luck helped their cause the most. A shot from the point on a late power play was stopped by Neuvirth, but Nathan Mackinnon made a beautiful pass to the almost-traded Matt Duchene, who buried it. 1-0 Avs heading into the second.

Philadelphia’s best chance of the period came shorthanded, when Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier came in on a two on one. Simmonds unfortunately telegraphed the cross ice pass, and the play went for naught. It also resulted in Couturier crashing into the net, scaring the living daylight out of Flyers fans for the second straight game.

2nd period

Alright so if the Avalanche weren’t the luckiest team in the league tonight we’d be fine.

(Narrator: “They were.”)

The Flyers controlled play for basically the entire period but came away trailing by a score of 3-2 heading into the final 60 minutes. Travis Konecny and Valtteri Filppula got the scoring started less than two minutes into the period, as TK fired a beautiful cross-ice pass that Filppula made no mistake on to tie game at one.

Philadelphia would then head to the power play with a little over 13 minutes left in the period, where they scored for the second time. Shayne Gostisbehere, in his first game returning from injury, blasted away from the point, and captain Claude Giroux wristed home the rebound to give the Flyers the 2-1 lead.

Then we were all reminded as to why sports are, in fact, bad.

As another Flyers power play was about to end, a turnover sent the Avs streaking the other way in a partial two on one. Blake Comeau fired a wrist shot that deflected off of Ivan Provorov’s skate and top-shelf past Neuvirth.

(/sad trumpet plays)

2-2 game with a little over four minutes remaining.

Then Travis Sanheim got a penalty for ... well ... I’m not really sure what it was but it was definitely a penalty (wink wink nudge nudge). The Avs would score by ... the puck deflecting off of Robert Hagg’s stick as he blocked the cross ice pass. The Avalanche had absolutely nothing go right for them last season en route to a 48 point season, I guess the hockey gods are showing some mercy early this season?

Flyers CF% after 40: 58.82

Avs CF% after 40: 41.18

3rd period

It didn’t take the Flyers long to tie the game back up. Jakub Voracek poked home a rebound off an absolute cannon of a shot by Hagg that just found its way across the line. Finally, the strong 5v5 play rewarded the Flyers.

Then Michal Neuvirth turned into a 1980’s NHL goalie. A turnover by the Ghost/Manning pairing leads to a shot from a wide open Nail Yakupov. Yakupov fires one right through the five-hole, somehow, and just like that the Avalanche take the lead back at 4-3. Yes, it’s a turnover from your defense, but man would it be nice for your goalie to not allow a softy like that.

Philadelphia would go right back to controlling play, featuring a great shift from the Lehtera line (I know I couldn’t believe it either) and EVEN MORE SURPRISINGLY, DALE WEISE SCORED A HOCKEY GOAL. Jordan Weal found Weise in front of the net and the much maligned forward fired it by Varlamov. Somehow, this game is re-tied at 4-4.

The Flyers would get plenty more chances throughout the remainder of the third period, but were unable to capitalize. Lucky for them, Colorado couldn’t either. This game goes to overtime and Philly gets a much needed point before a four-day rest.

Overtime

Colorado would get the first great chance of OT, a one timer essentially from where Alex Goligoski won the game for Arizona vs the Flyers, but Neuvirth was up to the task. Philadelphia would then get a fantastic chance by Claude Giroux who dangled his way to the slot and fired one that was stopped by Varlamov. For once in a three on three OT, the goalies were the stars.

After multiple two on ones and a breakaway for Konecny, Varlamov and Neuvirth continued to steal the show until the final buzzer. This wild game, fittingly enough, heads to a shootout.

Shootout

ALRIGHT LET’S GO

Weal: GOAL (WOO)

Mackinnon: goal (boo)

Giroux: no goal (boo)

Duchene: no goal (WOO)

Voracek: no goal (boo)

Rantanen: goal (BOOOOOOOOOOO)

This was a wild one. The Avalanche got a lot of bounces their way and Varlamov outplayed Neuvirth. The Flyers dominated the pace of play for most of the night ending at a 57.14 CF% at 5v5. Most nights they win this game but in typical Flyers fashion, this was not one of those nights. They now get four days off before facing the Blackhawks next Thursday, a much needed rest for a banged up team.