The Flyers are back in the win column after Monday’s hiccup against the Kings, and have now won seven of eight games after that awful 10-game losing streak. Brian Elliott made 25 saves to pick up his 13th win of the season, and Robert Hagg scored his first career NHL goal with a second-period tally in the win.
It was a see-saw affair, with the Flyers failing to take advantage of a Red Wings team on second of a back-to-back stretch until the third period. Despite that, the Flyers were able to carry play in the third and were a few key stops from Jimmy Howard from turning this one into a blowout.
Gustav Nyquist nearly started the scoring for Detroit early in the first, but was denied on the breakaway by Elliott. He split the Flyers’ defense pair of Radko Gudas and Travis Sanheim for the chance.
Detroit really carried play through the games first six minutes, recording five of the six shots and all four registered scoring chances. The Flyers had trouble with turnovers and passes in the neutral zone, which helped the Red Wings get off to a quick start.
Finally sensing that the Red Wings were playing the second of a back-to-back, the Flyers took play over at the 12-minute mark for a good stretch. The first line buzzed with chances from Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux, but Jimmy Howard was there to keep things scoreless.
It would be Dale Weise who would break the scoreless game, beating Howard with 4:41 left in the period to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead. Weise buried a strange carom off the end boards created by Radko Gudas’ wide point shot. Nolan Patrick also picked up an assist on the goal.
The Red Wings would even things up just before the buzzer, though. Martin Frk potted a power play tally to tie things up at 1-1 with less than two seconds left in the first. It was a perfect pass by Dylan Larkin to free up Frk and then a great shot to beat Elliott. Giroux was in the box for a bad slashing penalty in the offensive zone, and the Red Wings’ seventh-ranked power play made the Flyers pay.
A double minor to Jordan Weal for high-sticking would provide an ominous start to the second for the Flyers. Ivan Provorov was hit with a heavy Mike Green shot in the hand and wrist area and was forced to the bench in considerable pain but was able to return.
Detroit would take advantage of the Weal penalty as Mike Green beat Elliott, who was screened, to give the Red Wings a 2-1 lead on the second half of the power play. The goal came at 5:50 and was assisted by Larkin and Andreas Anthanasiou.
Armed with a power play of their own, the Flyers would respond quickly as Wayne Simmonds buried a pretty passing play to draw things even at the 10:48 mark. Simmonds finished off a passing sequence started by Claude Giroux and carried on by Jake Voracek as the Flyers were able to knot things at 2-2.
The score wouldn’t stay tied for long, though. Detroit responded a shift later with the go-ahead goal from Gustav Nyquist in front following a Flyers turnover. Henrik Zetterberg got the the lone assist as the Red Wings grabbed a 3-2 lead at the 11:29 mark.
But Robert Hagg’s first career NHL goal would tie things back up at 3-3 just 2 minutes and 11 seconds later as things opened up for the two teams during the second period. Claude Giroux and Shayne Gostisbehere picked up assists on the goal.
With Detroit bidding for another late goal, it was Brian Elliott melting down a loose puck in his crease with 56 seconds left in the period to help keep things even for the Flyers headed into the third.
After a bit of a feeling out process to start the third, it would be the Flyers who would strike first with the game in the balance.
Couturier gave the Flyers the lead back 5:57 into the third, finishing off a nice passing sequence between Giroux and Simmonds to make it 4-3 for the good guys. Couturier was stopped by initially by Jimmy Howard, but stuck with the puck and rammed home the rebound.
Giroux picked up his third assist on Couturier’s 16th goal of the season as he continues to establish a new career-high every time he finds the back of the net in this his breakout offensive campaign.
At the other end it was Elliott’s turn to shine, making a key save in close on Justin Abdelkader at 9:04 in to keep the Flyers in front. Elliott has been a rock for the Flyers of late, and was more of the same on Wednesday.
Armed with a lead and 10 minutes left, the Flyers setup to protect the lead and escape with two points and, that’s when the top line of Giroux, Simmonds and Couturier went to work. The Flyers’ top line hemmed the Red Wings in their own zone for the better part of 90 seconds down inside the five minute mark and forced Jimmy Howard to make a miraculous save to keep the lead from stretching to two goals.
Detroit thought they would get their chance as Jake Voracek would be taken off for elbowing with 2:06 left after much protest from the Red Wings bench, but officials pulled Athanasiou off for embellishment as well.
The Red Wings would empty their net to gain the extra skater, but would face much resistance in the Flyers’ defense for the final minutes. Brian Elliott would need just one final save on Dylan Larkin before time ran out on the Red Wings as the Flyers jumped back in the win column with a 4-3 win.